Sunday, October 5, 2014

8 Gauge Grounding wire

I've become a fan of 8 gauge grounding wire.

I used to use 10 gauge. The terminal connectors are more readily available. If it wasn't for a local Ace that has more of this and types of bolts than any Lowe's or Home Depot out there, I wouldn't even be able to do this project. I recommend threaded or twisted wire rather than solid as it's more resistant in the underhood conditions to not break or be as easily effected by corrosion.

The essential concept behind why additional grounding wires work is already covered in my Great American Jalopy article. In brief, take a heavy metal tool and listen to each cylinder of your engine. Sometimes I listen on spark plug wires, sometimes on the exhaust, and sometimes on the intake except when it's a V6/V8 and the intake is in the center. You'll hear too much from both sides of the engine to have that be helpful. It's a good idea to be consistent for whatever you listen to as the differences in the cylinders can be listening to them through a different object.

Wherever the engine sounds duller you probably have a bad spark plug, or inferior grounding. Adding a grounding wire from here, directly to the battery terminal will even out the engine and get that cylinder performing more like his other pals. Wherever the engine sounds brighter, don't add a grounding wire there!

One of the changes I noticed when I went to 8 gauge grounding wires, is that I found them more effective. In general, you can get more power out of your engine when spark plugs have less resistance to the negative battery terminal.

I'm glad I've spent some time reading up amongst professional electricians for the wiring of a house. There was a rule of thumb (don't quote me, I'm no electrician) that once you have more than 2 10 gauge wires, that if you want to carry the load, you'll have to bump down to 8 gauge to carry the heat associated with the electricity.

Following this concept, I rerouted all my 8 gauge and 10 gauge wires from previous improvements to an additional ground near the battery, I bought a 6 gauge wire to take it's current up the negative battery terminal. This had a few advantages. It was becoming difficult to add any more directly to the negative battery terminal. So with several inches of 6 gauge wire I was able to gather all these grounds together. The engine roared to life! It make a big difference! Check out another exciting article for what made a big difference! Water Decarbonization

As always, my modifications help your trucks or cars miles per gallon. When I added my first 10 gauge grounding wire 9 years ago, I had a blast accelerating harder than I usually did because I had more power!* It was so much fun. I obviously did worse on that gas tank. So, like always, when an efficiency mod unleashes more ponies under the hood, if you use them all, you may just not get that miles per gallon increase that you were expecting.

*that first grounding wire was at the suggestion after church in the parking lot. I saw 2 guys under the hood and he was giving suggestions how to get more power. Not being sure I wanted power when my goal was my cars miles per gallon first,  I hesitated, but eventually I had to try it. Using grounding wires to even out engines to prolong the longevity and quality of the ride has at most raised me at 8 miles per gallon, and at the least 3 miles per gallon**. This is my idea. The root of the idea wasn't my own, but this application of it was my invention, so please, if you enjoy this article share it, link to it, but don't steal it as your own without linking to it here.

**3 mpg better was at the beginning with just the one 10 gauge grounding wire. I check back into these mods every year or so. At first you'll find yourself adding more  grounding wires each year to even things out, and after a while maybe once in 3 years.

As of January 28, 2017, I've made a video detailing how I balance spark plug gap. The wires I show here are just one way to balance an engine. Getting the spark plugs right are another method, but doing both, you can truly have some great effect! At the end you can see my taken apart engine, and see more of these 8 and 10 gauge wires! :) This video really marries the two subjects together!

by AutoBravado

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weapon R Dragon Intake Review

The Weapon R Dragon Intake on my 1999 Chevrolet Prizm (same as 1998-02 Corolla Toyota) increased my miles per gallon from 32 to 41 miles per gallon. I know that not all Chevrolet Prizm's are equal as I have all or next to all of my advice on this website applied on this car. But, for me, under my circumstances this car's miles per gallon took a bold leap upward.

At one time, with a lot less upgrades like the Weapon R, every September for 3 years I got 55 to 56 miles per gallon. I could only get this going south over a few hundred miles where the elevation went up and down, but generally got me about 800 feet lower. Each year the going north trip that corresponded varied between 38 and 44 miles per gallon. Cars and trucks wear down over time and the hay day of my Chevy Prizm was over. The prime spot of when upgrades versus wear got me the best miles per gallon between 90k and 110k miles. Currently at 165k miles.

