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1967 Plymouth Barracuda: What To Do?

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273c.u. (4.7L) V8 / 4-Barrel Road Demon Carb / Moderate Cam (I believe it's .454 lift)

Mopar Orange Electronic Ignition

 

Generally, there is nothing 'green' about this vehicle, but want to see if it makes sense to transition

this beast into the 21st century.  Apparently, from what I've been reading, E85 (or some form of Ethanol) might be a good match for the 1960s muscle Cars.

 

If so, what, if anything, needs to be converted or upgraded to run Ethanol on a regular basis?  What pitfalls are there?  I'd love to join the Prius brotherhood, but don't have the dough to afford an 'affordable' car.

 

Thanks in advance.

John Pastor

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You might try these guys for setting up the carburetor:

 

http://www.e85carbs.com/

 

A couple more things:

 

1. You'll want to replace all the rubber fuel system parts with E85 compatible stuff.  Napa sells "multi-fuel compatibility" fuel hose, which they refer to as "fuel injection hose," that works well with E85.

 

2. Plan on changing a lot of fuel filters the first 1000 or so miles until all the gunk gets worked out of the tank.  There is also a chance it will rust out the tank a bit quicker than it otherwise would have, but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

 

3. You might want to change out the mechanical fuel pump for an electric one.  Chances are a newly rebuilt one would work well with E85, I wouldn't risk it leaking.  Especially if your motor is designed so if the pump leaks, it goes into the crankcase.  Fuel in oil = bad.

 

4. You will probably be able to run more timing at cruise for better mileage.  I would set timing for max power, since it's highly unlikely that it will ever ping with E85.  Think more vacuum advance, lighter springs, etc.

 

5. I don't know what the stock compression ratio is, but you should be able to boost that up without problem if you wanted to.  Probably somewhere between 11:1 and 12:1 would work nicely.

 

Have fun, and keep us updated!

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thanks for the info.  Since I'm always a bit impatient when I get a wild hair, i went & bought a gallon of E85

($3.75/gal @ Texaco intersectn of S.Cobb & E-W Connector, Smyrna,GA).  I put it into the tank of the 67 BCuda & WOW.  I immediately saw a power bump & a bit more smoothness in the idle. 

 

However, I immediately noticed that my old rubber line @ the fuel filter had a slight leak.  Also, there is a hesitation at the instant pressure is applied to the gas pedal.  Not too bad, but it would be a bit of a heart attack if one is starting into a busy intersection.  And also, I did see more fine particles in the fuel filter.  Although my tank is pretty clean (& fairly new) it was interesting to see what got expelled from the tank by the E85.  Anyway, I seemed to have burned the gallon out & have gone back to old fashioned gasoline for now.  Everything seems fine

 

I've looked into the following, perhaps you guys could help

provide some specific thoughts on part numbers, etc:

 

 

1)  Fuel Injection Hose: Got 5' of it yesterday & eliminated the leaks from rubber.  Much more durable stuff, fer sure.  Lines are addressed.  However, on the Mopars of this era, a big rubber grommet seals the fuel filler tube to the gas tank.  I imagine that if I don't go too full on the tank, I might avoid deterioration....for now.  And I just put on a new seal last month, dangit.

 

2) Fuel Filters:  I'm getting a few more of these, but so far, the filter doesn't appear to be getting bad.  Let that be an example;  keep your tank clean & you solve all sorts of problems.  Geesh, i remember how bad an MGB of mine ran before I put on a new tank!

 

3) Fuel Pump:  I need some help on this.  Do ya'll have any suggestions for a specific fuel pump, below $200 (w/ regulator).  I would like to keep a mechanical pump, but will go electric.  I just wanna save some installation work, so mech is a better option for that.

 

Re:  my existing pump - it's about 2 months old, so it's probably robust enough to handle a wierd fuel ionfusion for about a gallon.  However, I'm not pushing my luck w/ this $13 AutoZone rebuilt pump.  So any pump ideas will be appreciated.

