Mixing Fuel

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Al Hobbs

Legend of the NW
Vendor
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
1,842
I've been mixing my own nitro fuel for almost 45 years. There are advantages and disadvantages to mixing your own fuel.

There are several different fuels available to you commercially and their quality is very good. So, if you have a reliable supplier, you should be happy.

One thing is certain, mixing your own fuel will not save you any money. The two most expensive components, nitromethane and oil are much cheaper for the person that buys in drums. When you buy in smaller lots, your cost goes up.

The advantage to me is that my fuel never changes when I drive to different races. That, and being able to change my fuel to work best in different engines are the only advantages.

If you decide to try mixing your own fuel, the biggest problem is buying nitromethane. It is expensive and heavy. Very heavy, so watch your back when handleing nitromethane.

There are several different oils available. I have been using Klotz SuperTechniplate, a blend of synthetic and castor oils. It is easy to get in gallon jugs.

Methanol is simple to buy. I have been buying VP methanol in 5 gallon cans.

To mix fuel successfully, consistency is most important. Go though the same process each time. I mix in 5 gallon lots. Measure carefully to keep your mixture consistent.

The most common fuels are 40%, 50% and 60% nitro content fuels. These are simple to arrive at the recipe you like.

I use 50% in my 67 and larger engines. I also use 20% oil content in my larger engines. I measure by volume, not by weight.

To make 50% fuel, simply pour one gallon of nitro into a 5 gallon jug. Add one and one half gallons of methanol. Then empty a one gallon jug of oil into the 5 gallon jug. I pour some nitro into the oil jug and shake it to flush out all the oil. Pour that oil and nitro mixture into whatever container you use to measure. Use this and more nitro to total one and one half gallons, pour that into the 5 gallon jug.

The final amounts are 50% Nitro, 20% oil and 30% methanol.

Seal the five gallon jug and then mix the fuel. I just lay the 5 gallon jug on its side and roll it back and forth to mix the fuel.

I decant the fuel into one gallon fuel jugs. All of my fuel goes through a fine metal strainer when I pour it into the gallon jugs. Each of the five, one gallon jugs contains exactly the same fuel as in the other one gallon jugs.

As long as you carefully measure and use the same components, your fuel will be consistent year after year.

Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to mixing your own nitro fuel. Trying to save money is not a reason to mix your own fuel.
 
Another very accurate (1ml) way is to weigh the ingredients instead of looking at the line on a measuring cup etc.

It's more convenient to mix this way in liters instead of gallons, it just so happens 4l fits perfectly in a 1 US gallon can.

You multiply the specific gravity of each ingredient x the ml you want to get the weight in grams. SG x ML = G

SG of nitro is 1.13

SG of methanol is 0.79

SG of oil is close to 1.0 (castor and synthetic)

To make 4 liters (4000ml) of 60% fuel with 15% oil:

Nitro (60%): 4000 x 0.6 = 2400ml x 1.13 = 2712g

Methanol (25%): 4000 x 0.25 = 1000ml x 0.79 = 790

Oil (15%): 4000 x 0.15 = 600ml x 1.0 = 600g

You can mix one gallon or twenty this way and they will all be the same.

Another thing, it's important to keep your fuel well sealed, the methanol absorbs water from the air like a sponge. If you can find phenolic lined gallon cans with a 32REL (same as VP) top these work very well.
 
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Al gave us his recipe many years ago ( Like 30ish) We have mixed hundreds of gallons and been very successful with it. At times our whole district would go together and we would have a mixing party. As Al stated, handling a barrel of nitro is not only heavy, but a bit nerve racking as it is a large investment. We ran three different mixes 40% 2 gal. nitro, 1gal. oil and 2gal. meth. 60% 3gal nitro, 1gal oil, and 1gal meth. 66% 2gal nitro, 1/2gal oi, 1/2 gal meth.
 
Another very accurate (1ml) way is to weigh the ingredients instead of looking at the line on a measuring cup etc.

It's more convenient to mix this way in liters instead of gallons, it just so happens 4l fits perfectly in a 1 US gallon can.

You multiply the specific gravity of each ingredient x the ml you want to get the weight in grams. SG x ML = G

SG of nitro is 1.13

SG of methanol is 0.79

SG of oil is close to 1.0 (castor and synthetic)

To make 4 liters (4000ml) of 60% fuel with 15% oil:

Nitro (60%): 4000 x 0.6 = 2400ml x 1.13 = 2712g

Methanol (25%): 4000 x 0.25 = 1000ml x 0.79 = 790

Oil (15%): 4000 x 0.15 = 600ml x 1.0 = 600g

You can mix one gallon or twenty this way and they will all be the same.

