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Water/methanol Injection Vs. Chargecooler


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If I have a choice of one charge cooling method, should I go with a water-to-air chargecooler, or a water/methanol injection kit? Obvious the best would be to combine both, with the water/methanol injection spraying the already-pre-cooled air form the charge cooler, but if I were to pick one, which one is most effective and safer for a stock V8 engine?

Some thoughts...why would anyone introduce vaporized water (steam) into an internal combustible engine? The steam obvious has no way of escaping, except through the piston chambers and out the exhaust. The whole idea behind head gaskets is so that coolant never mixes with engine oil. So why artificially introduce elements that are clearly corrosive to a metal assembly? The danger of running rich (with fuel) in engine is that you risk lack of piston liner lubrication, because the excess fuel "washing" it away. So wouldn't water/methanol injection pose the same problems?

Which one provides the absolute healthiest way to increase hp, while maintaining stock-level boost? When I mean healthiest, I mean for the engine...nevermind the drivetrain/tranny.

My plan, starting with 100% stock V8:

1. Keep the factory ECU

2. Replace the factory air filters with K&N air filters

3. Replace the factory cats with Hyper-Flow cats

4. Install a means of cooling factory-level boost to gain more horsepower via:

PUK Esprit Racing Water Injection Kit

http://freudhoefer.de/lotus/esprit/product...ction/index.htm

or

Lotus PBC dual water-to-air chargecoolers

http://www.lotuspbc.com/Photo_Gallery/Char...oler%20kit1.jpg

Edited by 2003 V8 TT
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The point of chargecooling (be it air-air, water-air, water/methanol injection) is to reduce the intake temperature and therefore reduce the possibility of detonation. This in turn allows you to increase the boost (and therefore bhp) while still maintaining the same intake temperature as a non-chargecooled engine with stock boost.

Air-air and water air-water chargecooling do this by physically cooling the intake charge using a heat exchanger similar to the radiator in the coolant system. Water/methonal injection is slightly different. The additional water/methonal increases the thermal capacity of the charge which means it doesn't heat up as much as a plain air/petrol mix when compressed by the turbo.

However, there is an added advantage of air-air and water-air chargecooling. By cooling the charge you also reduce it's density, which means you can get more air/petrol into the same volume without increasing the boost, and therefore more power - up to 50bhp.

This is not the case with water/methonal injection. Although it cools the air/petrol, the addition of the water/methanol increases the overall density of the charge which cancels out the benefit.

So if you want more bhp without increasing the boost the only way to do it is with air-air or water-air chargecooling.

Some general points:

* Water-air or air-air chargecooling. More difficult and expensive to install, but you will see an increase in bhp without increasing the boost. Also, the system is 'maintence free'.

* Water/methanol chargecooling. Easier and cheaper to install, but you will need to increase the boost to see more bhp (difficult to do safely with the stock ECM). Also, the system requires regular maintainance in the form of refilling the water/methanol tank - depending on how heavy you are on the loud pedal!

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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Wow...nice answer, Neal. Much appreciate your insight. I guess to truly benefit from the water/methanol injection setup, I should also upgrade the ECU, perhaps to the Johan unit, to get that ECM-controlled boost increase. But then again, the buck doesn't stop there. I would have to upgrade the wastegate capsules as well, for the stock ones won't hold past .85 bar.

Also, with a chargecooler, it would only produce the "50 bhp" gain during hot summer days, no? When it's subzero winter weather out, would the turbos still compress the air enough to generate enough heat to where the chargecooler would still be effective? What I'm asking is that would the boost temperature on a non-chargecooled car during winter be relatively the same as the boost temperature on a chargecooled car during the summer?

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I have an ERL water injection system and 2 gallon alloy tank and mounting backets for sale on Lew at a much reduced price.. cost with tank and mounting brackets to fit tank in the Esprit boot popping up through the floor was over

Mark MacKenzie  Elise S2 135 Sport 

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Re "However, there is an added advantage of air-air and water-air chargecooling. By cooling the charge you also reduce it's density, which means you can get more air/petrol into the same volume without increasing the boost, and therefore more power - up to 50bhp."

Cooling the charge increases density not decreases it. Did you mean it decreases the pressure for a given amount of charge?

Andy

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Re "However, there is an added advantage of air-air and water-air chargecooling. By cooling the charge you also reduce it's density, which means you can get more air/petrol into the same volume without increasing the boost, and therefore more power - up to 50bhp."