 

4) Timing Adjustments:  I agree & refer back to the issue I have with the initial hesitation.  I will have to work through that.  For now, I think the timing is OK, but the advance will need some tweaking.  Also, I'm gonna have to go through some iterations w/ the carb's the air-fuel mixture.  man, I'd sure like to have a computer controlled fuel delivery system & fuel injection when it comes to these manual adjustments - they suck.  They suck even more if I want to go back & forth from gas to alcohol.

 

5) Compression Ratio:  I rebuilt this engine about 4 years back but haven't driven much because I've been overseas for much of that time(Nothing as noble as liberating France from Germany, maionly helping Exxon drive up gas prices & resort owners stick it to toruists).  Anyway, I digress:  I put on some post-1985 heads to help with being able to use crappier, 87 octane fuel.  Kinda the reverse from muscle car builds, eh?  However, these heads did have much bigger valves (the good old Police car heads), so I think that helps.  All new lifters & springs, as well.  Valves, pushrods & rocker arms were reused.  As such, I think the comp ratio was as low as 9:1, +/-.  All the upgrades, though, may have helped push it to around 9.5 or 10;1.  Since I didn't really expect to go to a much higher octane alcohol 4 yrs ago, I tried not to push the CR up too much.  I just don't remember though.  So much for that.

 

Anyway, after travelling to Brazil & seeing all the Felx fuel & sugar cane powered cars, I'm convinced that there is no reason why the USA can't go in a cleaner (& more powerful) direction w/ our fuel.

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I'll put a few comments inline below:

thanks for the info.  Since I'm always a bit impatient when I get a wild hair, i went & bought a gallon of E85

($3.75/gal @ Texaco intersectn of S.Cobb & E-W Connector, Smyrna,GA).  I put it into the tank of the 67 BCuda & WOW.  I immediately saw a power bump & a bit more smoothness in the idle.

 

Glad to hear the initial run went fairly well, although unless the tank was bone dry, you probably only got up to ~E50 or so as you usually can't get the last gallon of fuel out of the tank.  If you do switch to full E85, you might experience slightly more problems initially, but have more potential power once properly tuned.

 

However, I immediately noticed that my old rubber line @ the fuel filter had a slight leak.  Also, there is a hesitation at the instant pressure is applied to the gas pedal.  Not too bad, but it would be a bit of a heart attack if one is starting into a busy intersection.  And also, I did see more fine particles in the fuel filter.  Although my tank is pretty clean (& fairly new) it was interesting to see what got expelled from the tank by the E85.  Anyway, I seemed to have burned the gallon out & have gone back to old fashioned gasoline for now.  Everything seems fine

 

You might be set up to run 'safely rich' with gas through most of the powerband...mixing in a little E85 would pull you back to a 'max power' mix or may even make the car run a bit lean which will result in more power.  Although the octane boost will help chase away any detonation from running a bit on the lean side.  It does sound like you may need a bigger squirt on the accelerator pump as it sounds like you have a bit of a lean stumble off idle.

 

I've looked into the following, perhaps you guys could help

provide some specific thoughts on part numbers, etc:

 

 

1)  Fuel Injection Hose: Got 5' of it yesterday & eliminated the leaks from rubber.  Much more durable stuff, fer sure.  Lines are addressed.  However, on the Mopars of this era, a big rubber grommet seals the fuel filler tube to the gas tank.  I imagine that if I don't go too full on the tank, I might avoid deterioration....for now.  And I just put on a new seal last month, dangit.

 

I suspect most new seals will handle E85.  Any type of viton, buna, teflon, etc should be fine.  If it happened to be a repro part that was leather, natural rubber, or cork, that might be a problem.

 

2) Fuel Filters:  I'm getting a few more of these, but so far, the filter doesn't appear to be getting bad.  Let that be an example;  keep your tank clean & you solve all sorts of problems.  Geesh, i remember how bad an MGB of mine ran before I put on a new tank!

 

Always good to have a few extra on hand

 

3) Fuel Pump:  I need some help on this.  Do ya'll have any suggestions for a specific fuel pump, below $200 (w/ regulator).  I would like to keep a mechanical pump, but will go electric.  I just wanna save some installation work, so mech is a better option for that.

