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Methanol-fed 2012 Cruze Eco 1.4T

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I am new to this blogging but I figured, why not?! I have learned a lot about the Cruze through CruzeTalk.
  • I have got 6,000+ miles now on my 2012 Eco and have a few observations. At first, I was frustrated at the cars “turbo lag”. However, it was not really the turbo’s fault. The transmission was programmed to quickly upshift to the highest gear and hold it for too long. The car was designed for max EPA MPG. I read some CruzeTalk threads and fixed my “problem” with premium fuel and an Engine and Transmission tune from Vermont Tuning. Wow! What a little more boost, octane, and timing can do for this car!
  • My next “problem” was heat soak. I live in the desert southwest where 100+ degree days are common. The intercooler on the Cruze is too small and in a poor location, sandwiched between the radiators. Not a true FMIC. I got worse mileage due to the ECU programming rich air-fuel ratios in extreme high temps to avoid knock. I also heard the high pitched high-temp warning sound coming from the engine after I parked. Premium fuel helped the hot temp MPG, but my intake temps were still way too high. I thought about a ZZP FMIC, but went with a Snow Performance water-methanol injection system instead. It injects progressively based on the Mass Air Flow. I am using the small 100ml injector and tapped my existing windshield washer fluid reservoir. I just add 2 cans of HEET to a gallon of -20 windshield washer fluid. My heat soak problem is solved, and I get additional power! I also have a water-meth tune from Vermont Tuning that can run more timing and use the additional octane and detonation suppression provided by water-methanol injection.
  • Another problem that I read about was the infamous “coolant smell”. I had not experienced it yet since I had not used my heater. So, a few weeks ago I did a test. On a nice 90+ degree day, I crazily, turned my heater on and smelled the vents. Yes, it smelled real bad! But I changed my vents from floor and dash, to just the dash vents, and then to just the floor vents. It seemed that the smell was only coming from the upper vents; maybe it is from the grease that was used. My pressurized coolant reservoir seems to be maintaining the same level and has no leaks in the system.
My number one suggestion for any GM 1.4 Turbo is to get a tune and use premium fuel.Now I love my tuned Cruze Eco!! It is both really fast, and super-efficient. I am going to drive it until the wheels fall off!:partytime: Land vehicle Vehicle Car Engine Auto part
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Water-Methanol Injection video: How Water/Methanol Injection Works & How It Makes Horsepower in Gas Engines - YouTube

Edit: After reading about the inconsistant factory spark plug gapping of the 2011 and 2012 Cruzes, I plan on checking mine and setting them all to .030 This may have been part of the reason for the initial hesitation problem (along with the low octane fuel and transmission tuning). Because of my tune, I have extra boost and elevated effective engine compression, so I do not want to gap too large or I'll get blowout at WOT. But I need to check for consistant gapping, and maybe increase my spark plug gap to aid my everyday low RPM driveability.
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I've always been curious about the meth injection systems, since it seems a better bang for your buck upgrade(and simple to install). How much washerfluid/meth are you using? do you use more if your getting on it more? mileage I can drive between washer tank refills? does the system have any protections in place to detune the engine if you run out?

Some people will say they would not want meth injection on a daily driver, but I see no issues. Heck one of the first GM turbo cars had meth injection. 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire Turbo Rocket V-8 Commercial - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The injection amount progressively increases based on how much you gun it. You can adjust the start and full levels with a jewlers screwdriver on the controller module. Max for me is 100ml/min based on my injector selection. Brian, the Vermont Tuner has a 175ml on his Cruze. I have it starting at 10% injection around 2,500 RPM's and I think that I am injecting at 100% around 4,000+ RPM. I have no gagues, but it works great. I do have a green led light that turns on when the injection begins, and a red led when the level reaches the installed low fluid level float. I only use a gallon of water-meth every week or two. The Vermont water-meth tune is fail safe, and if knock is detected, it will automatically revert to factory tuning. I can run timing like crazy with this tune. It is tuned like a sports car, but just does not have huge displacement to really compete with the WRX's etc. This is my daily driver, and is fun and frugal. With my smallish injector size, I have no fear of quench, and I can progressively inject as early as I want with no fear. I only do WOT once in a while, and the 100ml seems good enough for me. You can really feel the increase in power using a 50/50 mix of water-meth. Even running my less aggressive tunes, more power is noticable; but with the aggressive timing of the water-meth tune, it makes 20HP more than the Stage 0 tune. Less methanol in the mix is OK, will run cooler, but not have as much HP gain. My pump is mounted behind the front bumper.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Water-meth installation may be a little risky, considering I do not know what it will do to my new car warranty. But I am very happy that I did it! I drove a reliable, but boring Chevy Prism for 12 years before this, and I wanted this car to be fun. The tune was my number one performance improvement. The water-meth system and meth tune are just extra ridiculous fast. 190HP/200TQ at 3100lbs. Who needs a Mustang, I have my mid-life crisis solved with a tuned Cruze!! :)
Also, as far as I can tell, none of these performance improvements have had any negative impact on my fuel economy. Well, perhaps the meth tune with the aggressive timing that is breathing and feeding the engine, may have less MPG when pushing it, but this is uncharted territory for a normal Cruze. MPG does not matter at WOT!

