A few years ago, I did quite a bit of research on the use of Hydrogen Generators to improve my vehicle's fuel efficiency. I was quite skeptical of the process of converting water into its basic elements, two parts Hydrogen and one part Oxygen, also known as HHO. Not the process, which is called Electrolysis, but the amount of electrical energy it will take to break the water down into its basic elements. Then to use those basic elements as fuel, which is now in a gaseous form, to replace the energy lost in the conversion process, plus provide additional energy to power a vehicle. This is the big question. Does this process provide enough energy to improve a vehicle's fuel efficiency, per advertised claims, of 20, 40, and even 60%, or is it all a Cheat?
There are many claims out there, 35% here, 65% there, who do you believe, or do you? So I decided to put it to the test. I purchased one of the simple DIY kits, $50 for the ebook and $100 for the two cell kit. It took me a few days to read over the 132 page ebook, which was how long it took to receive the two cell Hydrogen Generator kit. It took me most of the week to put the kits together, working in the evenings after work. Then on the weekend I installed the HHO Cells into my 2003 Grand Marquis with a 4.6L V-8 engine. I installed the HHO Cells behind the car's front grille, which made it easy to check the water level without having to lift the hood. After several trips to the hardware store to get the proper fittings and hoses I had everything ready to go.
Something I hadn't seen in any of the advertisements or reports and didn't know until I received my ebook, is that a condenser is needed. You see, when the Hydrogen and Oxygen goes through the combustion chamber some of the unburned gases convert back into water and gets blown by the pistons into the crank case or oil pan. Now that's not a good place for water. Water causes rust and corrosion. So, where the vacuum hose comes out of the top of the rocker arm cover and goes into the intake manifold, I pulled that hose and run a new hose form the rocker arm cover to a compressor filter, (which became my condenser). Mount the condenser in front of the car radiator for maximum cooling and then run another hose back to the intake manifold completing the vacuum line feed with an inline condenser. Then, when the engine gets warm, the hot oil will steam off the water and it will be cooled and collect in the condenser. You will need to empty the condensed ever now and then. It works best to empty out the condenser every time you need to add water to your HHO Cells, usually about every 1000 miles.
When I first installed my DIY-HHO Generator I connected one cell's HHO supply line to the condenser return line, which goes back to the intake manifold and the other cell's supply line to air intake just after the air filter. With this arrangement, I went from 18-19 MPG to about 21 MPG. That was a 16% increase in MPG. After about an hour of highway driving I noticed a change. The car became more sluggish, the Check Engine light came on and my MPG dropped back to 18 MPG.
After a bit more reading and research, I found a quick fix to the problem. The problem was with the introduction of the HHO gases, which made the gasoline burning more efficiently and leaner. With a leaner fuel mixture the exhaust temperatures were higher and the Engine management Computer Unit, ECU didn't like the higher temperatures. The ECU thought something was wrong with the Oxygen or O2 sensors and reset the air/fuel mixture to the factory's default setting of 14.7:1.
Let me explain a little of what I learned about O2 sensor in general, then I will tell you the solution to the problem. Anyway, most O2 sensors operate on a temperature difference between the atmospheric or outside air temperature and the internal exhaust temperatures. This difference is what creates the 0.2 volts to 0.8 volts produced by the sensors. When the exhaust temperatures are very hot, the sensor produces 0.2V, which tells the ECU the air/fuel mixture is running very lean, and when the exhaust temperatures are cooler, the sensor produces 0.8V, which tells the ECU the air/fuel mixture is very rich. The ECU wants to maintain an ideal 0.45 voltage by adjusting the air/fuel mixture.
The solution I found was to wrap several layers of aluminum foil around the O2 sensors. This raises the entire temperature range on the sensors. So with the HHO gas leaning out the air/gas mixture and creating higher exhaust temperatures, the ECU would think this higher temperature was normal. Anyway, after applying several layers of aluminum foil around the sensors, my MPG went up to 26 MPG, that's a 45% increase in fuel efficiency. I was excited!
Something I found most people don't realize or don't talk about is that the HHO Cells create an oxygen rich atmosphere in the intake manifold. This is quite simple, the more oxygen, better the fuel burn, less fuel needed to do the same work, result is more miles per gallon.