 

Re:  my existing pump - it's about 2 months old, so it's probably robust enough to handle a wierd fuel ionfusion for about a gallon.  However, I'm not pushing my luck w/ this $13 AutoZone rebuilt pump.  So any pump ideas will be appreciated.

Definitely something to keep an eye on although as I mentioned above, modern polymers are pretty much OK with E85.  It's when you get into the 'old school' natural rubber, leather, cork, etc that cause problems.

4) Timing Adjustments:  I agree & refer back to the issue I have with the initial hesitation.  I will have to work through that.  For now, I think the timing is OK, but the advance will need some tweaking.  Also, I'm gonna have to go through some iterations w/ the carb's the air-fuel mixture.  man, I'd sure like to have a computer controlled fuel delivery system & fuel injection when it comes to these manual adjustments - they suck.  They suck even more if I want to go back & forth from gas to alcohol.

 

Some people claim their engines like advanced timing on E85, some claim the same and a few say it actually likes a bit of retard.  I think it may have to do with where their timing is setting before the switch...if you have a bunch of ignition pulled out due to low octane 'preminum' gas, then you will be able to dial some more in for optimum.  but if you are already at optimum, you may not have to do much for E85.  Ideally, just let the dyno guide you.  As for electronic fuel - yeah, there's nothing like looking through a datalog, typing in a few numbers, uploading them and making another run - all without spilling a drop of gas or even getting your hands smelly.  Almost makes me want me to put a little gas in a squirt bottle so I can use it like cologne and remember the old days. 

 

5) Compression Ratio:  I rebuilt this engine about 4 years back but haven't driven much because I've been overseas for much of that time(Nothing as noble as liberating France from Germany, maionly helping Exxon drive up gas prices & resort owners stick it to toruists).  Anyway, I digress:  I put on some post-1985 heads to help with being able to use crappier, 87 octane fuel.  Kinda the reverse from muscle car builds, eh?  However, these heads did have much bigger valves (the good old Police car heads), so I think that helps.  All new lifters & springs, as well.  Valves, pushrods & rocker arms were reused.  As such, I think the comp ratio was as low as 9:1, +/-.  All the upgrades, though, may have helped push it to around 9.5 or 10;1.  Since I didn't really expect to go to a much higher octane alcohol 4 yrs ago, I tried not to push the CR up too much.  I just don't remember though.  So much for that.

 

Not much you can do about CR without some major mechanical work.  9.5 or 10:1 is pretty good for 87 octane.  Of course E85 could handle much more, but will still run OK with the lower #'s

 

Anyway, after travelling to Brazil & seeing all the Felx fuel & sugar cane powered cars, I'm convinced that there is no reason why the USA can't go in a cleaner (& more powerful) direction w/ our fuel.

 

Anyway, post up some pics and let us know how things progress!

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Running lean only helps with power if it was running richer than the ratio at which it makes max power, which is richer than stoichiometric.  So if you gained power after putting a little more ethanol in it, either:

 

1. It was set up too rich to begin with, or

2. it's all in your head, or

3. it was pinging before and now it isn't.

 

It sounds like number 1 if it now idles smoother.  Although with most carburetors, the main metering system is separate from the idle metering system.  The accelerator pump was probably right where it needed to be for gasoline; now with ethanol it's inadequate.  Typically when a properly set up carbureted vehicle runs ethanol, it begins to lose noticable power after a certain percentage.  You really need a carburetor set up for it for best results.

 

Fuel pump:

I haven't used one of these particular units, but I think a Holley 12-125 pump would work well.  It's preset to 6psi so you don't need a separate regulator.

 

Heads:

I'd put the original heads back on it, or if you can find some others with smaller chambers yet, that would be even better.  Larger valves help with power, but they also hurt fuel economy.  With todays fuel prices, E85 or otherwise, I know what I'd do.

 

Timing:

I know my old Ford 390 liked more timing.  It was right on the edge of pinging with gasoline though.  The biggest thing was letting it have more vacuum advance.  Between that and the lighter springs, I could cruise the truck down the road just resting my foot on the pedal.  I watched the vacuum gauge and kind of went by that, setting the vacuum advance to where it had the most vacuum at 55mph on a flat road.  E85 will let you do that; it just won't ping even if you give the motor too much advance.  The best way, as mentioned though, is to set it on a dyno.

