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The catalytic converter conspiracy

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posted on May, 18 2010 @ 07:52 AM
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Originally posted by AugustusMasonicus


Excellent post. I had a 1989 Corvette that I did work on after purchasing it new. It got about 24 miles on the highway from the factory. After some minor modifications and removal of the converter it got about 28 and continued to pass inspection until I sold it to a friend in 2005.


Holy crap!! 28mpg is good????

I get 59mpg highway. Hell, I only go down to 52 in the town! Seriously, you would get taxed to DEATH in the UK for having a car that inefficient


In all honesty, I have not one clue about how cars work, I can change a wheel and that's about it, so anyone could tell me anything about how they work and I would have little choice but to believe them, until I could confirm it for myself.

Other than Fords, American cars are pretty unpopular in Europe, although Chrysler have managed to break into the market in recent years. Personally I swear by German or Japanese. So far I've had a VW Golf 1.8 GTi, Honda Civic R-Type and I've had to grow up now I've got a family, so I've now got a Toyota Auris. All bloody good cars!




posted on May, 18 2010 @ 08:55 AM
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reply to post by Long Lance
 


CNG, and LPG are good solutions to a limited extent. The problem is the way they are implemented: half ass. A gasoline engine does not perform well on CNG, and LPG because most gasoline engines are square or under square meaning that the stroke, and piston diameter are equal or the stroke is a little longer than the diameter of the piston. This works well with slow burning fuels like gasoline. CNG, and LPG burn very fast and work well in an over square engine with a big piston, and short stroke. Another solution would be a square or under square engine that was force induced like with a turbo or super charger. Most of the time they just slap a CNG carb on a naturally aspirated gas engine and call it good. Chrysler built a CNG charger a few years ago with a purpose built CNG engine, and it cut under 13 seconds in the quarter mile, and got great fuel economy. So they know how to make CNG work well they just don't really try most the time. Plus it's supply vs. demand economics. If all cars were CNG then natural gas would be expensive, and gasoline would be cheap. So that's why I say it's a good "limited" solution.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 08:58 AM
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reply to post by KnowMore
 


Thanks for the honesty, and the unique perspective. To me it logically follows that if catalytic converters were naturally a great idea then it wouldn't take high powered lobbying to keep them around. If they really were necessary no one would have a problem with them.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 09:03 AM
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reply to post by nik1halo
 


My point exactly. I know several people who have vacationed in europe, or been stationed there in the military, and they all come back exclaiming "OMG American cars are pure garbage!!!" I drove a [insert european brand] while over there, and it had TONS of power, barely used any gas, had no emissions controls, but didn't have smelly exhaust at all." When is the American public, especially zombie auto techs going to wake up, and realize we are being raped by federal emissions mandates.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 09:15 AM
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reply to post by Binder
 


I knew American cars were generally gas-guzzlers, but I had no idea that they were that bad.

Then again, i think if you had to pay our prices for fuel, you would start buying more economical cars too. I was in the states last year and couldn't believe how cheap your fuel is. Over here it's currently £1.19 per litre (Standard Unleaded petrol), which is ~ $6.53 per gallon.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 09:33 AM
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reply to post by LeaderOfProgress
 


The problem is american mechanics have been duped into a false thinking that you have to choose between power or economy, but you can't have both. Totally untrue, and in fact conterintuitive. Engines produce the best power when they are the most volumetrically efficient. They also get the best economy when they are the most volumetrically efficient. A properly tuned engine uses as much of the fuel it is given to make as much power as it can within the limitations of it's inherent design. The "economy tuning" comes from adjusting your foot away from the floor on the foot feed. Every hot rod I have every built gets better economy than it did before if driven conservatively. It also has the capacity to use far more gas than before if you stick your foot in it. You still have to feed the ponies if you call upon them.

