By Philip N. Ledoux
September 28, 2005
Here is something of current interest. Locally lowest octane gas just went
through $3 per gallon. I think 'Big Oil" is telling us: Line up, grab
your ankles please, and expect a surprise.
Philip N. Ledoux
One of the simplest and oldest techniques used to improve
gas mileage (to our strongly accented cousins it is petrol mileage) is vaporization.
Pogue, Fish and others perfected the technique in the 1930ies, probably
urged on by the harsh economics of the times. The principle is to feed gas
vapor into the carburetor or into the intake manifold. For those not familiar,
this is the classical example used to demonstrate the differences: If you
take a barrel full of gas and throw a match into it, you will have one hell
of a fire, and that’s about it. Take that same barrel with 3 inches
of gas in the bottom, throw a match into it, and take cover, she’s
headed for the moon with a hell of a KaBoom. The nearly empty barrel was
full of gas vapor which releases its energy dramatically.
The same difference occurs within an engine; what is needed is some method
to control the amount entering the engine.
Pogue and Fish redesigned the carburetor itself to create
vapor and regulate vapor flow. Others used exhaust heat to accomplish the
same thing. Let me jump ahead to post WW II days around the early 1950ies.
Popular Mechanics published a simple device that never “caught on”.
I learned about it from a tinkerer who had heard about my electrical ignition
system and “found me”. I think I was the one who learned the
most that day. But first a few precautions.
I have always been interested in increasing gas mileage since
I was a teenager. During my lifetime I have almost met 4 men who designed
high mileage carburetors. I knew men who personally knew these men. Every
one believed in the American Dream and set out to manufacture and market
their carburetors. All suddenly disappeared, never to be heard of again.
It was as though they had never existed. I tried to market my invention,
but I was a flop as a marketer, so with my “victory by default”
I live on to talk about it. This is serious business, the business of getting
better mileage. A fellow in the Boston area in the 1990ies was a refrigeration
expert, contractor. He discovered that a certain refrigeration “part”
would create gas vapor with little or no modification. He had success. Painted
two cars bright yellow and advertised on it “This car gets 150 MPG,
ask me about it”. He got to drive it 15 miles. Ended up in jail. Long
before his sentence was completed, he was released. Everybody abandoned
him when he again persisted in marketing his invention. He had a web site
with all the info for a handyman to duplicate his efforts. Before a month
passed the site no longer existed and apparently neither did he. Nobody
has seen hide nor hair of him since. I am certain that this paragraph is
the most important part of his discussion with “how to do it”
instructions. You have to cuss me up vigorously in public, and blow me kudos
in private. That is the only way you will continue to breathe when you own
a high mileage vehicle.
This “invention” is really simplicity in the extreme.
You do have to be somewhat of a handyman or mechanically inclined. By some
means a line is attached to the intake system of a carburetor driven engine.
This line connects to a small tank or “can” that has a small
metal tube soldered or brazed through the top of the tank or “can”.
The screw on cap, has another similar tube soldered or brazed through itself.
On the inside a fish tank air stone is connected by a regular plastic tube
to this cap. The cap is screwed into place. The cap is the fill point until
you get exotic and fancy. Start out simple and save headaches along the
way. One step at the time.
The engine is started normally, then the main fuel supply
is turned off. When the carburetor reserve fuel is used up, the engine will
now be sucking on the line connected to the top of the tank. The suction
in turn pulls air in via the cap pipe, down through the air stone and bubble
up in tiny, tiny bubbles resulting in gas vapor forming in the top of the
tank or “can”. The engine will be running on gas vapor. You
may have to adjust the timing because of the greater power available and
other factors involved. Remember in adjusting that you still have to be
able to start the vehicle. Many worry about the loss of cylinder lubrication
that is done by the actual non-burned fuel in the normal mode. On a hydrogen
(water) system, the follow up instructions said: operate the engine for
3 minutes before and after using the high efficiency, in the normal gas
mode for lubrication. So, it appears that the fears are not that acute.
