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Old 08-03-2008, 08:19 PM
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Building a SBC Alcohol Motor

I have a 400 SBC that I would like to build for alcohol. My question is what is so different from an alcohol motor opposed to a gas motor? I have a friend that runs a mopar (360ci I think) on alky and is second in the points standings at the track and he says that the carb is the biggest thing that you have to change. I want mine to hold up and I am looking for directions. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 08-03-2008, 10:52 PM
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The biggest difference when switching to methanol from gasoline is the carb fuel flow circuit calibration, fuel system flow capacity and fuel system materials as Methanol is mildly corrosive to some metals and rubbers.

Methanol has a very high apparent octane. (130) A methanol motor likes lots of compression ratio 12:1 to 15:1 is good.

A motor run on methanol will typically make 12% more torque and 5 to 10% more horsepower all else being equal.
A methanol fueled motor can talerate and wants a cylinder head with larger intake ports and valves than a gasoline motor would to maximize output.

So go big on the compression ratio, intake port volume and double the fuel system flow capacity.

Methanol has no lubricating value at all so you want to add a "Top Lube" additive to the fuel to help lube the top end of the motor and protect the internal metal surfaces from corrosion. High quality stainless steel valves are recomended.

You'll want to change the oil more often.

As I said methanol is mildly corrosive. So if the car will be sitting for more than say a few days, run the motor with the fuel pump off, until it dies, to drain the fuel system. run some gasoline thru the fuel system and spray some WD40 or engine storage lube spray down the carb to protect from corrosion until the next use.
Methanol tends to absorb water out of the air (humidity) so it is best to drain the fuel tank and store the unused methanol in a capped container when the car is not in use.

Methanol does not want to vapourize well below 60F. Use gasoline to prime/start the motor when the temp gets down to 60F and below.

Unlike gasoline. methanol burns very clean with little or no smoke and visable flame colour. A methanol fire is hard to see. Often the flame is invisable.
If you say spill methanol on your skin or cloths and it catches fire the only way to tell you are on fire is to see the heat riseing off you or the object on fire as the flame is near invisable and smokeless.

As a saftey measure the Top Lube additive you add to methanol fuel for racing engine use tends to add visable colour to a methanol flame.

How much horsepower are you looking to produce? Methanol is a very good fuel for racing.

Last edited by F-BIRD'88; 08-04-2008 at 01:01 AM.
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