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GasSavers_RoadWarrior 08-26-2009 08:27 AM

Curb Treasure MacGyver FE mod Challenge!
Hi folks,

Here's a bit of fun and an intellectual exercise....

A house down the block had some junk out on the curb, a gallon paint tin with something shiny in it caught my eye, shiny, shiny! There's a bunch of sockets and some other interesting looking junk in there thinks I. I like having a few junk sockets, good for making special tools, and for hammering onto heads that are rusted undersize (Don't wanna bust your good ones) and I like having some scraps and odds and ends to pick through for those awkward fix it jobs... Tipping out the can when I got home revealed an interesting assortment, nice haul :D I suddenly got a wild idea, and hence this thread, what, using mostly or solely this assortment of junk, could one do for gas mileage or maybe performance mods with it???

So here's the set up, the crew of Apollo 13 is stranded in orbit around the moon in a... uh... a '95 Ford Escort (or other econobeater) with only half the gas required to get home! Careful inventory of the... vehicle.. has revealed RW's can of curb treasure... a few tools... duct tape... JB Weld... (Presume you can use whatever reasonably available fixing methods for "glue") and you, Colonel MacGyver of Starga*cough* mission control, have to lead a team to figure out how to jerry rig some contraption to get the Apollo 13 crew home on much less gas than normal....

Here's what you've got ...


From top left...

Electrical box with some wiring still in it, plate screwed to back.
Approx 15ft of soft metal wire, not heavy enough for solder, presuming it's aluminum.
Some scraps of aluminum flashing.
Random brackets
Section of aluminum carpet edging
Scraps of copper plumbing pipe
Steel strapping approx 18" to 2ft
Roll of solder "Acid core" think it's plumbing solder, not totally sure.
Sections of blade, saw blade and box cutter blade.
Zip ties
Assortment of sockets from 3/4" down to 3/16"
Assortment of nails and screws, some screws look to be brass, a few nails look to be zinc plated.
Random crap, pen, carpenters pencil, emery cloth (abrasive) burned out tea light candle, push pin, paperclip.....

There you go, get cracking, quick before they run out of air! :D

This is really just for fun, to stimulate some out of the box thinking, it's unlikely that I'll actually make up anything solely from these parts, have better materials to choose from, but might find an idea or two inspiring. Got some half baked ideas already, I'll reserve them for now or this post is getting wayyy too long.

Road Warrior

Edit: BTW you can also include the 1 gallon paint can with wire handle and a lid off a 2lb tub of margarine which was in the bottom.

Jay2TheRescue 08-26-2009 09:36 AM

Ok, I'll play. Take the nails. Beat them into the fuel tank with the copper pipe. Solder the nails in place with the solder. Then take the wire, attach it to the tank, and the Positive terminal of the battery. This will ionize the fuel, allowing you to get 180 MPG!

Sooo, do I win?

GasSavers_RoadWarrior 08-26-2009 01:10 PM

Well, I'm not sure if 12V enough to ionize anything, and since the naquadah generator is needed to run the hyperdrive on the Al'kesh*cough* sorry... since the ignition coil is needed to run the motor, you can't really steal high voltage from there...

However, presuming a road surface exists for our crew to travel back on (Yeah this is pretty stupid, substitute "moon" for "last gas station until Reno" with a sold out sign if you like.) then there is some items there you might be able to get high voltage with.

Jay2TheRescue 08-26-2009 01:52 PM

You do know I wasn't being serious? I was taking a stab at all that PICC stuff we get the people spamming the forums for. Yeah, its going to oinize the fuel, and I'm going to get nearly 200 MPG? Yeah, right.

GasSavers_RoadWarrior 08-26-2009 02:29 PM

I know you were joking, was just trying to steer it a tad more serious. A gas vaporiser (Plasmogrifier? :D ) is probably a little too ambitious with limited time and resources, not to mention that thinking of Wile-E and Marvin, they're port fuel injected, which complicates the notion of an easy solution.

Presuming one had at least a TBI, maybe a carbed car to mess with, then running the exhaust pipe up the middle of the paint can, injecting/inducting fuel into it and attempting to ionise the output might have some basis in reality. But it would be a hairy lashup unlikely to last long. High voltages for this, at very low currents could be obtained by using the saw blade, mounted close to a tire, across the tread, this would act like the comb pickup of a Van der Graaf generator on the belt, and draw off ions created by the tire's friction against the road surface. More than one could be made, by using the flashing or other metal pieces, and making lots of sharp points on them.

But... HV + gas/air mix + dodgy lashup = darwin award candidate.

dkjones96 08-26-2009 02:59 PM

How do you ionize a dielectric fuel?

Just curious :)

Jay2TheRescue 08-26-2009 03:56 PM

Come on! Don't let a little pesky thing like science get in the way of getting 180 MPG...

GasSavers_RoadWarrior 08-26-2009 04:15 PM


Originally Posted by dkjones96 (Post 140574)
How do you ionize a dielectric fuel?

Just curious :)

You keep charging it until you reach it's ionisation breakdown potential.

Dielectrics are not perfect, if gasoline was a particularly good one, you'd have fingernail sized gasoline filled capacitors, rated to umpteen gigavolts... but unsurprisingly, you don't, small caps likely to have 10V-200V breakdown voltages with the best dielectric the company can find! (Well, afford to sell for a few cents a pop.) Need 10KV? they get big.. this would be due to breakdown voltage applying per distance, i.e. volts per meter across the dielectric, need a 10KV capacitor with a poor dielectric? Use lots of it.

