Tech Article: June 2014

There has been some discussion at the shop recently on fuel additives. Let me give you my three cents worth. The only thing you should be putting in your gas tank is 1) gas, 2) BG44K, and 3) Stabilizer. Now there may be a 4) EFS Combust and 5) BG Ethanol fuel system drier.

To those that do not know of BG products let me give a quick explanation of their BG44K. One can in a tank of gas every 20,000 miles or once a year in an old British car, will dissolve the gunk build up in your tank, pump, carbs or injectors and remove the carbon buildup on your intake valves. I know this stuff works from the days when we worked on cars with fuel injection.

In those days, you used to have a shop use special cleaners to clean out your injectors. Some worked fine but never cleaned the cold start the car was always hot when worked on. At that time, BMW was having to pull intake manifolds to clean the carbon deposits from the intake valves with crushed walnut shells under extended warranties. This was costly. One Atlanta dealer started using BG44K at service intervals and they never had to pull another intake manifold. Now they could charge a customer for a product that saved them money. This convinced me to try it and we sold it to our customers instead of cleaning their fuel injectors. We never had to connect our injection cleaning stuff to another car because BG44K works so well at cleaning all the injectors and the carbon deposits on the valves. Back then, it costs $12 per can and injection cleaning cost cover $120, a great savings.

On our old British cars, we did not have injectors but we did get a gunk buildup in the carbs and a lot of carbon buildup on the intake valves. Why? With the poor design valve stem seals most of the old LBCs have, oil drips down past the guide and lands on the backside of the valve. There, the heat evaporates the volatile components of the oil and leaves behind the carbon. This carbon acts like charcoal in your grill; you have to saturate it with lighter fuel to get the coal to light.

Trying to start your MG or Healey is the same, you have to saturate the carbon buildup before much gas gets into the combustion chamber to start the engine. I have seen the buildup so bad, it clogs the intake opening by 50%. It also disrupts the smooth flow of fuel/air into the cylinder. And if you are one that is running the manganese-bronze valve guides that require .004” clearance so they do not seize the valve, then you need BG44K more than those with stock guides.

Customers have reported a 2 to 4 MPG increase from using BG44K because it cleans so well. Put one can in at a fill up and drive the car until it almost empty. Doing this before a long drive works great. It only restores fuel mileage back to what it should be; it will not add any more miles.

Fuel stabilizer has been around for a long time and the best is still Sta-Bil. They have a new one for ethanol and in our LBCs, it is a good idea to use it. Most of our cars are not driven daily and some sit for weeks at a time. Sta-Bil dose help, especially if your car sits over the winter with very little use. If storing your car for a few months, fill your tank as full as you can and add the stabilizer at the gas station. Drive the car straight home and park it. This method gets stabilized fuel into the pump and carbs to offer the best protection for fuel system. With the tank full of gas, there is less room for condensation to build up and create rust and water problems.

This leads me to the BG Ethanol Drier. Again, everyone knows that ethanol is bad for our cars. And some will say it is bad for the economy and many other things unless your are an environmentalist. The corn farmers seem to like it. But for car enthusiasts, it is bad. In simple terms, ethanol absorbs water from the air; the saturated ethanol drops out of solution with the gas and forms water bubbles on the bottom of the tank. These get sucked into the pump and cause all kinds of corrosive problems along their way to the combustion chamber.

The BG product takes the ethanol/water droplets and allows them to be completely reabsorbed into the gas. There is stays until it is burned in the engine. No more water problems from ethanol. The demonstration compared several top competitors such as Heet, Seafoam, and several others. Seafoam caused the water/ethanol mixture to form a cloudy mixture but the BG mixed it so well, it was as clear as fresh gas, no sign of the separation like the others.

If you drive your car like my wife and I, 150 miles a day to and from work, you may not need this as the gas never stays in the tank long enough to cause the separation problem. But, with a LBC that sits most of the week or month, there the separation can occur and you need this to protect your fuel system.

Lastly, there is EFS Combust. Like most experts, I have always said that fuel additives alone can not improve power. I never recommend octane boosters or any of that crap. It is good only for your ego and the bottom line of the producers. However, along comes EFS Combust and Grassroots Motorsports and I may have a second opinion. This product works best with 87 octane fuel so you can quit using hightest in your LBC. It says one ounce of this per 12 gallons of gas is all you need.

According to Grassroots Motorsports, on a test they did on a rental car showed a 5 horsepower increase and a bigger torque improvement. This was a computer controlled engine and it will improve as the computer learns how the engine is reacting. The computer will change the mixture and timing as needed over a few tanks of treated gas.

In our cars, there will still be an improvement but to get the most, you will need to retune the engine. You will be able to advance the timing and lean out the mixture. Combust causes all the gas to burn, not just 85% of it. Once all the gas is burning, performance increases with less fuel. A cooler internal temperature created by the complete combustion in the engine allows an increase in timing. This can cause an increase in fuel mileage.

It may be a little like taking medicine, take too many and they react with each other or counteract each other and more harm can result. I cannot say about using more than one of these at a time. The BG44K is a once a year thing so it should be ok to use with the Combust. So is the BG Ethanol Drier a once a year thing so it should be safe together. You can add the two BG products and on your next tank start trying the Combust. One would think that the Sta-Bil can work with them all but it is used when your car will be sitting for awhile. It should be ok also.

I only recommend products that I have seen work and these do. I do not know where you can get the EFS Combust but Google it and it will turn up. Do I consider all other products snake oil, yeh, I do. Save your money, use these and you will help your car run better, save on repairs, and help the environment by using less fuel (does that satisfy the environmentalists). I own no stock in any of these companies!

See y’all somewhere soon.

Barry Rosenberg
British Car Service