One of the first pieces of legislation that the British Government will enact in the 21st Century will be the banning of leaded petrol in January 2000. Should those of us whose cars were designed to run on leaded petrol be concerned about this? Not really, because there are various alternatives which should be acceptable to most of us. These range from lead-substitute additives which are added when filling with unleaded petrol, to the most expensive solution which is to have hard valve seats fitted, which requires the removal of the cylinder heads. Only those who are committed to total originality in their cars need have cause for concern. Unfortunately, market forces alone will ensure that leaded petrol will become less conveniently available.
In the light of this imminent change the club has been researching the alternatives to leaded petrol and already stocks a superior additive from the U.S.A called Red Line Lead Substitute. However this, whilst cost-effective, looks like being well eclipsed by a newcomer to the market called the ‘Air Pulse’ system designed and developed over the last 20 years by a combustion engineer named Patrick Jones. Coincidentally Patrick lives near to me and made contact after finding a club postcard on a friend’s Granada windscreen.
I have had an ‘Air Pulse” system fitted to my Mk 2 2.8i Ghia X Estate. Patrick sold me on the idea that this would enable me to run the car on unleaded petrol and would reduce fuel consumption. What he did not tell me was that the car would immediately run more smoothly, quieter and faster. This was instantly noticeable, even by Granada standards, and much appreciated, and although I have not done enough mileage to appreciate the other benefits, these first benefits are enough for me to say that Patrick’s device is seriously innovative and, at a very fair price (£120 plus VAT fully fitted), possibly the optimum answer to the banning of leaded petrol. By the way, the “Air Pulse” System will also benefit later ni cars designed to run on unleaded petrol – in fact all cars other than those with catalytic converters. So the Granada can be a car for the 21st Century, reducing lead, carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbons in the environment – not to mention supporting conservation (by being maintained to last) and enhancing the national heritage (preserving classic and enthusiasts’ cars). I think that qualifies, don’t you? Of course your car insurance company would probably need to know of any of these changes.
Here is what Patrick Jones has to say:
‘I am the founder director of Pulse Air Limited, the company that handles the “Air Pulse” system (APS). Prior to this I have had many years involvement in combustion efficiency enhancement, originally working on systems for boilers and then developing systems for internal combustion engines. All the systems involve bringing about physical and chemical changes to the incoming fuel and/or air to the combustion apparatus, e.g. boilers, engine or whatever, as well as utilisation of the waste energy and products of combustion to form additional fuels for recycling into the combustion apparatus. It is because of the wide ranging overall view of combustion taken by myself and my colleagues over the years that we have been able to identify areas of efficiency improvements hitherto overlooked by the designers of the combustion apparatus. This has placed us in a unique position to front such systems as the APS.
The photographs accompanying this article show the installation of the APS on Philip Snow’s V6-engined 2.8i Granada. This work was carried out in early January and as Philip does not do much mileage it will be a while before he will have full advantage of the benefits of the APS. He will, however, be able straightaway to run his car on unleaded petrol continuously, without the use of any additives, and have any power loss that may have occurred with the change from 97-octane 4-star leaded petrol to 95-octane unleaded petrol, restored. The fuel consumption improvement, usually in the range of 10% upwards, will show up clearly over a number of months. The torque increase has already shown up. The noxious exhaust emissions, particularly of carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbons, having started to reduce, will reduce considerably more once the engine has been purged of any residual carbon contamination.
The APS consists of exhaust manifold-mounted “chemical factories” which can be correctly described in terms of their function as catalytic converters. These factories are operated by the positive and negative exhaust gas-generated pulses. The “feedstock” into these factories is the exhaust gas mix direct from the exhaust ports of each engine cylinder. The number of complex reactions which occur in the exhaust manifold, by the use of the APS units, represent, on a micro scale, similar reactions which have been used and proved for many years on a macro scale by large chemical companies in the production of fuels such as hydrogen and methanol. The validity of the processes has been established beyond any doubt. The chemical reactions are initiated and maintained by the action of small amounts of atmospheric air induced in the APS units by the exhaust wave in the exhaust manifold.
