Installing the Fitch Fuel Catalyst
by Jim Allen
The Fitch Fuel Catalyst has been around since 1994 and is one of the longest running fuel saving devices on the market. In a world of here today, gone tomorrow gas saving gadgets, that fact alone makes the Fitch worth a look for ourselves. With the cooperation of Advanced Power Systems (APS), we installed a Fitch unit onto "New Blue," the '05 F-150HD test mule you've seen previously in other stories.
Brain Twisting Science
Advanced Power Systems advertises the Fitch as a fuel treatment device that reformulates fuel. The way Chris Wright, COO of APS, explains it, the Fitch doesn't make good fuel better but "reconstitutes" degraded fuel. "Degraded" doesn't necessarily mean that nasty, evil smelling stuff you find in the tanks of neglected outboard boats. Immediately after gasoline is made, it begins to degrade. Essentially, it tries to revert back into its previous form. The longer between the time the fuel was refined and you use it, the more degradation has occurred and the more power and mileage is lost.
Really old fuel is an extreme example but according the a source in the gas business, it can be one to three weeks between the time the fuel is processed and it gets to your station. How long it sits in the tank after than depends on how much fuel that station sells. On top of that, the way fuel is stored and transported can have an effect on how quickly it degrades and its condition when you pump it into your tank.
The Fitch uses a 19-metal heterogeneous metal alloy insert as a catalyst and APS tells us converts elements in the degraded fuel to alkanes, which are paraffins that contain hydrocarbons. Alkanes combust better than degraded olefins and aromatic compounds, so you gain back some of what is lost. The metallic alloy also reduces microbial action, which are little critters that form and grow in the water that may be contained in gasoline and may plug fuel filters.
According to APS, how much benefit you gain from the Fitch is directly proportional to the quality of the fuel. This may be why some tests show absolutely no gain in mpg, performance or any reductions in exhaust emissions, and others show big gains. APS claims an average gain of 1 to 2.5 mpg, also saying their product proves more useful and beneficial in the "real world" of spotty fuel quality.
Affixing the Fitch
At first blush, the Fitch comes across as nicely made. The metal canister is well built and the fuel lines and fittings are top-quality. The units are designed in a variety of sizes to accommodate varying fuel flows and power ratings. The part number groups, e.g. F300, F400, etc., indicate the approximate "up-to" horsepower ratings. Specific kits are made to fit a wide range of applications and include the pieces needed to easily fit into the fuel circuit of many trucks without cutting lines. Universal kits are also available, as well as units you drop into the fuel tank.
In our case, it was simply a matter of finding a place to mount the Fitch with the straps supplied, uncoupling the fuel line where it meets the engine and plugging the Fitch into the system. Fitch wants you to reset the adaptive memory (if so equipped) of the fuel injection ECM by disconnecting both the battery terminals and touching them to each other. The ECM then quickly "relearns" with the Fitch added to the system. Total installation time was about a half hour on the F-150, including instruction-reading and figuring-out time.
Tested Snapshot MPG
Recorded on Edge Evolution and tested on the same strech of road traveling in the same direction. Two runs average on Fitch plus stale gas.
The Fitch F4424B, series F400, kit is rated for up to 400 hp and is a size bigger than the F3424, series F300, kit we actually needed. It's the kit designed for the 6.8L V10s but it gives us a little extra capacity for our power upgrades.
On the F-150's 5.4L, the fuel line feeds into the fuel rail at the back of the engine. A clip holds the connector and there's a spring loaded retainer as well. Put a rag there to catch the small amount of fuel that will escape and disconnect the line. Fitch matches these connectors perfectly so you can easily plug the unit in or out as desired.
Install the fittings onto the canister. The lock nut allows you to position the fittings in any position necessary for mounting and then lock it down.
Find a good place to mount the unit. In our case it fit perfectly on one of the master cylinder mounting bolts.
Source: Advanced Power Systems