Cooling the charge increases density not decreases it. Did you mean it decreases the pressure for a given amount of charge?

Andy

Air-air and water-air cooling: cools the air and increases density without adding moisture, hence the amount of 02 per cc is not diminished

Water-meth injection: cools the air and increases density but adds moisture, hence the amount of oxygen per cc is diminished

Both are very effective at cooling the charge and increasing power. The water-meth option has the added advantage of a cooling effect on the combustion chamber as the fluid vaporizes.

The difference between the two is not significant regarding performance gains. The primary downside to water-meth (and why it is not used in OEM) is the need to keep the tank full of fluid.

Craig

2001 Esprit V8

1985 911 Carrera converted to 1974 RSR IROC race car

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS350 convertible (goes fast and straight - limited handling!)

www.hollowayperformance.com

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...... The difference between the two is not significant regarding performance gains......

I would have to say that this statement is a little misleading.

With water-air chargecooling, you will see a significant increase in power at the standard boost level - even more if you also raise the boost level. Lotus figures on the V8 engine for intercooled variant are 430bhp vs. the 350bhp for the turbocharged non-intercooled variant. This is a very similar figure to what was experience when I moved to chargecooling using the stardard Lotus ECU.

Alternatively, water injection does not add any bhp but is good at combating high inlet temperatures.

1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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I would have to say that this statement is a little misleading.

With water-air chargecooling, you will see a significant increase in power at the standard boost level - even more if you also raise the boost level. Lotus figures on the V8 engine for intercooled variant are 430bhp vs. the 350bhp for the turbocharged non-intercooled variant. This is a very similar figure to what was experience when I moved to chargecooling using the stardard Lotus ECU.

Alternatively, water injection does not add any bhp but is good at combating high inlet temperatures.

These points are true, however a water-meth system can also allow increased boost, with added octane (meth) and cooling of the heads, making it a "safer" alternative for an engine with cast pistons. Note I am NOT promoting this but am speaking purely on the science of water-meth injection.

Considering the increased octane (hence timing improvements) and cooling effect, a water-meth engine can be tuned to a similar BHP as an air-water or air-air charge cooler. It's all in the engine management.

If the original question pertains to a stock Esprit with stock ECU and stock boost, then I agree the best alternative is water-air.

One bit of trivia: many of the USAF turbo prop planes of WWII used water-meth injected Lycoming engines for huge BHP gains. This is one reason the late model fighters (Mustang) held such an advantage in the war (speed/climbing agility).

This is a great thread!

Craig

2001 Esprit V8

1985 911 Carrera converted to 1974 RSR IROC race car

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS350 convertible (goes fast and straight - limited handling!)

www.hollowayperformance.com

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Drop gmendoza a note, he's running water/meth on his 03.

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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Drop gmendoza a note, he's running water/meth on his 03.

FYI - I have it on my 2001. Quite satisfied.

2001 Esprit V8

1985 911 Carrera converted to 1974 RSR IROC race car

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS350 convertible (goes fast and straight - limited handling!)

www.hollowayperformance.com

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Hi All,

I would like to add my own experience to this topic.

Intercoolers (air-water-air) are a very good method to cool down the intake charge for stock and/or uprated Lotus-V8-engines. However, the installation is not easy because of the limited space and there is also a lot of additional installation to do: c/coolers, water-pump, piping, front air radiator ... The whole installation takes quite a lot of time and knowledge and is very hard to do without hacking the engine bay (= rear trunk wall). If you do this its an (almost) irreversible mod and will affect originality.

Performance wise you can expect something around 30-40 HP with a stock engine and stock ECU and stock max. boost.

Water/alcohol injection is also a very good method to cool down the intake charge and additionally increases knock boundery to almost non-existance. Water/alcohol injection only makes sense with boost levels 0.5-0.75 bar und up. The triggering is done via MAP-sensor and the water/alcohol metering is done by a tiny stand alone ECU. Installation of the whole system is very easy (just drill two holes for the injectors, place the pump somewhere and tee the existing windscreen-washer-reservoir which acts as tank for windscreen washing and also for the water/alcohol injection system. The fluid for both is the same and the washer tank already has a level warning light installed in your dashboard ;)

The whole installation is almost invisible and its reversible whenever you like. You just have to plug the two injector holes.

