Improved filtration and lubrication show dramatic effects

Two innovations are having a dramatic impact on fuel economy in gas-guzzling cars - and other engines and machinery could profit as well. Tom Shelley reports



Replacing conventional engine air filters with a new three-stage version reduces air resistance and instantaneous pressure drop to the air inlet manifold – while possibly introducing a small amount of catalyst into the air stream to aid combustion.
Alt the same time, a bubbling device introduces a small amount of lubricant – of a type intended to aid combustion and reduce upper cylinder friction losses – while being completely consumed by combustion, so as not to add to exhaust pollutants.
Certainly, reducing pressure drop losses in filters on machines of any kind is always a good idea. Furthermore, improving upper cylinder lubrication has long been a goal of various innovators and additives aimed at doing this have been on sales for at least 40 years.
What is new, however, is that the latest versions of these ideas have now been successfully applied to more than one thousand cars and when, for example, applied to a Cadillac Six SUV with a 3.6 litre V6 engine, are said to improve long-distance fuel economy from 22 mpg to around 38 mpg.
The vast majority of the conversions have been undertaken in the USA, despite the fact that the technology is the invention of George Heeley, who lives in St Helens.
When Eureka met with him, he first unveiled two-stage and three-stage versions of his air filter, which were filled with knitted copper mesh. They are, he points out, ideally three-stage filters, with mesh which is more densely packed on the inlet side, followed by a stage in which the mesh is intermediate and then lighter in the final stage.
Heeley’s goal is to “reduce the restriction on air entering the inlet manifold”, while achieving, the same degree of filtration. And his method for establishing the effectiveness of air filtration? By stripping down engines, he says. In fact, he has experimented with different materials and found that not only copper was best, but that a particular grade of copper, which he declined to identify, was better than others.
This may give a clue into part of what may be happening, since it is already well known that a few parts per million of transition and rare earth metal oxides, particularly cerium oxide – when added to fuel – has a dramatic effect on combustion efficiency and fuel economy. It is believed to act as a catalyst; and copper and a number of other transition metals are known to have a similar effect. While metallic copper does not significantly evaporate at ambient temperature, it does slowly corrode in atmospheric air, producing carbonates and other friable compounds, small amounts of which may be drawn into an air stream.
As regards filter maintenance, the user only needs to “clean it out every six months,” claims Heeley. “The filter never needs to be replaced.” On its own, the filter results in a 5-6% fuel saving.
The second part of the conversion kit is a one-litre container of special oil. This Heeley describes as a 10 SAE flammable oil. Air is sucked into the container by suction and bubbles through the oil, producing a mist. The mist is then drawn through a sight glass, jet and regulator valve, then passing into the pipe connecting the crankcase and the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve, before being drawn into the engine inlet manifold.
This line is under suction, because the anti-pollution regulations require that crankcase gases cannot be allowed to be pumped back into the atmosphere and so have to be sucked into the inlet manifold, so they are combusted in the engine. The jet is present, Heeley explains, because “otherwise we wouldn’t get the vapour; you would be drawing liquid oil into the manifold”.
Meanwhile, the regulator valve is present to adjust air flow or turn it off, if the container runs out of oil. (If this were to occur, there would then be a direct path between the atmosphere and the inlet manifold, unfiltered air would be being drawn into the engine and there would be insufficient suction to recover the crankcase gases).
The oil is intended to fulfil several functions. “It is a flammable oil, which enhances the mixture so as to achieve zero emissions on a regular basis,” explains Heeley. At the same time, it acts as an upper cylinder lubricant.
Personally, I can remember my father regularly adding a shot of Redex to his fuel as an upper cylinder lubricant. We were never able to decide whether this produced any noticeable improvement in fuel economy, but it did seem to help keep the engine clean and the Ford engine into which it went never suffered from any carbon build-up as a result. Opinions expressed in blogs on the Internet about its usefulness or otherwise remain divided. Some people swear it helps keep engines running sweet, while others say that its effect on removing sealing carbon in old engines can be disastrous. And there are others who dismiss it as mere ‘snake oil’, with no measurable effect.
However, whatever the mechanics and chemistry, the end result of adding Heeley’s modifications is an increase in mpg, which he claims is as miuch as 25 to 100%. And he claims a total reduction in emissions. “Zero is not uncommon. Also, there is a minimum of servicing relating to carbonising of spark plugs or clogging of diesel injectors from carbon on the tips.”
The business that undertakes the conversions is called Kleen & Green, and has so far converted about 1,000 vehicles in the USA and a single digit number so far in the UK.
Prices for conversion kits (which do not include fitting) start at £200 for vehicles with engines up to 1,000 cc and range up to £350 for vehicles with engines beyond 3,000 cc. The price of the Kleen & Green oil is £5 per litre or £20 for 5 litres.


Pointers

* System comprises replacing paper air filters with two or preferable three stage filters filled with knitted copper mesh, plus a container of flammable oil

* The copper mesh filters are designed to reduce air inlet instantaneous pressure drop but may also have an additional catalyst function

* The flammable oil is delivered as small amounts of mist to act as a combustion aid and to function as an upper cylinder lubricant

Author
Tom Shelley

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