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Old 08-26-2010, 06:16 AM   #1
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Default Methanol A/F and Timing

Experimenting using methanol in a turbocharged SBF with electronic fuel injection. I was wondering from those that have used it what A/F ratio Lamda do you shoot for under full power. I also would like to know about timing compared to 112 octane race fuel. I advanced the timing slightly (2 degrees) and didn't see any improvement on the chassis dyno - it actually lost a few HP.

By the way, I am using methanol for fuel, not just injecting a small amount to control detonation.

Thanks.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

A/F and timing will depend on boost and the rest of your combo.
A safe place to start would be @ 4.0 a/f (.625 lamda) under full load and go from there. Before you reach boost (0-14.5 psia) 5.0 a/f (lamda .7813) would be a good place to start.
As far as timing goes, I have found it depends on your head/piston combo. I would start with it where you ran gas and adjust from there.
The best thing you can do is learn to read plugs. Do not go strickly by lamda or egt's. Use the data you get from them along with the plug reading to determine what your motor likes and wants.
Lastly, what ignitiion system and plugs are you running? Where did you have your plugs gapped?
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

What kind of ignition do you have? You will be shooting for ~3.0-3.8 a/f area. The fuel contains oxygen so if you dump more fuel in you can make more power if you can ignite it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topfun99 View Post
Experimenting using methanol in a turbocharged SBF with electronic fuel injection. I was wondering from those that have used it what A/F ratio Lamda do you shoot for under full power. I also would like to know about timing compared to 112 octane race fuel. I advanced the timing slightly (2 degrees) and didn't see any improvement on the chassis dyno - it actually lost a few HP.

By the way, I am using methanol for fuel, not just injecting a small amount to control detonation.

Thanks.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

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Originally Posted by Uncle Paul View Post
A/F and timing will depend on boost and the rest of your combo.
A safe place to start would be @ 4.0 a/f (.625 lamda) under full load and go from there. Before you reach boost (0-14.5 psia) 5.0 a/f (lamda .7813) would be a good place to start.
As far as timing goes, I have found it depends on your head/piston combo. I would start with it where you ran gas and adjust from there.
The best thing you can do is learn to read plugs. Do not go strickly by lamda or egt's. Use the data you get from them along with the plug reading to determine what your motor likes and wants.
Lastly, what ignitiion system and plugs are you running? Where did you have your plugs gapped?
Yesterday on the chassis dyno the car made 759hp at around 5500-5800 rpm with 14lbs boost, 30hp more than it made the week before at the same boost level with 112 octane gas. Lamda was around .70 for both gas and methanol. It picked up power slightly on methanol when I leaned it out from .67. Timing was 26 degrees for both the gas and methanol. Ignition is MSD 7531 box, plugs are NGK irridiums, heat range 7, gapped at .020.

EGTs were 1400-1450 or 100-150 degrees lower than what I normally see with the gas. Air inlet is measured upstream of the injectors and was around 180 (air to air intercooler).

Of course I plan to take it to the track and do some additional tuning to see how it responds on ET and mph. With 20lbs boost on gas the car has run 8.60s, 160mph with limited traction on gas. Eventually I want to push the boost up towards 30lbs boost.

Just to clarify some details on the setup which is strange but has worked very well for my application. The engine runs on 8-32lbs injectors (using 93 octane pump gas) up to 4.7lbs boost. Above this boost level it kicks in the 8-220lb secondary injectors that use the methanol. So under full power at higher boosts the engine is running with 8-32lbs injectors using 93 octane and 8-220lb injectors using methanol. Because of this, I don't have any of the idle/part power problems associated with methanol. The secondary injectors are located in the upper part of the intake (Edelbrock RPM II) and actually face "backwards" into the air stream so vaporization is very complete.