Performance increase with stock engines and stock ECU (=stock max. boost) is around 15-20 HP. The real benefit you will get when you run the RED ECU which gives boost up to 1 bar. Then you will love the fact that you wont have any knocks at all and the fact that the intake charge gets cooled very effectively.

If you like to hear my personal favourite in terms of V8 performance and clean/original looks inside you engine bay and the whole car in general its this:

- RED ECU (1 bar)

- water/alcohol injection

- better wastegate actuators that will hold up to 1 bar

- high flow metal cats

With this setup you will get 450+ HP and nobody will spot any difference when looking in your engine bay ..... :)

Cheers

Marcus

Edited by Paula&Marcus

Marcus

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Ahhhh! intercooling....how cool!

Meth/water injections are for those rook hackers like to shortcut the job.

Liquid intercooling are for those looking for trouble & tackle pain in the neck job.

Relax, if you don't plan to drown yourself with whiskey,

one cold beer is enough....nothing is wrong with your stock V8!

.

Edited by HASUsan
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Re "However, there is an added advantage of air-air and water-air chargecooling. By cooling the charge you also reduce it's density, which means you can get more air/petrol into the same volume without increasing the boost, and therefore more power - up to 50bhp."

Cooling the charge increases density not decreases it. Did you mean it decreases the pressure for a given amount of charge?

Yep, absolutely, knew I wouldn't get that all out without a few typos!

With air-air or air-water chargecooling, cooling the charge increases its density so you can get more air/petrol into the same volume and therefore more power at the same boost.

With water/methanol injection you cool the charge but the 'spare' volume is replaced by the air/methonal vapour so no net gain power wise but it's easier on the engine.

Where do people mount the water injectors on the V8? It would be easy to put them an the back of the intake manifolds near to the throttle butterflies but then they would be after the intake air temperature sensor which is at the front of the right hand manifold beside the turbo. Therefore the ECM wouldn't notice the lower intake temperature given by the water injection and start cutting the boost or retarding the timing. Or do you reposition the IAT sensor into say the intake plenum?

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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What about impurities in water, dirt, sand, chlorine, calcium, lead, etc? Thing like these frequently get calcified within boilers (pipes) at high temperatures. I'd imagine the vaporization would only rid the pure H2O portion of the injected liquid, but the FOD would stay behind in the engine, no? Coolant never gets inside the combustion chamber, so any FOD there gets circulated safely through the engine block chambers, heat exchangers, and the reservoirs, only to be flushed out later. With engine oil, there's the oil filter. With intake air, there's the air filter. With fuel, there's the fuel filter. But I don't see a filtration kit to remove the liquid impurities. Looking at the bottom of my windshield washer reservoir, I'd hate for any of that dirt or debris to clog up the valves or piston chambers. It's truly amazing introducing moisture (in any state) into the combustion chamber has been proven safe.

;)

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What about impurities in water, dirt, sand, chlorine, calcium, lead, etc? Thing like these frequently get calcified within boilers (pipes) at high temperatures. I'd imagine the vaporization would only rid the pure H2O portion of the injected liquid, but the FOD would stay behind in the engine, no? Coolant never gets inside the combustion chamber, so any FOD there gets circulated safely through the engine block chambers, heat exchangers, and the reservoirs, only to be flushed out later. With engine oil, there's the oil filter. With intake air, there's the air filter. With fuel, there's the fuel filter. But I don't see a filtration kit to remove the liquid impurities. Looking at the bottom of my windshield washer reservoir, I'd hate for any of that dirt or debris to clog up the valves or piston chambers. It's truly amazing introducing moisture (in any state) into the combustion chamber has been proven safe.

;)

All great questions - my 2 pence worth:

Personally, I use a separate tank with fuel tank foam to prevent "sloshing". I use an in-line filter to remove any particulate matter before the pump. The mixture is approx 50% water/meth. I make my own solution by using the cheap windshield washer fluid (-20 degrees F) 1 gallon and add 2 12 ounce bottles of HEET (original in the yellow bottle). The cheap blue windshield washer fluid in the USA is about 35-38% methanol and distilled water (no impurities), and HEET original is 98% methanol. You cannot use the expensive windshield fluid as it contains glycols and other additives to de-icing etc.

Also, it is important to note you are not applying large amounts of fluid to the intake. It is a VERY fine mist that is vaporized almost immediately. I recommend a variable controller (I have the one by Snow Performance) that increases the amount of fluid with the level of boost. Too much injection and you actually hinder performance.

