More Suck, Less Starve

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 3/6 Fuel, NOS, Meth, & Water Injection' started by phate, Mar 19, 2024.

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  1. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    It's a problem with both the MS3 and MS6 - fuel starve under various conditions. If you have a high powered drag car, you'll suck the basket dry. If you have lots of lateral grip, you'll starve the basket if you're running low on fuel. Either way, fuel starve is a problem for many of us.

    Option 1) Run a surge tank/swap in a fuel cell. Fine solution for lots of people, and they aren't terribly expensive. If you don't live by a rulebook, this is a great solution.

    Option 2) Holley Hydramat. That's what we'll be talking about here.


    Check out this video if you don't know what it is: Link






    My rule set doesn't allow surge tanks, so that's out. It does allow fuel cells, but they have to be located within 6" of the original fuel cell location and can't be much smaller than original. With the stock tank being low in the car and made of plastic, it's in a good location and is already very lightweight. We've been running it full for pretty much forever to prevent fuel starve - 16 gallons of fuel is heavy. I'm hoping we can start events with 3-4 gallons of fuel, which would lighten the car by ~70lbs. That's huge.

    On to the actual work - Pull the fuel tank and figure out where the hydramats need to go.

    MS6 fuel tank layout:
    20240316_190855_1.jpg

    With the pump being at the forward position of the tank, and only on the driver's side, it's easy to see where the problem comes in. I'm going to focus on two areas, though, since it's a saddle tank. Acceleration and turning in either direction puts fuel in the rearmost corners:
    20240316_190855_2.jpg

    The saddle tank drives a need to pick up fuel from either corner, so I'll be using two hydramats. You can bend these things around a bit, so I want them to wrap up onto the sides of the fuel tank. I decided to use two of the 15x15" hydramats, sort of like this:

    20240316_190935.jpg

    20240316_190855_3.jpg

    Sort of like this:

    20240316_192258.jpg

    20240316_192446.jpg










    Keeping it secured in that location is pretty easy. You can do this two ways, and I'll be doing it both ways. Holley makes little magnet adapters that sandwich the tank. These magnets are incredible strong:

    20240316_190952.jpg

    Hydramats have attachment holes on the corners:

    20240316_191156.jpg

    What that looks like on the inside and outside:

    20240316_191503_1.jpg

    I will also be adding foam into the tank for two reasons - 1) securing the hydramat and making sure it stays pushed into the rearmost corner. 2) Help prevent fuel slosh. Big box of foam:

    20240314_125110.jpg



    I'll talk about the fuel pump and plumbing situation in the next post.
     

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  2. Rokusek

    Rokusek Are you my dad? Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Nice! I bet these pads will make a huge difference.

    Though, never seen foam added to a tank before. Is that specifically made to be used with fuel?
     
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  3. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    Yeah, the foam is compatible with gas, ethanol, and methanol. I picked them up from Speedway Motors.
     
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  4. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Motorhead Platinum Member

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    so these are basically a surge tank you can put in the gas tank?
     
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  5. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    That's not its main functionality, but it does pull from its internal reservoir before it will suck air. The real benefit is that if any part of it is touching fuel, it will pull it in without sucking air from the exposed areas. I think this video shows it better than the first one:

     
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  6. Awafrican

    Awafrican Moderator Silver Member

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    That's freaking cool! Video definitely helps
     
    Awafrican, via a mobile device, Mar 20, 2024
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  7. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    Alright, so plumbing this should be easy, amiright? Like most things, it's not.

    Here was my original concept.

    Concept_01.jpg

    The Holley ITFP adapter (16-137) should have been the easy button. I would love to keep the ITFP because it simplifies the plumbing. Issues I have right now:

    1) The Holley adapter doesn't work with OEM, Deatschwerks (DW300C), or AEM pumps (50-1200). Seemingly, it doesn't work with any typical 255lph ITFP that isn't Holley brand - and the Holley brand isn't compatible with E85. The adapter doesn't allow the pump to seat against its O-Ring for the fuel pump inlet - the raised channels/nubs prevent it from seating all the way down.

    I prefer using OTS parts, because it simplifies quick fixes that we sometimes do at events. I could modify the pump by removing the nubs. I could also modify the adapter so it accepts the nubs/channels. TBD on that front.

