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240 | Methanol Tuning Considerations

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Thanks about good information about the subject. I haven't been able to find too much information, especially what comes to small displacement turbo engines.

Where would I be able to find more info, in the internet somewhere or some book perhaps?

I understand, water is a problem, when storing in containers. especially if they are not sealed. What problems does it lead to, if you have some water in methanol?

I am building a Hayabusa based drag bike here in Finland, and this is my first turbo build also so we are really taking long route here, but I am hoping to finally start her up within a month or so..

If someone is interested to see more you can find us in..


I'm not sure I've seen much solid information I can point you to sorry. In general if methanol absorbs moisture form humid air, it can cause corrosion in the fuel system and injectors. This shouldn't be an issue if you store the fuel in sealed containers though.

We empty our fuel system after every raceday and fuel lines are mostly aluminium and teflon, so corrosion should not be a big problem.

I have now about 100 liters of methanol that has been in plastic containers for about a year now and I plan to use some of it in testing.

So if there is some minor amount of water, it should not be a problem.

Uh, I suspect you're setting yourself up for some rather nasty problems.

Methanol, containing some contamination, can be a problem with aluminium corrosion due to the basic chemical interaction that strips the aluminium of the oxide layer that normally protects it - pure aluminium, and most of it's alloys, is actually a very reactive metal, that appears stable because the oxide layer (basically aluminium rust) is non-reactive and forms a protective layer. It needs only a VERY SMALL amount of the wrong dissolved impurities and water in the methanol to start the corrosive process. Youll know if you have a problem as, IIRC, it will form a whitish 'fur' on aluminium parts.


I recently watched this webinar. What I didn't hear were any recommendations for lambda for a high compression N/A engine, say 13:1. Would it be similar to the boosted recommendation?

Also, there is another big downside of methanol that I didn't hear mentioned. From what I have read elsewhere, it is much more toxic than petrol and can cause serious irreversible nervous system problems, blindness etc. It should be handled with extreme care.

Had a customer enquire about a tune for a Methanol 4G63 Lancer drag car recently. Came here looking for help and have had a lot of questions answered, now to make sure the wideband will read low enough!

I suppose a the only question i have left, do you guys use a mask/respirator when tuning on 100% methanol?

You may be a little confused - the normal 'wideband' used with automotive fuel and showing, say, 14.7:1 at stoich' is actually reading the lambda value of 1.0 and showing the AFR ratio for petrol/gasoline that corresponded to that lambda. If you used an alcohol fuel, or blend, and ran it at stoich' with the same value of 1.0 for the lambda, the gauge will still show 14.7:1 even though the true AFT for that fuel blend might be, say, 9.5:1.

From that, you can probably see that unless the gauge has the correct correction, there is going to be a problem figuring out the true Vs gauge for different fuels. You really have two options, regardless of the fuel just treat the gauge as a guide to richer or leaner or, much better, is to see it it can display the actual lambda values - when you get used to it it makes things much easier, as you're using a consistent base for rich/lean regardless of fuel.

@Shane, I'd highly recommend a respirator for tuning on methanol if you value your lungs and don't like crying - It's not a pleasant experience even in a well ventilated dyno cell. You do need to be mindful of the wideband you're using as many won't read rich enough to be useful on methanol. You'll likely want to be around 0.65 or thereabouts which is the rich limit on many widebands. MoTeC's LTC has an extended range calibration option for the NTK which will then read down to about 0.55 from memory.

6 cylinder turbo charged dragster is used with Methanol fuel. We would like to have a safety strategy to high EGT value, to save the engine from damage. We don't have so many free inputs in the ECU, so we have a seperate device that can handle the EGT inputs, and has outputs that can be configured. We would like to configure this output so, if the EGT value rises above a threshold (700 Celsius), it would give 5V, if it is below th threshold 0V, so it would be like a switch, and we connected this into the ECU. The intake is equipped with E-throttle and also electric dump valve. What compensation method shall we use, in case the EGT is above the threshold apply fuel enrichment or ignition retard or manipulate the throttle or a combination of these?

We would like to achieve this with a soft reaction from the vehicle in case of this degradation occurs, so a full cut would not be preferred, due to dragster is capable of acceleration over 3 G's and the driver reaction is unknown in case of an instantaneous torque cut.

Not my sort of fuel, but I know several people here have a lot of experience of it.

What I can say is that retarding the timing would be expected to increase exhaust temperatures, and more fuelling may be expected to lower it.

I would expect the main limitations to the EGT, assuming you're aiming for the most power, will be exhaust valve material and the turbo-charger manufacturer's maximum recommended turbine temperature, and on that last there may be options for higher temperature materials, if required. You may also find a larger hot-side lowers EGTs a little.

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