“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The "Gadgetman Groove"

There's a very nice gentleman named Ron Hatton who sells a vehicle modification called the Gadgetman Groove. The modification consists of utilizing a Dremel tool to cut a groove in the throttle body of a fuel injected car (though the site indicates that it's possible to modify multi and tuned port injectors and carbureted sysems as well) just past the throttle plate. Hatton states that by doing so, it causes "amplification of the pressure wave" thus providing "more fuel blended with the air at the point of ignition" and "more complete combustion."

There is a collection of youtube video testimonials from satisfied customers who've had the modification done to their vehicle, with some very dramatic claims for fuel economy increases. Here is the most extreme claim I saw, where Kyle claims an increase from 12 m.p.g. to 27 m.p.g. while going 5 to 10 m.p.h. faster.

There was an internet dustup (in which I participated) regarding the Groove at an Ecomodder blog post about the Groove back in July of 2010. It was very clear to me that Ron is no crook and really believes in this "technology." However, his web site at the time (since changed) discussed having a car tested on a dynamometer at Automotive Testing Laboratories in Mesa, AZ. The results were posted at Ron's site (they're not there now) and showed a decrease in fuel economy and an increase in emissions in both the
FTP (Federal Test Procedure) and the HFET (Highway Fuel Economy Test) protocols. Ron attributed this to an inappropriate choice of vehicle and its poor mechanical condition. To the best of my knowledge, Ron was responsible for the choice of vehicle and the test protocol.

In any event, I'd more or less forgotten about the Groove, but received an email that someone had posted a comment to the thread. This turned out to be "Dave," an ex-policeman who has had the Groove installed, is quite satisfied, and posted to defend Ron against a "hatchet job." I replied that I believe that both he and Ron believe, but that none of this constitutes evidence.

But let's take a look. Kyle's 1993 GMC truck was claimed to exhibit a 125% increase in miles per gallon. So, call the initial m.p.g. "x." Then, after the modification, the m.p.g., with a 125% increase, he would be getting 2.25x miles per gallon. Inverting this fraction, that means he's using 1/2.25 or 4/9 as many gallons per mile. The conclusion is that the other 5/9 of the gallons were not burned or were burned in such a way as to not move the car. To emphasize, this is NOT the 75% of the heat from burned fuel that's wasted due to thermodynamic limitations, friction, etc., this is fuel that is supposedly NOT BURNED! How about a tangible example? Suppose that Kyle has an 18 gallon tank. Every time he filled up pre-Groove, 10 of those gallons were not burned. This is Kyle and Ron's claim!

This is about as good an example as could be hoped for of the futility of reliance on anecdotal testimonial evidence. I am reasonably sure that not only Kyle and Dave and the other youtube stars on the Groove web site, but that Ron Hatton as well are truly convinced of the efficacy of this simple modification.

And yet I am not claiming that the Groove produces no benefits, only that there's no valid evidence that it does produce them. If Ron stated that the result of multiple runs of blind testing of otherwise identical vehicles under controlled conditions showed an improvement of 5% in m.p.g. with a standard deviation of 1.5% and a confidence level greater than 95% I'd believe it and consider the modifcation for my vehicle. But I wouldn't consider spending $500 based on a series of enthusiastic youtube testimonials.


GadgetmanPrime said...

Thanks for stating your position so clearly, King.

While it is true what you said about the truck, it is only partially true. This vehicle went though a few thousand miles of both pre- and post-modification testing, and what I learned (after going through the FTP tests on a similar vehicle was that in the testing protocols accepted by the public as "Definitive" are in no way accurate, nor can they be.

The EPA does not support actual fuel consumption tests. They neither test the exhaust for flow nor do they measure the actual fuel consumed.

As this modification changes the vacuum level inside engines, it also alters the mass the engine needs to process. This is not something the accepted testing protocols can ever substantiate, as they will not test using wither method.

All they do is test the proportions in the exhaust, apply an algorithm to the values and say "This is your MPG's."

