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Old 01-29-2007, 03:49 PM   #1
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Fuel Efficient Engine Builders?

If you were to read any hotrod magazine, what you would usually find were ways to modify either a big block or a small block engine, so that you could maximize the hourse power needed to burn down the quarter mile in the shortest time.

During the hotrod era's earliest developments, there were a lot of backyard mechanics(i.e. similar to us FE fanatics), who were tickering with stock autombiles, intent on getting the most speed and performance out of their engines. In time, the techniques towards engine building needed to achieve that end, evolved from the backyard into speed performance shops.

My question to this forum, is to ask whether or not there's any shops, builder, garages, etc, who are dedicated to the building of engines, for the sole purpose of high fuel efficency? The parallel that I see, is like to early hotrod builders, the members of this forum are trying just as hard to get the maximum performance out of our vehicles, but in the opposite direction. What we want is tweaked out fuel efficiency. Rather than buring down the quarter mile, I rather burn fuel at a rate of over 50+ without paying over $20,000 for some ridiculous hybid.

If it doesn't exist, then frankly if I had the skills, then that's just what I would do. Thank You.
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:05 PM   #2
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The only builder I know of who makes performance efficiency parts is Mike at 3Tech: http://www.teamswift.net/3tech/

He deals with the Suzukiclone market.

He offers: cams that mimic the XFi profile; shaved heads (increased compression = more torque = more bang per unit of fuel); cam timing sprockets (increase low end torque with a standard cam & cylinder pressure).
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:45 PM   #3
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There are also mods that reduce internal engine drag, such as a knife edged crank, windage trays, dry sump lube systems, lighter pistons+rods. These are mostly used to improve high rpm power, so they might not have much effect at low rpms. HTH.
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Old 01-30-2007, 02:46 AM   #4
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This guy is into the performance/economy thing. He is under the impression that economy and performance don't have to be mutually exclusive. He is also the guy that did the work on my Saturn's.
http://powrehaus.com/about/
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:55 AM   #5
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This guy is into the performance/economy thing. He is under the impression that economy and performance don't have to be mutually exclusive. He is also the guy that did the work on my Saturn's.
http://powrehaus.com/about/
Fantastic stuff !!!! My brain is reeling!

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Old 01-30-2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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I investigated sleeving my engine down to a smaller displacement about a year ago, but the cost would be high. The companies that typically make cylinder sleeves have the blanks cut at a size larger than I would want, so I'd have to get custom sleeves made, then I would have to pick a smaller diameter piston but with all the rest of the dimensions the same, or else get custom pistons made. It would have been nice to drop from a 1.5L to a 1.0L or something comparable, but I estimate the cost to be over a few thousand dollars, and I'm not willing to invest that kind of money on that project.
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:20 AM   #7
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The Chevy small block V8 has more aftermarket engine parts than any other. Take 305, and add tons of parts: Hollow crankshaft, aluminum con rods, roller lifters, titanium valve keepers, high compression pistons, and aluminum heads. Add a few low drag devices like an electric water pump and fan.

BUT, instead of the typical (ridiculous) high lift cam with huge overlap, install a truck cam (high torque at low RPM). Add a 5 speed overdrive tranny and 3.08 gears. Put that inside an old Camaro, which has low frontal area and a decent drag coefficient.

I'll bet it would get 35 mpg highway, and still smoke the tires in first gear.
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:00 PM   #8
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But is there a market (yet)?

Hello.

Great site. I've gotten into rebuilding engines recently, and the thought of openning up a fuel efficient rebuild shop has crossed my mind more than once. I'd love to do it, but I'm not sure the market is there. Engine rebuilders focus on speed and power because that is where the money is. Driving fast cars is something a lot of people devote a huge portion of their lives (and disposable income) to.

