How you can improve your fuel economy with performance parts

If you look at the engine in your vehicle as an air pump,it makes sense that the more efficiently it can move the air into and out of the pump the less energy it will take to operate the pump.This makes sense in terms of fuel economy and possible applications of performance parts.Most people might think that performance means no fuel economy.

Lets have a look at one of the most common performance systems that is on most cars and trucks on the road now.Fuel injection.When fuel injection was first concieved,it was with performance in mind.One of the first designs on an American car was in the last 50's Corevette.The "Dog House" fuel injection system was used on the 283 C.I.D Chevy.It allowed the 283 small block chevy to make one horse power/cubic inch of displacement.And of course,it was a performance part.Modern fuel injection systems use "knock sensors" and "oxygen sensors" to determine how much fuel to inject into either the intake port or intake maifold runner. If a "stand alone" fuel injection system was installed on a car or truck that was originally carburated gains of around 10-20% in power and 10% in fuel economy are not unheard of.In my personal exsperience,the "TPI" or Tuned Port Fuel injection system of the late third generation Camaros and Firebirds are one of the most efficient systems built.The length of the intake runner is designed to take advantage of the "intake pulse" of the engine.The intake pulse is the air/fuel charge the gets pulled into the com
bustion chamber.

The are ways of "tricking the mainfold" so to speak. When a spacer plate is installed under a carburator or throttle body,it in effect give the air/fuel mixture more time to mix and depending on the size of the intake valve,helps to create more low end velocity.There are spacer plates on the market that are advertised to increase power and change the flow characteristics of the intake charge but,honestly some designs are flawed.However,almost any spacer plate will increase the length of travel and that will bring torque and power sooner in the RPM range and helping to make the engine more efficient.

Now,lets look at dual exhaust.With a single exhaust system your engine has to actually work to push the exhaust gases out of the combustion chamber.If you have a look at a quality set of headers you might understand that the way the collector,the area where the pipes from the exhaust ports meet,it is designed to utilize the flow of air from each individual pipe to assist in the flow from other pipes.This is created when air passes out of one of the pipes and creates vacumm in the pipes around it,there-by creating negitive pressure in the header pipe itself and in the exhaust chamber of the head of your engine.This helps it "scavenge" exhaust gases out of the chamber when the exhaust valve opens and at the same time helps the flow of the air/fuel mixture into the cylinder when reversion occurs.The term reversion means the time when the exhaust and the intake valves are open at the same time.Reversion happens to some extent in every vehicle's engine.Even more so in engines with a performance camshaft.So you can see where the application of a set of quality headers can lead to an engine being more efficient and there for,increases fuel economy because the engine is working less to expell the exhaust gases.Gains of around 20% in horsepower and 10% in fuel economy are average when a set of headers are installed with a dual or free flowing exhaust system.

Now lets have a look at intake manifolds.Some new vehicles sold today have aluminum intake or "composite" designs.Composites are "are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical properties" like the intake on the Chevy Vortec engines. These manifolds are lighter than their cast iron counterparts and therefore use less energy.The average Aluminum intake manifold installed on a small block chevy will remove about 20 lbs of engine wieght and depending on the design can increase flow efficiency by about 10%. Aluminum also helps to keep the air/fuel charge cooler because it does not absorb as much heat from the engine as cast iron manifolds.

Next,camshaft or "cam" profiles.Most factory cams are designed to just get the job done.Of course there are exceptions to the rule for example the Corvette and Mustangs and other performance vehicles.However,there are mild performence cams with profiles that are designed to work with all the above mentioned parts to further increase your engine's efficiency and therefore,fuel economy.This is the basic idea behind the Edelbrock "Power Packages" and other performance parts.

Another way that has been proven to increase fuel efficiency is to lower the vehicle. How this works is by reducing the aerodynamic drag of the vehicle. Tests on a spankin new 2010 Camaro SS showed an increase of just over 13%. And the fringe benefit is that you car will corner better,handle better with the proper kit. By lowering the car you are increasing the dynamic performance also. This does work,I lowered my 90 Chevy P/U and noticed that I gained a couple miles to the gallon.

Now,I can't say exactly how much you can increase your horsepower and fuel economy by using these parts.I can say for certain though that you will make your engine more efficient and it will operate with less hassle and problems when these parts are installed by qualified techs are licensed mechanics.