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Toluene or Xylene

Anyone here use either Toluene or Xylene in their cars. I have heard that it is a good way to raise the octane.
Thanks,
Mike
Old 11-21-2002, 02:27 PM
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...and a great way to burn up your valves. If you don't know what your doing (and you don't), leave it alone.
Old 11-21-2002, 02:52 PM
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Some of the octane boosters have tolene. I think the high octane unleaded gas has it already. I have read that you reach a point of diminishing return at 25 to 30% by volume of tolene to gas.

If I was going to use a bunch, I would find a chemical compatibility chart looking at how it could affect fuel system components, but who really knows what material they are?


drew1
Old 11-21-2002, 05:08 PM
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I know that most of the octane boosters contain or both of these substances.
Dogslovetrucks,
What properties do these liquids hold that would lead to fried valves?
Old 11-21-2002, 05:37 PM
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Matt,

I was saying that if you don't know what you are doing, you can burn your valves. More likely, the car will have cold start problems, poor running or not run at all! The denisty of toluene is appx 0.87 g/Ml vs gas @ about 0.71g/Ml. When you mix it yourself, a LOT of the toluene just settles at the bottom of the tank.
You are right- most all fuel octane boosters use toluene as their main ingrediant- but again- they know what they are doing.
With all that said, if your car is an N/A, you will see NO improvement over running normal 93 oct gas. A turbo or high compression engine can see signifigant improvement.
Old 11-21-2002, 06:05 PM
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what if you use it in stupid Californian 91 gas???
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Old 11-21-2002, 06:31 PM
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Using toluene will NOT "burn" the valves. I run it often and it does make a change in how the car feels. If your car is a highly modified one, toluene is the best fuel "additive" you can use, to a point. Gasoline is mostly toluene to start with. Adding more is the easiest way to increase octane. For more information on the subject, do a search on the Rennlist on rocket fuel. There are links to all the info you could ever want about using toluene. For instance, it was used as fuel in F1 turbo cars in the early 80's with nheptane (0 octane!) as an additive to the toluene to bring the fuel octane rating to that allowed by the rules. These guys ran up to 5 bar of boost (1 bar=about 14psi) for over 1500hp out of a 1.5 liter engine. The downside is that toluene has a rather high vapor pressure so the F1 guys had to route the fuel lines through the radiators to preheat the stuff so it would vaporize from the injectors. The off the shelf boosters do not use toluene hardly at all, rather they use stuff like MBTE, highly toxic and of very questionable value. Note that the "boosters" sold only raise the octane by points, ie a 3 point boost on 91 octane only goes to 91.3. Still think this stuff is really effective? More like expensive snake oil. Toluene will raise it by whole numbers based on a simple volumetric ratio, resulting in real increases like from 91 to 95, depending on volume.

What leads to burned valves is a lean mixture, not to mention a lean mixture's other nasty effects like detonation or "knocking" or "pinging". Toluene is of little value on a stock n/a car. You have to be either doing forced induction, raising the compression ratio, or advancing the timing to really be able to take advantage of it.

I use it all the time, and shop regularly at the Sherwin-Williams speed shop. Search the Rennlist for more details. Don't mean to sound preachy, just don't like misinformation being spread about.



Dave
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Old 11-21-2002, 07:57 PM
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used to run some toluene in the tank. dave hit the nail on the head there, there would be no danger to your valves or any other engine component. i did have some cold start problems, however.

Old 11-21-2002, 08:06 PM
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'What leads to burned valves is a lean mixture, not to mention a lean mixture's other nasty effects like detonation or "knocking" or "pinging". Toluene is of little value on a stock n/a car"

Example- Joe mixes too much toluene into his tank and creates a lean mix = burnt valves for Joe

Sup, you guys don't like 93 oct?
Old 11-21-2002, 08:14 PM
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Sorry to beat this with a stick but a lot of prev post have said how great the stuff is. It's not.

I had a good buddy with a 71 Nova (yeah, I know)

Anyway, we built up the engine to be pretty hot. He wanted a bit more and decided to go the toluene route. Created a knock/detonation at high rpm and blew our $500 head job.
No, toluene in it's self does not cause burnt valves but if improply mixed, it will put you on the wrong road.
Old 11-21-2002, 08:18 PM
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Old 11-21-2002, 08:20 PM
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Sorry, but putting more toluene in the tank doesn't create a lean condition, especially on something like a 71 nova. More like incorrect jetting on the carb or incorrect fuel pressure supplied by the pump. You guys ever check out that possibility? Too often the novice hotrodder, in his misguided lust for horsepower, will make the latest thunderwagen and neglect minor details like fuel pressure, volume of flow, jetting or injector size, cam overlap and other small details like advance or distributor curve. Like Blackfoot said, the only negative side effect is cold start, that's why the F1 guys preheated the fuel by routing the lines through the radiators.