Experience over many years, with installations carried out on some thousands of vehicles of many types, has provided irrefutable evidence that the enhanced engine efficiency, after APS installation, is synonymous with the fact that the reactions stated above do occur.
Fine, you may say; so where does all this technical stuff leave me with my prized motor car which I want to keep and use for many more years? Well, for an installed price of £120 plus VAT (this price may rise in a few months time due to increased suppliers’ costs to us) we can give you the following benefits:
1. You can run your car on low octane unleaded fuel continuously without additives.
2. Your car’s fuel consumption will improve in the range of 10% plus.
3. The torque output will increase by an average of 8%, evidenced by less gear-changing and the ability to move into a higher gear at lower road speeds than previously.
4. Noxious exhaust emissions are drastically reduced – carbon monoxide by up to 90% reduction and unburnt hydrocarbons by up to 60% reduction, thus guaranteeing your car will pass the MOT for many years to come.
It is the intention to train fitters in the technique of APS installations so that club members around the U.K. can have the APS. Apple Motors in Leek, Staffs on (01538) 384604 were the first of these to be trained, and I quote AIf Johnson of Apple as saying that the APS seems to be the best solution he has seen so far. If you want to have an APS fitted to your car, ask the club whether there is a local, trained fitter or phone me, Patrick Jones, on (01270) 820344 and if there is not, I will personally train your local Granada specialist.
I would like to emphasise that this system is fully tried-and-tested, and is not a here-today-and-gone-tomorrow product. We have written and signed endorsements of the effectiveness of the APS from many people in all walks of life who run all types of vehicle, including one from Valerie Singleton, the well-known media personality.
I look forward to reading in “Granada News” comments from yourselves after you have had the APS fitted in your cars. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that, not only are you saving yourself money on fuel, etc., but you are “doing your bit” regarding the protection of the environment, in that you won’t be using leaded petrol, and the amount of petrol you will be using will be less than before, and not producing anything like as much rubbish as previously. So I too would say that your Granadas can indeed be “cars for the 21st Century”.
Still using leaded petrol?
It’s only a year-and-a-half now to the time when leaded petrol is likely to be banned, and with the Government getting ever more determined to reduce harmful emissions, it’s important to start making choices about what to do. However there’s no need to add “Selling my Granada” to the list of choices because the reasons to keep your truly great car far outweigh any downside. Though the cost of petrol may keep increasing, the minimal or non-existent cost of depreciation helps to compensate for that, and the various services, technical support and sources of spares that the club can point you towards should be helping you to maintain your car at a very reasonable cost. Add to that all the joys of owning and driving your Granadas and you know there’s no case for thinking about a change.
However, we must all choose what to do about the banning, or lack of easy availability of, leaded petrol after January 2000. For most, this means having to run the car on unleaded petrol. What will this mean? Well, pre-’88 Granadas were mostly designed to run on leaded petrol and were fitted with valve seats made of a soft metal which were adequately protected by the lead in the petrol which formed a protective coating. If we run the car on unleaded petrol without adjustment or modification, the valve seats would lose this protective coating, or ‘lead memory’, and wear down after a few thousand miles to the extent that the valve seats would fall through the cylinder head and onto the pistons, probably causing irreparable damage.
In Issue 35 of ‘Granada News’ we reported on a revolutionary new device called the “Air Pulse System” and this excited considerable interest among club members. Below, Patrick Jones, the inventor, answers some further questions about this new system. But first, the traditional way to convert to unleaded petrol is to fit hardened valve seats. Ian Gater reports:
“With the price gap between leaded & unleaded fuel getting bigger and bigger, and the size of the Granada fuel tank not getting any smaller, the savings to be made on a full tank are between £4 – £5 using unleaded fuel. I decided that I would convert my Granada Mk 3 2.0i Ghia to run on unleaded fuel by fitting hardened valve seats. The savings through buying unleaded petrol will pay for it in the long run.
I took off the cylinder head and sent it to the Engineers to have 8 new hardened valve seats to replace the softer valve seats which were fitted at manufacture. While it was there, the head was skimmed at an extra cost of around £140. Also, although not a necessity, I changed all the valves at a cost of around £100 for genuine Ford parts. Cheaper valves can be obtained from the Engineers, and the original valves could be re-cut for £1.20 each if you prefer. New valve stem seals were fitted and the head decoked. While the head was off I decided to replace the Cam shaft and followers to complete the top-end overhaul. Then I refitted the head and adjusted the timing to run on unleaded. With the savings on unleaded fuel and a clean & smooth engine my car is now more of a pleasure to drive than ever.