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Inronic my first post is in reply to another Barracuda owner!  Just found the board and find it's loaded with info.  Glad to be here.

 

I accomplished my conversion on my 74 in 2005 and wrote a couple of articles on the process for DragNews Magazine for the January and March 06 issues.  I did a very simplified conversion, essentially opening the main jets in the Holley 650 140% plus a bit to allow for the fixed Power Valve circuit.  I can convert back to Premium Unleded by simply changing jets and squirters by not opening up the PV Circuit this way.

 

Now, this is a street/strip car running NMCA and NSCA Open Comp and Street Machine classes.  Previous  best ET was 12.803 on gas and a corrected 12.634 on Mooneshine.  Compression is too low and I've not done anything with high speed tuning as yet.  Had to take the past couple of seasons off due to business requirements so the continued tuning was put on hold.

 

I run a Carter street/strip mechanical fuel pump and quickly found it to be a bit low on flow after converting so added a Aeromotive Street Rod electric pump pushing throught a Ramco fuel filter/water seperator.  I went from gas to E85 completely and never had filter clogging problems even in the 31 year old stock gas tank.  Of course I always kept it full and dry and have owned the car since brand new.  There's been enough ethanol in fuel long enough to have kept the cruddies out of the system for some time now.  I have heard from other E85 racers that Holley pumps won't last on E85.  Regardless be sure to use a model with a dry motor as ethanol with eat the coating off the windings.

 

I built the engine for Premium Unleaded so the compression is only 9.8-1 which I know is way low for the octane and burn characteristics of the alternative fuel.  However, I also am running a low rpm cam resulting in a good increase in cylinder fill which is probably why the power is up.  EGT's are running just a tad lower than on gas but vary with timing.  36 degrees is still optimum but it starts and runs around town better at 40.  I have an adjustable timing control on the Crane HiFire 6 ignition.  Using Champion N12YC plugs though I think N14YC would be better but Champ only makes that range in a resistor plug.  Crane Box doesn't like those.

 

Fuel pressure is set at 7 psi and WOT will result in less than 2 psi w/o the boost pump running.

 

I have a 34 channel Auto Meter Data Logger to get systems info during a pass.

 

Hope this info is helpful!

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Wow Man!  Very Helpful.

 

I've got some catching up to do, however, I did get a Holley 12-125 elec fuel pump which pushes everything through pretty good.

Since this pump is built up for gas/alcohol, I hope that the trouble that you mentioned only applies to non-E pumps.

Also, I didn't get a relay, or a shut-off type switch, so i may do that because I'm not yet used to the pump running continuously even when the motor's off.  Maybe that's OK, but I suspect that I need that extra factor of safety.

 

Also, I suspect that I need to rebuild my carb (600 or 625cfm Road Demon) because there' some leakage which appears to be

from the bottom of the carb.  I suspect that the diaphragms are the culprit.  Note, though, on this carb, I've always had some kind of leak even w/ gas.  perhaps Demon's got a bit of a design flaw, or somehow I've caused this, but don't think so. 

 

Anyway, I'm nervous about that fuel leak because I'm seeing the alternator arc up every so often & my imagination runs wild with that

spark finding some leaking fuel.  That's a bit scary to me, so I'm keeping the fire extinguisher & garden hose nearby.

 

Otherwise, I'd call my first venture into Ethanol as being successful.  Just working out some kinks.

 

Once again, I appreciate all of the info - I'll use it.

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BTW, rusty70f100,

As you can see from my last post, I looked up the Holley 12-125 & liked the specs.  It was a bit expensive, but I like

having the regulator built-in to simplify the setup.  Gotta say:  That pump is a Beast, at least in size & weight.  Nonetheless,

it definitely seems to be in the Heavy Duty realm, I like that.

 

I imagine that I'll be tweaking on the carb (kit & jets) the rest of the summer & fall.

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Since the magazine is no longer published I thought it safe to paste from my draft here for all you guys to check it out.