I understand about checking the plugs but that is not an easy option. I drive the car everywhere, including to the track. I rarely ever make a pass with fresh plugs. Plug accessiblility is very limited and I can only remove and replace the plugs when the engine has cooled substantially. Plugs 1 and 8 are somewhat easier to access but are still difficult. To date the car has been tuned using only A/F ratio and EGTs which has worked out pretty well.
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Last edited by Topfun99; 08-26-2010 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

I'm no expert but I believe alcohol likes a few degrees less timing, the plugs gapped a little tighter and .7 lambda (4.5:1) or so is dangerously lean at WOT, that's more like a NA car A/F.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topfun99 View Post
Yesterday on the chassis dyno the car made 759hp at around 5500-5800 rpm with 14lbs boost, 30hp more than it made the week before at the same boost level with 112 octane gas. Lamda was around .70 for both gas and methanol. It picked up power slightly on methanol when I leaned it out from .67. Timing was 26 degrees for both the gas and methanol. Ignition is MSD 7531 box, plugs are NGK irridiums, heat range 7, gapped at .020.

EGTs were 1400-1450 or 100-150 degrees lower than what I normally see with the gas. Air inlet is measured upstream of the injectors and was around 180 (air to air intercooler).

Of course I plan to take it to the track and do some additional tuning to see how it responds on ET and mph. With 20lbs boost on gas the car has run 8.60s, 160mph with limited traction on gas. Eventually I want to push the boost up towards 30lbs boost.

Just to clarify some details on the setup which is strange but has worked very well for my application. The engine runs on 8-32lbs injectors (using 93 octane pump gas) up to 4.7lbs boost. Above this boost level it kicks in the 8-220lb secondary injectors that use the methanol. So under full power at higher boosts the engine is running with 8-32lbs injectors using 93 octane and 8-220lb injectors using methanol. Because of this, I don't have any of the idle/part power problems associated with methanol. The secondary injectors are located in the upper part of the intake (Edelbrock RPM II) and actually face "backwards" into the air stream so vaporization is very complete.

I understand about checking the plugs but that is not an easy option. I drive the car everywhere, including to the track. I rarely ever make a pass with fresh plugs. Plug accessiblility is very limited and I can only remove and replace the plugs when the engine has cooled substantially. Plugs 1 and 8 are somewhat easier to access but are still difficult. To date the car has been tuned using only A/F ratio and EGTs which has worked out pretty well.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

Topfun99,
1. I suggest to do yourself a huge favor and read at least a few plugs so you know exactly whats going on inside your motor.
2. switch to NGK -8 racing plugs.
3. You have a 7531 ignition box so I would take advantage of the boost retard feature. If you have a 3 bar map sensor you can pull it out a function of boost. I am not sure how much more you can add with 93 octane gas as I don't know it static compression ratio but that might gain you some bottom end power.
4. did you ever consider E-85 so you don't have to screw around with 2 fuel cells?
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Paul View Post
Topfun99,
1. I suggest to do yourself a huge favor and read at least a few plugs so
you know exactly whats going on inside your motor.

2. switch to NGK -8 racing plugs.

3. You have a 7531 ignition box so I would take advantage of the boost retard feature. If you have a 3 bar map sensor you can pull it out a function of boost. I am not sure how much more you can add with 93 octane gas as I don't know it static compression ratio but that might gain you some bottom end power.

4. did you ever consider E-85 so you don't have to screw around with 2 fuel cells?
1. I do take the plugs out on a regular basis and exam them. Usually always the same - porcelian clean white (good engine management system/good tune/O2 feedback loop) and no signs of problems. Just never after they were first installed, a full pass put on them and engine cut off cleanly. I will try to do this with a few plugs next time out at the track.

2. Hmmm - I don't want to outright disagree but my research (including discussion with the NGK rep) has lead me to use the irridiums with the extended tip for my application. I have run the NGK v-power "R" plugs but switched to the irridiums. The extended tip plug runs cleaner and the spark is further out in the combustion chamber where it theoretically lights the mixture in a more optimum location than the v-power R plug. By the way, the "R" plug stands for retracted tip which was designed for piston top clearance. I do plan to switch to the 8 heat range irridium soon though.

