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During my fact-checking of transparency in the aftermarket parts industry – an industry that supports the hobby many of us enjoy, I asked about claims that Equilibrium Tuning INC. has for a product they sell.
When they didn’t reply I decided to make a post about these unsubstantiated claims. This led to a response from their owner, Ed Susman, that failed to address the matter and changed topics to others that he also failed to provide evidence in support of.
Ed commented on several unrelated topics concerning me, including a piece of equipment I use for measuring airflow; a PTS flow bench.
The comments about the flow bench had no connection with EQT’s advertising claims, but they do present an opportunity to assess if Ed Susman demonstrates having knowledge about flow benches.
To help with this assessment the scientific method will be applied with assistance from Olga.
1. Ask a question
Ed’s comments caused me to wonder, is Ed Susman knowledgeable about flow benches?
2. Research your topic
Ed Susman is the owner of Equilibrium Tuning INC., an automotive parts and service business. Ed’s website states that he has over 12 years of experience in software engineering.
Ed’s website states he does tuning. There is no indication that the business operates a flow bench.
Flow benches of various designs have been relied on for supporting automotive research and development for over 75 years. The device measures the resistance of a test piece (intake, intercooler, downpipe, etc.) to the flow of air.
The PTS flow bench that I use, with a capacity of 600 CFM @ 28″ of H2O, is an internal orifice design that is comparable in design and performance to commercial products sold by SuperFlow with their SF-750 model (600 CFM @ 25″ of H2O), and Saenz with their J-600 model (600 CFM @ 28″ of H2O). (More on these below).
3. State your hypothesis
Ed Susman lacks a rudimentary understanding of flow bench test pressure and flow rate requirements.
4. Conduct your experiment
The experiment, in this case, involves collecting and analyzing information (verification by analysis) from different sources on the capacities of flow benches that are used for flow testing automotive parts, to gauge what these sources show to be adequate.
5. Analyze your data
The most obvious source for information is Equilibrium Tuning – they are the originator of the claims.
I contacted Equilibrium Tuning on August 27, 2023, seeking evidence the company could supply to support Ed Susman’s claims.
This email is shown below:
The company failed to respond.
This is a dramatic change from several months ago when Ed Susman was very outspoken on social media, stating to other enthusiasts that the flow bench that I use is inadequate.
It seems the “experts” at EQT are learning that backing up an accusation isn’t as easy as making one.
Because Ed Susman presented no evidence when making his claims, nor would he upon request for this analysis, there is no evidence that supports Ed Susman’s claim that a flow bench that flows 600 CFM @ 28″ of H2O “is inadequate to test automotive flow parts“.
Source: Industry & Established
The following sections will present evidence showing that 600 CFM @ 28″ of H2O is sufficient to flow test automotive parts.
What does Superflow have to say on the topic of flow benches? Who is SuperFlow?
Here is information about the company that has been in the business of supplying automotive-related organizations with flow benches for 50 years.
Here’s information on one of the flow bench models that Superflow sells, the model SF-750. This bench supports a pressure and flow rate that is similar to the PTS flow bench.
Another well-known name in commercial flow benches is Saenz. Saenz also serves automotive-related industries and offers a model, the J-600, with a similar performance to my PTS flow bench.
Returning to the claims made by Ed Susman, that a flow rate of 600 CFM @ 25″ of H2O (Superflow SF-750) or 600 CFM @ 28″ of H2O (Saenz J-600), is “inadequate to test automotive flow parts“.
On the one hand, there is Ed Susman, software tuner and owner of Equilibrium Tuning baselessly claiming the PTS, Super SF-750, and Saenz J-600 flow benches are inadequate for testing automotive parts.
On the other hand, there are two international companies that have been in the business of making flow benches to support the testing of automotive parts for about 50 years, selling flow benches that Ed Susman claims are “inadequate“.
If Ed Susman were correct, it would mean that Superflow and Saenz failed to understand the level of performance needed from their SF-750 and J-600 benches for their customers.
Additionally, for Ed Susman to be correct, it also means the automotive performance shops that have purchased the Superflow SF-750 or Saenz J-600 flow benches over the years, at a cost of around $12,000-$15,000, were unaware they were purchasing an “inadequate” piece of equipment.
It is illogical to conclude that these two companies failed to understand what level of performance was required from the products they sell to satisfy their customers.
It is also illogical to conclude their customers failed to understand what level of performance they require from a flow bench.
Finally, it is illogical to conclude that a failure in understanding by both sellers and buyers of commercial flow benches has been going on for decades.
Established test standards:
In this section, guidelines for testing using a flow bench are reviewed.