MT

 

Moonshine  Racing

By Mike Tritle

 

Looking out a motel window at the corner gas station only to see a higher price every 20 minutes can be quite unnerving for a traveling rep 300 miles from home driving a 12 mile per gallon 4x4 pickup truck.  As Katrina remnants passed through Indiana that day, regular unleaded gasoline prices skyrocketed from $2.89 per gallon to $3.59 in just over an hour.  Thoughts of  the higher cost of my trip to low car counts at events to what would happen to the price of race gas went through the heads of more than a few sportsman competitors during the weeks ahead as evidenced by then very active bandwidth overloaded message boards across the internet.  For this racer/sales rep/would be writer, it spawned an idea not only for day to day consumption but for our favorite pastime as well.

 

For more than a few years some grades of gasoline have been mixed with ethanol, essentially ?moonshine? only refined legally for use as motor fuel.  When mixed 9 to 1 or 10%, fuel economy is virtually unaffected and in some cases power and mileage actually improve.  Add to that the benefit of acting as a fuel system drier and cleaner, the added ethanol eliminates the need for other additives to perform similar functions.  Octane is boosted as well which probably contributes to the increased performance of computer controlled fuel injected engines.  A word of caution, however, using even 10% in an aged fuel system where it has not been used previously will scrub any varnish and scale out of the tank and into the fuel filter in just a few miles.  Be prepared to change that filter soon after the first use of gasohol in an older vehicle!

 

More recently blends of up to 85% ethanol and 15% regular unleaded gasoline, or E85, have become available, especially in the Midwest agricultural states.  Manufactures designated specially equipped models as Flex Fuel Vehicles and made them available in the late 90?s and early 21st century.  These cars, vans and small trucks are calibrated and programmed to sense fuel type, or a mixture thereof and run equally well from pure gasoline to E85 blends with only a small drop in mileage as Ethanol content increases.  Special components such as fuel tank, lines and injectors are included in the package to protect from potentially corrosive effects of certain alcohol properties.

 

So the big question is, at 105 octane, (as specified on the pump) why wouldn?t it work in racing engines, especially those built for pump gas as fuel?  As prices rose outside the hotel, so did my curiosity as to how this readily available and comparatively lower cost fuel would work on the track.

 

Properties of Fuels

 

Property Gasoline Ethanol Methanol No. 2 Diesel Propane CNG Hydrogen

Research Octane 100 108 107 112

Octane (R+M)/2 94 100 100 104 120+ 130+

Cetane 20 55

Viscosity 0.44 1.19 0.59 4.1

Latent Heat of Vaporization

Btu/gal@60 Deg. F 900 2378 3340 700 775

Heating Value

Btu/gal@60 Deg. F 115000 76000 56800 128400 84500 19800

Stoich air/fuel, weight 14.7 9 6.45 14.7 15.7 17.2 34.3

Mixture in Vapor State

Btu/cubic ft.@ 68 Deg. F 95.2 92.9 92.5 96.9

Fig. 1

 

 

It is commonly known that ethanol is produced from corn.  What is not widely known is that any high starch vegetation can be used to produce high quality ethanol.  I researched this through my son, Steve Tritle, Operations Manager for seed corn production at the Monsanto plant in Boone, IA.  While corn is the preferred material, sugar beets, potatoes and even wet garbage will produce high quality ethanol for use as motor fuel.  A frequent question is, ?Are we able to produce enough crops to provide for the fuel thirst of the US without shorting the food supply??  The answer is yes as there are thousands of acres in the southeast sitting idle under government set aside programs that could be turned into fuel crop production within a couple of growing seasons.  Government subsidies paid for non production could be redirected temporarily to benefit those farmers and producers to re-equip and build the plants needed for ethanol refining.  All this benefits the US agricultural economy while reducing the country?s need for imported oil.  This market force could further lower the price of gasoline as demand drops as well.

 

According to Mark Thomas, owner and driver of the Ohio Corn Growers sponsored Ethanol Performs IHRA Funny Car, Ethanol works quite well as a race fuel.  Thomas has fueled his championship winning race car to ET and Speed Records and National Championships with ?corn licker? flowing through its pumps and lines for several seasons now.  When I asked him how it worked compared to the seemingly preferred but far more dangerous Methanol, he spoke freely of the mathematical formula used to compensate for the different characteristics of the otherwise related compounds.

