Electric ICE Exhaust Cut-out... why? and how?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by hevans1944, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    A recent thread (now closed) brought back memories of the 1960s and the Beach Boys song Little Deuce Coupe. Part of the lyrics say "she purrs like a kitten 'til the lake pipes roar ... you don't know what I got." I dug the Beach Boys songs at the time but had no idea what lake pipes were. I also didn't know what a "little deuce coupe" was. Fortunately, I was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the time and shared a barracks room with a carrot-topped man from California. Robert Zinn, if you are still alive and are reading this, give me a call.

    Bob may be the penultimate Californian, but back in those days, being a Californian was "a Good Thing." All the innovation seemed to come first from California, before finally reaching us clods in the Midwest a decade or so later. Bob was also a hot rod enthusiast, temporarily side-tracked from that hobby by being stationed in the northern peninsula of Michigan at a B-52H bomber base, where summer consisted of about two weeks in June and winter occupied the rest of the year. Not much opportunity for hot rod building or racing. So we spent a lot of our off-duty time together talking about cars.

    It turns out that one of the best places to test-drive high-performance automobiles (hot rods included) is at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a natural dry-lake bed composed of compacted salt that is very flat. Now the problem with testing a hot rod at Bonneville is getting it there from California. If you have deep pockets, you just load it onto a trailer and cart it off to Utah. If your means are more modest, then you must drive your hot rod itself to the test site.

    Tuning the exhaust of a high-performance engine is not a trivial task. The last thing you want to do is place a flow impediment in the exhaust path. A muffler is a flow impediment that makes the internal combustion engine exhaust quieter. Some muffler designs are more effective than others at quieting the exhaust noise, but all do so at the expense of creating back pressure in the engine exhaust manifold. It is better to just have a straight pipe from the exhaust manifold aimed toward the rear of the vehicle. Problem is, the vehicle is generally not "street legal" and is very noisy without an effective muffler. Add a catalytic converter and the back pressure increases too.

    Hot rods and drag racing were popular activities in California (and other places, too) in the 1960s, and since performance is everything when racing, people would install "lake pipes" and "Y" splitters ahead of the muffler and exhaust pipe(s). One exhaust path was almost a direct shot from the exhaust manifold, through the "Y" splitter, to the lake pipes. The other exhaust path went through the other branch of the "Y" splitter to the muffler and tail pipe. The lake pipes had bolt-on caps at the ends to prevent exhaust from escaping during normal driving activities. This allowed the muffler to be effective when the lake pipes were capped. At the race track, these caps were easily removed to allow the exhaust free passage through the lake pipes. Needless to say, when the engine was 'revved up" the "lake pipes roared." The lake pipe name apparently came from the fact that in order to drive your hot rod from California to the Bonneville Lake Salt Flats, you needed to cap the "lake pipes" during the trip and take the caps off after you arrived.

    So now fast forward to the 21st Century where electronics have virtually taken over control of the automobile. Wouldn't it be nice if that "Y" splitter on the exhaust manifold had some sort of flapper or diverter, controlled by an electric motor of course, to direct the exhaust gasses to either the muffler and tail pipe(s) or to the lake pipes? Then, without getting out of your car, you could flip a switch to go from a "street legal" hot rod to a "screamin' demon" hot rod? At the race track of course. Don't mess with that switch during normal driving on public roads!

    So, I did a little research on lake pipe electric exhaust cutouts. Turns out these actually exist. They are a bit pricey, some upwards of a thousand bux. They all are bang-bang controls that move from one limit position to the other limit position, driven by a geared DC motor. One poster even modified an existing window motor to operate an exhaust cutout. They may also sense the increase in motor current to determine when each limit is reached, disabling power to the motor at each limit until the direction is reversed.

    From further research at hot-rod forums, I found most opinions say the electric exhaust cutouts are invariably leaky and not worth the money. Gee, I wonder why they would be leaky? Poor design? Poor quality control? Poor selection of materials? Hot, corrosive, exhaust gases flowing through them causing deterioration of seals around the moving parts? All of the above?

    A leaky exhaust system is an invitation to carbon monoxide poisoning. One poster on one hot rod forum opined that exhaust cutouts were illegal in California. I wouldn't know about that, but it seems pretty damned risky to fool around with a leaky ICE exhaust system. I can see why the other thread was closed. If I could afford a hot rod (maybe a little deuce coupe?), it would certainly have capped lake pipes. My wife probably wouldn't allow me to race it.

