I am typing this as I am flying back from a tuning session in Florida this past weekend and I am feeling a little like Amerigo Vespucci (the man who proved Christopher Columbus actually discovered America).
After having an altercation on the internet with a beginning carb builder (that I unsuccessfully tried to educate) I thought to myself…the internet is a crazy untamed place with all kinds of characters filling in the slots. It’s truly the 1400-1500’s era in some respect. A new world. Where people with all these ideas throw them out there and folks with data try to explain things to them.
You are dealing with a cross section of people that will vary wildly in levels of intelligence and comprehension.
Which brings us to today. The internet is also a dangerous place with instant repercussions. So going on a board and calling out someone for supplying bad information can really get rocks flying.
I was on a particular unnamed board recently trying to explain my findings on E85 fuel that were the opposite of this new carb builders findings (that he was selling as factual and final).
Side note: Pro Systems currrently holds the record as having the highest naturally aspirated E85 (or pump gas) engine in the world at 1264 h.p. and that was through the mufflers! We have worked on projects to test and develop E85 fuel over the last 13 years, beginning with product development for this fuel funded by the Dept. of Energy for a racing series back in the mid 1990’s. We know our way around E85.
I was explaining how his statement was opposite of the real world findings in a race application. How E85 fuel is actually more efficient in its burn process (this helps it make more power despite lower calculated calorie consumption at the corrected air to fuel ratio) and that it likes to be a little richer at torque peak and have a little more timing in it during that period at ratios tuned for max power not economy. Which is actually quite typical. Any fuel that likes to be richer at a certain rpm will almost always like more ignition timing at that rpm to burn the fuel. But there are octane options that can alter this statement. We’ll get to choosing an octane next time as that was what the next “Under the Scoop” was going to be about…we just got sidetracked this time. Back to the story, Anyway, I was trying to keep the post simple. WOW, talk about stirring up a hornets nest.
A reader jumps on there with all these theories and arguments about burn rates etc… Others jumped on with posts about how they saw no difference. But they missed the facts about the case and it was gonna take a lot of typing and unneeded grief to make them see. Their head was buried firmly in the sand. It’s not their fault, they had no access to the type of equipment we did to alter their program in the same manner to see these results and test this fuel to verify our theories. So they only read the post for what they had previously understood about it and then instantly began throwing stones and grabbing pitchforks. So I opted out and did not stay to finish the education. Oh well. Like the 1400’s era, if you showed up at the King of Spains doorstep back then in a new Corvette, you would be deemed a witch. It was or could be a neat place to visit to see whats going on, but like some websites, its best to keep your Corvette hidden in the bushes, look around and move on.
In the websites defense, there were folks on there that were very intelligent and understood the post, they silently E mailed agreements but no one person can stand up against an angry mob, so just like in the old days, pitch fork wielding groups ultimately win on the internet. I don’t see any end to that dilemma.
Anyway, since (as I stated earlier) most fuels that like to be richer at torque peak will also require more ignition timing to burn the fuel during that period and because they didn’t read or understand the complete sentence, they assumed I was talking about more ignition timing across the board. A misunderstanding, but one that could be cleared up if you were interested in dodging all the rocks.
Another theorist came on stating, that there was no way with all the infinite variables that I could determine that E85 fuel was faster burning under those particular conditions. It was just too complicated. Yet what they failed to read in my post and to realize is that “theory” is merely step one in testing. We were already onto the next step. Data collection. I stated in the post that we used combustion pressure sensors to determine that fact to be true and then applied these tuning techniques to maximize that collected data.
The list goes on…but you get the idea.
Eddy current and water brake dyno collected data is interesting information and are a good baseline for tuning (Inertia type dynos like the ones built by Mike Laws are just incredible and are the exception to this next statement), BUT racetrack collected data can sometimes be so wildly different than the dyno it’s scary. But high end racetrack data collection systems that have the ability to collect this data are so incredibly sensitive and expensive that only the highest end operations can afford them. But the data you get from them is just incredible.
Let me give you an example: In high end race engines that burn let’s say 400 lbs/hr of fuel at torque peak, on the dyno, simply adding or taking away 20 lbs/hr of fuel will dramatically hurt the power output of that engine. Yet on the race track some of these engines draw in and REQUIRE sometimes an EXTRA 100 lbs/hr of fuel to get going down the track. 100 lbs!! Thats AMAZING when you think about it…that would normally cause big misfires or knock the plugs right out during a pull on the dyno. These same engines, that on the dyno will get fussy about 1/2 degree of timing will LOVE 2-3 degrees thrown in them in the lower gears and the bottom of every shift on the racetrack. But without the equipment to map that data or even perform these operations, you will never know these facts, unless you have this high end acquisition.
That is racecar tuning at a higher level, but its what we do. Some folks don’t understand that, so they proclaim the world to be flat and small, reach for their pitchfork and their pile of rocks.
I assume Amerigo ran into these same people when he was trying to prove the earth was not only round it was big. He was lucky though, he didn’t have the internet to dispute it with. LOL
Thanks for reading.