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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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Do a search for "Green Giant" or "Green Top" Injectors, they're 42lb Bosch injectors with a strong following. Those who convert their 1.4's to E85 capable use them with great success. I asked specifically about the impact to fuel economy and apparently there's no noticeable difference. Someone suggested that the GG injectors had a superior spray pattern, but that seemed like more heresay than anything.
 

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Oh, and your tune will need to be adjusted for the larger injectors. It's not a full re-tune, just a change in the injector specs so the ECU knows how much fuel to expect from their larger capacity and open/close dynamics.
 

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Bad o rings shouldn't cause the underboost code. But did the shop check the wastegate pin for pitting? Is it holding full boost? I actually just dropped mine off for the same issue plus water pump. Had to detune and swap out the E85 550cc injectors I personally think the volvo 440cc are to small with E85 use at least for me and future plans I have


When using E85 70% you will lose fuel economy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I am pretty sure that the leak at the fuel injectors caused my “Turbo Underboost” code. The mechanics checked the wastegate pin and it had no wiggle or movement and it was in good shape. Changing the o-rings on the fuel injectors gave the car its “pep” back and the check engine light has not come back on. I also had physical, visual residue near the right injector caused from the leak.

After reading about the Bosch 42lb “Green Giant/Green Top” injectors, I think that I will get them when I have the money. They are totally compatible with the ECU, flow more than stock injectors under high demands, yet have no detriment to light fuel demand performance. All that it would need would be a quick data log run, and adjusted tune.

One other thing that I might try is to add some Nitro Booster™ (Nitronmethane) to my water-methanol mix in small amounts. I think that the oxygen would burn more aggressively and help produce more complete and powerful combustion. SnowPerformance sells it.

Bosch 42lb (Green Giant)
 
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Nitromethane

Well, I tried it. I bought a 5 gallon pail from VP Fuels for $100. I mix a little bit with some windshield washer fluid and add a bit of this when I add my 50/50 water-methanol mix. Nitromethane is water soluble and blends into my high octane cocktail seamlessly. I notice a difference, it does help. Nitromethane contains oxygen which burns aggressively for greater power when used sparingly. I find that when I add just a little Nitromethane, it helps the most.
Just don’t drop the can onto a hard surface, or have a house fire. Bad things will happen.
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Methanol-injected 50,000 mile update.

Still a fast, fun, efficient and reliable car. I have not had any issues except for my factory spark plug gapping and an O-ring leak at 17,000mi. Same factory tires and brakes. I ordered some Hawk HPS brake pads on sale for when that time comes. No maintenance done except for the usual 8,000mi Mobil 1 oil changes, one transmission fluid drain and fill, and K&N air filter cleaned and oiled twice.

I posted my average MPG for 50,000 miles (36.2 MPG US). I think that driving in the most aggressive Vermont Tuning methanol tune as my daily driver does not have any adverse MPG results. It may actually help with my MPG, except that it is so much fun it begs me to really floor it. The leaner air fuel ratios and the extra power of the burning oxygen (H2O) and methanol (like a liquid natural gas), and the increased boost and aggressive timing all help get the car up to speed quickly. I actually get better MPG if I accelerate moderately hard and back off once I am up to speed. Accelerating gradually and slowly actually achieves worse MPG. The car has some sort of fuel cut off when off the accelerator or coasting. While cruzing highway speeds, I try to feather the throttle and have a light touch. I accelerate slightly on the downhills, and ease off on small uphills. I pass with authority, and then resume my light touch on the throttle. Both the car and I have become a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. Most cars are either fuel savers or fast cars, this one is both.

I still mix methanol (1/4) with -20 degree windshield washer fluid (3/4). I have not used my Nitromethane much. I need to remove my water-methanol injector sprayer from the intake tube and clean the mesh screen. This maintenance should be done every couple of years or the screen will gradually restrict the spray. I might as well swap out this 100ml injector for my 150ml injector at this time. More power, why not! The tune should adjust automatically for any new intake temps etc…

Enough talk; back to my commuting highways and a little methanol injected fun along the way. :wink:
 

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Well this is from the Cruze owners manual, but what do they know?

"Notice: This vehicle was not
designed for fuel that contains
methanol. Do not use fuel
containing methanol. It can
corrode metal parts in the fuel
system and also damage plastic
and rubber parts. That damage
would not be covered under the
vehicle warranty.
Some gasolines that are
not reformulated for low
emissions can contain an
octane-enhancing additive called
methylcyclopentadienyl manganese
tricarbonyl (MMT); ask the attendant
where you buy gasoline whether the
fuel contains MMT. We recommend
against the use of such gasolines.
Fuels containing MMT can reduce
spark plug life and affect emission
control system performance. The
malfunction indicator lamp might
turn on. If this occurs, return to your
dealer for service."