Each improvement I've made since then was an attempt to get this former glory back. If you read on my car miles per gallon website Struts, Shocks, and the Steadiness of your Car or Truck and Wheel Bearings, you can follow the links back to the beginning of my story about a year ago when my mpg was really low.

Exciting video update November 2015!
So, if you follow the above link and each ending article you'll end up back here. At the time of my first Weapon R Dragon Intake Review, I had gotten 32 miles per gallon again. I didn't want to report numbers yet as I had hurried pretty badly. I didn't slow down to 65 when driving over mountains, I did more of the 80 mph in the 80 zones than I usually do, but while was away on this big trip, I had a week of work where I still stayed in a hurry. This was a few hundred miles in and my PCM (Power Control Module) must have gotten used to the changes, because I got 41 miles per gallon. This was a heavy city mix with several miles of driving on the freeway each day.

Most upgrades, or repairs as it's been in the last year, have each gotten me 1 to 3 miles per gallon. And it wouldn't always last. I'd often lose some ground and do something else to come back up, so when the Weapon R Dragon Intake got me 9 miles per gallon all at once, I was really blown away. Pun not intended.

Previously I believed that Weapon R did a really good job on this Dragon Intake, but they had missed something. Now I realize I already had EVAP issues, and working with the Weapon Dragon Intake just helped me find an already existing condition. (July update) When I removed the original air box all kinds of EVAP system items got displaced. I wasn't too worried since the slightly curved tube of this short ram included a spot for my MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor and a place for my EVAP system to hook up to it via a provided vacuum hose.

This is where that got awesome. I live in an area that's mostly rural so we don't have to pass smog, just safeties. My Check Engine Light (CEL) has been on for 9 years over an EVAP code that was told it'd be $500+ to fix by the dealer. When I pulled out the factory air box, and found one simple cracked piece of plastic hooked to a vacuum tube that had broken so long ago. I figured, mystery solved!

Nope, I ended up with more CEL codes than I had ever before because now my EVAP system was hooked up correctly, allowing it to report more codes than it could figure out before. Weapon R's instructions said this would happen if I really stepped on the gas before the engine warmed up. Several hundred miles of this showed that didn't help. Many forums later (my goto for P0 codes), one phrase stood out to me. If the EVAP systems aren't grounded then these codes can also be caused.  I don't believe the Weapon Dragon R would have anything to do with anyone's EVAP issues. My OE airbox wasn't just a convenient place for the EVAP units, it was grounding them so they could have ground to function. I hooked them both together with a bolt and added a grounding wire. Note: I had varying codes, but the last set was these codes:

P0420: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
P0440: Evaporative Emission Control System
P0441: Evaporative Emission Control System Incorrect Purge Flow
P0446: Evaporative Emission Control System Vent Control Circuit
P0450: Evaporative Emission Control System Pressure Sensor

The first code is unrelated to the EVAP codes. I have a new catalytic converter that works much better and I wrote an article out about it. I wanted to write another and you'll find another article on the page this links to. Exhaust Upgrade

I'm feeling much better about how my Weapon Dragon R Intake turned out. The EVAP issues were separate and better discovered thanks to working on my intake system.

This average American drives enough in one year to pay for the Weapon R Dragon Intake at least 3 times per year. (average American drives 12k-15k miles per year)

Sept. 22 update:

We all want better numbers, but do we really know how to get them? Let us learn that to get results is to have fun! There are tricks that it took many mechanics decades of experience to figure out and perfect. This statement essentially describes my mission statement when I was 18 with my very own first car. It's been my passion ever since. I've become even more passionate about car repair. So much car repair will effect MPG, so by becoming a mechanic it's an extension of my goal all those years ago.

You're on my first website, which mostly focuses on a vehicle's miles per gallon. The link below will connect you into a couple of my blogs that are setup more as articles for car repair and I can't help but explore the why behind what I do. Cars Miles Per Gallon

by AutoBravado