What do I require and what performance should I expect off what proof alcohol? I heard an old guy talking today about farming way back and they all had stills in the back 40 to cut their costs on fuel. Then 1930's came and to stop the revolution in self made fuel prohibition was swept in under the temperance movement banner. That ended any scale distilling for farm tractors as well. So I don't drink but watched my dad and buddy distill sugar and rice corn and other things so can build a safe copper still with refractor or whatever it's called and condensor coil if I could run my 441 off it. Not looking good at the pump. TIA Steve
Hi Steve, not done this myself but hung around some vintage racers who used "dope". Dope equals methanol, CH3 OH, as opposed to drinking spirit which is ethanol C2 H5 OH.
Benefits, allows much higher compression due to its higher Latent heat of evaporation which gives a bigger cooling effect than gasoline. Higher comp gives more HP.
Disadvantages, methanol has a lower energy value than gasoline so you need more of it. Main jet sizes are massively increased. There is a formula for the conversion around 200% from memory. fuel economy may drop a tad compared to gasoline.
Methanol and paint finishes dont mix , the dope burning vintage bikes always looked rough.It also messes with certain rubbers/ fuel lines O rings.
The history of dope is interesting, the US temperance movement was funded by the oil industry to ban distilling for consumption and road use, this allowed them to sell gasoline instead , which was previously poured into rivers as a useless by product from the oil industry whos main market at the time was lamp and heating oil. Prior to the temperance movement and prohibition methanol was the primary fuel for internal combustion engines.
In the Uk its illegal to run a still below a certain size to prevent backyard illicit distilling, the smallest legal still is at Edradour distellry near Pitlochry. Id be surprised if its not illegal on your side of the pond as well. Cheers Pod
71 Devimead A65 750 56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65 Cagiva Raptor 650 MZ TS 250 The poster formerly known as Pod
Alcohol is a great fuel and will make 15-20% more power if the compresh is raised to ~14:1. But it's sure not practical in a road bike. It's so corrosive you need to clean and flush the complete fuel system and carb daily after running. Many/most guys then run the engine on gasoline a few minutes to insure a good flush and then drain the gas. The moisture/water in the air is also absorbed causing much of the corrossion. Alcohol also attacks many plastics such as carb floats, gaskets, fuel line, petcocks, etc. etc.
If you want to experiment with the stuff, buy a 5 gallon can of methanol at you local speedway or hot rod shop. Expect to pay umm US$10+/gal. Remember about 200% increase in jetting of each stage. Not cost effective eh?
So Gav your saying I have to have a meth-l distilling set up? I have higher than stock compression which I assume is required as well? I'll search the net for the right kind of distilling plans. Thanks! Steve -Now I know why I have those 400 AMAL jets
UPdate: Dave thanks, paint stripper should have tipped me off! At $10. a gallon though sounds like a good mark-up, must be high tech fuel processing. So I cannot get tetra ethel lead to add to other liquids but there must be something if the pump goes to $24./gal say. I must get to an alcohol drag race and touch and taste the stuff! Disolves gaskets you say? hmmmmm one way to get replacement sales going. Steve
Well good thing I can get a peddle bike up to bantam speeds at least. It was a thought and I have learned a few things from this thread. 15% ethanol is hurting Viton already but totally swelling the NBR rubber compounds. I have been testing a new compound anyway to replace the expensive Viton in gas situations. Steve
Steve .. I suggest you troll around and find some vintage racers from OZ or NZ to advise you on running alcohol in older BI. Down there the 'powers that be' recognized there were many early iron top end bikes to race if allowed to use alcohol to run cool and survive when making good power. We hear stories of 50+ HP B33s and older iron Triumph twins. They know their stuff and the limits of the old iron.
BTW, a 500 cc GM speedway engine on alcohol is said to make 60-65 HP. I have a GM engine in a short tracker chassis on the building stand. At ~220 lbs. it should be competitive in the SoCA 'ain't no rules' short track. We'll see.
This may digress into a B33 on parafin thread :o) Good luck with 500. The JAP alcohol bikes sure do pop! The high compression single bug is fully burrowed into my throttle hand I think. LOL! We'll see how long I stay upright on the train like R3 triple eh? I'll treat it like a modern bike speed wise with Fred Flintstone braking speeds to be safe. I'll borrow the 750 Ducati if I want to get on the edge, I think all bike riders should go really fast at least once so they have respect for the potential of disaster. That would save lives I think. Learning new tricks and the yellow BSA collection has begun, next up a DB or DBD I figure. I'll be busy with the R3 a few (8-10) years first so lots of time for saving up. back to the Friday night R3 frame painting party in the apt. pals are jamming upstairs so live 12string music as well. Havin fun, make the effort sometimes you get a great surprise. Steve
If you are talking about converting to methanol I have done this in the last year on my 500 Dommie race bike.
To convert you need to put an alchohol adaption kit into your AMAL carb. These are available of the shelf and contain a alchohol needle (it looks like a real needle - slim and sharp) needle jet ,main jet (at least 2.3 times your standard main jet), float needle, float bowl, replace the filter with metal filter, change all lines and taps to alchohol use resistant material and check your lines flow at least 2.3 times the normal required flow rate. Then advance your timing between 4 and 6 degrees. Bigger the bore the more the extra advance. This is because methanol burns slower. On the Dommie 500 twin 66 mm bore I went from 28 to 32 deg.
Pour in hp increase of about 5 to 8 % even without a compression increase. You can raise the compression ratio safely to over 14 - 15 to 1 if you can mechanically achieve this. Engine runs cooler and "softer". Certainly an advantage for iron motors. Thats why out pre war 1930s guys like it so much.
Its a pretty nasty poison including getting through your skin You need at least 2.3 times as much of it, so there are fuel consumption issues in long races. It runs very dry so you need to add a lubrican to the methanol. eg Redline or castrol R. You need to drain and clean out lines and carbs after every meeting. It evaporates in narrow passages and clogs everything up. Becasue there is no viton tip on the alloy float needle the carbs usually leak everywhere and need continual attention. You need to seal the methanol in a drum becasue it absorbs water. It can be hard to find and sometimes expensive.
In my opinion it is way too much hassle for the road but good for the track. There is nothing really hard about it but it is a bit of a carry on.
I'm not sure its as bad as people are making out in this thread. 160 proof (80%) Ethanol has been widely used as an ordinary motor fuel for a very long time and even in the USA today you are allowed to distil your own, under licence to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms people for that very purpose.
There was a book published ion the early 1980s on the subject called:
Making Your Own Motor Fuel, With Home and Farm Alcohol Stills by the memorably named Fred Stetson.
Its available secondhand on Amazon for $15 and is a highly detailed account of what you need to do to get the whole thing going. I know - I have a copy!!
I know that in Ireland in the past for example people used to run motorcycles on the legendary Potin (pronounced Po-cheen)- a pure alcohol distilled from grain or potatoes. Brazilians have been running vehicles on alcohol and gas-ohol for decades now with success.
Sure, you will need to change the jetting on your bike (and maybe the ignition timing)and ensure that the alcohol is not dissolving rubber or plastic components, but it should work OK.