A New Invention Shows Promise
by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance, Leesville, TX
Motorheads Performance was honored to interview inventor Frank Will to discuss his Over7TM design, which recently caught the eye of the editors at Popular Science in their search for top inventions for their 6th Annual 2012 Awards. Mr. Will's innovative design uses waste heat to reduce car engine friction by warming the engine oil to its optimal operating temperature, resulting in higher efficiency, lower emissions, and fuel consumption savings!
After reading an article in the June 2012 issue of Popular Science magazine, I must admit, something hit a cord. Since I work and live side-by-side with a mechanical engineer, I guess some of the intrigue in what they do has rubbed off on me, and I was immediately curious. The article aptly described Mr. Will's life as having always "been consumed with improving engine performance." In fact, he began racing motorcycles in Europe when he was a teenager. He won a world championship race in 1991 before becoming an automotive engineer with Ford in Germany and later also Australia. Leaving his job in 2008, he began working on what later was dubbed "Over7".
I admit, I wanted more information. The concept sure seemed sound. It just made a lot of sense, and a sentence near the end of the article caught my eye. "He also plans to furnish a $200 to $400 conversion kit that mechanics could use to install the system in older cars." Well, I thought...the wheels turning in my head...I wonder how well the system would work on a classic car? It would seem a simple add-on would not detract much from keeping an engine original, as it works by collecting hot motor oil before it returns to the oil pan, instead redirecting it to a heat exchanger that transfers heat from the engine's exhaust gas, heating it even more. This makes it less viscous, at the same time keeping it from burning up the engine due to the thermostat control, which does not allow the temperature to exceed 300 degrees. Amazingly, the actual engine block stays at a relatively cool 200 degrees, making it easier to turn the crankshaft and run the oil pump, thereby requiring less fuel from the engine.
While this system may not work well in a performance engine that our customers use for their street/strip muscle cars and classics, I'm thinking this could be a good thing for our classic car customers that have daily drivers, or regularly use their cars for cruises, etc., where gas mileage can be an important consideration! By this time, my mind is racing ahead of itself. How easily would this conversion kit be to install? Would a "one size fits all" system work, or would there need to be modifications for different size engines, etc. The questions began flying, and before you know it, I was contacting the inventor, Mr. Frank Will, at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, where he has led research and testing at the School of Engineering during his Ph.D. project!
I was astonished and pleased to receive a quick, personal reply from Mr. Will. He not only answered my questions, but engaged in a back and forth dialogue where I found out that, yes, Frank IS an American Classic Car enthusiast! While a friend has "an old Mustang", his dream car would be "the yellow hot rod from American Graffiti". Well, Frank, you are in good company! A NICE pick! I know our friends and customers at Motorheads are nodding their heads in approval.