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60 mpg Diesel


gypsydan

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In the recent issue of the Arlington Institute News Letter was this item.

 

Taming the Gas-Hogging SUV (2008-06-09, ABC News)
Johnathan Goodwin walks to the back of his auto conversion shop in Wichita, Kan., and lifts up a gas nozzle connected to a huge cube-shaped container. The orange stuff he's pumping is the key to his company's mission: converting the worst gas-gulping SUVs into cleaner, meaner machines. "This is 100 percent canola oil, refined to biodiesel," Goodwin said. His well-maintained shop is a bit like a showroom for that much-maligned symbol of environmental ruin: the Hummer. The silver H-1 – which Goodwin says gets 60 miles per gallon – has already been modified to run on biodiesel, diesel, vegetable oil, gasoline, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas and propane. On a standard gasoline-to-biodiesel conversion, Goodwin starts by taking a new nine-mile-per-gallon Hummer and removing the original gas engine. In goes an off-the-shelf GM Duramax engine that runs on diesel fuel. A few extra modifications and a tank full of biodiesel later, the Hummer – now boasting 500 horsepower and getting about 20 miles per gallon – is ready for the road. He offers a couple of lower-cost options, including a fuel vaporizer for $1,000 that he says boosts fuel economy by 30 percent, and a $500 software download that reprograms diesel engines to get up to an additional seven miles per gallon. His work has many wondering why the big automakers can't simply reconfigure their assembly lines to make their own cars run as efficiently as Goodwin does. "I don't know why GM hasn't done it," says Goodwin. "But I can tell you that all the parts that I use for the conversion – 95 percent – are all GM parts. I'm not reinventing anything."

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You can take any of the late model diesel engine's. remove all the clean air crap, retune the ECM and get 500hp and 20mpg out of them. That's nothing new, but he's making claims that the EPA will become aware of and give him a fine he'll never pay off. There were many diesel tuner companies that got shut down about 3 years ago for making the "Delete Kits" for "Off Road" purposes only.

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Note the date of that story, 06/09/2008......... I wonder if he is still around and in business? Just to see, I forwarded that story to a motor-head friend of mine in Wichita to see what he can learn about the shop.

 

Johnathan Goodwin can get 100 mpg out of a Lincoln Continental, cut emissions by 80%, and double the horsepower. Does the car business have the guts to follow him?

If that quote is accurate, why is it that after six years we still have heard nothing about him, even when fuel prices got above $3/gallon?

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The article doesn't support his claim of 60 mpg from a Hummer. The diesel engine swap gets him to 20 mpg, then add 30% (+6 mpg) for a "fuel vaporizer" and +7 mpg for a "software download". That only puts us at 33 mpg.

 

I will go out on a limb and say it is impossible to get 60 mpg from a simple "off-the-shelf Duramax" diesel engine swap in a Hummer. The aerodynamic and road-friction drag from a Hummer make it impossible. If it were possible, you'd see plenty of regular Duramax pickup trucks making this claim, since they are more aerodynamic than a Hummer. But you don't.

 

That said, I know from personal experience that 60+ mpg is routinely achievable with many diesel vehicles. But you need a smaller vehicle and engine. Until recently I owned a VW Jetta TDI wagon with a 5 speed manual and it was easy to exceed 60 mpg on the highway if I controlled my right foot. Did not matter much if I was running petro or biodiesel (and I usually ran the latter). In fact, biodiesel usually hurt the mpg slightly but was well worth using for many other reasons.

 

But as Kirk pointed out, all this is sort of academic since the article is now six years old and the guy probably isn't in business anymore. It's rare to even see a Hummer on the road any more, in any form, since they were junk vehicles and a pox on civilization from the beginning (my humble opinion). :P

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Back about 2007, the VW diesel, dual clutch was EPAed at 56 mpg. I was seriously balancing it against my 7.3 Ford @ 21 mpg. I was real close to purchase when they retired me instead. At the time, I was driving 100 miles per day and then they moved me to a different place and it was 160 miles per. I had put down a deposit, and took retirement instead. Diesel at the time was ~$4.50 and pay off was less than 3 years.

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Jeeze, you would think we could do better after all these years. I had a Honda Civic FE model with manual trans in the late 70's that CONSISTENTLY got 50+ on the highway. And that was a gas engine (I looked to find the FE, but it was not listed anywhere....but I swear it was an FE with a 5 speed trans....it looked like the 79-83 versions in Wikipedia).

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Jeeze, you would think we could do better after all these years. I had a Honda Civic FE model with manual trans in the late 70's that CONSISTENTLY got 50+ on the highway. And that was a gas engine (I looked to find the FE, but it was not listed anywhere....but I swear it was an FE with a 5 speed trans....it looked like the 79-83 versions in Wikipedia).

 

Yes we can do better. Problem is, people are demanding more and more performance. Your FE probably took twenty minutes to get to 60 mph, whereas todays vehicles get there in a lot less. Same with the horse power ratings for pick ups. More and more, year after year. Tow ratings going up with it. And that gets in the way of economy. The laws of physics apply, and there is a limit to the amount of energy you can get out of a gallon of gasoline/diesel. Percentage wise we are doing better and better over the years but incremental improvements are getting smaller and smaller as we approach the point of no more......