    Uh, I think I explained the "why," but after due consideration I am not going to explain the "how." The OP of the other thread should probably take his problem to a hot rod forum.
     
    hevans1944, Apr 16, 2018
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  2. hevans1944

    kellys_eye

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    Personally, I can't.

    If we're not careful then our consideration for 'illegal' could shut down many threads.

    There's numerous threads on LED driving - potentially 'illegal' for 'indoor growing.....' there's a thread on sequential triggering - potentially to drive a rail gun (weapon) that would be illegal..... I could probably find more.

    Now if someone was to ask 'I want to know how to build a timer' do we close it because it could be for an explosive mechanism????

    Closing the exhaust thread was, imho, premature and rather 'PC-ish'..... where will it lead to?
     
    kellys_eye, Apr 16, 2018
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  3. hevans1944

    davenn Moderator

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    I have enough F**Kwits with excessively loud exhausts driving up and down the street outside my bedroom window
    I'm not about to allow the encouragement of another one that may end up destroying someone else's peace and quiet

    Yes, he may only use it on the racetrack .... but unfortunately a large proportion of these hoons don't


    thanks Hop


    agree totally


    and I wouldn't close threads with any of those suggestions UNLESS there was a good hint of illegal/dangerous activities

    there was no hinting in the thread under discussion .... his intentions were written plain for everyone to read


    Dave
     
    davenn, Apr 16, 2018
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  4. hevans1944

    kellys_eye

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    So if the OP wrote "I'm considering making a noisy valve device" or "if I wanted to make a valve to open a flap on a pipe...." the thread would remain open but because he said he wanted to make one (that happened to be on a car) it was closed?

    I get vehicles charging past my place with mega-watt LED headlights that 'hurt' my eyes. Next time someone asks about high power LEDs I'll ask for the thread to be closed...... just in case......
     
    kellys_eye, Apr 16, 2018
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  5. hevans1944

    Audioguru

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    The cop I see every day catches speeding cars with a radar gun that senses the cars two blocks away, and he selects mostly "performance" cars. His normal hearing senses the noisy cars more than two blocks away. He gives both of them expensive tickets. I thanked him.

    I complained to Fiat/Chrysler that their Jeeps and Chryslers have daytime running lights that blind oncoming drivers with high beams at full power and they replied that VW and KIA do the same. Most cars use dimmed low beams or turn signal lights for daytime running lights. High intensity lights hurt.
     
    Audioguru, Apr 16, 2018
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  6. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Wow! I didn't want to start a controversy here about when, where, and why moderators should or should not close certain threads. I think the mods do a decent job keeping EP civil, safe, and purposeful as a place to discuss electronics. If someone, sometimes, thinks the moderators are bit too eager to close a thread... well there are plenty of other threads (not to mention other forums) to explore. This ain't a democracy! It's a free open forum with opinions subject to moderation by the owner and his minions.

    I now live on the corner of Pompano Road and Magnolia Road in a relatively quite neighborhood in South Venice, a subdivision of Venice, FL, about a quarter mile off a busy highway (US-41/Tamiami Trail). Pompano isn't a "drive through" shortcut street by any means, but we still get our share of idiot drivers who ignore the 30 mph speed limit of our residential neighborhood and roar down my street at 50+ mph, just like they do on US-41/Tamiami Trail where the speed limit is generally 45 mph. There does not appear to be much concern on the part of the Sarasota County Sheriff to do much about this in my neighborhood, probably because the fine for speeding and/or excessive noise is not sufficient to divert manpower and other resources to the task. BUT... report a break-in or "suspicious" activity and they are all over it with patrol cars, K9 units, and helicopters within minutes.

    I won't say ALL these drivers are Snowbirds from upstate eastern seaboard states, who winter here before heading north to escape our moderate sub-tropical heat, humidity, and mosquitoes... but things have sure gotten a lot quieter the past month or so and traffic congestion is waaay down. I may not need to call Sarasota County to ask about having speed bumps installed after all.