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Water-meth installation may be a little risky, considering I do not know what it will do to my new car warranty. But I am very happy that I did it! I drove a reliable, but boring Chevy Prism for 12 years before this, and I wanted this car to be fun. The tune was my number one performance improvement. The water-meth system and meth tune are just extra ridiculous fast. 190HP/200TQ at 3100lbs. Who needs a Mustang, I have my mid-life crisis solved with a tuned Cruze!! :)
Also, as far as I can tell, none of these performance improvements have had any negative impact on my fuel economy. Well, perhaps the meth tune with the aggressive timing that is breathing and feeding the engine, may have less MPG when pushing it, but this is uncharted territory for a normal Cruze. MPG does not matter at WOT!

View attachment 15468 View attachment 15469

Forget about the warranty, this is the ONLY reason why i dont have it on my car right now, since i was one of the 1st that Brian proposed it to...

If s dealer see you with that red pipe pluged in your intake piping, the warranty is gone. :brave:

But its a very good system and for sure i'll do it in the futur.
 

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Nice.... I too have gone with 91 octane fuel have noticed a difference in performance. Tune in my future?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just do it! This car has soooo much untapped potential that a Trifecta or Vermont tune brings out! It is not that expensive either when you consider how many years that you will be driving the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ya, I figured that the warranty might be Kaput now. I just need to trust in the US/German design and Lordstown assembly. I try to do my part and help our local USA economy as much as I can. By the way, did you see that Chevrolet is way up there in initial quality now!
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Might just have to put meth on my Cruse now too, lol. I have it on my 750hp Turbo 6L gas GMC truck and love it! Using a Devils Own meth kit on it though.

Just got this Cruse a couple weeks ago (salvage title but repaired for $9100 ;) ). Already put a CX Racing FMIC on it. Have the 44lbs injectors and ethanol sensor to convert it to full flex fuel for E85. And I have EFILive to do my own tuning, so should be able to make it run pretty good! :D
 

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First Welcome and thanks for sharing your Meth/H2O Injected experience - I may go this route down the road with my 2011 ECO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My water methanol set-up is simple and safe. It just has the high pressure pump, tubing and a controller to tell it when to inject. It is only meant to supplement and enhance the fuel supply, not replace gasoline use.

HHO is quite fascinating, having the ability to convert water to hydrogen and use it as a potential sole source of automotive propulsion is amazing. But the cost and especially, the safety of having a moving onboard hydrogen powerplant makes it generally unfeasible.

Methanol is made from natural gas and its spot price is less than half that of gasoline, however there is only half the energy in methanol as in gasoline. The water-meth injection makes the intake charge cooler and denser and raises the effective octane and knock resistance and therefore can run more aggressive timing making more power. I am not sure if a car can run on pure methanol, but I had a friend in Hungary that drove a Russian Lada Niva that ran off of CNG liquid. There was a big, thick compressed natural gas tank that was under very high pressure. The tank must have been expensive to build, took up a lot of space, was heavy, and the fuel does not have as much btu energy as regular old gasoline. I am sure that it was unacceptably slow and had a short range by western standards.

Methanol mixes well with water and is not a hazard in my car. -20 degree blue windshield washer fluid is just 30% methanol and 70% water. Methanol (like natural gas) burns cleaner than gasoline and the H2O converts to steam, further cooling, and creating power as the steam expands and pushes on the piston. Water-Meth is safe, steam cleans the engine, and puts a smile on my face.