3. My engine management controls all of the timing right where ever I set it - I usually have 36 degrees at 3000 rpm - full power - no boost. From there I retard it based on boost. I do use the MSD for retarding the spark in first gear to control traction.

4. I would have used E-85 a long time ago but it is just not readily available in central florida. I also considered buying a drum of E-98 to use but I haven't found it for a reasonable cost - Methanol is just cheaper and readily accessible. I'm actually just using the original tank and lines for the 93 octane. The other cell is small (5 gal) in the trunk with it's own pumps and lines. This system has worked out quite well. Twice this year I have driven over 1000 miles round trip to the track, run 8's and drove home. Need gas? I just pull into any station and put in the 93 octane. It only "sips" the fuel in the cell so that only gets topped off every 15-20 passes using race fuel (will be more often with the methanol. I never have to listen to the big electric pumps because they are only turn on right before the engine makes boost.

I appreciate all of the suggestions. I designed and fabricated everything needed on this car and have driven it approximately 10,000 miles in the last 3 years and made over 450 passes with this combination using race gas - It works quite well. I am looking for some tips and insight into the methanol which I have researched quite extensively but have no actual experience with. By the way, I am a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer so I put a lot of thought into everything but have a great respect for information from those with real world experience.
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NMRA 2013 Bradenton TS & Shootout Winner - 8.67 avg - driven 800 miles to track
NMRA 2012 Bradenton TS Winner - 8.93 avg - driven 2000 miles to track

Thanks to:
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TRZ MOTORSPORTS
REAL STREET PERFORMANCE
FB PERFORMANCE
HALTECH
PTC
Kris Starnes - Kris Starnes Racing
M/T Tires

EMAIL - RoadTripRacer@aol.com

Last edited by Topfun99; 08-26-2010 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

Truthfully, I am done with this thread.
You opened asking asking about methanol and compared to 112 gas.
The next post things change and you are mixing fuels, which is a whole different ball game.
Then again things change and you are using a timing curve.
Here is my final word. You can have the best fuel/timing management system in the whole but it is only as good as the data you feed it. If you have never read the plugs after just one pull on the dyno IMO you don't really know whats is going in inside your motor.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

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Originally Posted by Rodrigues View Post
I'm no expert but I believe alcohol likes a few degrees less timing, the plugs gapped a little tighter and .7 lambda (4.5:1) or so is dangerously lean at WOT, that's more like a NA car A/F.
Methanol is a funny creature. If you have the ingition and you can make it like 3.0:1 you can run a bit more spark "well you have to or you risk hydrolock on a small CI high output engine" if your upagainst the leaner side 4:1 or so you have to run less timming. Its very ignition depndant. Back in the mid 90's my boss's alcohol 14-71 car ran about 24 degree at 40 psi of boost and that when the rod bearings looked the best. It was a big open chamber conventional headed style big block with a 4.5 bore and a 4.25 stroke. We still wound up putting parts in it all the time but mostly is was valvetrain fialure. when he switched to a nitrous alcohol combo all hell broke loose and it was a huge pain to keep it together.

So results vary.

that was the last time I really was invovled with methanol as a fuel and it was more a learnign experience then anything else. that siad I know a few guys who run some pretty badass alky motors and they all say the same thing for BBC tuneups at similar boost levels.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

I didn't even catch that, whole setup sounds like a mess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Paul View Post
Truthfully, I am done with this thread.
You opened asking asking about methanol and compared to 112 gas.
The next post things change and you are mixing fuels, which is a whole different ball game.
Then again things change and you are using a timing curve.
Here is my final word. You can have the best fuel/timing management system in the whole but it is only as good as the data you feed it. If you have never read the plugs after just one pull on the dyno IMO you don't really know whats is going in inside your motor.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topfun99 View Post
1. I do take the plugs out on a regular basis and exam them. Usually always the same - porcelian clean white (good engine management system/good tune/O2 feedback loop) and no signs of problems. Just never after they were first installed, a full pass put on them and engine cut off cleanly. I will try to do this with a few plugs next time out at the track.

