Alcohol Injection: Safe For My Car?
I always advise those who install an AI kit to perform basic maintenance to insure their kit doesn’t fail to operate when it’s asked to do so. IMO, the most important consideration with running alky and high boost pressures is that the kit is always able to activate with NO FAILURES being acceptable.
As listed on the DIY Alky page the following inspections should be performed periodically:
Monthly - check all hose connections for leaks.
6 Months - Remove up pipe and or nozzle if using the more corrosive methanol & check all components and the inside of the pipe for corrosion & clogging. Clean parts & wire brush pipe if corrosion is present.
Annually; Replace any pre-nozzle filters.
Not every Turbo Regal owners’ car will be able to safely run alcohol injection. The added boost pressure adds stress to the engine internals.
The following examples illustrate why alcohol injection may not be safe for your car :
Two weeks after installing an A/I system on a local GN, the owner called and said his car had a broken crankshaft. He mentioned he already had the motor out so I went by to look things over. I immediately noticed that the crankshaft in the motor was not a Buick turbo crank. There were no rolled fillet radiuses on the rod journals which made it too weak for the car owners now greater boost levels.
The car was in need of a rebuild and a high boost run with the newly added A/I system spun one of the rod bearings. A $25 oil pressure gauge in place of the idiot light would have told the owner that his motor was due for a rebuild. As the bearing spun and ruined the crank the car was down for an extended length of time.
This Turbo Buick an oil pressure gauge which showed adequate psi at idle. The newly purchase car was supposed to have only 40K on the clock but some wear in places made we suspect it was 140K so I used a dial indicator and magnetic base to measure the crankshaft endplay by prying against the torque converter in both directions. I found that after 140K miles it was well overdue for some repairs. The thrust play was .025" (specs are .003" to .009") I advised the owner to correct that problem before adding an Alky kit and turning up the boost.
This car had over 100K and had the original fuel injectors. I installed a pressure gage on the fuel rail and asked him to start the engine. While he watched the gage, I went to the rear bumper and unplugged the fuel pump. The car died immediately. The pressure on the gage read 37 lbs when it died so it was obvious that his injectors were completely clogged. I have done this on half a dozen Turbo Buicks and most will maintain idle until the guage drops into the mid 20 psi range. One Hot Air GN ran until the FP gage showed 12 psi!
OK, these are my actual experiences and by mentioning them here I hope you understand that it’s your responsibility to ensure your car is capable of supporting the demands associated with a 5 to 10 pound increase in boost pressure.
Check the things mentioned above and then if all is OK, I'd then suggest that you test your car with race gas first before you install an AI kit. If you see detonation at anything under 20 psi, your car has issues that need attention. Some causes of early detonation are bad grounds, faulty coil pack or module, weak ECM or corroded pins at the ECM harness and the list goes on from there…
Next is a list of items I advise that you have if you plan to run an AI kit:
Now that we’ve covered the mechanical issues, let me mention that initial testing should be done with a non-flammable mix of alky and distilled water. (no greater than 40% Alky to 60% Water) You might not have tightened a clamp somewhere in the plumbing and a full strength alky mix can ignite under the hood of a turbocharged car.
Thanks for reading!