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  • 1 month later...

This is an interesting topic. Here is a fun article http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/guy-can-get-59-mpg-plain-old-accord-beat-punk There was some other stuff that I read a while ago these people were duct taping cone shaped things to the back of an imported chevy subcompact and using hyper miling driving strategy were getting around 90mpg. The car came with a really tiny gas engine.

Holiday Rambler did the wind tunnel testing and applied it to some of their models. They did not meet expectations for some. Then there are the Air Tabs. Those really interest me for their purported improvement in handling.+ better mileage.

On one RV forum discussion about milage a trucker posted that his much heavier semi trucks had a career average much better than any motor home can achieve. He thought it was manual transmissions and driver skill keeping the engine always within its peak torque range.

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I had a friend who was an experimenter with high MPG carbs back in the 70's. Remember odd and even fuel rationing back then? Anyway, he designed a carb that used a motorized foam belt that would dip down into a fuel reservoir and become saturated in gas. The manifold vacuum would then draw fuel vapors through the center of the foam to be burned by the engine. Because this carb was experimental it did not have an idle circuit, and was only able to be operated across a narrow RPM range, however it did return 50+ mpg from his small block Chevy V-8 at highway speeds. He actually had 2 carbs and a spacer plate and would switch from his low speed normal carb to his "high MPG, high speed carb" when on the open road.

 

He was also working on another prototype that ditched the foam belt (that he said was not durable) and instead used several rigid foam disks that would move in and out of the fuel, picking up more or less on demand, with a variable speed squirrel cage fan (almost like a low pressure electric turbocharger) blowing over the battery of disks. It would pitch and buck but you could sure feel it when he switched over, as it had much more power than his stock factory carb. This was before computer controls so he could never get the a consistent A/F ratio with mechanical linkages, but with todays computers, map sensors and servos one may be able to revise and modernize his old designs to make them functional and not just a curiosity. I think today, all manufacturers have rejected old carbureted designs in favor of FI though. It would be like saying you have a new steam powered design that is more efficient - no one will listen as the idea is not in vogue any more.

 

Chip

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If you are still interested, I checked on that guy from Wichita, KS and he isn't in business there any longer, or at least none of the people who I know living there are able to locate him at all. :P

 

The highest mileage vehicle that we have ever owned was a 1985, Ford Tempo that had a 4 cyl. diesel engine and a 5 speed, manual transmission. Over the 66,000 miles that we drove it I tracked all fuel and the average for all driving was 38 mpg and the best I ever got was on trip with me alone in the car and very little weight in the truck when I got 54 mpg. That was all highway driving, not interstate but US routes in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. We owned it when living in Cheyenne.

 

One little problem it would have if we still owned it was that it couldn't pull even a small RV! :D

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The regulations requiring clean burning emissions don't make sense. The equipment required to accomplish the clean emissions make the engine less efficient so we burn more fuel but its a cleaner burn. Its a wash. The regulators need to come up with a better fuel not a less efficient engine.

How in the world do you figure that?

 

Cars today get better mpg and put out fewer bad emissions than ever before. Last year the average fuel economy for ALL cars, light trucks, SUVs and minivans sold in the US hit 24.6 mpg.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2013/0406/Average-fuel-economy-of-US-cars-reaches-an-all-time-high

 

While emissions dropped. "

A study of motor vehicle emissions by researchers at UC Berkeley found that running CO and evaporative and tailpipe NMHC emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles in three major US urban centers (NY, LA and Houston) have decreased by almost an order of magnitude over the last twenty years, despite increases in fuel use. (Source: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/08/20130819-mcdonald.html)

 

Not only that, but the cars - and their engines - last much longer. A car with "only" 100,000 miles is considered to be moderate mileage now but my father would have considered it very high mileage.

 

http://business.time.com/2012/03/20/what-you-only-have-100k-miles-on-your-car-thats-nothing/

 

So they get better fuel economy and they last longer. AND they're much safer. We own a KIA Sorento which is one of nine vehicles that have had ZERO fatalities through 4 model years.

 

http://www.freep.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/29/study-chances-of-dying-in-a-car-crash-plunged-over-3-years/22521103/

 

 

WDR

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While I certainly agree that we are progressing in the automotive world with safer, longer lasting better MPG cars and trucks, there are some aspects that can be improved. For instance the DPF on all modern diesels dos not reduce emissions but does reduce MPG. The way it works is it I has a fine meshed filter which captures the microscopic soot and a small amount of other particulates in diesel exhaust, temporarily, increasing backpressure and reducing fuel efficiency. Then when it is getting full, raw diesel is injected in to "burn up" these particles, (more fuel wasted) thus reducing the smoke from the exhaust. The soot is not a real pollutant (only a tiny amount of the particulates are harmful pollutants - and they are emitted in minute quantities in a properly tuned engine) but merely an aesthetic to reduce exhaust smoke making people think it is burning cleaner, which it is not. Making the engine actually burn cleaner is one thing, which I support, but merely camouflaging a symptom does no one any good, as engine power and fuel mileage are presently being compromised mainly for "looks." IMHO

 

Chip

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