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Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/6/5 21:32
From Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 229
I'm not sure if this is a controversial topic or not but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with water injection.

As background, the reason I ask is that driving the Patrician home a few days ago, I experienced some vapour lock which was overcome by switching the electric fuel pump on. It had been quite a warm day and I had the A/C switched on and experienced no prob's while on the highway, although she obviously got a bit hotter when later driving in suburban traffic. I still only have the standard 4 blade engine fan but have a factory A/C radiator installed. I have also fitted an electric pusher fan in front of the radiator which comes on automatically when the A/C is switched on, although I'm not sure how effective it is. The dash temp guage was still mid range but the radiator overflow bottle was pretty full when we got home.

Now, while swanning around the internet looking at cooling issues and solutions, I came across the concept of water injection which is said to internally assist the engine to run cooler. It apparently has other attributes too, including decoking the combustion chambers and countering any tendency for detonation. Also, because of this it effectively allows timing to be advanced a little more to further improve combustion and power generation, and thereby improve mileage as less pedal is needed.

I came across different ideas about doing this, from utilising the distributor vac port to suck water vapour in to using an electric pump to force it in. The first relies on manifold vacuum which I guess would be less effective at speed, and the other seems a little more complicated as it needs some sort of throttle control to vary the flow according to need. I realise I can look at the fan issues and maybe whether a radiator shroud might be an option. Even so, if the benefits of water injection are as reported, specifically cooler running, cleaner engine and detonation elimination, it may be something worthy of further investigation. Cheers, John

Posted on: 2013/10/25 23:04
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Re: Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/24 23:05
From Australia - Sydney
Posts: 412
Back in the 1950's our family car was a 1938 Chev. It was inclined to “ ping” or pre-ignite excessively however this did not happen in cold damp weather.
At the time a locally made water/alcohol injector kit was being actively promoted. It was basically a reservoir in the engine bay with a pipe to a metering valve on the edge of a plate that sandwiched between the carburettor and the inlet manifold . The water / alcohol mixture was injected or sucked in through the metering valve on the edge of this plate.
My father fitted one of these to the Chev, reasoning that it should simulate the cold damp conditions that suited the car so well.
It did not work. He spent a lot of time adjusting the flow rate and the mixture of water and alcohol and water alone but it did not stop the car pinging, make it run and better or improve the economy.

Posted on: 2013/10/25 23:55
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Re: Water Injection
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Joined:
2008/6/8 18:11
Posts: 1509
Water injection has been around for years and it works. Especially if your engine is on the very edge of pinging or knocking. This occurs when your compression ratio is at the limit for the available gas.

Some cars had it from the factory. It was standard equipment on the Crosley Hot Shot (which had 10:1 compression in the early fifties) and the 1961 Oldsmobile F85 turbocharged V8, the first turbocharged car on the market.

In both these cases it allowed an engine to run without damage, at higher compression pressures than were safe without water injection.

You might look up Thomson Vitameter. This was the injection unit used on the Crosley. It was made by Thomson Products, a reputable maker of auto parts and accessories.

It is possible to feed the water to the engine by vacuum but this has a disadvantage. You want the least amount of water when the engine is not working hard and the throttle is closed, which is when you have high vacuum. You want the most water injection when the vacuum is lowest and the throttle is open wide.

To get around this Thomson made a vacuum operated valve or pump which fed the most when vacuum was low, least when it was high in other words, reversed the vacuum signal.

The Vitameter used its own special fluid. It was made of water, alcohol, and a shot of tetraethyl lead.

The Olds system also used their own fluid which contained water and alcohol.

In North America the alcohol was necessary in winter to prevent freezing, which I don't think is a big concern in Australia.

The alcohol is also a higher octane fuel and prevents algae growing in the reservoir.

The people who build turbocharger systems have also done a lot of work on water injection systems.

Some older Bosch fuel injection systems use a 5th injector for cold start enrichment. They use one of those, and a small pump. There is also a simple control valve but I forget the details, no doubt a web search will turn something up.

I don't think water injection will make your Packard run any cooler but it would reduce pinging and prevent the combustion chamber from getting too hot and burning the valves.