After a few weeks went by, I noticed that the HHO cell which went to the intake manifold was using more water than the one going to the air intake. I thought it might be the way the electrical was connected. So, I switched the positive and negative wires. That didn't make any difference. So, I disconnected the HHO line to the air intake and tied the two cells together, both feeding into the intake manifold. Guess what, my MPG went up to 28 MPG. That is better than a 50% increase in my fuel efficiency. This Definitely made me Happy!
So, to answer the question; A cheat or do they really work? This HHO unit definitely works. I'm getting 10 more miles out of every gallon of over priced gas I purchase.
Like I said, I chose an HHO design that was simple and quite inexpensive. It consists of two wide mouth mason jars with plastic lids, four pieces of Plexiglas about 2-1/8 inches X 5-3/4 inches X 3/16 inch thick with a slot half way up the middle of each piece lengthwise, so, two can be slipped together to form an X shape. The X shapes are glued together and then glued to the inside of the plastic lids. Then two ? inch holes are drilled into the plastics lids for the electrical connection screws. You will need four pieces of 0.032 inch thick Stainless Steel Wire each about 52 inches long. Wrap a wire around the connection screws at the wire's mid-point and then twist it to make a single electrode. Once the wires are twisted, insert the screw with the twisted wire through the ? inch hole in the lid and wrap the wire around the Plexiglas X mandrel at a ? inch spiral pitch and tie it off at the bottom of the Plexiglas mandrel. Then add the second screw and do the same with the second twisted wire, again tying it off at the bottom of the Plexiglas mandrel. The two wires should now be spaced at about 3/8 of an inch apart. Do the same for the second HHO cell. Now add two more holes in the plastic lids, one for the adjustable air vent and the other for a tube fitting to draw off the HHO gas. Glue the adjustable air vent and the tube fitting to the lid keeping things air tight. Again, do the same to the second HHO Cell. That is just about all there is to making very simple HHO Cells. Now you can mount the HHO Cells in any available space in the engine compartment or as I mentioned before, I mounted them behind the front grille so I can look through the grille to keep an eye on the water levels. Then I connected all the hoses and fittings into the vehicle as I described earlier.
Some important points that need to be mentioned;
• The HHO line going into the intake manifold should have a one way valve installed on it. This is a safety factor just in case the engine should ever backfire. Engines with carburetors are more prone to this problem than fuel injected engines.
• The HHO electrical system needs to have a 30 amp inline fuse. What I did was to run a low amp electrical line to a 12 volt source which was on only when the ignition was turned on (which was easy to find under the hood) to activate a relay. Then I put the 30 amp fuse between the battery and the relay, and ran a power line from the relay to the HHO Cells. I found this was much easer to do than trying to find a 30 amp ignition key activated source.
• Instead of wrapping several layers of foil around your O2 sensors, they have recently developed several alternative systems to control the O2 sensor's output to the ECU. One is extremely simple, just plug it into your ECU and it does all the tweaking for you to achieve the engines optima efficiency.
• If you are in an area that receives freezing temperatures, you will need to add Ethyl Glycol to your electrolyte (water with baking soda) when it starts to get below freezing. To make this easy, just pick-up some cold weather windshield washing fluid (usually the blue stuff) that has Ethyl Glycol in it and mix it with your electrolyte about half and half. The HHO production will be reduced some, but at least the Cells won't freeze up.
One drawback I found with the wire wound HHO Cells is after about 2-1/2 years the wires start to dissolve and/or corrode. When this happens you will find the plastic lid is broken out all round the top edge. The first time this happened, I had no idea what had happened. Then about three months later my second cell did the same thing. After a bit of investigative reasoning, I believe I discovered what happened. When the wires get real thin in places and the water level drops below a thinned area, there is still current being drawn through the wires and it lights up like a light bulb filament, which ignites the hydrogen which is still being generated in the cell, which in turn blows the plastic lids and burns out the wire. I found no other damage, just broken lids and broken wires. I replaced the plastic lids and rewound the wires and I was back in business. Because of this, I would suggest looking for HHO Cells which are made with stainless steel plates instead of the wires. The wires work great, but they have a limited life of only 2 to 3 years.
I hope my experience and this information is of some benefit to you.