2. Hmmm - I don't want to outright disagree but my research (including discussion with the NGK rep) has lead me to use the irridiums with the extended tip for my application. I have run the NGK v-power "R" plugs but switched to the irridiums. The extended tip plug runs cleaner and the spark is further out in the combustion chamber where it theoretically lights the mixture in a more optimum location than the v-power R plug. By the way, the "R" plug stands for retracted tip which was designed for piston top clearance. I do plan to switch to the 8 heat range irridium soon though.

3. My engine management controls all of the timing right where ever I set it - I usually have 36 degrees at 3000 rpm - full power - no boost. From there I retard it based on boost. I do use the MSD for retarding the spark in first gear to control traction.

4. I would have used E-85 a long time ago but it is just not readily available in central florida. I also considered buying a drum of E-98 to use but I haven't found it for a reasonable cost - Methanol is just cheaper and readily accessible. I'm actually just using the original tank and lines for the 93 octane. The other cell is small (5 gal) in the trunk with it's own pumps and lines. This system has worked out quite well. Twice this year I have driven over 1000 miles round trip to the track, run 8's and drove home. Need gas? I just pull into any station and put in the 93 octane. It only "sips" the fuel in the cell so that only gets topped off every 15-20 passes using race fuel (will be more often with the methanol. I never have to listen to the big electric pumps because they are only turn on right before the engine makes boost.

I appreciate all of the suggestions. I designed and fabricated everything needed on this car and have driven it approximately 10,000 miles in the last 3 years and made over 450 passes with this combination using race gas - It works quite well. I am looking for some tips and insight into the methanol which I have researched quite extensively but have no actual experience with. By the way, I am a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer so I put a lot of thought into everything but have a great respect for information from those with real world experience.
that plug is way to hot for a boosted alky motor. Look at the Preignition index on alcohol fuels. Hot plugs and alky of any kind do not mix. I don't give a fuck what the NGK rep says.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:16 PM   #12
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

I cant really help you much here but I do like the idea of two fuel systems, one for cruise and another for wot. Is there any way you could shut the primary gas fuel system off and just run the meth at wot??? Might make tuning easier? Just a thought.

Last edited by boost creep; 08-26-2010 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

In any case, DO NOT use fancy-assed electrode metal spark plugs with alcohol, methyl or ethyl or any other oxygenated fuel that is highly stressed in terms of pre-ignition resistance. Nobel metals like platinum, palladium and iridium are catalytic and encourage formation of pre-ignition sensitive radicals during the pre-combustion reaction phase of the compression stroke when the heat and pressure of compression breaks and re-combines the fuel molecules into aldehydes and peroxides, which are pro self-ignition compounds.

Plain nickel alloy is the most pre-ignition resistant plug electrode material except tungsten. Google the price of tungsten electrode spark plugs, they are available.

When it is very rich, .7λ - .8 λ or so and richer, Methanol has a higher flame speed than gasoline and so does not need as much advance.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

can you load 2 tunes/ one for street use and 93- the other for track and methanol. turbos are fun with race gas but a freaking blast on methanol.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: Methanol A/F and Timing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodrigues View Post
I didn't even catch that, whole setup sounds like a mess.
Yep, it does always seem to upset people when you do something that they never heard of and have no experience with. Truthfully, I have no idea how I managed to drive this mess to the track almost every week, make 477 passes and then drive it back home every time. Must be just dumb luck......
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NMRA 2013 Bradenton TS & Shootout Winner - 8.67 avg - driven 800 miles to track
NMRA 2012 Bradenton TS Winner - 8.93 avg - driven 2000 miles to track

Thanks to:
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TRZ MOTORSPORTS
REAL STREET PERFORMANCE
FB PERFORMANCE
HALTECH
PTC
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M/T Tires

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