Both vehicles in the field showed increases of 40% and 60% in mileage respecively, while showing exactly the same numbers.

More interestingly, the second vehicle, with hundreds of thousands of miles at no more than 12 MPG showed on the test to be getting 19.

Your engineering background will tell you that is way outside of acceptable variance.

If you would like to perform your own tests, I encourage you to get ahold of me and I will make the same offer to you I dod on the forum of which you speak.

You recall, I'm sure. I am looking for all the independent test results I can get, and am willing to invest my time and energy to get them.

Are you?

Ron Hatton
Gadgetman Technologies

King of the Road said...

There are several ways to test the Groove. As I've stated repeatedly, I'll be happy to participate by designing an appropriate experimental protocol and gathering and analyzing the data.

However, my time is all I'm willing to donate, the vehicles, the modifications, test track location rental, etc. will have to come from elsewhere.

On the Ecomodder site, a-b-a testing is the gold standard because they typically don't have the facilities to utilize identical vehicles, fuel cells, multiple test runs, etc. because they (we) are amateurs and hobbyists not selling a product.

A-b-a testing involves testing a given vehicle and noting the fuel economy, modifying it and doing the same, and then undoing the modification and retesting. Such a protocol could be implemented by running a vehicle dry, adding a measured five gallons on a controlled track, driving until empty, and logging the mileage. Remove the stock throttle body, add a "Grooved" body, repeat. Replace with the stock body, repeat.

While this would not provide reliable statistical data (blind testing, mean fuel economy with and without, standard deviation, confidence level of null hypothesis rejection, etc.), with the sorts of improvement you are claiming it should be indicative as to whether the results are plausible.

This constitutes repeatable evidence. Testimonials, no matter how heart felt, do not. You can find testimonials for "holographic bracelets," faith healing, and many others all over the internet. As I mentioned in the Ecomodder blog post, people will testify that Uri Geller can bend spoons with his mind.

If you will send me, via email, at tio540s1 at gmail dot com, the budget you're willing to invest in testing, I'll see if I can design a convincing test within that budget.

GadgetmanPrime said...

I've sent the e-mail to you to get the process started.

I'm sure that, once you understand the science behind The Gadgetman Groove, you will see how it works and why there are some truly remarkable gains being reported. Some do not get gains, but most do.

When enough data is presented, maybe I won't have to be concerned about being banned from sites such as Ecomodder.com. It seems there are many people who, in their ignorance and arrogance, refuse to accept any idea which challenges their accepted paradigms.

More the pity they are positions of leadership.

Thanks again for the offer. Let's see what we can do to end this silliness.

Ron Hatton
Gadgetman Technologies

hydrobug said...

This may be a subject you may or may not wish to revisit. Be that as it may, I find it interesting that no matter the technology, if it does not fit the dynamic pattern established in a physics class it falls under the classification of "Smoke & Mirrors".

I won't get into your logic such that it is but I will tell you what I have done to justify to myself that the "product/process" is valid and produces positive results.

Target vehicle - 1999 Hyundai Accent, 1.5L 4 cylinder w/throttle port injection. 126,000miles

Prior to the modification made to the throttlebody of this engine, I logged all miles traveled, every gallon of gas used in the vehicle for 10 months. If you were to average the mpg on this vehicle, the number would be 35mpg.

Post-groove, same routine, log the miles and fuel consumed.
Results post-groove - highway 60mpg.

Falling back on basic math skills acquired in my completed schooling, those were the numbers that I came up with.

Since I can't resist...

unburned fuel, to some this could be fuel that was never subjected to a burn process, ie:still in the container.
In the automotive world, this would be an incomplete burn, that being fuel that did not successfully reach ignition temperature. Those gases along with the hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and other biproducts leave the engine and are routed to the catalytic convertor. the catalytic convertor was designed to incinerate those exhaust gases to specific levels as declared by the federal government.

This is the fuel that was not "burned" by the engine's combustion chambers.

Now the statement "but that none of this constitutes evidence."

Works great in a political forum but is not very applicable in a real-world hands-on environment.

