View Single Post
Old 02-04-2006, 05:03 PM   #27
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 3,308
Originally Posted by berj
Which begs the question.. what are the recommended products for this? I have a feeling that there'll be alot of snake-oil in this market.

To answer your question, not really. All of them work as advertised (the Chemistry is simple), so Price should be your only consideration, which varies widely - up to $80/gal. depending upon the Brand and the size containers you buy. This is why there's so much Hype between the various Brands, the Profit Margin is HUGE!

Octane Boosters can be broken into three types based on their active ingredients. Methyl Cyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl (MMT) and Ferosene are used in limited amounts in off-the-shelf Boosters. The majority of Commercial Boosters use MMT.

Another type of Booster uses alcohols or aromatics as the active ingredient such as Toluene. Toluene, is an Aromatic Circular Hydrocarbon Chain with an Octane value of 110. It is a regular component of Pump Gas and is available in various grades at Chemical Supply and Home Improvement stores. Due to itís cost compared to MMT and Ferosene, Commercial Manufacturers rarely use Toluene based formulas.

Premium Street Gasoline contains roughly 3 to 5% Toluene, to aid it's Octane characteristics. Unocal's 100-Octane Race Gas (which I use in my Formula Vee) contains almost 25% Toluene.

As a side note, in the 1970ís, when Formula 1 Cars were Turbocharged, they ran on Toluene. This allowed them to run the Turbo Boost to about 2 BAR (almost 30 PSI). Because of Toluene's lower Combustion Temperature (as compared to Gasoline), and somewhat unique detonation resistance, the Boost could be raised about .5 Bar (7.25PSI) Higher than if 100-Octane Racing Gas was used. In order to comply with the Rules, it was laced with a 10% mix of 87 Octane Pump Gas to Lower the Octane rating to the regulation 100 Octane, while keeping the advantages of a 110 Octane Fuel.

One drawback to any of these Additives is the diminishing effect they have on Higher-Octane Fuels. Adding the Booster to 87-Octane Gas will raise the Octane Value much more than adding a bottle to 91-Octane Premium Gas.

Excessive concentrations of these Additives can also damage Emissions-Control hardware, such as Spark Plugs, Injectors, O≤ Sensors and Catalytic Converters. This is why off-the-shelf Boosters have an emissions-legal street formulation which meets the Government-Regulated concentration of MMT or Ferosene. In any event, you should restrict it's use to no more than a 15% mix.

There is such a thing as Too High an Octane Fuel. If the Octane is too High, not all the Fuel burns in the Combustion Chamber and can lead to Burned Valves and Exhaust System Damage.

Probably the two most popular Commercial Octane Boosters are: Nitrous Oxide Systems' (NOS) Octane Booster, and Outlaw's Super Concentrated Octane Booster. Nitrous Oxide Systems' (NOS) Octane Booster uses MMT as its active ingredient, while Outlaw's Super Concentrated Octane Booster uses Ferosene.

A Home-made Octane Booster using Toluene can be made for about $14/gal. by combining 1 Gal. of Toluene, 31.25 fl.oz. of Mineral Spirits, and 3.5 fl.oz. of Automatic Transmission Fluid (to act as a lubricant). IMPORTANT: Use appropriate MSDS and Flammability cautions if making at Home. If added to 10 Gal. of 87 Octane Fuel (a 13% mix), this will give you an Octane Value of 89, the minimum required. If added to 90 Octane Fuel, it will raise the Octane Value to 91.5.

As I said, if you are traveling to unfamiliar remote areas, bring some Booster along. Buy only enough lower Grade Gas to get to an area selling the proper Grade. Hope this helps.

Happy Motoring!... Jimí99

Last edited by MNBoxster; 02-04-2006 at 06:40 PM.
MNBoxster is offline   Reply With Quote