Water Methanol injection – What is the go?

Over the past 20 years, we have seen water / methanol injection fitted to performance cars, it is often seen as “inexpensive power addition”. – Lets consider the pro’s & con’s of installing water / methanol injection (W/M) into your “street” car:

 

How it works: 

 

Methanol is a fuel, it has been used in different motorsport applications over the decades. It has certain advantages & disadvantages when it comes to practical use in a “street car”.

 

Methanol mixed with water & then injected into the intake system of a vehicle, can have the same effect as raising the octane level of the fuel by 20-25 octane numbers (MON).

 

Advantages: 

 

More power, efficiency & a cooler combustion cycle. When the vehicle is properly tuned for the additional octane, large increases in power can result.

 

Disadvantages:

 

It is illegal for road use in Australia (see below)

 

If you have an interruption in W/M injection during high loads, engine damage can result very quickly. This can include running out of W/M, pump failure, blocked nozzle, surge when cornering etc.

 

Your mix of W/M should be the same every time, especially if your car is tuned for the specific octane. It is common for the end user to “mix their own” W/M mix to save money on pre mixed solutions.

 

W/M burns even when mixed 50/50 – please see this test: https://youtu.be/W0AmMFlXWE4

 

We do see that some “premixed” W/M solution has a content of 49% Methanol & 51% water to give a non flammable mixture. There is no end user tool for accurately testing the mix of W/M to see if you have a “flammable” or “non flammable” mix.

 

Safety:

 

We have seen the effects of when W/M goes wrong. From engine bay fires where hose nozzles come loose and spray mixture over hot items, to a near fatal drag strip accident where a crash resulted in the test driver being covered in methanol from a regular installed kit (they added pure methanol into the tank for the drag strip). 

 

Imagine having an accident & covering yourself, passengers or family in a flammable solution? And what will your insurance company say on inspection of your vehicle.

Engineering:

 

Because W/M is injected into the intake tract of a car, it is classified as a fuel – you can argue that it could be just water injection, but an engineer can not control what you put into the tank. It falls into the same category as fitting a surge tank;  Installing a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas) fuel system; and Installing a Natural Gas (NG) fuel system.

 

Your installation would need to follow NCOP9 for fuel systems.

 

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/vehicle_regulation/bulletin/files/NCOP9_Section_LM_Fuel_Systems_01Jan2011_v2.pdf

 

And then be mod plated by a certification engineer. You will find you will then be able to insure your vehicle legally when it is mod plated.

 

Have we ever seen a legal, mod plated W/M injection system? No & multiple engineers we work with on modifications have not either to date.

Australia’s fastest Golf runs methanol injection – race track only! https://www.instagram.com/stock7r/