Nope, don't like 93 when I can have 96 or better with no ill effects. Short of track gas, it's the best way to go for higher octane or to raise the octane of poor gas.
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Old 11-21-2002, 08:31 PM
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I think both of you people are right and wrong. Yes, it does help a motor and yes it does lean the mixture. Toulene and Xylene are Aromatics and are one of the best anti0knock agents. The problem you mentioed dog, is that your friends Nova leaned the mixture out too much. The solution is to change the jetting on your carb to use toulene. But the stuff must be used in large quantities to have an effect, so I really wouldn't use it unless your cleaning valves or something. But, if your going to use something try TEL, that is, if you can find it (the REAL stuff).

And dog, no need to get so hostile. Not everybody knows everything. Sometimes, even something we think we know is right is wrong, its just human to be that way. Just don't take things personally when someone disagree's with you. The people here are like family, they want to help you out. They give some advise, and sometimes they're wrong, big deal.

These are sourced from the most recent book I bought, it called "High Perforance Theory and Engine Design" by Dema Elgin.

the best anti-knock additives are;
-ethanol, improves octane only after 10-12% is added to the mix
-Aniline( a dye)
3-4 ounces in a gallon will raise octane 3-5 points
-Tetraethyl Lead (TEL)
the ULTIMATE anti-knock agent. Its efffective even during detonation
It creates a fog that disperses the flame front of the combustion.
-Aromatics; Benzene, TOULENE, XYLENE, Naphthalene
+must be added in large percentages to have an anti-knock effect
+Large percentages of aromatics require a change in jetting (hence, that Nova problem)

Old 11-21-2002, 08:43 PM
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Yep! Dave got it right! I just took too long to post! (wrote a lot ya' know).
Old 11-21-2002, 08:46 PM
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Yup, TEL, those were the good old days, too bad the advent of the catalytic put an end to that. Ethanol will raise the octane but the downside is the lack of BTU content relative to volume. In order to fully utilize the favorable effects, you have to flow much more fuel, again, coming back to jetting, fuel pressure, flow and injector size. The point that I have been rambling around tonight is that modifing your car is more than just bolting on the latest gadget. The engine is a system and must be looked at as such. A change in one area will produce changes in other areas. That's why my 951 is still stock except for a dynomax muffler. I'm starting to collect parts for the state I want to end up in. They will be added all at once and then tuned for maximum performance. Having been a professional wrench ages ago, and having hung around with the SCCA guys, I've seen far too many just bolt stuff on and not have the foggiest idea of how it actually affected the car. Just look at the ricers, they bolt on air cleaners and all manner of doodads, and then add the manufacturer's claims of hp increase, thus ariving at an absurd figure, when in reality, they have most likely lowered the hp. (And ruined whatever airodynamics they had with those goofy wings along with extra weight.) Want to make your stocker faster, follow Colin Chapman's adage of "add lightness". I think the founder of Lotus was onto something about power to weight ratio.
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Old 11-21-2002, 09:06 PM
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Never really used it as an octane booster, but it does work wonders addig a couple of quarts to a full tank of gas to keep your valves and pistons clean. (run a couple of quarts every 6 months or so)

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Old 11-22-2002, 01:34 AM
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Tolulene will NOT make power. It will help you stop losing power.

A higher octane will stop an engine from knocking. Therefore the fuel injection's knock sensor will not have to retard the timing. Therefore you don't lose power.

doglovestrucks is correct. Too much tolulene will ruin your engine. Do a lot of research before you use this stuff.
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Old 11-22-2002, 03:48 AM
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Dave, you have that exactly right, being higher octane will allow you to use more of the power for a given volume of fuel, within limitations of the engine design. It will not ruin your engine if you use too much, just make it hard to start, read the faq on fuels on the Rennlist board. Danno aka Racer X has a very informative site with the details of using this stuff.
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Old 11-22-2002, 04:32 AM
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It isn't the burining of tolulene that is bad but the mixing of it with oil in the piston ring blow-by. The stuff is a powerful solvent that will thin your oil.

Not comparing our engines to Formula-1 engines, but the F-1 use up to 80% tolulene without problems. I would guess if your engine is tight then a gallon or 2 of tolulene won't be bad, and may actually help.

WARNING: Tolulene is very toxic. Inhaling it has proven to cause severe brain damage.
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Old 11-22-2002, 05:28 AM
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Old 11-22-2002, 07:23 AM
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