    20240319_134713.jpg

    20240315_121305.jpg


    2) Pressure regulator. The OEM setup has the pump in a plastic sleeve that has a regulator attached to it. I can't use that sleeve anymore because of the Holley adapter. This is going to require an external regulator that I haven't decided on or figured out how to plumb yet.



    More to come on this front.
     
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  8. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    I think we have a winner - Walbro GSS342G3 if anyone wants to venture into this. I'll submerge this and test to make sure it doesn't pull air past the O-ring.

    If the other fittings get here this weekend, I'll plumb it and do some testing.

    20240321_192629.jpg
    20240321_170608.jpg
    20240321_192703.jpg
     
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  9. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    We did some testing with the hydramats over the weekend to get a feel for how they worked and if they had any weird issues we need to be aware of. We mostly did this with the mats in a couple large bins, and we just started to test it in the tank.

    1) The hydramat pickup will pull air pretty early if the pickup angle isn't perpendicular to the mounting surface. I think this will be solved by supporting the area with the Speedway foam.

    2) Early testing with the mats in the Mazda tank show it sucking air from what would be the inside half under turning conditions. More to come on this, we need to work with mat placement more before we can conclude anything.

    3) Most surprising to me - the fuel pump can suck some air, but it doesn't transmit to the downstream fuel line unless it's sucking a BUNCH of air. Check out the 2nd video.


    Showing how sensitive the mats are to pickup angle:





    Running 1 dry, and sucking some air without pushing it downstream





    Angle testing 1 mat to see how it picks up from a single corner touching fuel:

     
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  10. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic. #BlackLivesMatter Motorhead Platinum Member

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    The fact that it can pick up fuel from just that one single corner of contact, is pretty amazing!
     
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Apr 2, 2024
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  11. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    Things are getting...complicated.

    I can't trust that the hydramats won't allow air through in dynamic situations. They suck air during transient tests by lifting up one side of the tank and sloshing the fuel around when there's low fuel. Transient maneuvers is about 100% of autocross, so that won't work. Let's complicate this shit.

    Before, I had a lift pump on the passenger side into the stock basket before, so I'm doing a more robust version of that now combining it with the hydramats. Effectively, I'm making a larger basket that the hydramat system will pump into, then pull from the basket with a second pump:

    Concept_B.jpg

    And I just got the materials in for the basket:

    Basket_01.jpg

    Basket_02.jpg


    I'm nearly finished sorting out what hardware is required to make this all work, and I'll post up some details once it's all set.
     
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  12. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    Progress. This is the final conceptual drawing (hopefully):

    Concept_B_2.jpg

    I've been busy making the new basket. Disregard the rest of this post if you don't care about the fabrication, but I like to make stuff so I'm going to show how I did it (lol).





    I just started with the pics from my post above - 6061 tube and flat plate.

    Turn the OD and ID so it fits into the stock fuel tank opening and you maximize internal volume.

    20240426_171300.jpg 20240426_172450.jpg 20240426_182816.jpg

    Get a rough idea of how you'll cap the thing with the flat plate. I chose a bolt pattern of 12 screws, with a 13th so it can be aligned the same way every time.

    20240427_093129.jpg

    I opted to start with a thinner tube than what I could have, because I'd rather weld on some little pads and machine them, instead of having to turn the ID down a whole bunch. In the end, probably didn't save a ton of time, YMMV. Weld blobs:

    20240427_124626.jpg

    Machine those bad boys down -

    20240427_135616.jpg 20240427_135626.jpg


    You could drill all the holes in the cylinder, and then the top plate and hope they line up perfectly. Or the method I chose - tack weld the top plate on, drill the holes through both to ensure alignment. I tapped through both the plate and cylinder at the same time, then opened up the plate holes to have clearance for the threads.

    20240427_160513.jpg 20240427_160518.jpg 20240427_181221.jpg




    You probably noticed that the top plate isn't round. I chose to turn the top plate down after having the attachment complete so I could ensure concentricity:

    20240428_105049.jpg 20240428_111748.jpg


    The top plate needed a bunch of work. There's 3 fittings, and I chose to put a level sensor in it for future datalogging purposes, and just a gauge for now. Not a lot of pics here, but here's the top plate with a bunch of holes in it:

    20240429_185251.jpg


    The level sensor is just a simple reed switch type.