To begin, as SuperFlow describes in the Tech Corner section of their website;
The first thing you learn in flow testing is that you must ask (or qualify) at what test pressure the flow numbers were recorded.SuperFlow
Tellingly, all of Ed Susman’s accusations concerned flow rate only, Ed never mentioned the test pressure. This leads to the logical conclusion that, in SuperFlow’s words, Ed Susman doesn’t know “the first thing you learn in flow testing”.
On the matter of test pressure, Harold Bettes, who passed away in 2021, literally wrote the book on airflow (Engine Airflow – by Harold Bettes).
Harold suggests a test pressure of 28″ of H2O be adopted as a standard for testing. This is the pressure I predominantly test at.
What about Ed Susman’s statements about the PTS “flow rate” being “inadequate to test automotive flow parts“?
The flow rate to test with is not addressed by Harold Bettes or Superflow, because the test pressure is what matters.
Mathematical modeling: Irrelevant, but why not:
After going over the fact that how much airflow a flow bench supplies is not a primary concern in obtaining useful information, I will go through an exercise to mathematically prove that Ed Susman’s claims are false.
Using information about the Mk7 engine size (2L), operating speed, volumetric efficiency, and boost pressure, and assuming standard atmospheric conditions, it is possible to calculate the volumetric airflow rate (CFM) through the intake and exhaust of the GTI.
Note: These calculations can also be performed using an online tool like Borg-Warner’s Matchbot, but the spreadsheet facilitates looking at a greater number of operating points simultaneously.
Highlighted in the chart above are the general maximum operating boost pressures near the engine redline for an IS20 and IS38 turbocharger and the corresponding airflow rate for different engine speeds.
Note: It’s not immediately evident from the table, but for these operating ranges airflow rate is more affected by engine speed than boost pressure.
With these values, it is possible to plot the engine airflow rates and compare them to the flow bench’s maximum flow rate of around 600 cubic feet per minute.
For the intake and exhaust components that cause minor pressure losses, such as the airbox, charge pipes, downpipe, and exhaust pipes, 600 CFM exceeds the operating flow rate of an IS20-equipped 2L engine near the redline and is approximately equal to the operating flow rate of an IS38 equipped 2L engine.
Thus, Ed Susman’s claim that an airflow rate of 600 CFM @ 28″ of H2O is inadequate to flow test automotive parts is proven to be false.
6. Draw your conclusion:
Ed Susman baselessly claimed that flow benches capable of flowing 600 CFM @ 28″/25″ of H2O, for example, the SuperFlow SF-750, Jaenz J-600, and PTS (8-motor), are “inadequate to test automotive flow parts“.
Ed Suman failed to provide evidence to support his claims at the time he made them. Ed also failed to provide evidence to support his claims when requested.
Evidence was presented showing international manufacturers of flow benches supply automotive-related organizations with flow benches that flow 600 CFM @ 25″/28″ of H2O.
Evidence was presented that authorities in the field of flow bench testing recommend a test pressure of 28″ of H2O for testing and do not suggest standard flow rates for testing.
Calculations were presented showing that a flow rate of 600 CFM, which the PTS flow bench is capable of, exceeds the flow rate of the IS20-equipped Mk7 GTI at the engine redline.
All evidence related to the question: “Is Ed Susman knowledgeable about flow benches?” points to a conclusion of no, Ed Susman is not knowledgeable about flow benches.
All available evidence also demonstrates that Ed Susman’s claims are false.
The evidence showing that EQT owner Ed Susman made false statements about my flow bench has several significant implications.
Ed Susman’s false statements about the flow bench were in response to my review of EQT’s advertisement that lacked substantiation. The effort by Ed to mislead consumers about the pertinent issue suggests that addressing the unsubstantiated claims was a matter that Ed vigorously wanted to avoid.
Ed Susman repeatedly made a false claim to consumers that the flow bench I use is inadequate, baselessly trying to discredit me, the work I have done, and the information I have presented.
Ed’s false claims have been believed by some consumers (see my post about Diego the YouTuber) which has led to decreased confidence in flow bench-derived test results. This erosion of confidence in test-derived information from a measurement tool that has been a cornerstone of automotive product development for decades is a disservice to consumers.
The failure of EQT to address their claims about the flow bench is inconsistent with an organization that has knowledge on a subject.
Taken together, the unsubstantiated advertising claims, false accusations, attempts to discredit my work, misleading consumers, and failure to provide evidence raise questions about the business ethics of personnel at Equilibrium Tuning INC.
The matter of business ethics will be further investigated in future posts reviewing EQT.