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The water-meth injection makes the intake charge cooler and denser and raises the effective octane and knock resistance and therefore can run more aggressive timing making more power. I am not sure if a car can run on pure methanol
Correct, you are cooling the charge air (which helps IF the inter-cooling setup is out of its ideal efficiency) and helps with 'cleansing' and helps with ambient temp, evaporation of meth is a cooling effect, water is a steaming effect. and where the big power comes from is advancing timing.
You must be aware that adding methanol changes the stoich to a richer condition, some injector / fueling setups will be taxed (so this needs to be watched). and obviously needs to be handled in the tune appropriately.
The other is IF you take advantage of advancing °, and the meth fails? well.... bye bye pistons / ring lands. There are some means that can be used as backup.
One example is to have meth spray before IAT, timing pulled on increased IAT (which is what would happen if failure occurs) as well as add more fuel (as long as injectors / pump can take on the extra dump of fuel required.).

Yes, you can run pure meth, and is usually preferred when you get into higher compression / high boost. water/meth mix will not cut it. This is common of LS FI blocks. pure meth. (if not, you see waves and oscillations at higher rpm on the dyno.
Things to consider when going pure meth however is a) only certain pumps can handle the mix (seals and plungers), such as Alky Control Kit - 100% meth compatible. 2. 100% methanol is flammable, precaution must be made with the fittings and connections, and if you track the car, must adhere to rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes, the BIG power comes from being able to run advanced timing, allowing both the intake and exhaust valves to be open at the same time and allowing the engine to really breathe and make power at higher RPM’s. But also, even at low RPM’s when I am injecting only 10% or so of my 100ml injector, I mildly increase my speed. For example, at highway speeds in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] gear, if I push on the accelator just enough for the water/meth to start injecting without dropping down a gear, it still quite rapidly increases my speed. The methanol is a fuel and also adds a little power. But the true benefit comes at being able to run more timing at high RPM’s due to the effective higher octane rating and detonation resistance (and also cooler denser charge air).

Also, regarding the increased threat to broken piston ring lands (which seems to be a problem with the Cruze) is avoided with my Vermont water/meth Tune. If any piston destroying knock/detonation is detected by the ECU, then the advanced timing tune is cut and it runs the mild factory tune. Personally, I think that perhaps the broken piston ring lands may be caused by the engine running too hot (electronic thermostat setting) and weakening the metal. Running my mild water-methanol set-up actually is a protection against engine metal fatigue due to extreme internal heat. My progressive injection even at low RPM’s, like from a stop during hot city driving, helps control engine heat. The Cruze’s factory intercooler is also really too small and not in an ideal location sandwiched between two radiators to provide optimum cooling.

I always try to remain reserved with the throttle with my meth-tune, but it is just so much fun to gun it a little. I can’t control myself! I got flashed by an intersection speed camera this past weekend. In my 12 years driving a Geo Prism I never got a ticket. The first year with my meth-tuned Cruze and I already have one. These are the hidden costs of putting water-methanol and a tune for it in your Cruze. It WILL happen, be ready to pay!! :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Turbo Underboost

Water-Meth tune 25,000 mi update.
At 17,000 miles I got a “check engine” light. So I went to the dealership and they said that if the problem relates to any of the engine modifications that I did that the repairs would not be covered under warranty. So I said not to even look because it was of course engine modifications that I did. So I took it to a private shop. The problem readout was “Turbo Underboost”. A service bulletin said to check the wastegate to see if it was loose, but it was fine. They then did a smoke test to see if there were any leaks in the system. A small leak was found at the fuel injectors, and some build-up was near the right injector. So the shop ordered new fuel injector o-rings; and ever since the new o-rings were installed, there has been no problems. I had been going very, very fast and perhaps the stock injectors could not handle the high pressure of WOT and an aggressive tune. Diagnosis $60; o-ring purchase and installation $150. Last week I raced a 1999 V-6 Mustang and smoked him bad. I use local VP Fuels’ methanol. It costs around $5 a gallon, and I fill up a 5 gallon gas tank marked “Methanol” and it lasts about a half a year. I have a 36.0 average MPG for the past 25,000 miles. Maybe I will get larger fuel injectors someday. Does anyone know what size (mm) fuel injectors would work as an upgrade? Also, would larger injectors mean worse fuel economy? More importantly, would my tune still have the correct air/fuel ratios etc… or would I need to run a data log and get a re-tune for larger injectors?
:question:
 
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