It is a rather old and proven principle for turbo charged engines. It is not nearly as convenient as intercoolers, however as Marcus stated it is a very cost effective and reversible option compared to a custom, expensive job.

Craig

2001 Esprit V8

1985 911 Carrera converted to 1974 RSR IROC race car

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS350 convertible (goes fast and straight - limited handling!)

www.hollowayperformance.com

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All great questions - my 2 pence worth:

Personally, I use a separate tank with fuel tank foam to prevent "sloshing". I use an in-line filter to remove any particulate matter before the pump. The mixture is approx 50% water/meth. I make my own solution by using the cheap windshield washer fluid (-20 degrees F) 1 gallon and add 2 12 ounce bottles of HEET (original in the yellow bottle). The cheap blue windshield washer fluid in the USA is about 35-38% methanol and distilled water (no impurities), and HEET original is 98% methanol. You cannot use the expensive windshield fluid as it contains glycols and other additives to de-icing etc.

Also, it is important to note you are not applying large amounts of fluid to the intake. It is a VERY fine mist that is vaporized almost immediately. I recommend a variable controller (I have the one by Snow Performance) that increases the amount of fluid with the level of boost. Too much injection and you actually hinder performance.

It is a rather old and proven principle for turbo charged engines. It is not nearly as convenient as intercoolers, however as Marcus stated it is a very cost effective and reversible option compared to a custom, expensive job.

An inline water filter is certainly a good idea. After all you get the same crap in the petrol tanks - rust, dirt, etc., and use the petrol filter to remove that.

Another point is that air isn't dry anyway due to humidity - on a rainy day a stock V8 @ .75 bar boost @ 6k rpm would be drinking over 200ml water per minute. That moisture hasn't been distilled or even filtered as from a tap, but has picked up all sorts of crap from the atmosphere.

Also, it's not as if the combustion process is clean anyway - it produces a fair amount of carbon which then gets blown out the exhaust.

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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Will,

We use a simple inline "fuel"-filter (the clear plastic + paper type you usually find on carbed engines) just before the pump. Additionally I recommend using destilled or purified water.

BTW, the water consumption is very low. The system kicks is in around 0.5-0.7 bar boost (the trigger point is adjustable at the tiny ECU) and increases with boost pressure. You see, when you just drool around with boost lower 0.5 bar the system will not do anything.

Cheers

Marcus

What about impurities in water, dirt, sand, chlorine, calcium, lead, etc? Thing like these frequently get calcified within boilers (pipes) at high temperatures. I'd imagine the vaporization would only rid the pure H2O portion of the injected liquid, but the FOD would stay behind in the engine, no? Coolant never gets inside the combustion chamber, so any FOD there gets circulated safely through the engine block chambers, heat exchangers, and the reservoirs, only to be flushed out later. With engine oil, there's the oil filter. With intake air, there's the air filter. With fuel, there's the fuel filter. But I don't see a filtration kit to remove the liquid impurities. Looking at the bottom of my windshield washer reservoir, I'd hate for any of that dirt or debris to clog up the valves or piston chambers. It's truly amazing introducing moisture (in any state) into the combustion chamber has been proven safe.

;)

Edited by Paula&Marcus

Marcus

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Also remember that part of the combustion process involves creating water too! Methanol injection is very popular in turbocharged rotary engines also. These engines are very intolerant to detonation. Also, if you are in the US, look into any turbo buick regal or GNX(Grand National) boards/websites and they use water/methanol injection with HUGE gains in HP with little or no detonation... As Marcus' experience shows this is a very good option, if I had a V8 I would definitely install a system with an ECM upgrade... I would probably run a larger reservoir for added safety(to ensure I didn't run low on injection mix) however.

Artie

89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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Just to add my 2 pence!!

I only have a 4 cylinder engine, but physics is physics whether you have 4 or 8 :wallbash:

I ran both a chargecooler and water injection, but I took the water injection off in the end as it wasn't used! I only accellerate in short ish bursts, as we don't have many really long roads where I live, and I don't track my car. For that reason, my chargecooler water (seperate to my main cooling system) is always good and cold and capable of cooling my boost down for the amount of time I need it to.

Water injection allows more power, because it's like increasing fuel octane. You are making the mixture a little slower to burn, so you can increase your timing without fear of pinking.

