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Old 09-28-2013, 07:15 PM
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running alcohol

I considering switching my drag car over to alcohol but really don't know much about it.was wondering if anyone could fill me in on it.i know u need alcohol carb and you have to change oil often because of moisture but that about it.any advice greatly appreciated

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Last edited by chris78; 09-28-2013 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:07 PM
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Alky-Hall

Well, I haven't run Alky myself, but I do know some of the points in which to go. First off, Alky requires 21% less oxygen to burn, meaning you have to run huge jets to keep it from leaning out and blowing up. A little research will tell you how to convert a gas carb to run Alky. Usually involves the aforementioned jet changes, powervalves, etc. All of your fuel lines should be replaced with stainless to keep them from rusting and you should also run a fuel pump with stainless internals. As for your tank, I'm sure you are running a fuel cell, so no changes need be made there. Also, be wary of the hazards of Alky, it burns with a nearly invisible flame, and the vapors, albeit thirst inducing, ignite far more quickly than gasoline. Also keep in mind it boils at around 170 degrees. Vapor lock happens quickly. While I know a little, I'm hoping by posting, that this will grab the eyes of more experienced diggers, I am by passion, a roadracer. Although, if no one responds in the next couple of days, I'll call up a friend of mine who runs an Indy car, he can help set us strait.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:35 PM
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What alcohol do you want to use? Ethanol? Methanol? E85?

For methanol you will be flowing 2X the fuel volume you are now with gasoline.
That means the fuel system must flow 2X as much.

Methanol is corrosive to maluminum zinc etc so you need Methanol compatable fuel system plumbing.
and a methanol carb. or two methanol carbs. (on a tunnel ram)
You use more fuel but it costs less than race fuel. The moisture in the oil comes and goes according
to hot hot you get the engine. If when you get the engine oil hot enough you can burn off the moisture.

You need to store the methanol fuel in proper containers as it tends to absorb water from air.
Generally you drain the fuel system on the car when not in use and flush the carb and fuel system with gasoline and a lube like WD 40 to prevent fuel system- carb corrosion and prevent the methanol from absorbing water. When the car is not in use.
Like after you are finished racing for the day.

In cold weather below 60F methanol can be a bit hard to start and you actualy ahve to lean out the mixture to wearm the engine up with methanol fuel. A little gasoline prime helps fire it on cold days.
You will make more torque and a bit more horsepower on methanol
it is very high octane and will allow very high compression ratio.

Other than the initial cost to convert ( carb fuel system_) and the bit of fuel system maintenance, its no big deal.

A additive can be added to the methanol that allows you to see a methanol flame. Some people add a "Top Lube additive" to the
methanol that lubes teh carb, fuel system and top of the engine ( valves etc) as methanol is a very DRY fuel compared to gasoline. ( no lubricating properties) The Top lube smells great! Cherry, grape etc.

Methanol is easy to buy and easy to store in proper fuel containers.

Last edited by F-BIRD'88; 09-29-2013 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 09-29-2013, 02:11 PM
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I would need a really good reason to change from gasoline to alcohol. The changeover cost is high and the additional maintenance (draining out all the alcohol to prevent corrosion to hard parts) wouldn't set well with me after a hard weekend's racing. We ran methanol in our go-karts when we raced them, but they're so easy to work on that it's not a big deal. It was pretty neat washing your hands in fuel to sit down and eat.
air/fuel ratios:
gasoline about 12.5:1
ethanol about 9:1
methanol about 6:1
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Old 09-29-2013, 02:28 PM
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Methanol is what i was considering running..Is the main thing with the carb is having bigger jets for the additional methanol you need over gas.What is the needed compression ratio to get the best performance out of methanol and what do you need for fuel pump.I've heard a large electric pump will work and I've heard you need a belt driven style .A guy at local track a few years ago supposedly had a secondary fuel cell he ran gas in to start his engine and flush the system when he was done anyone ever hear of this.
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris78 View Post
Methanol is what i was considering running..Is the main thing with the carb is having bigger jets for the additional methanol you need over gas?
You really need to think "whole new system" with alcohol carb, alcohol pump and alcohol-friendly lines and fittings.

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Originally Posted by chris78 View Post
What is the needed compression ratio to get the best performance out of methanol?
You can run methanol from 6:1 to 16:1 static compression ratio. The latent heat of evaporation is just an added bonus. (You can spend less money on your cooling system).

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Originally Posted by chris View Post
and what do you need for fuel pump.I've heard a large electric pump will work and I've heard you need a belt driven style.
Depends on the amount of fuel you use. If, for instance, your motor develops 450 hp, It will use gasoline fuel at the rate of 0.5 lbs per brake horsepower hour. 450 times .5 equals 225 lbs. If gasoline weighs 6 lbs per gallon, then divide 225 by 6 and find that at full throttle, your motor burns 37.5 gallons per hour. In the past, I have used a figure of 2 times gallons used to determine the rate of pump to use (fudge factor), so 37.5 times 2 equals 75 gallons per hour when using gasoline. Since you must use about 2 times the volume of alcohol to make the same power as gasoline, I would be looking for a pump that would move 150 gallons per hour at 5 lbs. line pressure.

