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Guest (Visitor) (OP)
14 Aug 02 0:51
I heard that if you place moth balls in your gas tank that it would be like turbo-charging you engine with pure methane.  Can anyone elaborate on this one and give any pros or cons?

Thanks,
Ryan Lenahan
lenahan2001@yahoo.com
sciguyjim (Chemical)
14 Aug 02 9:32
This idea comea from the 1950's.  
Pros: mothballs have high octane rating.
Cons: mothballs burn with a huge amount of soot.

According to the article I read, after using the mothballs, the "hot-rodders" needed to overhaul their engines.  There may be more cons than what I know.
evelrod (Automotive)
14 Aug 02 16:47
I tried it on my '49 Merc at the drags. Did nothing for my ET or speed that I could tell so I never used them again. It WAS the hot tuning "secret" in 1958.  What can I say?  You want we should go back to 1958?  Dumb kids do dumb things!  Tried other stuff too. Toluene, Benzene, Methonol, model airplane fuel, etc. Some worked "I think", most did not.  Would I do it again?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

Rod
Craighell (Automotive)
15 Aug 02 23:07
Depends on the mothballs.  Old ones were made from naphthalene. Something like 99.9%.  Good psuedo octane boost and similar in nature to nitromethane.  If the balls are not made from naphtha (I can't recall the substance used most commonly today), there will be no gain.  Too much naphtha and the lean out will do damage.

It's just easier and safer to go to Price Chemical Co. and get a quart of Power Fuel. www.pricechemical.com
In a mixture 50% of the recomended dose, I saw an average of a 4 hp gain on an 80hp-baseline motor that I was testing.  I'm planing on doing more test with the stuff this winter, just to see how much it helps or hurts under different conditions.

Craig-Hell Fire
sciguyjim (Chemical)
16 Aug 02 8:20
Craig,
<Old ones were made from naphthalene. Something like 99.9%.  Good psuedo octane boost and similar in nature to nitromethane.  If the balls are not made from naphtha (I can't recall the substance used most commonly today), there will be no gain.>

Old mothballs were made from naphthalene, but so are some new ones.  Naphthalene is C10H16.  It is not like nitromethane which is CH3-NO2.  Some new mothballs Are made of chloronaphthalene.  It has the smell of "urinal cakes", not like old mothballs.  The chlorine will eat up your O2 sensor when it's burned.   Also, naphtha is not the same as naphthalene.  Naphthalene is a pure compound, solid at room temp.  Naphtha is a liquid mixture of light paraffinic and naphthenic hydrocarbons.

  Naphthalene              Nitromethane
         CH2   CH2
       CH2   C    CH2        H  O
       CH2   C    CH2      H-C-N
         CH2   CH2           H  O
evelrod (Automotive)
16 Aug 02 11:44
Well Craig and Jim.  My last day in a chem class was in 1959 and to an ME major it was just one of those courses I HAD to have (Obviously I got through it, mostly on the lab grade).  Therefore, I will not argue the value of 'moth balls' as a fuel additive aside from what I have already said.  The toluene is still available. It works quite well but is easily detectable in fuel tests.  SCCA and most racing organizations test fuel these days in  post race impound, so 'watch it'!  Caution is advised in purchasing any amt over a liter as the drug folks use it in their meth labs and the constabulary will be at you door!  Benzene is a carcenogen and is very hazaardous  to use without a complete isolation suit and breathing unit.  NO filter mask will remove it (I know, we used it to clean parts with  in the "good ole days". We also wrapped exhaust systems with asbestos and wiped grease up with carbon tetrachloride, too)!
Bottom line----With the easy availibilty of genuine racing fuel, WHY BOTHER?  Most pump fuel can be "boosted" a bit with an MMT additive, Penzoil makes a good (cheapest) one as do others. All the money spent on fuel additives is  mostly wasted. 100  octane unleaded, 104,108,114 octane leaded all available.  Just a little bit expensive I suppose at three to five bucks a gallon.  Pales in comparison to fuel cost in the rest of the world---as much as five bucks a LITER!!!