Most people want fuel efficient cars to save money. Sure there's plenty of other reasons, but in the end, the mods would would have to pay for themselves (or come pretty close) for most people to want to throw down the necessary thousands of dollars. In addition, the only cars you would be modifying are older out of warrenty vehicles. Given that the mods would take years to pay for themselves, Someone would have to be really into their car and plan on keeping it for many more years to make that kind of investment.

Where the market might exist is in taking older CRXs, Sprints, Metros, diesels, etc that you get for a song and then modifying and fixing them up. If you could get them into the 60+ mpg range and resell them for 8-10k then you might be able to pay yourself an okay wage if you could do it out of your garage with negligable overhead expenses.

I dunno, I'm being a little skeptical and playing devil's advocate to some extent because I'd like to hear someone respond convincingly to these arguments. It would be a really fun business if it could work.
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Old 01-30-2007, 02:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by northboundtrain View Post
Hello.

Great site. I've gotten into rebuilding engines recently, and the thought of openning up a fuel efficient rebuild shop has crossed my mind more than once. I'd love to do it, but I'm not sure the market is there. Engine rebuilders focus on speed and power because that is where the money is. Driving fast cars is something a lot of people devote a huge portion of their lives (and disposable income) to.

Most people want fuel efficient cars to save money. Sure there's plenty of other reasons, but in the end, the mods would would have to pay for themselves (or come pretty close) for most people to want to throw down the necessary thousands of dollars. In addition, the only cars you would be modifying are older out of warrenty vehicles. Given that the mods would take years to pay for themselves, Someone would have to be really into their car and plan on keeping it for many more years to make that kind of investment.

Where the market might exist is in taking older CRXs, Sprints, Metros, diesels, etc that you get for a song and then modifying and fixing them up. If you could get them into the 60+ mpg range and resell them for 8-10k then you might be able to pay yourself an okay wage if you could do it out of your garage with negligable overhead expenses.

I dunno, I'm being a little skeptical and playing devil's advocate to some extent because I'd like to hear someone respond convincingly to these arguments. It would be a really fun business if it could work.
Well here's my rational. I'm tired of having the auto industry tell me that "Statistically", as an American car driver, all I want is a bulky, inefficient SUV, which has horsepower over Fuel Efficiency.

Secondly, there a cars in Europe like the VW Lupo, or the Audi A2 which get 78 MPG U.S. that will never be allowed into this country.

Finally, to add insult to injury, they've been trying to pass off some ugly looking hybrid costing over $20,000, which only averages 50 to 60MPG.
50to 60MPG! For God sake, Geo Metros and the Honda Civic CRX HF were doing that over 16 years ago, while costing significantly less than $20,000. Not to mention the added expense of replacing the lithium batteries within 8 to 10 years. Furthermore, a fuel efficient car does not have to cost that much or look like some obscure, flamboyet, quasi-futuristic rollerskate.

Bearing all that in mind, including the increasing cost of a gallon of gas, I think that there would be a market...All it would take are a few dedicated engine builders who have the "Know How", that are willing to step foward, make Fuel Efficient mods that work and be able to quantify there results.

As far as "throwing down the necessary thousands of dollars", I feel think that by taking an already fuel efficient Geo Metro, CRX HF or Honda Vx, and tweaking it to be more fuel efficient, it would be far cheaper than buying some hybid for over 20K. Not to mention, you'll have a better running car that can also be tweaked to be more reliable...again, being far cheaper then the auto industry.

Bottom line, we need to turn speculation into fact, by separating what might work to what will work. The point is that like the early hotrodder, we need to take our FE Mods that we've learned in the backyard and turn them into a professional service.
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Old 01-30-2007, 06:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by diamondlarry View Post
This guy is into the performance/economy thing. He is under the impression that economy and performance don't have to be mutually exclusive. He is also the guy that did the work on my Saturn's.
http://powrehaus.com/about/
I did more reading on the website and it looks pretty cool. Did you get the full "16 valve cylinder head porting" from him? How much did it cost and what is your estimate of the FE gains?

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