Another thing, it's important to keep your fuel well sealed, the methanol absorbs water from the air like a sponge. If you can find phenolic lined gallon cans with a 32REL (same as VP) top these work very well.
Terry, do you know.. can one spray a nitrogen blanket on the fuel before you close the lid?

https://www.smooth-on.com/products/xtend-it/
Grim
 
Terry, do you know.. can one spray a nitrogen blanket on the fuel before you close the lid?

https://www.smooth-on.com/products/xtend-it/
Grim

Wish I knew about that stuff when I was molding "spiders" for my dyno coupler, all the urethane I bought went hard after using just a small amount.

I don't think it would make much difference to our fuel though as long as you keep your fuel jug well sealed. Phenolic/epoxy lined cans with the 32 REL top are the best IMHO, I use a Slimline "Pro Cap" and it too seals very well. Also, when you mix 4 liters in a US gal can it fills it right to the top so there's hardly any air left.

Just for fun I figured out how much water might be in a 1/2 gal of empty space in a gallon can.

Typical water grains are around 75 gpp (grains per pound) of air, a super humid day might have 150. One pound of "standard" air is about 92.7 US gal so 1/2 gal of air in a can might have 0.6 grains of water in it.

0.6 grains converts to 0.04 grams = 0.04ml. So assuming the methanol in the fuel absorbed all the water in that 1/2 gal of dead space it would be like adding 0.04 ml (0.00135oz or one drop) of water.

Soooo, as long as you keep your can tightly sealed I think you're alright. :)
 
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Bryon fuels use to blanket there vats.. they also spent quite a bit of time testing jugs.. they did find the best one.. they were able to find out that some propylene jugs would allow moister to transfer though the plastic. (They published that on there website years ago.. but I dont remember if they divulged any details)

Thanks TK and Al for the fun conversation.

Grim
 
Think about mixing your fule in the winter on a cold day with close to 0% humidity. Once you open that 5 gal can of 50/50.. mix it ALL! 115 fluid oz (+ 20.7 more if you don't remove the 115 oz of fule) call your vp fules custermer service if you need clarification on how to achieve the percentage of oil to your fule mix. Then transfer that into your metal gal cans same day. Fill them to the top.
 
One other thing that works good when mixing fuel. When you put the fuel into your jugs put them in the freezer. pull them the next day and pour thru a paint strainer into another jug. If you have a little water in your fuel it will freeze and will be strained. you will see the colored ice in the strainer.
 
One other thing that works good when mixing fuel. When you put the fuel into your jugs put them in the freezer. pull them the next day and pour thru a paint strainer into another jug. If you have a little water in your fuel it will freeze and will be strained. you will see the colored ice in the strainer.

Does the castor stay in?
 
$65 a gallon ain't that bad actually, I paid US$49 ordering a 52 gal. drum this past Spring.
I liked it because it showed up at the front door with out having to jump threw hoops.
Just open up the front door and it is there......LOL
It will make 10 gals of 50%.
Get some KLOTZ SUPER TECHNIPLATE and go to the local speed shop for the Methanol and you are good to go.
I did it to control what oil was in my mix. 1697379299189.png
 
It is clear as water. Mostly ran 50% to stretch it further. Ran 15% oil.
I mixed it in a 5 gal plastic hyd oil pail left over from work.
Then used a paint strainer with a coffee filter in it for the funnel to fill the bottles.
Used a large kitchen GLASS measuring cup to measure it with.
This oil mixes right in no problems...................
I was not precise on the measurements would round it off some to keep it easy.
I used this formula for 1 gal increments it is simple not rocket science.
128 x .5 = 64 for nitro
128 x .15 = 19.5 rounded off to 20 for oil
128 x .35 = 44.8 rounded off to 45 for meth.
This is just added up to make how many gal you want.
for different oil and nitro just adjust the # you use to multiply.
Say .6 for 60% and then adjust the rest to what ever oil % you want .
It just needs to add up to 1
Round it off as it is not that critical.
77 of nitro 20 of oil and 32 of meth is what I used to make a gallon of %60.
It is easy no big deal.........................
No need to make it harder than it is,
 
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