There is a great conspiracy afoot in the automotive industry as far as detuned computers go. I can put a mega squirt system on an engine, and get obscenely improved power, and fuel economy at the same time. However it would be illegal to drive that car on the road anymore in most places. I helped build a vortex 350 with a stand alone fuel management system that produced over 400 hp, and would get 28mpg on the highway if you set the cruise at 70, and left it alone. It was in a suburban. You will never convince me that american factory computers aren't designed to waste fuel, and produce pathetic power. Not when cars on the foreign market get the same power out of half the engine we do, and consume half the fuel. I had a grey market turbo charged audi a few years ago that would spank corvettes, and got nearly 40mpg highway, and 25 around town. It would have done better in town but the differential gears were very tall. I'm so tired of pseudo gear heads here claiming that the way it is is the way it should be, and the best way to do it because some corporate shill at my tech school said so. Thinking stuck in the past cannot grasp the future.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by Binder


CNG, and LPG are good solutions to a limited extent. The problem is the way they are implemented: half ass. A gasoline engine does not perform well on CNG, and LPG because most gasoline engines are square or under square meaning that the stroke, and piston diameter are equal or the stroke is a little longer than the diameter of the piston. This works well with slow burning fuels like gasoline...



they might not be developed for the fuel, but they would alleviate the incomplete combustion problem you mentioned, wouldn't they? more complete burn in the chamber should lead to increased power and improved economy, but it does not, afaik. tuning a natgas motor should offer more leeway because it just burns more easily.

so, if that really was the culprit, wouldn't modding a CNG car for greater efficiency be easier than doing the same with a petrol engine?

[edit on 2010.5.18 by Long Lance]



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 12:49 PM
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some converter law sites

www.epa.gov...

www.racingbeat.com...

dr



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 01:33 PM
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I couldn't agree more with the OP.

I own a '78 Grand Prix with a chevy 350 engine and a TH400 transmission. I recently exchanged the original intake manifold and the carburetor for Edelbrock performance parts. Headers were already there and since than it has become much more fuel efficient, except during burn outs and when I step on it.
I also used to drive a Audi 2.6 V6 and one of the converters was broken. My mechanic opened the converter, emptied it and welded it. I gained 10 horsepower and 1 liter fuel on 100 kilometers less consumption.
He called it "basic tuning", open your airfilter and your exhaust, let it flow!



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by I-V-X-X
 


First of all you do have a MAF, it is a must I just researched your vehicle specifically. You do have a "Spark Advance" or better know as "Timing Advance". You also have adjustable injector slopes and power enrichment tables. Also the newer diesels do have O2 sensors research it yourself. But for those that don't they use the exhaust gas temperature sensor to act the same as an O2 in a gasoline car. Since you haven't installed a bov then what the chip is using is the MAP sensor. You see the PCM reads the MAP and adjust the vehicles fuel tables and advance based on that. Using the MAP just allows operation without a bov. Even diablo themselves state that it ups the boost and leans the fuel. In fact most of the sites even state that the diesel is tuned from the factory for multipurpose not just one like I said above. It is not a conspiracy. They have to cater to the demands of everyone not just you. Just because you have been lucky doesn't mean that it is the norm as far as diesel performance. I have had many friends and aquaintances bust many parts using said tuners.

This is about gasoline engines with cats. Why are you even posting in here?

[edit on 18-5-2010 by LeaderOfProgress]



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 03:52 PM
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reply to post by Long Lance
 


It goes back to the over/under square engine thing, and boyle's gas laws. The long stroke of an engine built to run gasoline means that you have to push on the piston a long time to get power out of it. CNG goes *poof* and quits pushing because it cannot maintain the pressures necessary to keep burning in time to be totally consumed before it gets blown out the tailpipe. As the piston retreats in the cylinder the pressure drop faster at the end of the power stroke than the flame front from CNG can keep up, to look at it another way. To burn it all in the combustion chamber you have to maintain enough heat, and compression. That's why I said a forced air induction like a turbo, or supercharger would also work. It would force more air, and fuel into the chamber for a bigger, and longer bang. I would think something like Mazda's Lysholm compressor would work great. It was a special super charger on their Millenia S that made lots of boost really early, and allowed them to run a Miller cycle engine. The Miller cycle leaves the intake valves open longer after inspiration, and during compression cycle so that the engine doesn't buck compression as much. The engine's worked great. They produced the same power as an engine 30% larger, but used fuel comparable to their own size. It would make a good platform to start on for a CNG design.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 04:10 PM
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reply to post by Binder
 


And guess what? All this stuff has been around since WW2
Just look at this;
DB 603



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 04:39 PM
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reply to post by Regenstorm
 