The trouble with water injection.. is what happens if the nozzle does block? Or you just run out of water? Or the fuse goes? Or the pump ceizes? if you are relying on it, and it's suddenly not there, you can be in a whole world of hurt as it's obviousley doing a job or you wouldn't fit it in the first place.. and then it's not doing that job...

One last interesting point that nobody mentioned.. If you do fit it, you can use a mixture of 50/50 water and windscreen washer fluid. As daft as it sounds, windscreen wash (most, but not all brands) are mainly ethanol, which is just alcohol. Plus, it contains detergents that keep your inlet manifold, valves and plenum clean.

I ran my car like this for a few years and never had any problems.. Just a really clean inlet system.

Edited by Glyn Harper
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The trouble with water injection.. is what happens if the nozzle does block? Or you just run out of water? Or the fuse goes? Or the pump ceizes? if you are relying on it, and it's suddenly not there, you can be in a whole world of hurt as it's obviousley doing a job or you wouldn't fit it in the first place.. and then it's not doing that job...

One last interesting point that nobody mentioned.. If you do fit it, you can use a mixture of 50/50 water and windscreen washer fluid. As daft as it sounds, windscreen wash (most, but not all brands) are mainly ethanol, which is just alcohol. Plus, it contains detergents that keep your inlet manifold, valves and plenum clean.

I ran my car like this for a few years and never had any problems.. Just a really clean inlet system.

The system on my evo adjusts the boost if you run out of water, this is relatively easy to acheive. Agreed on the windscreen washer fluid, I use probably a 20/80 washer/water with no problems.

Regards

Fred

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Pretty much everything has been covered. Like Paul said, I have the Snowperformance Stage II water injection kit with dual nozzles, 60ml/sec jets and a mix of ~ 33% meth, 99% purified water with a max boost of 14psi.

Here are some install pics:

Looks stock:

000_1059.jpg

Here's the water pump:

000_1060.jpg

Here you can see the water tank:

000_1061.jpg

Tank, controller & lines

000_1063.jpg

Pass nozzle:

000_1064.jpg

Driver's nozzle

000_1065.jpg

I didn't like the kit when I had the larger jets (both the 100ml & 175ml) and I was loosing power; too much of an octane boost. Now I have 60ml jets and the car runs alot better. The 2qt tank will last me about the same as one tank of gas.

Unlike charge cooling, water/meth serves a dual purpose. The water cools the charge while the meth is an octane booster (water also acts as an octane booster since it doesn't burn). This is where the big hp gain comes in. Since it increases the octane, you can add more boost and more timing without detonation. This is where bigger jets and diff water/meth ratios come into play

I'm not interested in squezzing the most HP out of my Esprit. I just wanted something to cool the charge and this water kit with small jets worked for me.

Edited by gmendoza

'03.5 Final Edition Esprit ~ 5.7lbs/hp

mildly modded - 430rwhp, 353rwtq

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Nice set up there, like you with my Evo I find I fill the water tank up the same time as petrol.

Don't know if anyone here has seen the Knocklink device which is useful for warning of detting.

Regards

Fred

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Interestingly what would happen if you were to run both methods on the v8. Would you get the joint benefit or like Glynn would the water injection not get used??

This is a most interesting thread as I am just starting to look at this project in detail

(who said I would leave the V8 alone?????????????????)

Cheers

Alan Croft

2000 V8 GT

87 Turbo Esprit HC

2000 Elise Sport 160

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Will,

I have a question for you. What is your overall goal? If it is HP gain, then I would suggest the Water-air intercooler system. Someone mentioned that Buick Grand National's use a water/meth injection kit. If they have high HP, I don't believe that is the only thing they are using. They have to use a combination of both systems to keep the intake charge cool.

Personally, having built high HP DSM cars. I've only ever used air-air intercoolers (although with forged pistons) I've had as much as 750WHP on my 98 Eclipse GSX and about a Grand on 3000GT VR-4's. There has been some major modifications to support this.

To get to the point, if you are shooting for high HP (over 500hp) you don't have a choice, use the water-air intercooler system (and of course forged pistons!). If you want a small boost in HP use the water/meth kit. Either way, any modifications to these cars I feel requires forged pistons. You're fatal mistake in modifications will be relying on the cast pistons for these cars. I have found 3 of my 8 pistons broken between the 1 and 2 compression rings. This is not normal for pistons! If you're serious about modifying your Esprit, do it right.

actwon

------

'14 Nike Shox

'12 Range Rover Sport

'01 Esprit V8

'95 Ducati 916

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