After the success of doing the 2.0, next came the Mk 2 2.8 V6. I removed the heads and sent them to the Engineers to have the hardened seats fitted. The heads were skimmed for a cost of £220. On the V6 we decided only to change the exhaust valves & recut the inlet valves. Genuine Ford exhaust valves are no longer available so 6 valves were purchased from the Engineers for £90. While the heads were off the rocker shafts were stripped and cleaned and the rockers were re-faced, new valve stem seals were fitted and then the heads were refitted. A few cold start gaskets being no longer available were manufactured from card. Once rebuilt, the timing was adjusted to run on unleaded and she was quieter than ever.
Although a costly outlay, the savings and satisfaction of having a cleaner, smoother car far outweigh the expense. But if you can’t remove the cylinder head yourself then you will have an extra outlay to a garage, which could cost well over £200. The job of removing the head or heads is quite a daunting prospect to some, but with the right advice and a toolkit, it can be done by anyone willing to have a go. It might take you longer but if you take the time to place everything in the order that you take them off so that you know which bolts go where, also write down what you have done at each step and take notice of which way round things go, maybe mark them with a marker pen, then things should go okay.
Ford have kindly let the Club reproduce the Granada 82 – 85 workshop manual on how to remove and install the cylinder heads on a V6, so you can see what’s involved (see the centre pages). Doing most of the work yourself can save you hundreds of pounds and give you immense satisfaction. If you are doing the job yourself the last thing you need to do before you fill with unleaded petrol is to reset the ignition timing. This needs a timing strobe light, so you may be better having that done at your local garage.”
The Air Pulse System – Questions & Answers
For those who have not seen Issue 35 of ‘Granada News’, the Air Pulse System (APS) is a revolutionary, patented new device for enhancing combustion, based on catalytic conversion concepts. As well as improving fuel consumption, engine flexibility, power and torque, it enables cars to run continuously on low octane unleaded fuel without having to fit hardened valve seats. At around £120 plus VAT fully fitted it is a strong contender for the optimum solution. For further information including names of approved fitters, contact the club or call the inventor Patrick Jones on (01270) 820344.
Following numerous enquiries from club members, Philip Snow put a number of further questions to Patrick Jones:
Qu. It looks simple enough, can it be fitted d-i-y? If not, why not?
Ans: No. Firstly, the siting and drilling of the hole(s) in the exhaust manifold(s) require a level of skill and knowledge not normally found in the average d-i-y motorist and secondly, the complex changes that the system brings about in the engine by chemical means affects the way the engine reacts after fitment of the APS. These changes could easily mistakenly lead to tuning adjustments being made to the engine to compensate. We have found this to be the case particularly where the carbon monoxide (CO) exhaust gas reading has initially risen after fitment due to the engine “purging” process taking place and, wrongly, fuel settings have been adjusted at this stage.
Qu: Is it simply atmospheric air that is introduced to create the secondary fuel? Is it primarily the oxygen in atmospheric air which combines with the exhaust gases to create the secondary fuel, or is it various components of the air?
Ans: Yes, it is only atmospheric air, albeit in minute quantities. It is the oxygen in the air which is utilised in the chemical reactions. The reactions split (re-form) the superheated steam in the exhaust gas, thus releasing hydrogen and oxygen. Superheated steam represents about 70% of exhaust gas and thus provides a ready source for further oxygen to supplement the oxygen content of the atmospheric air drawn in by the engine on the inlet side. Tests at the Royal Military College of Science show that there is a drop in the amount of atmospheric air inducted by the engine with the APS fitted, compared to the amount taken in by the engine in “standard trim”.
The superheated steam is the agent which is responsible for the purging or scouring effect that takes place in the engine during the first 1000 miles or so following APS installation.
Qu:. Why is the device shaped like that? Is it the shape that determines the frequency of the air pulse, or the negative exhaust wave? Is the pulse determined by engine speed so does it work better at speed, i.e. not as well in town?