Rod

PS---I haven't even seen a 'mothball' in 40 years!!!
Chumley (Automotive)
16 Aug 02 22:07
A trip to the local airport fueling island and loading up with the "blue/green stuff" will still get you 100 octane aviation gas.  Got lots of lead in it though and they won't put it in anything but airplanes.  A bit pricey but available in a pinch.  The "workable" ingredients below might give you some ideas.

AVIATION GASOLINE:  Avgas 100 LL, Avgas 100

Appearance and Odor:   Blue or green liquid with a gasoline hydrocarbon odor.
pH:  NA
Vapor Pressure:   38 - 49 kPa @ 38 °C
Vapor Density (Air = 1):   3 - 4 (Estimated)
Boiling Point:   75 - 170 °C
Solubility:  Low PPM range in water.
Freezing Point:  -58 °C (Max)
Specific Gravity:  0.7 - 0.8 @ 15 °C

SECTION 2  COMPOSITION/ INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS

COMPONENTS   
CAS NUMBER  
AMOUNT   

Aviation Gasoline   
OTHER  
100 %volume   

Naphtha, light alkylate   
64741-66-8  
> 90 %volume   

Trimethylpentane-2,2,4 or iso-octane   
540-84-1  
> 1 %volume   

Tetraethyl lead   
78-00-2  
< 4 ml/gal   

Ethylene dibromide   
106-93-4  
< 4 ml/gal   

Toluene  
108-88-3  
< 10 %volume  

Benzene  
71-43-2  
< 1 %volume

Chumley  
 
Craighell (Automotive)
20 Aug 02 22:08
Sciguyjim,

I stand corrected in my mis-use of naphtha as an abbreviation for naphthaline. I bow to your greater knowledge of chemical properties of various substances.


I was however just trying to point out that throwing mothballs in fuel may or may not help depending on what they are made from.  Throwing a handful in the tank because your buddy says it will work isn't always a good idea.

Like adding nitromethane to fuel, it can be tricky if you don't know what you're doing.  It can still be tricky if you DO know what you're doing.

There are easier and more cost effective ways to get a slight performance gain, and most of those come with instructions!

Cheers,
Craig-hellfire
sciguyjim (Chemical)
20 Aug 02 23:05
Craig,
"Like adding nitromethane to fuel, it can be tricky if you don't know what you're doing.  It can still be tricky if you DO know what you're doing."

I agree.  I was surprised to see Price Chemical selling nitromethane as a gasoline additive because I'd heard that mixing it with gas could produce compounds so sensitive that normal engine heat and movement of parts could make it blow up before it even reached the cylinders.

I've used toluene several times as an engine and fuel injector cleaner.  It's a very good solvent, better than many store-bought cleaners I've tried.  I've added as much as 1 quart per tank of gas w/o problems.  Gasoline already contains some toluene, and similar chemicals, so adding a little more isn't going to bother anything.
RacerRick (Automotive)
21 Aug 02 19:25
You can use products from klotzlube.com They sell a 50% nitropropane blend. It works well with racing gas but make sure she on the fat side or you can kiss the pistons goodbye instantly. They also sell another product called codex that contains 37% oxygen content.
They have various other additives and lube products too.
sciguyjim (Chemical)
22 Aug 02 8:27
RacerRick, or anyone,
Here's an idea from left field.  If someone had a lot of carbon deposits in their cylinders and wanted to burn them clean, could they add some of the high oxygen content additives mentioned to get higher combustion temps temporarily?  I've been told nitromethane won't have this effect but I don't know why.
RacerRick (Automotive)
22 Aug 02 9:33
If you want to remove carbon just use water. SLOWLY pour a little stream down the intake or hook a vacuum hose with a aquarium a valve spliced in, to regulate the flow of water into the injector/carb base, now the engine vacuum will pull the water in. Remember not to close the throttle abruptly or it will suck mega water in.
 Now when it comes to removing synthetic oil deposit, you got me. I have yet to see anything other than stripping the motor and shot blasting, sand blasting and wire wheelling the  chambers and valves to remove the build up left by synthetic oils which is why I do not recomend syn. for daily drivers. Even when you put the parts in a tank filled a strong concentration of sodium hydroxide/ water at 180F that won't touch it and neither does carb cleaner/cresylic acid.
sciguyjim (Chemical)
22 Aug 02 16:01
<Now when it comes to removing synthetic oil deposit, you got me. I have yet to see anything other than stripping the motor and shot blasting, sand blasting and wire wheelling the  chambers and valves to remove the build up left by synthetic oils which is why I do not recomend syn. for daily drivers. Even when you put the parts in a tank filled a strong concentration of sodium hydroxide/ water at 180F that won't touch it and neither does carb cleaner/cresylic acid.>