 

It?s all in the chemistry.  Taking a quick course in Fuel Injection 101 with Camp Stanley, 2005 NSCA Champion Pro Outlaw car owner, I learned that fuel mixture is calculated by comparing the area in square inches of the jets used in the inlet and return functions of the system used in Blown Alcohol Racing Engines.  Applying this to a gasoline carburetor should yield similar results, I concluded, so I set about dredging up formulas unused since my classes at Lewis College School of Aviation in the early 70?s.    I also searched the internet for comparison charts of fuel substance properties which was provided by one of the many of the Ethanol Industry?s websites.  Specs are found at the two links here.

 

http://www.ethanol.org/pdfs/Fuels%20Chart%20pg%201.PDF  http://www.ethanol.org/pdfs/Fuels%20Chart%20pg%202.PDF  (Author's note: The site for these links has changed since doing my research back then)

 

Unlike Methanol the corrosive properties of Ethanol aren't nearly as severe.  To confirm this I soaked a piece of AQP hose, a viton needle and seat, an accelerator pump diaphragm and a power valve submerged in pure ethanol provided by Thomas for several weeks.  There was no deterioration of any of the component parts.  Ethanol seems to be no more corrosive than gasoline to the carburetor.

 

The major downside of Ethanol is, like Methanol, its affinity to absorb moisture.  While this is a plus in keeping a daily driver?s fuel system dry, as a race fuel it must be properly handled to prevent water absorption.   Unlike gas, alcohol absorbs humidity directly out of surrounding air into solution so it doesn?t settle to the bottom of the container, tank or cell.  However, excess water results in a lean condition, inconsistency in performance and a potential for engine disaster.

 

The most important of these properties is the stoichiometric mixture ratios of Gasoline, Ethanol and Methanol which are 14.7, 9 and 7 to one respectively.  Stoichiometric is the term for the exact amount of air to fuel required for complete combustion of the fuel and complete consumption of the oxygen within that air within the mixture.  Of course if a race engine is run that lean it tends to perform an auto unscheduled disassembly so we run our engines in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 to one ratios with race gas.  However, the stoich ratios provide a basis from which to calculate baseline jets sized for the ultimate mixture required for specific fuel.

 

Another critical factor to be dealt with is the heat required to evaporate each fuel.  Gasoline will absorb only 700 BTU while ethanol sucks up 2140 BTU for gaseous state conversion.  That?s why gas racers can ice down the intake manifold and make more power.  Alcohol racers need hot engines and seldom use intercoolers as the fuel is its own mixture cooling agent.  Engine temperature would be critical but just opposite of what was accustomed.  (See Fig. 1.)

 

The Holley catalog provides jetting area numbers, though somewhat nominal.  Several sizes are listed with the same numbers but close enough is the key word for establishing the base.  Using the area of the current optimum jetting for gasoline will calculate up to the required base jetting for the alternative fuel.  In this case, the target fuel being E85 also required factoring a different stoich ratio than pure ethanol.  This is done by averaging the ratios of the two fuels.  Multiplying 14.7 x 15% produces a factor of 2.205, and then 9 x 85% equals 7.65.  Adding the two together sums up to 9.855 which was confirmed by another source indicating 10-1 was the nominal stoich for E85 fuel.  Dividing 14.7 by 10 produces a factor of 1.47 which when applied to the base jet area would give the required upsize area for E85 jetting.

 

Here?s the really great part.  Fuel for testing was purchased in Rockford, IL for $1.999 per gallon.  The engine used approximately 20% more by volume per run over gasoline, then priced at 3.699 per gallon for Premium Unleaded.  Factored cost calculates to 2.399 per gallon.  As this is written, gasoline prices have dropped more rapidly than E85 but the cost savings is still substantial.