Absolutely! The latest, and greatest stuff we are seeing today has been around for decades already. The "new" can protocal on cars for example was written in 1972. If people knew what a truly state of the art engine, and control system looked, and performed like they would be pissed. We have been spoon fed stone age tech for the better part of this last century. BTW awesome engine. I have always admired German tech.



posted on May, 19 2010 @ 12:31 PM
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So I have to respond to this thread. Like several other of you that are gear-heads, I've spent hundreds of hours under the hoods of cars, or on my motorcycle. More so I've spent a huge amount of focus on EFI tuning for both N/A and F/I cars, performance orientated of course.

Now in the OP there is a statement made that, to paraphrase, basically states that because the modern EFI system is so sophisticated, there is no need for it to waste fuel, and that the mandate of a catalytic converter is just a waste of gas.

While I can't say for sure there isn't a conspiracy involved with them, the OP is missing a lot of information that goes into how the tuning, OEM or aftermarket, that goes into these modern ECU's work.

To understand the fueling output on a modern vehicles one needs to understand that most ECU's use a combination of "open loop" and "closed loop" tables.

During start up, and most normal driving conditions, most vehicles refer to their "Open Loop" tables. In Open Loop mode, vehicles ignore the majority of their input from MAF sensors, speed density sensors, and 02 sensors.

They instead refer to pre-programmed tables that engineers have filled with fuel, timing, and ignition values based on their calculated needs for the vehicle.

This is a very logical process and they are generally very good at it, but understand that even if they use multiple tables for the same values, they are still "estimating" the values. Ie: they can only take so much into account.

Generally they pick values that will work between sea-level and 5,000 feet, at temperatures between 0 and 100 degrees. Because of those relatively broad values, a car is never "perfectly" tuned for it's location from the factory.

Variances in temperature, humidity, elevation all have an effect on the vehicle and how much fuel it's adding. Vehicles running at the lower and upper edge of these tables can be running more, or less fuel, than optimal. While the car will reference their other sensor input to make minute changes, in Open Loop, it's almost 95% based on it's preset tables.

In "Closed Loop" mode, the car uses the full input available to it by the o2 sensor, MAF or MAS, and then uses that data referenced against pre-set tables to determine optimal A/F ratios.

Closed Loop activation triggers vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but typically only occurs during more than 80% throttle position, or often times by a combination of Throttle Position (TP), Load, and RPM.

Once in Closed Loop, the car primarily relies on it's 02 sensor, reading to see the value of unburnt fuel left in the vehicles exhaust stream. Depending on the value, it either adds fuel, or lessens fuel, up to pre-set maximum/minimum values in the appropriate Closed Loop tables.

So, we now know that the pre-set tables for standard driving are not 100% precise. We also know that under WOT applications (wide open throttle) the car is better able to precisely monitor A/F ratios (air/fuel).

The next thing to understand is that while the ideal/stoichiometric A/F ratio is 14.7:1, manufacturers almost NEVER aim to hit that. Car's produce more torque, and run more reliably, under slightly rich conditions. Rich refers to an excess of fuel to air. Many manufacturers target around 13-13.5:1 for naturally aspirated cars, and as low as 12:1 for forced induction applications.

Running rich also helps prevent premature detonation or "knock." Because of this, almost all table values where the throttle is open more than 5% are richer than they technically need to be.

So now that we know that the cars are purposely built to run rich, and that running rich is also a "safety-net" against knock. We know that almost all the tables on a car will be slightly rich, so the car is always using excess fuel.

Continued in second post...

[edit on 19-5-2010 by UnmitigatedDisaster]



posted on May, 19 2010 @ 12:32 PM
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Now lets talk about idle. When a car is idling is often when the vehicle runs the richest compared to its rpm and throttle state.

Because Engineers cannot account for what drivers are doing while a car is running, but idle, they run the vehicle surprisingly rich.

This is because even a tiny change in the load of a car at idle can cause a large drop or rise in rpm, or a high spike in the A/F ratio.

Imagine a car is running at a perfect 14.7 at idle, with idle at 800rpm. Then the owner decides to turn on the A/C and maybe the radiator fans kick on at the same time.