    As for uber-bright LED and arc lamps on vehicles... I am looking at designing an automatic retro-reflector to mount on my car roof, or in the grill, to direct those "laser beams" right back atcha. Probably an ordinary corner-cube mirror reflector would be effective (if large enough), but a tracking, servo-controlled, reflector would be waaay more cool... and maybe add my own light source to it to get the point across more forcefully.
     
    hevans1944, Apr 16, 2018
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  7. hevans1944

    dave9

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    Constructing a device to reflect headlamps back at people is dangerous, and possibly illegal. They might even veer right, start to go off the side of the road, over-correct and ram head-on into you.

    The solution is not to cause even more blinded drivers. It won't make people change their headlights, only being convinced by peer/social pressure or some issued tickets will do that.
     
    dave9, Apr 16, 2018
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  8. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Installing head lights with focused beams, pointed at oncoming drivers, is dangerous and possibly illegal. The light could cause me to veer right, start to go off the side of road, over-correct and ram head-on into the discourteous driver, or wind up upside down in the median or tangled up in the guard rail. Meanwhile, the other driver just keeps on their merry way, totally obilvious to the havoc they have just wreaked.

    I am the blinded driver here. My possible solution was to aim the light back at the source, but not to blind the uncourteous driver any more than he or she blinds me. If I choose to add my own light source, perhaps I can ramp up its power enough to disable the offending light from the other vehicle. I have some experience building lasers powerful enough for the purpose.:cool:

    The source of this retro-reflective, servo-tracking system was an idea that occurred while driving my Ford Taurus Station Wagon at night on a long trip. I have the usual flip rear-view mirror inside the car that can direct high-beams from a car behind me away from my eyes, while still providing a first-surface glass reflection bright enough to see them. My outside-mounted rear-view mirrors don't have this capability, but they are remotely, electrically, adjustable in azimuth and elevation. So I could (theoretically) manually adjust the driver's side mirror to deflect the overly bright beam away from my eyes. However, that would be very inconvenient to adjust at night, and possibly dangerous while moving. So, my interim "solution" was to simply slow down enough until the idiot behind me decides to pass instead of tailgating me with his brights on. Possible future solution is a servo loop, applied to the driver's side outside mirror, to aim the offending light(s) back to their source, restoring the mirror to its previous orientation after the threat has passed.

    Perhaps a little detective work (have a LEO friend run down the license plate) followed by a visit with a ball-peen hammer would convince them of the error of their ways. Um, is that the peer/social pressure solution?o_O

    Hmm. Maybe a moderator should move this thread to another forum, say for example, Off Topic Members Lounge? Or close it, since my original point has been made. Uhm... I did have a point, didn't I? Damn, it is sooo inconvenient getting old(er).
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    hevans1944, Apr 16, 2018
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  9. hevans1944

    kellys_eye

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    The moderation decision to close the original thread appears - to me - to be based on personal aggrandisement...

    ...but of course, this isn't 'my' forum and I have no power to rescind such judgement. I can, however, express my concerns that such decision making should be impartial rather than knee jerk.

    Noisy exhausts aren't illegal per se.... there must be a legally allowable limit but I see no cops carrying audio measurement devices in the same way they carry speed guns.

    We can't be judge and jury on legal issues that have no established factors we can use as a base line.
     
    kellys_eye, Apr 16, 2018
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  10. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Well, we may not be able to do that, but moderators can, and should, act as judge, jury, and (if necessary) executioner to maintain the decorum and "flavor" of this forum. Sure, there will be some knee-jerk reactions from time to time... some issues are so clear-cut that a knee-jerk response is almost mandatory... but the OP always has the option of petitioning the moderator or the owner of this site for re-consideration via PM (private message). I am sure if a good argument is made, the OP will be allowed to continue their posting. The moderators have stated as much in prior posts that resulted in the closing of a thread to further replies.
     
    hevans1944, Apr 16, 2018
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  11. hevans1944

    dave9

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    I am not excusing them blinding you. I'm in favor of them being stopped and the vehicle towed if they cannot operate it to continue driving without the excessive lighting (for example in cases where it's an aux light bar and they can just switch it off).

    Trying to point your own light source as some way to cancel theirs is technically incorrect, illegal, and even more dangerous. Adjusting your side mirrors, sure that's one option but you'll have to keep readjusting them.
     
    dave9, Apr 16, 2018
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  12. hevans1944

    Audioguru

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    Car headlights?
    Why aren't all cars made so that the headlights turn on when it gets dark out?
    Many stupid drivers drive around at night with no tail lights and dim daytime running lights. Some of the smarter drivers turn on the parking lights or the high beams when it gets dark out.
    The solar garden lights I bought for one dollar turn on automatically when it gets dark.

