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Old 08-31-2006, 10:36 PM   #1
ksbunting
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Default Toluene added to gasoline

Has anyone had any experience adding Toluene to gasoline to raise the octane level?
I just came from a car show where I spoke to a gentleman who has a tuning business and had one of the new Corvette motors stuffed under the hood of a Miata convertible.
We spoke about octane levels of gasoline and pinging in high compression motors and he said that Toluene (available at Hardware stores & Home Depot) when added to gas, increased the octane level and I wondered if anyone else had ever heard of this and had any experienc ewiht it.
Thank you in advance,
Kurt
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:56 PM   #2
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I think it does, but wait and you'll get some 'I know it does'
Larry
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:02 PM   #3
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I have not used it, but yes it does.

Did the math a while back and it was a lot cheaper for me to blend 5 gals 110 with 10 gals of 93 to get approxmately 100.


Go here to check it out.

http://www.elektro.com/~audi/audi/toluene.html

by the way...I could not find toluene at 2.50/gal


.

Last edited by SmokinBBC; 08-31-2006 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:36 PM   #4
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as soon as you get your octane answer, tell us more about the Vette powered Miata!
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:37 AM   #5
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It was a Miata with a Corvette LS6 motor and with the hood closed, the car looks stock.
The guy who had it works or owns a tuner shop locally and he said it is a real sleeper because people don't expect a Miata to move the way this car does. It is featured on his company's website.
They do lot of modifications and upgrades to older cars using newer technology and engines.
You can read about the Miata and others at their website
www.Enhancedstreetperformance.com
Kurt
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:39 AM   #6
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Smokinbbc,
I just read that paper you referenced.
Excellent article and well written.
I am going to try to buy some in the next few days.
Kurt
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:48 AM   #7
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Kurt,
Toluene is about 114 octane (M+R)/2. Xylene is about the same and can also be used. You have been using it in the gasoline you buy at the pump for many years.

Much of the early unleaded gasoline routinely used toluene, xylene and benzene (will not find that at home depot). 10-15% blended into the gasoline is no problem and will raise 93 pump gas a few points to resolve any intermittant detonation when setting up to run at the track. If you go much over 20% you loose total power because the TBX aromatics has far less energy per gallon than gasoline.

However, i question if you really need it, timing and distributor curve can easily be adjusted to run 93 without much noticeable power reduction. If you are competiting that is another issue.

I use to buy daily several 10,000 barrel barge loads of toluene to blend into millions of gallons of gasoline we refined and distributed over many years. Use it without fear because it was a major blending component in premium gasoline for many years.

Joe

Last edited by devildog; 09-01-2006 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:02 AM   #8
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Devildog,
My 68 Corvette is just a weekend/sunny day driver, no racing at a track or anything like that.
Many have told me that the 93 octane available at the pumps is not enough for this 11 to 1 compression motor and that is why I was seekign alternatives. I do not want to modify the engine in any way as it is factory original stock and I spent a lot of money to get it that way. I had some problems with pinging and octane boosters did nothing for me. I retarded the timing and the pinging stopped but I am exploring ways to get a little more kick without modifying the engine.
I read somewhere this evening that the Toluene will destroy (harden) the rubber components in the fule pump and lines etc.
Is this true?
Kurt
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:38 AM   #9
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kurt,
Blending 15-20% toluene or xylene will get your 93 to about 97 (m+r)/2 which is not that far off from the 1970s 100 octane pump gas.

the toluene is a bit more agressive on the elastomer components in the fuel system than gasoline with out toluene...I doubt that you would see any difference over the years. 15-20% is no problem, 50% or 100% TBX would degrade elastomers more quickly.

The ethanol now used is a heck of lot more of an agressive solvent on elastomers than TBX aromatics.

I have increased my CR run 10.5 to 1 on 93 pump gas at agressive timing.

Each engine is going to vary, but I would expect if set your timing at original advance and run 15% T or X in 93 pump gas you will not get detonation.

Temperature: remember engines back then had lower temp thermostats, probably 160-170...this modern day 180-200+ degree temps are for emission mandates. Keep temps down.

Joe
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:01 AM   #10
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I sent a pm to J-Rod to get more info. But he did a paper on it that was in corvettefaq but is no longer there. This is something he sent me about two years ago on the subject lol.

Toulene
R+M/2...114
Cost...$2.50/gal
Mixtures with 92 Octane Premium
10%...94.2 Octane
20%...96.4 Octane
30%...98.6 Octane
Notes: Common ingredient in Octane Boosters in a can. 12-16 ounces will only raise octane 2-3 *points*, I.e. from 92 to 92.3. Often costs $3-5 for 12-16 ounces, when it can be purchased for less than $3/gal at chemical supply houses or paint stores.


I hope he can chime in and give more info for everyone.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksbunting
Has anyone had any experience adding Toluene to gasoline to raise the octane level?.....
Just make sure when you mix it that you have plenty of ventilation....it's a nasty solvent.....
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:01 AM   #12
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nasty is an understatement. toluene is an extremely carcinogenic organic solvent. if you're going to use it on a regular basis you should treat it like alien spit. gloves and a good mask and good ventilation.
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by standup
Just make sure when you mix it that you have plenty of ventilation....it's a nasty solvent.....
An excellent point!

It has also been known to attack some types of gaskets/seals if too much is used.

Another point - don't get even a tiny drop on that slick paint job or you will have little holes in the paint! It's not too friendly with fiberglass and resins either...