Now, the mpg improvements on the vehicle are repeatable which is reflected every time the vehicle is refueled and the mileage logged for the amount of fuel replenished.

With that I will go back to driving my 60mpg car, happy in knowing that by not taking physics I have a more open perception on many things.

And thank you Ron for having the vision.

Karl Fortner
Tacoma, Washington

King of the Road said...

Interestingly, this is my second most viewed post. In any case, what constitutes evidence is easily defined and anecdotes don't make the cut, no matter how heartfelt or sincere. If you're happy with your purchase and its results, that's wonderful. I'm pleased for you.

What it would take to demonstrate the effectiveness of the groove to an unbiased observer is clear though, and I volunteered to design the test and analyze the results without charge. Ron Hatton would, of course, have to supply the vehicles and modified and unmodified throttle bodies, etc.

If, after such testing, it was determined that the modification produced significant improvement, I'd be happy to have my own and my company's vehicles modified.

I want to be clear that, unlike the promulgators of "holographic bracelets" and other such tripe, I think Ron and his clients are sincere in their belief that the modification produces the claimed results. But until objective, replicatable evidence is produced I can't sign on.

Looking at what you wrote, I offer a couple of comments: 1) You're comparing all mileage for 110,00 miles, city and highway, to highway miles - that alone invalidates your numbers; 2) assuming that you really did go from 35 m.p.g. to 60 m.p.g. and that this is due to "an incomplete burn, that being fuel that did not successfully reach ignition temperature," then the implication is that, if you have a 12 gallon tank that 5 gallons of each fill up contributed nothing to moving your car but, rather, were burned in the catalytic converter. This is impossible - the converter would melt if 42% of your fuel was burned there rather than in the cylinders.

But, as Wayne and Garth would say: party on!

King of the Road said...

I have to add, as a further comment to "hydrobug," how much it saddens me that he/she (and I presume others) perceive knowledge of physics as somehow limiting. Physics does put certain constraints on what's possible and what isn't, but knowledge of it is enlightening, useful, and fun. If someone's perception is limited by physics, then their perception is of something that simply cannot be real. There's much room within the laws of physics for many wonderful things (I'm typing on one and looking out my window at many others) but the limits it does impose are real. Wishful thinking cannot change that.

Jerry Rutherford said...

I believe that Ron is a good normal man with the best intentions. Yes, I believe he has been targeted by others to discredit him or more. It could be big oil, but Detroit, Mi seems to be a prime candidate as well. Ron has said some things that make the big 3 and big oil look bad. I believe everything Ron has said except for the bugging stuff. I too get emf radiation readings at my house from smart meters and wireless phones and things. where I live I have 148 cell towers or antennas within 2 miles of my house. My radiation meter goes off just like Ron's did. I do not think anyone is bugging my house or Ron's house, but it is possible. I have many vehicles and I cut a groove under the throttle plate on one that is the worst shape and did the pvc thing. It starts hard when cold because I reduced the idle air passage too much, but it is really responsive now. Even my kids notice it that it runs smoother. When I get the proper profile on my groove I hope to do better. I got to say that one thing that troubles me about Ron's groove on a multi port injection motor is that the groove is a long ways away from the incoming fuel so how can the vacuum have much effect on the fuel. On a throttle body injection unit the fuel is dumped in ahead of the groove and I can see how that would help combine the fuel/ oxygen mixture, but not multi port motors. The bottom line is that we are lucky to have Ron share this discovery with us. I think King is just jealous and would probably hog any glory had from favorable test results if he was involved in the test. How could all of these people be wrong? They all seem pretty happy and that is worth alot. Thank you Ron and keep up the good fight. There are a lot of us out here who love you a ton because you speak the TRUTH.

Rob Ryan said...

Well Mr. Rutherford, as I've said before, if you're satisfied with your modification, I'm glad for you. I demand only evidence, not anecdotes to find it plausible. Small improvements MAY be possible, but claims of double the mileage go against huge bodies of know engine dynamics. To make such a claim with no evidence (in fact, the only independent data ever presented showed reduced mileage and increased emissions).

