Magnets to cure what ails me?

So, having had my last three cars catestrophically die on me:
83 ranger, owned from 92-97, former army vehicle (blown engine)
85 Grand am, owned from 99-00, former everyone drove it to hell and back (blown engine) (we gave it six months, but it gave us a year, not bad for $750)
95 ford escort wagon, owned from 00-03, bought from CarMax, mechanic says I got water in there somehow (drive through a swimming pool, maybe?) and blew a rod

I just bought a '99 Accord, 30k miles, decent price.

I’m a mileage nut, and read this online:

My old 90 lx got a high of 24 on the road. My new 99 LX got a high of 28 on
the road until I put magnets from Radio Shack, .99c ones, on the fuel line
and now I get up to 35MPG.

Is this true? I can just stick some of the craft magnets I have on the fuel line to get better mileage?

Is gasoline magnetic? :smiley:
Go ahead and try it. Spend a couple of bucks for magnets. If it works, sell the technology to the auto companies.

Careful the oil companies don’t assassinate you, though. :rolleyes:

you are a nice person.

Don’t waste your cash.

Magnets aren’t magic.

Neither are engines.

Well, I doubt this is true, but it is true that you can make your car go faster by painting flames down the side.

Three blown engines?

I’d be asking myself what I’m doing wrong. Redlining, chronically low oil, cheap (recycled) oil?

Don’t bother with the magnets. There’s nothing to it at all - just a load of crap.

If you do try it, though, and you think it helps then please contact me immediately. I’ve got a bridge in New York and piece of property in Florida you may be interested in purchasing. Cash only, small bills.

Your mileage will improve more if you drive properly. Smooth acceleration, no speeding (55 is good for your mileage,) proper maintenance of the engine, proper tire inflation, etc.

There’s no magic to it.

oooh … flames … what a mom-mobile! :slight_smile:

Nah, I’ve got magnets (I’m a crafty sort) but couldn’t figure out where to put them.

As for the three blown engines … I think it’s just luck. The Ranger was formerly an Army vehicle that died at nearly 200,000, the GM had had a hard life, been in several accidents, and been severely abused by its five or six former owners and we knew it would die at any time … both of them had had hard lives and leaked everywhere, to the point where I’d have to add at least half a quart a week. The only mystery is the Escort … I have no idea how the pancake I got water in the engine. Yes, I’m in Florida, yes, it rains, but I HATE puddles and know all the parking spots to avoid getting flooded in.

I don’t know the mileage on the Accord yet (practical, as opposed to what the sticker says) but I’m sure a few months of journalling will determine that.

You know, they set the engines to be optimal at 55 … now that speed limits aren’t limited to that, are automakers going to up that?

And that has always interested me. Do they design them that way, or does it just work out that way?

I drove a VW Golf station wagon here in Germany for over a year, and a Passat station wagon for a couple of years before that. Both got their best mileage at about 55-60 MPH. I stayed over in the right lane with the trucks so as not to piss people off. The official speed limit on the autobahn is 130KMH (81 MPH) though lots of places are limited to 100KMH (62MPH) so it seems odd to design cars for a speed lower than that.

Has anyone got the straight dope?

According to my father (who advised me not to put an engine in the Escort wagon, though all the guys on say do it) …

First off, everything’s 55 (and the drinking limit 21) because the Federal Government bullied the states into it, threatening to cut off interstate highway funds.

So, the car manufacturers started tuning their engines to be optimal at 55, because 1, that was the speed limit, and 2, there were gas shortages on.

But not that the 55 thing is over and done with … they’re still tuned to 55. I found that out in surprise the first time I road-tripped with the Escort and was getting ‘crappy’ mileage (averaging about 70sh on MPH).

Some how I don’t think US law applies in Germany. The cars I was referring to were German models bought and driven here.

Cars got worse efficiency above 55 long before the national speed limit was set there. I believe you’d find that the car is most efficient at around 30 or 35 (as long as you’re in its final gear), and it goes downhill from there. You have just as many piston strokes per mile, and each one uses more gas. If going 55 used less gas than 35, then your car would speed up when you were going 35 and then let off the gas pedal slightly.

The magnets-on-the-fuel-line thing was popular a decade or two ago, even leading to a brief spike in the price of cow magnets. (If you feed a cow a magnet, it will stay in the first stomach and act as a trap for bits of wire the cow may accidentally eat. The magnets are reclaimed at the slaughterhouse and re-used.) Many hopeful motorists tried it and proved it to be useless. If you want to try it, simply sandwich the fuel line between two magnets, securing them with tape or glue.

The second effect, also untrue, is that it will cause your car to pull to the north.

Sigh. The 55 MPH speed limit was put in place because that’s where cars get their best gas mileage. Remember the energy crisis? OPEC? Jimmy Carter?

CurtC, who the hell drives 30 in top gear??

So 55 was optimal and when the crisis came around, and perhaps it was picked for the ‘limit’. Interesting that.

I guess that was optimal on older engines … I wonder if the newer designs might be able to be optimal at higher speeds.

Finding that sort of information is precisely why I joined a message board.

But wouldn’t it pull your car just a little bit?!

It would pull just a wee bit, **glee,**but the force is exerted on the driver’s mind instead of the car.

Where did this mistaken notion that cars are tuned to get best milage at 55? At highway speed a majority of the drag is from wind resistance. Drag increases with the cube of speed. Increase speed from 55 to 70 and wind drag slightly more than doubles. Slow down from 55 to 30 and wind drag is 1/6 what it was at 55. Apart from other things like going so slow the engine is lugging at low RPM in a high gear slower means better mileage.

To continue a fun hijack, I’ve heard that around 50mph in 5th gear on flat ground is pretty damn efficient. My car will be well under 2000rpm at that speed, but not lugging the engine.

Padeye: it’s difficult to drive consistently at low speeds. Any slight uphill often requires a downshift, and since you’re already in a lower gear, going down to, say, second, is going to cause your revs to raise a great deal to maintain your speed.

As a motorcycle rider, I’d subjectively agree with the 55-70 increase in drag – theres a point in the 60s where I’m suddenly hit with some serious wind resistance, and its fairly predictable.

Well, the notion came from my dad, though he is a bit like Calvin’s Dad in some respects.

However, I kept meticulous records on the Escort before it died, and when I did lots of city driving, I had lower MPG than when I did 55mph commuting. 55mph commuting did better MPG wise than road tripping at 70 or allegedly 90 (though highway driving to work I averaged 70 with minimal time in city traffic and got arguably nearly the same kind of MPG at 55).

Of course, all of this was subject to wind conditions (drafting behind semis for long stints, good rrear wind) or other conditions (heavy, continual use of the A/C).

Mostly just a compilation of spot checks on the MPG (once a month or so) throughout the years on my last three cars (The Ranger came with a broken fuel gauge so I had to be fanatical and meticulous about setting the trip meter and noting how much I put in the tank).