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ignite racing ethanol

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#1 mariner

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 08:45

 Something different from Enginelabs a field visit to - a field - of corn.




Unless you love watching the corn grow driving across Kansas you can skip bits of it but do watch from 14.50 at least where you will see the ethanol in use on a real paradise road" a la American Graffiti 


#2 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 May 2024 - 11:47

I did the ethanol thing a couple of years ago. Bought a proper E85 carby, changed all the fuel tank foam for ethanol compatible stuff. Dynoed it made no more power than on Avgas and was harder to start. Left the car sitting for a couple of months [in a decent shed] and stripped the engine and had rusty bores. It seems far worse than methanol in that dept. 

And in reality methanol is a more complete  racing fuel. More so these days as it seems a lot cleaner and the old problems with blocked nozzles etc seldom happen.

#3 desmo

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Posted 16 May 2024 - 14:48

Is methanol less hydrophilic than ethanol?

#4 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 07:43

Is methanol less hydrophilic than ethanol?

Methanol is hydroscopic, very much so but E85 seems more so. 

I have rebuilt half a dozen methanol engines and the oil is generally milky and often the bearings pitted as well. I did a clssic speedway Chev engine that stopped racing in late 80s, usual drain the fuel from the injection. When I got it here it had a lake of milky oil but had effectively no corrosion. I reused all major components except the cam that was worn out. The injection was cleaned, evidently not too bad, and 15 years later it is still running. Though poorly because the owner will not replace the fuel pump or junk distributor.

Friends speedway Modified Sedan he used to fire it up on petrol at the start of the season then not touch it from October to June. And that is a carby engine. 

350 Sedan engine with a methanol Holley again was ok. That engine these days too is running in classic Super mods

E85,, attracted me because of A it is quite cheap and B it is supposed to make more power. I bought a proper E85 Quik Fuel carb, suitable pump, regulator etc and when dynoed it made no more power and was very hard to start cold. Left the car in the shed,, pulled the engine for a freshen up a couple of months later and the bores had minor rust pits. Bottom end was ok as it should have been. It had only done dyno runs on E85.

So this racer will now be using very expensive 102 unleaded and using 13-1 compression.

#5 GregThomas

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 08:01

Here in the South Island of NZ, the availability of methanol is intermittent to say the least. E100 seems to be readily available and priced competitively.

I haven't as yet tried the E100, in the post Classic motorcycle classes I've been building engines for, E100 is not yet legal.

I have been approached to write a remit changing the rules around which fuels we can use. Better do it I suppose.


I used to get sent TQ and minisprint carb racks for attention. Half a season on Methanol without being drained or cleaned meant they were a white furry mess.

I could get the good, switched on drivers to do carb maintenance - but the rest wouldn't even drain the system after a meeting.


A lot of my carb customers changed to injection because the nozzles would still vaporise water contaminated Methanol. Carbs won't.

And of course a lot of them had no idea of proper storage.

#6 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 23 May 2024 - 07:31

E85 also has a very short shelf life, it goes off in 6 or 8 weeks in the tank. Any unleaded fuel goes off in 3 or 4 months and it evaporates far worse than 100 avgas.

E10 seems to rust fuel tanks badly as well. I have a couple of cars that like it,, and a couple that do not run well on it at all

#7 Magoo

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Posted 24 May 2024 - 22:42

Is methanol less hydrophilic than ethanol?


Technically yes but both are perfectly miscible in water in any proportion. 

#8 JacnGille

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Posted 24 May 2024 - 22:48


E85,, attracted me because of A it is quite cheap and B it is supposed to make more power.

#9 Canuck

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Posted 24 May 2024 - 22:55

My prediction before watching the video: no noteworthy gains on anything that was happy to run 87 anyway. Definitely gains on boosted and/or high-compression motors that required really ******** timing to survive lower octanes. No to see how far off base I am...


Edit: Oh come on...what are supposed to call the opposite of advanced timing? Developmentally delayed  timing?

(and I was not misinformed about fuels it seems)

Edited by Canuck, 24 May 2024 - 23:13.

#10 gruntguru

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Posted 25 May 2024 - 04:09

What - can't say ret***arded here???? WTF.

Edited by gruntguru, 25 May 2024 - 04:09.

#11 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 05:23

Having put pump unleaded into a race engine with 11.2-1 compression that had to be moved everyday after 2 or 3 days it simply would not run. Put avgas back in the tank and it ran ok again. And nothing was touched. 

All of what they did may be ok on a efi LS but not on a carby race engine.

Though having used 98 ULP towing on a efi Falcon 6 it was far better than using normal 91. Used less fuel for the same speed.

#12 Greg Locock

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 00:06

The dyno lab used to have a large tank of avgas. When they initially started tuning a proto they used avgas so they didn't have to worry about knock as much. The knock sensor was a plastic coffee cup stuck on the end of a piece of that bendy brake pipe, back to the control room.