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Author Topic: Rubbing Alcohol in the gas tank
Giselle
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Anyone familiar with cars ever heard of putting rubbing alcohol in your gas tank along with gas? I'm not sure if the point is for cleaner fuel, mileage, etc. My ex's father used to do it and my ex says the only thing it did was make his car run really loud. It sounds like it would really hurt your car? Can anyone debunk?

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ryan_long_01
The Red and the Green Stamps


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people use ethyl alcohol (denatured alcohol) or methyl alcohol (sold commercially as HEET) as fuel-system-antifreeze. a lot of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) sold in drugstores is like 70%, so the water probably wouldn't be good. the 99% isopropyl would probably work, though.

quote:

Denatured alcohol is ethanol to which poisonous and foul-tasting chamicals
have been added to make it unfit for drinking. There is more than one
recipe for denaturing alcohol; some add methanol or isopropanol, some
gasoline, and so on.

Rubbing alcohol is an alcohol intended to be rubbed on the skin. Frequently
70% iso-propyl alcohol / 30% water is used; sometimes ethanol with added
iso-propyl alcohol is used.

the isopropyl we have at work (from a 55-gallon drum) is 99%.
ryan

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Mizu
Deck the Malls


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My ex did this to my old Grand Am. He claimed that it removes water from the gas tank. *twitch* From the way Ryan talks, he would have just been putting more into the tank. We have the denatured alcohol at work too, it's used in the egg coloring process..somehow. I know if you're near it for too long you can get high from it, or so my mom has told me. (she works at the same company)

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"I am lost in the familiar streets
and created the other side of myself in the darkness" ~ Kawaita Sakebi~ Field of View

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JR
We Three Blings


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We used to throw mothballs into the tank every once in a while. The theory was that the mothballs would dissolve in the bottom of the tank, and the napthalene in the mothballs would produce an octane "spike" that would help clean the crud out of your engine. I don't know if it did any good, but it never did any harm.

Napthalene was once a gasoline additive in the days of low octane gasoline, so there's some basis to the rumour. However, with modern fuels and engines it's probably useless -if not worse- even if it wasn't useless back then.

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ryan_long_01
The Red and the Green Stamps


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people still use homemade octane boosters, using stuff like toluene -- but they do it to decrease detonation (knock), usually on a forced-induction motor (ie, turbocharged or supercharged). i've never heard about higher octane ratings doing anything related to 'crud-cleaning'. i *have* read that vehicles with lots of accumulated carbon deposits in the head's combustion chamber can benefit from using higher octane to decrease knock (this happens because the buildup effectively makes a higher compression engine by decreasing the combustion chamber volume, i guess). maybe that's the basis of it.

ryan

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resELution
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I'm glad I grew up with my parents telling me to use things like Slick 50 instead of things from the medicine cupboard.
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ryan_long_01
The Red and the Green Stamps


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slick 50 = snake oil. or was that humor?

ryan

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resELution
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I don't know if it helps or not, but I'd rather put my faith in it that rubbing alcohol.
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ryan_long_01
The Red and the Green Stamps


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if you have 99% isopropyl or denatured alcohol, its fantastic as a gasoline (and windshield washer fluid) antifreeze/deicer. slick 50, on the other hand, has had complaints filed against it by the federal trade commission, not to mention the class-action lawsuits that led to a $20 million settlement. it's gas additives vs oil additives here, but the fact is that if you are smart enough to choose the right type of alcohol, it's perfectly effective in your gas tank. slick 50 is a waste of money.

ryan

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dofwai
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Why not just buy gasohol, with the ethyl alcohol already in the mixture, if you want the alcohol? Personally, I find I don't get as good mileage when I burn it, but it does tend to burn cleaner, and keep the engine cleaner, I believe.
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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I don't think gasohol is available everywhere in the country.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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dofwai
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I don't think gasohol is available everywhere in the country.

Probably not. I think other areas have other additives that are supposed to reduce polution, and such.

I think gasohol is just a method of using midwest corn crops for something, to sort of subsidize the price a bit....

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Giselle
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Well damn I was hoping he was crazy. [fish] Never heard of moth balls in the gas tank--thats a new one!

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Ralphie, get off the stage sweetheart.

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Moth Drone
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I guess it's time that I fess up. To pass emissions testing one time, I ran my car down to almost empty and then put a bottle of rubbing alcohol - the 99% kind - in the tank. It had failed two previous atempts but with the alcohol in the tank, it passed but just barely. The next year, no amount of alcohol in the tank could save the Ford Festiva and so it was given a quiet wake and burial as a junk trade-in.
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Unicorn
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Arco sells gas with a 10% alcohol content. It's used as an oxygenator. It does however reduce the fuel economy of most cars, especially ones built in the last couple decades that have oxygen sensors.
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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Modern mothballs no longer have napthalene in them, so don't try it. [Smile]

Alcohol can dissolve rubber, so if you have rubber anywhere in your fuel line, you can't use alcohol in your fuel.

