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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Mark Page's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Massey Ferguson 2615 48hp, 4wd, loader

    Default Alcohol Dragster

    If alcohol generates less hp than gasoline, why does the NHRA have a whole class of dragsters that race with it?
    Gear Up and Throttle Down.

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  2. #2
    Veteran Member YesDeere's Avatar
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    Dec 2008


    Runs cooler I think

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Hooked_on_HP's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Coal City IL
    Ford 1900 FWD Kubota F2100E

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    You can make more power with alcahol but it takes twice as much fuel. One of the reasons that people run alcohol is that the engine runs so much cooler.In my opinion gas is for racing and alcohol is for drinking.

  4. #4
    New Member
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    Aug 2012
    Waller, TX
    Kubota M6040

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    I'm no expert but here's some information that may answer your question. If not, try a google search on methanol vs. gasoline.

    Octane equivalence
    Methanol has an equivalent octane rating of 113, which is higher than that of E85 ethanol/gasoline (105) and much higher than that of premium pump gas (93). This allows for higher compression ratios and more aggressive ignition timing, both of which are needed for high-powered racing engines. Pure ethanol is slightly higher, at 116 octane, but you can't sell pure ethanol because people would be drinking it instead of burning it.

    Octane rating - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As you point out, methanol is less energetic than other fuels, with a stoichiometric ratio of only 6.4:1, as opposed to 9:1 for ethanol and 14.7:1 for gasoline. As such, you'd burn a little over twice as much methanol as you would gasoline, in an engine that could burn both. Owners of flex fuel vechicles have already discovered this; they get fewer miles out of a tank of E85 than they do out of a tank of gas, although there's a little more horsepower to be had if the engine can adjust for the higher octane rating.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member banjodunn's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ararat Vic Aus

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    Alcohol allows for higher comp ratios due to its higher octane rating thus giving more horsepower and also runs alot cooler but at the offset of higher fuel consumption. My mate used to race an old Honda 750/4 sidecar (roadrace) and we had all sorts of problems for a start with engine failures that I thought were heat related, It took me 2 more failures to convince him that we should run methanol, when we did we dropped oil temp by 30 deg C and no more failures


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Upstate NY
    Massey Ferguson 20f highway, cub cadets 86 + 1650

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    Alcohol is also very hard on carb and/or injector parts. Its natural tendency to draw moisture makes it tough on
    steel carb internals. Most racers running on methanol start the engine on gas and then switch over. Conversely,
    you have to run gas to clean the system before shutting down or completely drain and lubricate. Wouldn't be my
    first choice for fuel at 20 F or below. Tough enough to keep moisture out as it is.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Redneck in training's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    South Central Iowa
    TYM 330 HST with FEL

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    Many years ago when I was still young and bulletproof I was racing boats. The boat engines could use any fuel so most run on methyl alcohol. There were two reasons to use methyl:
    1.) Due to high octane number the engines had compression ratio about 14-16.
    2.) Since the energy content was about half of gasoline there was large volume of fuel ingested by the engine. Large portion of the fuel evaporated in the cylinder cooling it down preventing piston and spark plugs burns.

    You can get way more power with methyl than with gasoline.

  8. #8
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    You can also run with little or no cooling, at least on a drag car. Therefor the blocks can be filled or solid increasing the strength.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member repowell's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    East Texas
    NH Boomer 8N, NH TC40DA

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    The Top Fuel and Funny Car classes run nitromethane creating 6000 HP. The Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car series run slower and cost less, a starter series for new drivers. John Force's daughters Ashley and Courtney ran Top Alcohol before stepping up to Funny Cars. Brittany still runs Top Alcohol.

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  10. #10
    Gold Member beersngars's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Kubota L3400HSD

    Default Re: Alcohol Dragster

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked_on_HP View Post
    .In my opinion gas is for racing and alcohol is for drinking.
    Close.... but in my opinion, gasoline is for washings parts, alcohol is for drinking and nitro is for racing.

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