Ans: The valve head is round to accommodate the highly tuned operating mechanism which introduces the small air pulses into the system. This mechanism is itself circular in design and has to be to produce the desired results.
The negative exhaust wave determines the air pulse frequency. Engine speed dictates the number of pulses per second. However, the tuning of the mechanism, together with the materials used in the valve head construction, determine the “quality” of the pulse. This “quality” is highest between engine speeds of 1000 – 5000rpm i.e. the normal operating range of most engines in daily use.
Qu: Is it conceivable that the lower emissions produced by the APS could meet the level to qualify for reduced road tax next year, i.e. be comparable to the latest direct-injection Mitsubishi engine?
(Note: Rather than using weight, length, engine size, the Government is likely to select a carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rating, which will give a more accurate measure of a car’s economy through a set test cycle.)
Ans: We know that we can achieve, with the APS, such low levels of CO and Hydrocarbon emissions that would enable vehicles equipped with the APS to meet proposed Government levels of compliance for reduced Road Tax. This is a matter which I and my colleagues are working on, using our contacts to “lobby” at Government level. So watch this space!
Qu: You have said that the APS produces a carbon compound which replaces lead as the valve-seat lubricant. What compound of carbon is it? How does this compare with lead as a lubricant?
Ans: No confirmation tests have yet been carried out but advice from my, now late, Doctor of Chemistry who worked closely with me for nearly 20 years on this project, was that Carbon C60 was being formed, akin to graphite. I do not have any comparison tests of this carbon against lead as a lubricant. My statements and experience are based on the “actual use” information feedback over many years with hundreds of thousands of miles covered in many types of vehicle without any engine damage.
Qu: Approximately how many cars have been running with APS fitted over a period of years?
Ans: Vehicles were fitted initially with the present design of catalytic converter unit, as part of the APS, in early 1982. Since that date nearly 5000 vehicles of all types have been fitted with, now, cumulative mileage covered in the millions.
Qu: Have any controlled tests been carried out to evaluate the performance of the APS?
Ans: The APS has been tested to the following international standards: DIN 70020, ECE (TRANS/SC1/46) ISO 1585, BS1042 and American EPA Highway Fuel economy driving cycle. Independent Test Houses have proved that the system works.
Qu: Why is the primary fuel supply to the engine reduced, and by how much?
Ans: The APS manufactures, in situ, secondary fuels, namely hydrogen and methanol. The introduction of these fuels into the engine from the exhaust gives the engine extra power thus enabling a higher gear to be selected earlier. The engine only takes in the fuel it needs to perform the function demanded of it by the position of the throttle controls. Therefore, for a given power output, it doesn’t have to open as much as it did prior to the installation of the APS.
Adjustment can be made to the primary fuel input control system to compensate for this situation, and the exact technique of primary fuel adjustment will vary from engine to engine and is a matter for the appropriate vehicle technician to handle. Reductions of primary fuel input have been made, in some cases, as high as 15% of pre-APS installation fuel flow values.
Comments from some club members who have had APS fitted:
David Cresswell reports getting a measured 27mpg on a 120 mile journey driving on A-roads including stops-and-starts in towns etc., in his Mk 2 2.8 Ghia X. Normally his best for a comparable journey would be 24mpg, i.e. over 10% improvement. The car feels livelier, more responsive to the throttle.
Ron Hunt says he is very satisfied, relieved to be using unleaded petrol so saving money and not polluting; the car is running very smoothly.
Mike Turner (2.0 Mk 3) reckons his fuel consumption improved from 23.5mpg to 28.9mpg on the first journey and the car feels snappier, pulls better, performing even better than on leaded petrol. He’s very pleased with it.
And finally….(well, for now anyway)
The club stocks Red Line Lead Substitute which is the easiest and cheapest way to gain full valve seat protection whilst using unleaded petrol. Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation is a U.S. company specialising in developing oils for use in motorsports and is a market leader. In use, Red Line Lead Substitute costs about 2p to add to 1 litre of petrol at the forecourt, thus saving about 4p per litre when compared to buying leaded petrol. Get car finance in NI and to help buy a classic granada car or any vehicle.