    FuelLevelSensor.jpg

    The 6" version just barely clears the bottom of the basket:

    20240428_174536.jpg


    Anyway, I wanted to be able to pull the level sensor if needed. That allows a view port if I want to see what's happening in the basket. So that requires some more machining...

    Make square things round:

    20240429_180716.jpg

    Transfer the fuel sender bolt pattern and drill holes (SAE 5 bolt patterns are not equidistant...)

    20240429_182908.jpg

    Tap:

    20240429_182927.jpg

    Test:

    20240429_184038.jpg



    Attach your donut to the bottom of the plate. Tack in place:

    20240429_185852.jpg 20240429_191643.jpg


    I cut the donut hole undersize so I can make the top plate hole and donut hole concentric (seems to be a theme). Swap over to the 4-jaw chuck and cut both together:

    20240429_190742.jpg

    Top plate is done:

    20240429_191639.jpg




    Time for the bottom plate. Similar idea to the top plate, but the bottom will be fully welded:

    20240428_185707.jpg

    Turn it:

    20240429_125024.jpg

    I turned that on a bevel, so not unexpectedly I cut into the seam and had to reweld:

    20240429_193341.jpg 20240429_195122.jpg

    And turn again:

    20240429_202322.jpg

    Now it holds liquids :)


    Quick work to make a weep hole in the basket so it spills back into the main tank. I put that on the front side of the basket. There's pros and cons to putting it anywhere, but I figured I wanted as much fuel as possible during acceleration.

    20240429_203634.jpg



    Assembly. From here, we just attach the bulkhead fittings and fuel level sender:

    20240429_192313.jpg 20240429_192321.jpg

    20240429_192617.jpg

    And drop it into the tank:

    20240429_192723.jpg
     
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  13. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    Ran into a couple complications. When I put the tank in, it raised the floor of it a bit because of the strap running underneath that area. I was ~.150" too tall at that point so I needed to trim the basket a bit. I turned .050" off of both the bottom and top, but that didn't quite get me there. So...

    Cut in half. Since the parting tool is .118" wide, I didn't turn any additional from the middle.

    20240509_174220.jpg



    Weld back together:

    20240509_180754.jpg 20240509_185150.jpg

    ^^I turned that flat so it still fit into the tank.


    I also modified the passenger side hat so I could pump fuel out, and return fuel to it. You have to remove some ribbing on the underside to get a flat surface.

    20240501_165326.jpg 20240501_170749.jpg 20240501_170755.jpg


    This is what both sides look like with the tank back in the car and all fittings attached (sans fuel level sensor on the driver's side).

    20240512_184417.jpg 20240514_162142.jpg


    We started testing a bit last night but haven't fully vetted the system. Here's the internal pump filling the basket, though...



    Don't think we'll ever have problems draining this thing, lol. I am a little concerned about just how fast it's filling, so I will likely open up the bleed hole at the top of the basket so it doesn't pressurize it.
     
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  14. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Do you have an idea of how much fuel you burn with each run and how that relate to the volume of this new tank?
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, May 15, 2024
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  15. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    The overall volume of the tank is unchanged, I can still put 15 gallons into it if I wanted.

    But, I think we burn about a gallon per run, and the new basket is right around 0.5 gallons. With the constant fill from the ITFP and return, it's never going dry lol.

    Once we get the car back on the ground, I'll pump it all out and do a total fill to get an idea of just how empty it really gets. [Also need to weigh the car empty because I'm really curious how much weight we've dropped this year.]
     
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  16. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Motorhead Platinum Member

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    I didn't think overall had changed much was just curious how important the fill rate on the new basket would be and it seems like not that important
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, May 15, 2024
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  17. phate

    phate Motorhead Silver Member

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    For sure, a 255 pumping at effectively 0psi is wayyyyyy overkill. Not something I had considered beforehand, and it has me rethinking how the return line routes. More to come on that as we test things out.
     
    phate, via a mobile device, May 15, 2024
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