    I agree that blinding the driver who is driving towards you is not smart.

    I will ask the cop who gives tickets for noisy cars if he uses a sound level device and what is the limit (>120dB??).
     
    Audioguru, Apr 17, 2018
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  13. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    IIRC, in Canada all cars have headlights that are automatically turned on when the car is started. I seem to recall this happening when I rented a car in British Columbia's Vancouver during a business trip one year in the previous century. Too bad there was no follow-up here in America. It's a Good Idea.

    Okay. I think taking out their lights with a high-energy laser is probably not a good idea either, mainly because of the possible repercussions. Ditto going after the lights with a ball-peen hammer. Maybe polarized sun-glasses with light-activated variable density lenses would work...
     
    hevans1944, Apr 17, 2018
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  14. hevans1944

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    A local university has installed "smart" speed humps for such folk.

    If they are going slower than the speed limit the road is smooth. If they're going faster, a speed hump (actually a dip) magically appears in their path.

    I hate speed humps, but I kinda like these ones.
     
    (*steve*), Apr 17, 2018
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  15. hevans1944

    kellys_eye

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    Most problems I've seen with headlights are to do with their alignment more than their brilliance. The annual test for cars (MOT here in the UK) is supposed to test such alignment and fail the vehicle if the beams don't shine according to the spec - beam width, height, angle etc.

    That and the fact that some people are so insecure about their driving skills they think that 'full beam on all the time' is the right way to drive...... dix.

    Actual driving ability has degraded significantly over the years - and I blame the foreign influx as they can use their (usually lower requirement test) licence to drive in our country.
     
    kellys_eye, Apr 17, 2018
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  16. hevans1944

    Audioguru

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    No, only some cars do. Many people drive at night with only the dimmed daytime running lights in the front and nothing in the back.
     
    Audioguru, Apr 17, 2018
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  17. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    @Audioguru that's what happens when I jump to a conclusion based on a single example. I just assumed that, because the rental car company ordered vehicles with automatic turn-on of the headlights, that all cars sold in Canada had that feature. My bad. Thanks for the correction.

    Agreed. So it's a Good Thing that, just-In-time, electronics technology is now creating somewhat safer vehicles that drive themselves. I can hardly wait to make a cross-country trip in one of those puppies. Then both I and my wife can sleep at the wheel, instead of trading off driving responsibilities. And what a boon that will be for long-haul over-the-road truckers! No more crowded rest areas full of semi rigs running their diesel engines all night while the drivers sleep!

    It's sooo good to be living in the 21st Century! Anybody remember the TV jingle "See the USA in your Chevrolet" featured as a commercial on the Dinah Shore show, or the Greyhound motto "Leave the Driving to Us?" Real-soon-now, we will have the best of both worlds: self-driving cars.
     
    hevans1944, Apr 17, 2018
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  18. hevans1944

    Audioguru

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    Drivers at night without the lights on assume that the car turned them on because they see the dashboard display lighted and see the dim daytime running lights lighting the road ahead. I flag them down when I see them leaving a parking lot and they do not have a clue how to turn on the low beam headlights. They turn on the parking lights or the high beams. Some of them do not leave the high beams on because they see that they are made to blind oncoming drivers or light up fog, not to light the road.
     
    Audioguru, Apr 17, 2018
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  19. hevans1944

    kellys_eye

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    you're not referring to Tesla's I presume.....
     
    kellys_eye, Apr 17, 2018
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  20. hevans1944

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    I prefer Google's approach rather than Tesla's (and by extension most other manufacturers).

    The "driver assist" mode seems designed to pull the driver into a false sense of security and to allow them to become inattentive. It's just a short step from there to disaster.

    Google's approach has been "self driving" from the start, with the vehicle having to handle all situations rather than falling back on the operator.

    Google argues that you can't get to self driving by adding more and more driver assist functions, a holistic approach is required.

    If you are going to deliberately de-skill the operator, is a bit of a stretch to then rely in the operator to retain full situational awareness so they are able to take corrective action in a time critical situation.
     
    (*steve*), Apr 18, 2018
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