You put charge into a dielectric, by notionally displacing the electric cloud with respect to the center of the atom, you know that can only go so far before ~snap~ the electrons aren't in the atom any more.

Air gets ionised all the time, yet is also classed as a dielectric, air spaced capacitors were among the first types investigated.

GasSavers_maximilian 08-26-2009 04:25 PM


Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue (Post 140579)
Don't let a little pesky thing like science get in the way of getting 180 MPG...

Have you seen MacGyver? This seems about as credible as the single episode I caught.

Jay2TheRescue 08-26-2009 08:50 PM

Hey, give MacGyver a wad of chewing gum, a roll of duct tape, and a swiss army knife, and he can do anything...


GasSavers_JoeBob 08-26-2009 10:34 PM

Ahhh....what you forgot to mention is that you have a bunch of those mylar space blankets in the emergency kit. And we'll have to sacrifice the speaker wire going to the rear speakers. Take your duct tape (you DO have some duct tape right? Right.) Assemble the mylar space blankets (which were included to keep you warm when you got stranded ON the moon) into one large solar sail. Use those little clippie thingies in the picture for grommets. De-strand the speaker wire. Solder the erstwhile strands together with the acid-core solder to make the rigging for the sail. Don't worry that it's acid core, you're not making an electrical connection, and Heathkit isn't going to void your warranty. Soldering iron is, of course, the aluminum wire. Attach to front bumper of '95 Space Escort. Unfurl, and catch the solar wind.

Now, take two of those nails and your paint can. Put some of the urine from your holding tank into the paint can, covering with duct tape. Fashion a two-tiered outlet from the copper pipe. Hook nails up to the battery. Electrolysis will give you your oxygen and as a free bonus you have hydrogen for your hydrogen injection system, giving you double your gas mileage!

Should be able to get home with fuel to spare!

All the rest of the stuff should be lots of fun to watch float around under the weightless condition you are experiencing.

theholycow 08-27-2009 07:44 AM


Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue (Post 140597)
Hey, give MacGyver a wad of chewing gum, a roll of duct tape, and a swiss army knife, and he can do anything...


LOL, that reminds me of the show Boston Legal where William Shatner's character occasionally makes Star Trek references/jokes...

GasSavers_RoadWarrior 08-28-2009 05:49 AM

Now JoeBob saw the electrolysis potential, with having all that aluminum wire though, there should be away to do the "burning aluminum" kind of a electrolysis that inarguably produces net energy (providing you already have the aluminum). But then will 15ft of it last long enough to get home?

So there is the opportunity to use some of the those materials as consumables for short term FE gains...

Another example of that might be to use the hot dipped galvanised nails and brass screws or copper pipe in a wet cell arrangement to produce a small voltage. What good is a small voltage?? You could put it in series with the O2 sensor output to offset it a bit, I think you need about .2V to fool the ECU into cycling it around 15.5-16:1 instead of 14.7:1

However, there should be a non consumable method of doing that also. By using dissimilar metals in a thermocouple arrangement. With the hot side clamped to the manifold and the cold side hanging in the air, a wide enough temperature gradient should be there, such that even with non-ideal choice of thermocouple metals, you'd get a "useable" skewing voltage out of it.

Other methods that might be used to umm "assist" the O2 sensor are keeping it hot, specifically, keeping the backside air hot, if you do that the O2 from the backside is more reactive, making the cell over guesstimate the relative O2 content of ambient air, thus reading richer for a given exhaust O2 level, thus allowing the ECU to trim fuel back more. So to accomplish that the electrical box, strapping and flashing could be fabricated into an O2 sensor "stove" as it were, to hold a small reservoir of air at exhaust temperature, which the backside of the O2 sensor would draw from. (Basically you just box it in)

Depending on the particular vehicle you were doing this to, (I'd say it's implausible on Wile-E, plausible on Marvin) you may be able to use the paint can, flashing and strapping to make a manifold shroud for a hot air intake. It's only plausible or implausible for this amount of material, Wile-E would need a length of intake tube, Marvin would not.

GasSavers_Erik 08-28-2009 12:09 PM

Make vortex generators out of all of the sheet metal scraps and strapping :)

Jay2TheRescue 08-28-2009 12:46 PM

Would vortex generators work in the vacuum of space?

GasSavers_Erik 08-28-2009 02:10 PM


Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue (Post 140679)
Would vortex generators work in the vacuum of space?

Good point- I missed the part about it being in space. Now that whole space blanket/solar wind comment makes more sense...

theholycow 08-28-2009 03:06 PM


Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue (Post 140679)
Would vortex generators work in the vacuum of space?

In the rocket exhaust, they'll do something...I don't know if they'll help...

GasSavers_RoadWarrior 08-29-2009 06:35 PM

Heh, the whole, Apollo 13 thing was to get the atmosphere of that situation where they had all the spares and capsule contents laid out in a room and had to come up with some workarounds... if they were in orbit around the moon in a '95 Escort, they're dead already, the battery would have outgassed and wouldn't even start a motor that had no air to run...

So presume normal terrestrial conditions apply, yup, certainly could make some vortex generators. I'm still figuring out Wile-E's arse end aero, it's far easier to screw up than improve.

FrugalFloyd 08-29-2009 07:41 PM

ROFL. You could take the nails and give flat tires to all the cars surrounding yours. Then, as you drive away, you'd know you'll get better mileage than any of them for the next half hour or so ;).

bowtieguy 08-30-2009 04:47 AM


Originally Posted by SentraSE-R (Post 140718)
You could take the nails and give flat tires to all the cars surrounding yours.

that's a bit disturbing to say the least, even jokingly.

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