 

The test mule for this experiment was my 74 Plymouth Cuda.  This one owner (me) car has been campaigned in NSCA/NMCA index footbrake competition since 2001 with a mild 360, built to run on 97 octane unleaded premium fuel.  The low, 9.8-1 compression is slightly deficient for full utilization of the increased octane and the flat top piston design and stock heads already require 36 degrees of total ignition timing just off idle for optimum burn, less in certain weather conditions.  Sealing is accomplished with Total Seal Gapless Top Rings and the engine has over 300 runs on it.  A Holley HP 650 double pumper carburetor with 85 power valves, jetted 70 square and number 27 squirters off the 50 cc accelerator pumps feed through an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap manifold to a mild lift and duration cam and 1 5/8? primary tube headers for the exit path from the port matched stock cylinder heads.  Intake valves are 1.880 with exhaust measuring 1.600.  With a 904 Torqueflite transmission and 3.55 gears the 3700 lb. car has run a best of 12.805 and 103.89 at 84 feet above sea level corrected altitude this season in Belle Rose, LA.

 

 

Moonshine Racing, Part 11

(Not the Sequel)

 

We left off last month at Belle Rose, LA setting ET and speed records on unleaded premium gasoline.  In review, we determined the up jetting area factor to be 147% from gasoline.  It was also learned from the Top Alcohol guys that the cylinder head temp would have to be much higher for a good launch than the average gasoline fueled race engine.  With the evaporative cooling effect 85% ethanol would have on the intake manifold, it was determined that an over rich mixture to compensate for air density would be the better way to go.  There was still much to learn as we found out quickly on the track!  With the numbers crunched and carburetor set up for the much richer mixture, a new set of Accel 116 plugs were screwed into the heads.  The Cuda was then loaded on the stretcher and hauled off to Byron Dragway for some serious testing.

 

The math indicated jetting for E85 needed to go from 70 to 80.  Squirters were increased to 31 and the power valves were unchanged.  Initial runs during testing at Byron Dragway produced a minor bog, enough to increase the 60? time substantially and result in the loss of .15 sec overall ? mile elapsed time with close to 2 mph drop in speed.  (See Fig. 2)  Historically this car would bog with too much fuel so jetting was reduced to 78, squirters returned to 27 and the result was a very quiet period of time upon launch. (Fig. 3)  The engine simply died when the throttle was whacked.  It was quite clear at that point that more fuel was needed all around so jetting was increased to the biggest in the box at the time, 82 in the front and 84 rear as the EGT readings indicated the rear of the engine was running hotter.  A pair of 37 squirters was installed and back to back runs resulted in the best ET and speed of the day, 12.997 and 101.45.  Air hovered from 700?-1100? most of the day.  It was apparent, however that more fuel jetting was needed as there still remained the slightest hint of a bog on launch.  Unlike Belle Rose, testing was done with open exhaust.

 

Timing was also increased to 38 degrees in an attempt to utilize the higher octane, and then decreased to 34 with a corresponding increase in ET and drastic loss of speed.  All further testing was performed at 36 degrees.

 

When jet area was initially calculated, the power valve circuit was not factored into the final formula.  It goes to say that initial testing produced less than stellar ET and Speed results, though the spark plugs were clean enough to use as dinner utensils.  Gradually increasing jet size decreased ET with speed results mirrored.  Back to back runs confirmed the need for higher engine temps as each time, regardless of mixture; the second run was quicker and/or faster than the previous.  Reasoning for this can be seen in the Fig. 1 (Jan. 1 issue) comparison of Latent Heat of Vaporization.  Using the 10 size jet increase rule of thumb for power valve elimination, and then factoring in 15% Gasoline to the mix, a jet size of 86 to 88 was indicated.

 

With a waiver of rules granted for the NSCA Finals in Columbus, further testing was performed at the event with jetting at 86 square.  For direct comparison with Belle Rose, the exhaust system was reinstalled as well.  Performance returned to a best ET of 12.847 @102.57 at 412? proving that while no remarkable performance was gained as yet, none was lost either.  Through all of this, the spark plugs still remain cleaner, 60? times quite consistent and overall performance on par with previous gasoline tune up.  Further testing with 88 and 90 jets and ultimately increasing the compression ratio in the engine should lower ET and increase speed.  There simply was no time to try this in Columbus as it soon came time for backing up to the index for qualifying.  The current set up allowed for that very well so it was not changed.  The carburetor was refitted with the gas set up as a back up test at the NMCA Finals in Memphis. The outcome was similar ET and Speed performance as in Columbus.  The baselines were established and confirmed.