Interesting, I've never heard any of this.  Could be the subject of some future experimentation.
One of the more remarkable cleaners I ever saw was just some kind of detergent in water.  It was used to remove varnish from inside single cylinder, 2 stroke airplane engines.  Acetone and methylene chloride wouldn't touch the varnish but a soak in this detergent would take it all off.  I tried it once on a sample of baked-on motor oil for cars but it didn't do a thing.
andygold (Mechanical)
5 Sep 02 21:30
IIRC, mothballs are Paradichlorbenzene.  Their effects on engines I do not know. If any of your engine's internals are made of wool though, I think you'll have no problems from moths. =)
mer250c (Automotive)
5 Nov 02 16:29
Guys, here is a site that will allow you to purchase gasoline additives or alternative fuels that actually help clean the air. E85 (85% ethonal) is sold in many parts of the country. Yes, your system needs to be compatible with ethonal since it is somewhat corrosive but a 10% mix will boost your octane to allow a bit more compression and eliminate knocking in high performance engines. I have found prices ranging from 1.49 to 2.00 per gallon. It's Octane rating is 106, the same as Methonal according to the suppliers. But the nice thing about Ethonal is that it is not as toxic as Mehonal. Much eaiser to handle. To run 85% Ethanol requires stainless lines and tanks, not to mention fuel rails and Viton B orings on your injectors with a different fuel map for your ECU but 10% requires no change and I have run it in my family car for 2 years and have noticed improved gas mileage as well as better throttle response.
This site is a refueling site map. http://www.e85fuel.com/refueling/index.htm

mer250c
sciguyjim (Chemical)
6 Nov 02 5:01
mer250c,

Personally, I haven't liked the change to "gasohol" in my area.  I've heard that the ethanol gives slightly less mpg because it releases less heat when burned so you get less power from the engine, a small percentage.  I know it's a fact that alcohol burns with a relatively cool flame, especially compared to gasoline.  It does raise octane levels and burns without soot, unlike gasoline.

>>> Question for the experts: <<<

I've asked repair shops and people online if anyone has ever heard of a way to retune an engine to get back the power lost by using gasohol (10% ethanol) and nobody has ever heard of a way to do this.  Maybe it's just not an issue that local repair shops have had to deal with.  Maybe some experts on this forum will know something about this?  Any opinions??  I'm sure thousands of people would like to get back that little bit of performance or those few lost miles per gallon.  Let's hear some ideas, maybe we'll come up with a good idea that's doable/affordable by the common driver (ie. nothing major like rebuilding the engine to different specs.)
franzh (Automotive)
6 Nov 02 9:19
sciguyjim:

If your vehicle is electronically controlled, the PCM should "relearn" itself within a relatively short time by taking O2 sensor input and knock sensor input to trim the fuel and timing curves.  This is the same way the engine learned the E-10 profile initially.

You can "fast learn" a system by disconnecting the negative battery cable or by removing the ECM-PCM fuse from the panel (ONLY WITH THE ENGINE OFF).  This should dump the short term memory and force to relearn.  Leave it off for about 1 minute.

Drive your auto normally (light throttle, no snaps or WOT) for a couple of days for the baseline, BUT it will retrim to a more normalized pattern over time.

Franz
sciguyjim (Chemical)
7 Nov 02 9:29
Franzh,

Thanks for the info about ECM-PCM relearning.  This is also something I've has questions about in the past but I had trouble finding good answers to this too.  I was surprised so few people could explain how the ECM could relearn or adjust to new conditions.

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