30 years ago I bought my first car, a 20 year old MGB convertible. A great car with a 1.8 litre engine and 4 speed box with overdrive on 3rd and 4th. However, it didn’t have the power I craved and therefore the performance for hooning around the country lanes near my home. So I looked at a number of options and chose the most cost effective one – water injection.
In those days, this consisted of a small water tank connected by a pipe to a black box. Inside this box was a halogen lamp with a sealed top section that drew water from the tank. The box was also connected by a smaller pipe to the inlet manifold.
The theory was that the halogen lamp heated the water to form steam, which passed down the smaller pipe and mixed with the fuel/air heading towards the inlet valves. Increased power was claimed because the added steam provided heat and more air in a carrier (i.e. the steam). I remember the marketing saying that cars always performed better on misty wet days than dry sunshine! So why not have that all year round!
I certainly thought that my efforts to install it made the car faster but I never really tested it to prove the point. You can still buy these kits today and the marketing has changed from a performance based message to one of saving the planet by using less fuel.
The larger manufacturers looked at this idea years ago when turbos were becoming popular as intercoolers had not yet been invented. The idea here was to find a way of cooling the system and produce more power, so a mix of oil and water was injected into the cylinder. This gave the effect of a higher octane for the fuel and enabled a lower temperature of gases. SAAB used this concept on the 99 but was replaced by an intercooler that worked more efficiently.
Today, Aqua Tune in Texas sell a system that cleans the engine as well because it de-scales the carbon build up from an old engine. Aqua Tune claims a 25% improvement in fuel economy, less emissions and better torque. They use a system that was similar to the one I put on my old MG although they have developed it to become a Water/Hydrogen injection system. As you can imagine, the concept is the same however the technology has dramatically improved, especially with today’s electronic engine management systems. It’s worth taking a look at this system if you are looking for more power and less fuel consumption.
Another company is Aqua Mist in the UK; they have been supplying systems to Ford and Volvo for a number of years. Apparently the early 1990s Escort Cosworth had one of their systems fitted by the Ford factory.