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A guy at local track a few years ago supposedly had a secondary fuel cell he ran gas in to start his engine and flush the system when he was done anyone ever hear of this.
Makes perfect sense to me.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:04 PM
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Are the alcohol conversion kits for carbs ok or is it better to just buy a carb already set up for it.my current motor is sbc 355 around 10:1 on compression and I'm considering putting it on alcohol or I'm considering build a 385 stroker that would be around 11:1 .I'm interested in the alcohol for the cooling benefits and they extra power.so if i ran stainless lines a high volume electric fuel pump and a alcohol prepped carb would that be all i basically needed to run it.
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:35 AM
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If you do run a fuel cell, verify that the bladder is alcohol compatible. Some alcohol bladders can't handle gas, so I assume there's a chance that works the other way, also. Also check foam baffles for compatibility, if you run those. As far as fittings, you don't want any bare aluminum ones-like homemade welded up fittings, etc... Make sure they are all fully anodized. Stainless if not using aluminum. The moisture in alky will eventually rust bare steel fittings. Also, no paper fuel filter elements. The fuel breaks down the paper into mush eventually. Must be a stainless filter element.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris78 View Post
Methanol is what i was considering running..Is the main thing with the carb is having bigger jets for the additional methanol you need over gas.What is the needed compression ratio to get the best performance out of methanol and what do you need for fuel pump.I've heard a large electric pump will work and I've heard you need a belt driven style .A guy at local track a few years ago supposedly had a secondary fuel cell he ran gas in to start his engine and flush the system when he was done anyone ever hear of this.
Unless you're a carb expert with access to all sorts of closely held propritary parts from the manufacturer, you're much better off to buy an alcohol specific carb. Methanol is a way bigger problem than ethanol, to X2 everything you've been advised of so far. Methanol is not just a problem of bigger jets that works with ethanol which uses a little more volume than gasoline but nowhere near the twice the volume requred by methanol. This changes passage sizes completley revamps the emulsion system's tubes and jets. This is not a simple task from fuel tank to engine a lot of hardware has to change as do the operating proceedures, not to mention that if this is a drag machine it puts you into a different class. Not that I'm trying talk you out of it, but this is something you gotta go into with eye's wide open.

Bogie
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbogie View Post
Unless you're a carb expert with access to all sorts of closely held propritary parts from the manufacturer, you're much better off to buy an alcohol specific carb. Methanol is a way bigger problem than ethanol, to X2 everything you've been advised of so far. Methanol is not just a problem of bigger jets that works with ethanol which uses a little more volume than gasoline but nowhere near the twice the volume requred by methanol. This changes passage sizes completley revamps the emulsion system's tubes and jets. This is not a simple task from fuel tank to engine a lot of hardware has to change as do the operating proceedures, not to mention that if this is a drag machine it puts you into a different class. Not that I'm trying talk you out of it, but this is something you gotta go into with eye's wide open.

Bogie
OldBogie is correct, best to get a dedicated Alky carb from either Holley, or a carb specialist like Rupert Carbs, QuickFuel, ProSystems, Brasswell Carbs, etc --- unless you are a real carb guru.... a switch to alky is more the just the correct jets...even more than the correct air bleeds and idle fuel restricters...some of the fuel transfer passages in the main body and metering blocks, and the booster feed hole in the booster legs in the main body from a gas carb are too usually small for the added volume, ...even if you put a bigger jet in the passage becomes the restriction.
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris78 View Post
I considering switching my drag car over to alcohol but really don't know much about it.was wondering if anyone could fill me in on it.i know u need alcohol carb and you have to change oil often because of moisture but that about it.any advice greatly appreciated
We run alcohol in our Sprint car but we use a Hilborn Injection system. You need a good carb made to run alcohol. As far as changing the oil more frequently, this is true if the system is not setup correctly. On a correctly built and tuned alcohol motor, you should not get anymore alcohol in the crankcase than you would gasoline provided you can keep your engine temp around 190 - 200. On Sprint cars, they recommend around 210*.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:00 PM
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A carb set up for alcohol is what I'm leaning towards. I dont want to tackle the idea of trying to set up a carb to run it.my current catb is borrowed since my gave it up.I just run brackets with my car and running alcohol won't affect the class i run in half the cars in it already run it.I plan on overhauling my entire fuel system this winter anyway new lines and fuel pump as my lines need move because of some modifications i going to make under car.future plans to race dual classes next year so i will be hot laping the car and the idea of the motor not needing to cool is a driving force to do this.I'm basically wanting to milk my motor for all i can get from it and i don't want to run the bottle on it so alcohol is what I'm wanting to do but money is tight so i might consider just building a 383 but would love to build it and put it in alcohol .I've definitely gained so knowledge and a big thanks to everyone for sharing there info.
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