Of course it's offensive that you make an accusation with no basis but I'll leave your silly comment up. I volunteered experimental design, data reduction, and I'd certainly publish it. If you can have Ron do it, you're welcome to attend, record, etc. Certainly I'm not jealous. I don't think there'd be glory to be had but, in the case that I'm wrong, the credit and glory would be all Ron's.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read and comment.

Anonymous said...

1. I owned an Oldsmobile Omega 1981 model, dollar for dollar, best car I've ever owned. After the break in, 10000 miles, I began recording all my fuel mileage. From 10-thousand miles all the way up to 225 thousand miles, its fuel mileage was absolutely consistent, depending on whether I was in town or on the highway. I want to say in town averaged 18 miles per gallon and on the highway it was 21 - 22 miles per gallon. Headwind and tailwind did have some noticeable effect on the small 2.8 V6. So with an engine that was well maintained, never burn any unusual amount of oil during my 225mi ownership of the car, mileage was absolutely consistent for the life of the vehicle. I sold it after 225-thousand miles. The engine was still performing wonderfully. It was just getting old and it was itme for me to reward myself with a new pickup truck.
2. I suspect that the Groove has more to do with reduced throttle body drag / smoother air flow than it does with induced turbulance / energy wave. Granted, an energy wave should travel faster than the air flow does, but I would just question its effectiveness after making two turns through the manifold before getting to the fuel injectors. Another question I have would be reflected waves inside the manifold. Could they have a canceling effect on the so-called energy wave that is created?
3. Now I can pour gasoline on the ground on my driveway and the vapors will burn but for some reason I'm supposed to believe the gasoline droplets atomized 14 : 1 are better. Explain that to me. Only the gasoline that combines with oxygen burns. The majority of the gasoline inside that droplet is wasted. Didnt hot rodders back in the day, put spark plugs in there exhaust tips to throw flames, i.e. burn the unburned fuel. last time I checked catalytic converters count on 'unburned' fuel to burn. There is a company right now that uses catalytic converters to provide cab heat for big rig trucks when the engine is off. I think it can use about a quart of diesel fuel to heat the cab all night long in some of the worst winter conditions.
4. Pathological liars use lying to avoid work.. You cannot tell me that all of these people the last 40 some years that have invented vapor carburetors we're pathological liars / nuts. It defies science. Pathological liars wouldn't do that much work to make it happen. You can't tell me that these alternative engine designers, Bourke cycle and MYT, are nuts they wouldn't do that much work to make it happen. You know you can have the simplest things happen in this country and Congress will put together a panel and spend a couple million bucks to research the smallest crap but we can't get the government to go all out to research a vapor fuel system. There really is something wrong about that and I suspect it is big oil money along with criminal bankers and criminal politicians. You cannot seriously believe that we don't have better alternatives and that they are not suppressed. Furthermore the car companies are not the leaders is engine or fuel technology anymore. They're just as happy for that damn thing to be more expensive to operate than ever. The more they can keep the average person from being able to maintain their vehicle, the happier they are.

Side Note:
40 million people unemployed, 17 trillion dollars in debt and climbing, China is building a military with the intent of rivaling the US military. So tell me how much cheaper all of these Chinese imports are. And you still don't believe in conspiracy, what the Hells wrong with you.

Anonymous said...

Rob Ryan, do you try to be so irritating or does it just come naturally? Honest, I'd like to know. I've read a lot of the junk you put on your competitions websites. Having been an R&D technition in a former life. I dealt with air flow and combustion exclusively for the industry I was in. I watched so called engineers such as yourself get fired for nonperformance. It took myself and a college grad 3 days to build a 92% efficient pellet stove. 12 points higher than 3 engineers previous attempts that took 2 yrs. You can dazzle some of the people out there but not me. In laymens terms in regards to the gadgetman groove, you have serious penus envy. Just sayin.....
I hope big business pays you well to go around shooting down good progress. Cuz if you're doing it for free, who's the fool then?