As long as we laid down an accurate baseline which we could confidently test against, we just couldn't help ourselves, and had to try out a few more ideas before we ended our Project. We tried to get manufacturers to send us anything they had, from 'fuel-line' magnets to 'air spinner' devices. They all refused… this was very interesting. So we tried a few of our own, as well as some fuel additives. We're compiling a list of new products to test against for the next endeavor… "Project MPG -II"!
(Photo of Fuel Cat): For those searching for mystical and magical potions to increase economy and power by leaps and bounds, lest ye not be disappointed. We hunted down the most revered of all "snake oils" and came up with the "Fuel Cat", which was reportedly sold to fleets and municipalities world-wide. This device is supposedly reported to oppositely charge molecularized fuel particles, therefore increasing atomization resulting in gains in both power and fuel economy. After spending $200 on the device and another $100 on plumbing, we added it to our already rigorous test schedule. Although it looks cool mounted under the hood, it gave no apparent benefits, other than a now lighter weight wallet. Don't look for quick gains and cheap shortcuts to better performance… they just ain't out there! We found it's a lot easier to reduce fuel economy than it is to gain it.
(Photo of Klotz Nitro being poured into the tank): We had some Klotz Nitro (nitropropanol) just lying around, which we thought would be interesting to test in Project M-P-G. This oxygen bearing fuel additive put out an impressive increase in power, but due to costs, not something you'd want to run everyday. We also tested the effects with premium 93 octane fuel over our normal diet of the 87 stuff. Not surprising, the slower burn effect of the higher octane reduced our horsepower output as well as fuel economy. Use only just enough octane to reduce pinging or detonation, and that's it! Any more would be a waste of performance and greenbacks.
(Photo of exhaust ports on head): The relatively small but smooth flowing unrestricted OEM exhaust ports on our 460 revealed good low and mid-range performance while allowing future porting and polishing to unleash even more power if we so wish to do so. The exhaust ports bottlenecked the passage width from 1.400" to a mere 1.100" for a 22% restriction. If we were to add more power (ie: camshaft, blower, stroker), this would be necessary to be removed.
(Photo of MPG at Silver Lake Sand Dunes): Since project MPG stands for "Mileage, Power and Gearing", so we set out to prove all three. Even though this massive machine was built to be the ultimate tow rig, it proved that it can also be one heck of an off-roader as well. Topping a giant dune at Silver Lake, MI. is tough enough for a well-equipped Jeep, let alone a nearly 4-ton six wheeled beast. Nevertheless the additional power was much welcomed while the increased fuel mileage benefits were greatly enjoyed to and from the Sand Blast event.
(Photo of MPG at the truck pulls) Our decked out Ford took top honors at the PYT 4x4 club's truck Pulls by taking home a first place trophy in the 7,200 pound street stock class while pulling a 48,000 pound eliminator sled. Our modifications worked to our advantage by putting down a 268' pull distance, further than anyone else in that class. Only 4 days later we found ourselves trekking reliably across the great plains of the USA with trailer in tow on a 3,000 mile, week long test loop.
(Photo of MPG & trailer in Colorado): We needed to do one final over the road test to push all our new modifications to the limit. Testing our heavy hauler on a 7 day, 3000 mile test loop weighed in at a combined weight of 16,000 pounds while towing an 8,000lbs trailer across the plains from Wisconsin to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. In testing our Hypertech computer chip, we confirmed an increase in mountain climbing speeds from 35mph to 55mph while ascending an 11,000 foot pass. We also realized a 1 mpg increase with the chip in, once all our mods were in place. Finding that "perfect" gear during acceleration up the mountain and deceleration down the other side was a snap with our new 6-speed gear selection offered from the addition of our Gear Vendors overdrive. It made a world of difference in driveability both on the plains and in the mountains. We were able to comfortably cruise at the 75mph speed limit across the plains while getting nearly 10mpg as well as traversing the steep mountain passes with more than enough power at our disposal.
(Photo of truck w/trailer doing a burnout): So, what's in store for Project MPG from here on in? There's still lots of stuff we can fit our re-christened super hauler with, including ported and polished cylinder heads, camshaft, polished intake runners and yes of course, a supercharger. But in the meantime we're just going to sit back and enjoy the increased performance and fuel economy we have achieved with the additions already installed. We love doing 16,000 pound four-wheel dually "trailer-burnouts" next to the guys with the Camaros and Mustang GTs at the stoplights!
(Photo of F-350 emblem and Four Wheeler logo): We had a lot of fun doing Project MPG, and we also learned a lot. Even the soundest theories are meaningless unless tested, and as you've seen here, we could have ended up with half the performance we did, had we not recorded and compared the before and after results on every single item. With just a stopwatch and some spare time, you too can come up with a pretty good test regiment for your own backyard modifications, whatever they may be.
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