On older vehicles you make a ½ inch think “riser”
under the carburetor. If you are not familiar, ask any “dirt track”
racer, they will proudly give you complete instructions. The nice part about
a “riser” is that it can be made of aluminum which can be worked
with wood working tools. Cut the holes as accurately as you can; like a
gasket it can be somewhat imperfect; strive for perfect, knowing we never
really achieve it with wood working tools. Obviously two carburetor gaskets
are needed for the riser. Drill one horizontal hole through this riser to
the (singular or plural) main throat. Drill for the tap size of the fitting
you are going to use to this auxiliary tank or “can”. Then tap
the hole. From experience I find less frustration using soft copper; flared
fittings are best, although ferrule fittings are OK. This line goes to the
top outlet on the auxiliary tank or “can”. You are ready to
fire up and test.
Let’s put some common sense into this inventiveness.
If you understand the general principles and layout, have you brought along
a fire extinguisher, just in case? If it isn’t 40 below outside, you
should be working out doors; and for safety make that soft copper line ling
enough to place the tank some distance from the vehicle just in case you
need to use the extinguisher! Plan ahead for worse case scenario. Maybe
I have many guardian angels looking over me (so sayeth my ma), I have never
needed to use the extinguisher. You are now ready to fire the beast up.
Be patient, after turning off the fuel supply (pull the fuse, or a shut
off in the main line to the carburetor, it takes awhile to use up the carburetor
reserve. You should be able to hear when the shift occurs. From here on
out, you are on your own because all engines are different in timing, etc.
What about these new marvels that you need a shoehorn to get
at anything? A carburetor expert told me: Place a “Y” in the
smog line as it goes to the carburetor so that the main line is straight
and the “Y” will suck (venturi effect). This “Y”
connects via a tube to the top of the auxiliary tank or “can”.
There should be some kind of check valve in the operating
system between carburetor and auxiliary tank or “can”. Some
recommend an oxygen-acetylene check valve, I find they have too strong a
spring action, and the connectors are non-standard. A low pressure domestic
steam system check valve should work. Orient it physically to open easily
and close quickly if the engine backfires. This prevents the auxiliary tank
from becoming a rocket in a backfire condition.
There are many methods of filling this auxiliary tank or “can”.
A fuel tank gage, a sight glass type device with floating magnet with external
magnetic switch, etc. etc. Or you can use a larger tank that will last reasonable
distances before needing refilling. The largest problem on today’s
vehicles is finding a place to fit this auxiliary tank. A magician helps.
I think the company managers could see this day coming and designed so that
no additions could fit into the engine compartment. At worse, one could
cut a hole in the hood to one side and do like the street rods used to add
Now I’ll allow you to laugh at me. I had a 1970s small
bus with a big loadstar engine in it. A racer gave me a riser that happened
to fit perfectly. I welded up a tank that would withhold an explosion, did
all the plumbing, tank gage, changed engine to an electric fuel pump, and
an electric fuel pump to fill the tank. Switches and whistles on the dash.
When I built the tank, my thinking was: this is a mighty big engine, it
will need large lines. In the bottom of the tank, I had a 3/8 inch black
iron pipe welded internally at one end and extending through the tank wall
on the other end with lateral holes for a series of 6 individual fish tank
air stones that were sealed in place with “liquid steel”. Externally
this had an elbow with vertical standpipe with a small engine filter. The
soft copper connector lines were 3/8 inch. The engine started OK, then it
loaded down badly. Hmmmm. The old girl went from 6 miles to the gallon to
6 gallons per mile! The intake to the auxillary tank was so large with so
many air stones that the engine just sucked up raw fuel. Back to the drawing
How many miles do I get to the gallon? Go back to paragraph
#3 which states the facts about not wearing cement shoes. With a smile on
my face I tell you: 6 gallons to the mile. Damned cuss who put it together
must have had rocks in his head, if you’ll help me we’ll skin
him alive. Do not email me or snail mail me, it will still be 6 gallons
to the mile, and with the instructions given, you better get some mechanic
to give you a hand, I’m not able to lead you by the hand any better
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.