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mnotr2
Jingle Bell Hock


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Slightly OT...
I worked as a pump-jockey in my youth and remember one dark and stormy night when a International Scout pulled in, sounding absolutely horrible (backfire, running really rough etc). Two guys got out laughing and staggering, told me to "fill 'er up" (dating myself here). They had been out shooting/plinking (SW Wyoming) and had run out of gas. They just happened to have a gallon of ethyl alcohol with them so they poured it in the tank (a little for the car and a little for the driver) and came to the first gas station they saw to fill up. After filling up with gasoline, the engine smoothed out and all seemed well. To make a long story short (too late) a car will run on pure ethyl alcohol, but not well, and I don't know how long.

Mnot - honest ossifer, it's just a gas additive - r2

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Captain Billy Cutshaw

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Robigus, Frozen Mushroom
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Jason the Jinxed:
Modern mothballs no longer have napthalene in them, so don't try it. [Smile]

Alcohol can dissolve rubber, so if you have rubber anywhere in your fuel line, you can't use alcohol in your fuel.

I have a recently purchased two pound box of mothballs. The ingredients list shows napthalene - 99%.

I would think that anything alcohol could dissolve, gasoline would just as well. Plus, with gasohol being generally available, manufacturers would have installed lines that would not be affected by the alcohol content of the fuel.

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lawguy
We Three Blings


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Whe "gasohol" first came out, there were problems with certain plastics and rubbers in the fuel system getting gummy....but that was in the '80s. I would guess that any car made in the last 10 or 15 years would be fine with a little alcohol.

Some cars made today, so called "flexible fuel" cars can run on anything from 100% gasoline at least to 85% ethanol (E85), and any combination of the 2. Ethanol and other renewable fuels are one of the waves of the future. There's nothing quite like a fuel that lessens dependence on oil while helping farmers and which uses well proven and widely avaulable technology.

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"I've argued in front of every judge in this state, often as a lawyer."

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88ShelbyZ
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Im not to sure if it would increase th octane or do anything to help the car. But I will say this, in 1963 Chrysler Produced a car that could run on anything that burned. Kerosene, Grain Alcohol whatever. Unfortunately, by teh time Chrysler completed the project, it was to out of style and bulky to be a big seller.
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bruce down under
Deck the Malls


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I've long thought that a litre or so of Methylated Spirits (denatured alcohol) is fine to keep the little bits of water that accumulate in the fuel system under control. A litre in a full tank (about 50 litres) will make so little difference to octane rating that you'd never notice.

I once ran my Holden Gemini on 100 Octane AVGAS (we had some spare from the rally car) and watched glowing bits of carbon shooting from my exhaust pipe on the way home from Canberra to Sydney. All the crap from the tops of the pistons and the backs of the valves was burning away. Mind you, that 300 kilomtre trip used up 600 kilometres of fuel and the temperature guage was hovering at the edgeo of "Oh God it's hot" - strong stuff.

Some fuel additives are supposed to be helpful - but I have no idea which ones. I use proprietry fuel system cleaners in both my injected cars - can't hurt and the mechanic (from whom I do not buy them) tells me to.


Bruce (Keep it in the fridge) down under

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by 88ShelbyZ:
Im not to sure if it would increase th octane or do anything to help the car. But I will say this, in 1963 Chrysler Produced a car that could run on anything that burned. Kerosene, Grain Alcohol whatever. Unfortunately, by teh time Chrysler completed the project, it was to out of style and bulky to be a big seller.

It was the Chrysler Turbine. The car basically had a jet engine under the hood. The problem wasn't styling and bulkiness. The engine was too complex and expensive for general production and the 1970's fuel crisis put the nail in the coffin -- the car got 5 mpg.

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

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die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I don't think gasohol is available everywhere in the country.

Out here in Minnesota, gasohol is now known as E85, which has 85% ethanol (and sells for about 10 cents/gallon less than regular unleaded).

Only selected stations sell E85, FYI.

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die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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How about using cheap, stinking chip oil (otherwise known as waste restaurant grease)?

As a matter of fact, it's possible to convert existing gasoline or diesel engines to burn cheap, stinking chip oil, and there are DIY kits available to that end for as little as $800.

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"Nie lees die hoofopskrifte--lees die daagliks phosdex in plaas ..."

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lawguy
We Three Blings


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Only converted diesels, not gas engines, can burn waste oil/grease.

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"I've argued in front of every judge in this state, often as a lawyer."

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