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Old 05-04-2002, 12:47 AM   #1
Holyterror
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Tornado - snake oil or something else?

Has anybody seen the "Tornado" advertised on TV? I'm sure you have, since I have seen the commercial several times, and I don't watch much TV (aside from DVDs).

If I'm getting it straight, they claim it increases gas mileage and horsepower. Now, just looking at the thing, I would say that it is designed to create the coveted "swirling" effect which results in more efficient combustion. Swirling is certainly a good thing; Mercedes has stuck with 3 valves per cylinder for this reason, and VTEC-E was created to emulate the effect. Toyota came up with a system using a computer-controlled butterfly vavle. And now this small, stationary piece of metal can do the same thing? Yes, skeptic mode has been activated.

They claim mileage increases of up to 24%, and power gains of 10-15 hp. That's not bad for a $70 investment, especially when it's a super-simple installation that doesn't void your warranty! That's enough to peak my interest...

So who actually has one of these things, and how does it perform in reality? And, why is it $70 when it looks so simple? Is it made of some super alloy or something? Please, tell all.
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Old 05-04-2002, 03:23 PM   #2
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it should work...

that is the same idea as a poweraid throttle body spacer that has a helix bore in it... and i know they work...

however, if you pay attention to the hp and speed on the dyno... you'll see that "before" and "after" are at different speeds... roughly 5-10mph difference... and depending on the revs, there could naturally be a 20hp difference b/n those speeds...

it just wasnt very clear... and they don't tell you the gear... at 90mph, we assume 4th, but third is feasible... why not do one run in one gear... and the next in a diff?

now, i am not saying that that is what they did... but they are possibilites... but products that spiral the airflow are known to increase airspeed, supercharger style...


and the idea of an intake that is polished to "smooth" airflow does so to decrease turbulence, not to "unswirl" the air...
if that was your train of thought...

swirly air would also mix better with nitrous... hmm..

my question is in the restriction it causes, moreso than if it works... it is pretty big... surface area wise, and it is in the intake... i dunno
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Old 05-08-2002, 09:20 AM   #3
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I really don't believe it. Vortec heads increase horsepower -they do the same thing this tornado does, only in the cylinder head. I would imagine the intake and runners correct the airflow before anything could be different. Besides, vortec heads get terrible gas mileage.
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Old 05-27-2002, 08:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Mercedes has stuck with 3 valves per cylinder for this reason
I thought they had 3 because they couldn't fit the second spark plug without removing one of them.
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Old 05-28-2002, 12:52 AM   #5
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First off, increasing air velocity and supercharging a motor are two VERY different things. One increases manifold pressure, one decreases it by increasing column velocity without increasing volume (you can figure out which is which on your own). Velocity is a very important component to airflow through an engine, but so is efficiency in airflow path. The shortest possible distance between two airflow points in an engine is a straight line, and not so surprisingly it's also the most efficient. Creating swirl in the combustion chamber is all fine and good; creating it in the intake is counterproductive for most purposes.

Those intake spacers are effective because they are thermal barriers and they contribute to plenum volume, it's not surprising that Poweraid's claim of the helix spacers working so well is tied into two other proven performance concepts at the same time. How would anyone know which attribute of the spacer is hard at work and which is just there taking up space, and what would any of these have to do with mounting silly little fan blades in the intake path?

Spiralmax and like products are a bunch of bullshit, plain and simple. If it were so easy to increase the performance and mileage of the average passenger car engine, don't you think these things would come stock on every car? Automotive engineers are a generally intelligent and creative group, and this snake oil concept has been bouncing around in it's dark recesses for some time; it hasn't reached mainstream acceptance in all this while for very good reason. In fact, if you look at the last 30 years of intake and exhaust routing enhancement, you'll notice almost all improvements have centered around improving airflow through the simplifying of pathways and removal of turbulence restrictions.

To put it plainly, simplicity is the mother of efficient airflow, not restriction.
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Old 05-29-2002, 08:22 PM   #6
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Thumbs down

Save your money. See the following site, they just evaluated this product:

http://autorepair.about.com/library/...afpr052002.htm
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Old 05-29-2002, 11:38 PM   #7
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Well, I guess that's all there is to it. By now I should know, that if it doesn't make any sense to me, it's probably b.s. Apparantly, people think these things work thanks to the placebo effect. So here's the question: how did they fudge on the figures? Did they pull a Clinton administration and invent numbers, or did they change other variables that they didn't care to tell us about? Probably like all those air filters that give you "15 peak horsepower" as long as you put in a more radical cam first.
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Old 05-30-2002, 08:41 AM   #8
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The interesting thing to me is that placebo power is so easy to achieve - these things have "snake oil" written all over them, and yet everybody felt more power after installing them... Kinda makes me wonder about some of the other "seat of the pants" measurements that people do when mod'ing their cars.
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