 

After returning home from Memphis the engine was leaked and all cylinders netted less than 1% loss.  The cleaner burning E85 actually helped seal the rings and valves as previous testing produced a 1%-2.5% loss at the end of the 2004 season.

 

What is the next step?  As E85 becomes more popular more sportsman racers may look to it as an alternative to high cost gasoline.  Also, each gallon burned is 85% fewer gallons of imported petroleum product used, thereby lessening the country?s dependence on imported oil.  Sanction rules are being modified or under consideration for changes in many cases to allow for its use.  Many classes specifically prohibit alcohol as a fuel though I believe my testing indicates there is no unfair advantage and there is great economic benefit to its use.  In fact, as of this writing, NSCA (National Street Car Association) has written E85 into the rules for it?s American Muscle and their new Street Machine (Formerly EFI) classes and NMCA (National Muscle Car Association) is also considering it?s use in their Nostalgia Muscle Car class.  There is no current required or limiting fuel rule against E85 in NMCA or NMRA Open Comp Classes.

 

Imagine the day in the not too distant future that we tow our trailers using Bio Diesel and run a race with 85% Ethanol from US grown renewable sources!  What is Bio Diesel?  Well, that?s a whole ?nother article!

 

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Thought you all might also enjoy this work of fiction based on an actual encounter...

 

Prius vs. Muscle Car

(Mostly Fiction Based on Actual Experience, by Mike Tritle)

A nose in the air, I'm better than you, holier than thou tree hugging pig blood slinging PITA supporting Birkenstock shod pony-tailed Prius driver stopped to give me a ration last night about driving that "obsolete inefficient gas guzzling hot rod" and towing it to a waste of time "motor race" behind my outdated fossil fuel sucking oil reserve depleting pickup truck.

 

Now, I have nothing against Priusses, really, thank God for them, they don't have to visit the gas station often enough to get in my way on the frequent occasions when I need to slide up to the pump. I even rode in one once and was quite impressed with its ability to accelerate into traffic. It was the complete idiot sitting smugly tall in the saddle between the seat back and steering wheel in this particular specimen that raised my hackles. The Sales Manager in me took over... I countered his objection.

 

I replied, "You are obviously ignorant to the fact that the car on that trailer you refer to as obsolete gets better gasoline mileage than your Prius." His jaw dropped in total disbelief (Probably was offended at being called ignorant. Likely a mislead University of Colorado alumni who held Ward Churchill in high esteem while on the way to his Masters in Protest Management and Big Lie Creation) to which I continued, "Yes, it gets on average over 60 miles per gallon of gas and often as much as 67 MPG." He called me a (expletive deleted) liar!

 

I replied, "Oh really?" "Well, I have the math to prove it!" "Since the engine has been retuned for and now the fuel in the tank of that classic 70's valuable recycled muscle car is 85% renewable domestically produced US agricultural economy supporting ethanol and it runs between 9 and 10 miles from a gallon of E85 so the Gasoline Mileage is between 60 and 67 MPG." He must have been late for a demonstration because he waved goodbye (but with only one finger) and called me a couple of additional expletives I couldn't hear (But I think he might have insulted my parents) over the whine and whoosh of the hybrid as he drove off.

 

Sure wish he would have stuck around long enough so I could have told him about the 30-40 mpg of gasoline the truck gets when I top off 50% of the tank with moonshine...

 

The guy with the Yukon on the other side of the pump island was rolling on the ground laughing hysterically!

 

 

(Author's note:  By the way, I've since found out that my outdated fossil fuel sucking oil reserve depleting pickup truck is actually one of the clandestine flex fuel vehicles Dodge sold to fleets back in the early turn of the century.  I bought it from DeKalb Ag who leased it from Gelco.  It now runs 100% E85 and saves me on average 4 cents/mile.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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