You have a good system with the electric fan and all. You might use a bigger fan on the engine. Have you experienced overheating? If you have a real problem with overheating I am afraid the only permanent cure is a new 4 core radiator.

Posted on: 2013/10/26 7:09
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Re: Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2006/6/4 7:52
From WA
Posts: 1089
http://www.snowperformance.net/

These guys have the best water injection system on the market. It is also the most expensive. Like most, they wildly over-promise.

jack vines

Posted on: 2013/10/26 8:03
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Re: Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/10/28 7:49
Posts: 2222
That kind of gadget might help decarbonize a motor, but after that it will only introduce more moisture into the system and accelerate acidification of combustion byproducts. It might also act like an EGR combustion temperature cooler when using up to 7% volume during cruise conditions which is useless for WOT and thus a waste of money.

Posted on: 2013/10/26 10:09
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Re: Water Injection
Webmaster
Joined:
2006/4/17 11:22
From North Aurora, IL
Posts: 9167
If the temp gauge was still in the middle, and you were losing coolant, maybe you need to replace the cap. Either it's not deep enough, or the the spring is weak.

Posted on: 2013/10/26 12:33
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Re: Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2006/6/4 7:52
From WA
Posts: 1089
Just search for Snow Performance Water Injection.

jack vines

Posted on: 2013/10/26 13:10
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Re: Water Injection
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Joined:
2010/4/7 22:20
From Chicago, IL
Posts: 1343
As noted in another series of posts, my year long overheating issues were resolved only when the radiator split and the rebuilder recognized that a much less capable core had been added in a previous life. New core: correct temp.

These are old cars that have had some rough and ready maintenance; check all the possible problem areas.....

Posted on: 2013/10/26 16:37
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Re: Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/6/8 18:11
Posts: 1509
Water injection helps an engine run better, stronger and smoother especially in a dry climate. Is Melbourne Australia a dry climate?

Posted on: 2013/10/26 21:23
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Re: Water Injection
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/6/5 21:32
From Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 229
G'day men, thanks for the info. Now hopefully I can respond to most of the suggestions, but first our climate. Yes, I would call it a pretty dry climate, although we did get a lot of rain this and last winter, and it's still happening to a lesser extent. In Melbourne it rarely gets below 32F in winter and often exceeds 100F in summer, and we've just turned the corner from a few years of drought which resulted in our water catchments dropping to an overall average of around 30% full. We're now back up above 70%. Sadly, the water situation resulted in the previous state government investing in a large water desalination plant to supplement our water supply system, but due the the rainfall I mentioned it's been mothballed for now, although us residents still have to pay for it whether its used or not.

Back to the Patrician. When I rebuilt the A/C system nearly two years ago I had the radiator cleaned and checked and it came up OK. The fella agreed that it was a heavy duty unit but said that was in 1956 - it wouldn't be as good as a modern heavy duty radiator. At the same time I fitted the electric pusher fan but I'm going to have another look at that as maybe a bigger one with more blades might do a better job. I also fitted a new two way radiator cap to allow water recyling. When I said the water bottle was full, after cooling down most of the water would have been drawn back into the radiator. Which leaves the engine fan and I'm still on the lookout for a bigger capacity one. The problem I keep coming up against is finding one with a big enough hole to fit over the pump boss, and I haven't found one yet.

This vapour lock issue only occurs on rare occasions and from memory it's only happened after using the A/C on a hot day while driving on suburban stop start roads. The electric fuel pump seems to get over the problem but I only normally use it to prime the carby before starting after the car has been sitting for awhile. It must be something to do with the fuel vapourising to or from the mechanical pump on a hot day. By the way, I also rebuilt the mechanical fuel pump about the same time as I did the A/C. I'm pretty sure the motor is not overheating but next hot day we get, and we'll be getting them pretty soon, I'll take her out for a run with the A/C on, get her warmed up and then use a digital infra red thermometer to measure temp at various sites.

As far as the water injection is concerned, it's certainly got me interested and I'll still keep digging to find out more, although I'm in no hurry to do anything about it. I'll be concentrating on the normal cooling fundamentals first.

Thanks once again, John

Posted on: 2013/10/27 0:21
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