Idle jumps 200 to 500 rpm all at once, to support the extra load, but because it was already at 14.7, the A/F ratio runs lean, or where there is less fuel than air. This may only happen briefly, but it still causes damage to an engine and increases it's chance of premature fuel detonation. It increases cylinder temperature and pressure, which increases wear.

To avoid this, they run idle very rich, to pre-anticipate the various needs it may have during idle.

The downside of a rich idle (and the reason you should not idle your car for extended periods of time) is that the excess fuel "washes" down the cylinder walls, which can seep past the piston rings, and contaminate the oil, which reduces it's viscousity and other attributes. The other downside of course, is increased unburnt fuel causing negative emmisions.



Now if you've managed to stay with me this far, congratulations. It was a long post that didn't immediately get to the point. If you did read it, however, you'll understand that a catalytic converter does indeed have quite the job to do at all times, because a car is, by design, running rich not necessarily because of a conspiracy, but because it's the safest way to take into account the different conditions it may encounter.

Also understand that the above is a very basic (in my opinion) run down of a car's ECU tuning, and has left a lot on the table. If you really want to get into the fine details we can, but I'm certainly no Engineer, and those guys know a hell of a lot more than I do. I do know, however, enough to support my point; as should anyone who understands modern EFI tuning.

[edit on 19-5-2010 by UnmitigatedDisaster]

[edit on 19-5-2010 by UnmitigatedDisaster]



posted on May, 20 2010 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by Regenstorm
reply to post by Binder
 


And guess what? All this stuff has been around since WW2
Just look at this;
DB 603

What is so great about this engine? It's supercharged and still only puts out about .6 hp/cu-in. Most modern engines put out at least 1hp/cu-in without forced induction.



posted on May, 20 2010 @ 09:31 AM
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reply to post by UnmitigatedDisaster
 


I think you are a little confused on open loop. During open loop, the engine controller is only ignoring the oxygen sensor feedback(the short term fuel adaptives). All the other sensors, including long term fuel adaptives, are used to determine the amount of fuel to inject.
Open loop is also not used for "most of the time". It's only used under conditions where the oxygen sensor feedback cannot be useful. These conditions are full throttle and cold start. The engine controller monitors the switching of the oxygen sensor signal until it is switching fast enough to indicate it is giving accurate readings(ie the oxygen sensor is hot enough). This happens pretty quickly with modern heated oxygen sensors. The vast majority of driving conditions are during closed loop operation.



posted on May, 20 2010 @ 09:58 AM
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reply to post by Binder
 


Clap Clap Clap! Right on, Binder. I too have people look at me like I am a liar when I tell them the mileage I get with my big, wind resistant van, and they look at their little, brand new car that doesn't come close. And that is the big conspiracy here, the car companies are in bed with big oil and are in the market to make cars that use more gas instead of less. Milk the public for as long as you can. I don't but into it. I would rather spend a few hundred on upgrades and new parts than give it to big oil. Besides, I like the way a 350 sounds on headers with a well tuned engine. And, you are correct on feeding the ponies too....can't seem to wean them, can we?

Thanks for the info on a square engine, I have to admit that never occurred to me before.



posted on May, 20 2010 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Binder
 


How much oversquare are you talking for good CNG performance?
A 403 olds has a 4.351 bore and 3.385 stroke. Over 70% oversquare.



posted on May, 20 2010 @ 12:09 PM
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Originally posted by Binder
reply to post by sileighty
 


Yeah cat theft happens alot, and everywhere. They have palladium, and several other precious metals in them I can't remember off the top of my head. A cat for a big SUV can bring $400-$500 at scrap. It can cost the poor car owner over $1000 to replace. IF they didn't do collateral damage to your vehicle removing it. They usually do. They also usually cut the downstream O2 sensor that monitors the cat, and take it too to make a quicker get away. That sensor can cost $200. Plus other lines cut, plus damage to the exhaust system etc... It can financially total a 5, to 10 year old vehicle.


You really can't compare Germany, which is more temperate like Chicago than LA, to Southern California or the smog problems in America. Hot, sunny weather, mountain ranges, 8 lane highways, things that Germany doesn't have as much of all contribute to smog. Germany is thousands of years old with many tiny streets and small cars. You just really can't compare it to LA or southern california.



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