Just be very cautions!
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:41 AM   #14
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My local hardware store only carried Xylene. I did my fair share of reading about Toluene and Xylene and came across the $2.50 a gallon thing numerous times. Xylene is about $15 a gallon. Mixing it 9 to 1 with gas (10%) will raise 93 octane to about 95 octane or a tad higher. Toluene is also one of the ingredients used to make some type(s) of illicit drug.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:18 PM   #15
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devildog had most of the information you were looking for.

You can look for the Rocket Fuel Faq. The point about Xylene and Toluene being $2.50 were from a a few years ago. Petroleum distalates, just like gasoline have gone up. Toluene is hard to get because the folks cooking Meth use it.

http://www.gnttype.org/techarea/misc...explained.html

It will expalin all you want to know about Toluene or Xylene.

One point though:

Toluene is a pure hydrocarbon (C7H8). i.e. it contains only hydrogen and carbon atoms. It belongs to a particular category of hydrocarbons called aromatic hydrocarbons. Complete combustion of toluene yields CO2 and H2O. This fact ensures that the entire emission control system such as the catalyst and oxygen sensor of your car is unaffected. There are no metallic compounds (lead, magnesium etc), no nitro compounds and no oxygen atoms in toluene. It is made up of exactly the same ingredients as ordinary gasoline. In fact it is one of the main ingredients of gasoline.

Toluene has a RON octane rating of 121 and a MON rating of 107, leading to a (R+M)/2 rating of 114. (R+M)/2 is how ordinary fuels are rated in the US. Note that toluene has a sensitivity rating of 121-107=14. This compares favorably with alcohols which have sensitivities in the 20-30 range. The more sensitive a fuel is the more its performance degrades under load. Toluene's low sensitivity means that it is an excellent fuel for a heavily loaded engine.

Toluene is denser than ordinary gasoline (0.87 g/mL vs. 0.72-0.74) and contains more energy per unit volume. Thus combustion of toluene leads to more energy being liberated and thus more power generated. This is in contrast to oxygenated octane boosters like ethanol or MTBE which contain less energy per unit volume compared to gasoline. The higher heating value of toluene also means that the exhaust gases contain more kinetic energy, which in turn means that there is more energy to drive turbocharger vanes. In practical terms this is experienced as a faster onset of turbo boost.

Chevron's published composition of 100 octane aviation fuel shows that toluene comprises up to 14% alone and is the predominant aromatic hydrocarbon. Unfortunately composition specifications for automotive gasoline is harder to pin down due to constantly changing requirements.

....

Because toluene is such an effective anti knock fuel it also means that it is more difficult to ignite at low temperatures. The Formula 1 cars that ran on 84% toluene needed to have hot radiator air diverted to heat its fuel tank to 70C to assist its vaporization. Thus too strong a concentration of toluene will lead to poor cold start and running characteristics. I recommend that the concentration of toluene used to not exceed what the engine is capable of utilizing. i.e. Experiment with small increases in concentration until you can no longer detect an improvement.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:57 PM   #16
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Once again I am impressed at the wealth of knowledge and experience on this Forum. You guys are awesome and make this Forum what is is; a highly valued resource.
Thanks all for the info and input,
Kurt
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:04 PM   #17
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TEL or Tetra-ethyl Lead. Remember when premium gas was called ethyl? This stuff is why. If you don't have catalytic converters and don't have to worry about smog checks, you may want to consider this. You can get up to 115 octane from 93 pump gas and it's really not that expensive. It is toxic as is any lead, but it comes in quart bottles so it pours easily and is very portable. No need to mix at home. I carry a quart or two in my rear compartment along with a rag.

Works just fine for my 11.6/1 383 and I can run all the timing I want. I normally add enough to get about 97 octane. I've found that's all I need to get zero detonation with 35 degrees of timing. We did flame harden the valves seats, but the lead provides additional seat lubrication just like it did back in the good old days of leaded fuel. Here's the link:

http://kemcoindustries.com/product_info.php?pId=61
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68vertible
TEL or Tetra-ethyl Lead. Remember when premium gas was called ethyl? This stuff is why. If you don't have catalytic converters and don't have to worry about smog checks, you may want to consider this. You can get up to 115 octane from 93 pump gas and it's really not that expensive. It is toxic as is any lead, but it comes in quart bottles so it pours easily and is very portable. No need to mix at home. I carry a quart or two in my rear compartment along with a rag.

Works just fine for my 11.6/1 383 and I can run all the timing I want. I normally add enough to get about 97 octane. I've found that's all I need to get zero detonation with 35 degrees of timing. We did flame harden the valves seats, but the lead provides additional seat lubrication just like it did back in the good old days of leaded fuel. Here's the link:

http://kemcoindustries.com/product_info.php?pId=61

He has some of this (as do a few of us) - it does work pretty well.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:53 PM   #19
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I feel old compared to a lot of people I know...I can still remember buying leaded gas. Heck, I can remember my dad buying a new truck that was set up for regular (think it was an 82 or 83 - last year before everything went unleaded). He burned the valve seats off of the head in 10k miles running unleaded gas, due to the way the automatic was tuned - the manual said not to shift into OD unless you wanted the overdrive running, and they meant it!
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:01 PM   #20
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I've used it several times in my Grand National when I'm running high boost pressures. Works pretty well.
Its a hassle mixing it up and putting in the Marvel Mystery oil.
I believe I'll be switching to an alcohol system soon!
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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