Some of us board members don't care for some guy writing code for a microcontroller to do our thinking for us, so we got a manual transmission. But then you have to put up with some idiot marketing guy saying if you get a manual, you can't have a spare tire. But some made their own mods so they could have one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Yah NickD, my earlier O-ring issue was probably caused to it not being seated evenly and my increased boost and WOT may have casued the slight leak on my far right o-ring; not decay caused by methanol. I have been injecting small amounts. 5 gallons ($25) from VP Fuels lasts me around 6 months.

Also, I always use premium name brand fuel. I notice more power and better fuel economy. The ECU can sense the cooler temperatures and runs leaner and with more degrees of timing. My 10% increase in price adds a 10% increase in fuel economy. So it is a net zero, except for more power.

I also am glad that my 2012 Cruze does not have direct injection. My methanol spray mixes with the common rail fuel injection and "washes" my intake valves as fuel enters. I bet that with my meth mix and top tier fuel, that my valves and everything are still very clean, and mostly carbon free.
 

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Top tier ethanol free 91 octane is all my Cruze ever gets. Use to cost 15 cents more per gallon than that ethanol crap, but the corporation farms that are hurting now got the state to increase ethanol free to 50 cents more per gallon. Ethanol is also getting state subsidies.

From the damage ethanol did both to my 82 motorhome and 88 Supra turbo with corrosion, will never buy this crap again. Had to use it once in my 04 Cavalier, got a bad mix and could only drive 45 mph in 3rd gear to prevent detonation. And instead of getting 37 mpg, got 17!

So I can see your point about methanol, but not mixed with gas, injected instead and with a maximum of a 50-50 methanol/water mix. And with all these conspiracy theories going around lately, telling us not to use it because we will gain about a 10% gain in fuel economy and have a much cleaner burning engine.

In my neck of the woods would be strictly summer use, but just filled my tank this morning with 630 mile remaining. After a long hard winter, with that crap they were selling, more like 440 miles remaining with the same kind of driving.

Still some restrictions with methanol, like:

"Methanol is a toxic and highly flammable chemical. 100% Methanol ignites easily and burns vigorously with an almost undetectable flame. Methanol can be absorbed through the skin and even small amounts can cause blindness or even death. Using this fluid at high pressures, without dilution, in an under-hood environment with nylon lines and push-to-connect fittings is very unsafe. The performance advantages of using greater than 50% methanol concentrations are small, if they exist at all. However, the safety issues are very real and far outweigh any perceived benefit of running high concentrations of methanol."

 

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Ha, back in the 50's and 60's use to use gasoline to clean our hands from grease and parts, was the cheapest thing to use. Don't dare do this today, this stuff burns your hands like acid besides costing us a small fortune.

Then only God knows what they are adding to our gas, MTBE's is one as is benzene to improve octane rating, both are highly cancerous types of additives. But quiet on these and like to pick on methanol.

Ha, wouldn't want my Chevy dealer to fill that tank, the oil hole in the valve cover is much larger and can't even hit that with a can of oil. But could because they tried filling with menthanol before and are blind.

This all deals with trying to get the best efficiency with a high compression engine that is loaded with consequences. Which is one reason I feel we should be going back to an external combustion engine, but using a much better medium instead of water for steam.

Unleaded gas burns at around 2,600*F that is sufficient to burn holes in pistons and distort exhaust valves, so EGR is required to cool things down. And in consequence, losing about 30% of our displacement.

Some are proposing to go back to lead, but feel our government soaked up too much lead, makes them aggressive to want to run for office, and stupid at the same time. Also that lead build up in engines is a b!tch to clean up.

Whatever with over a hundred years of fooling around, we still aren't there yet. CNG seems to be the best alternative for vehicles since we have a lots of this, but an engine designed specifically for this fuel, not this crossover BS that most vehicles have.

Also not easy living in a country ran by idiots. Look at any EPA sticker, 2 mpg fuel economy in the city, 50 mpg on the highway. So what do they do? Drop the speed limits on the highway when 90% of the population is driving in the city.

So what are they saying now about increasing the speed limits on the highways? Safety, when 99.9% of the accidents are still in the cities. Idiots.

To conserve on natural gas, what do they pick on? That extremely tiny pilot light, was simple basic and still generated some infinitesimal amount of heat in cold winter homes. Now with the overly complex ignition systems and all the added safety devices, lucky if your furnace even fires up half the time.

Then picking on CO2 when methane is the greatest problem for global warming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
No, not pre-turbo. See pic.
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This goes way back when using unleaded fuel to lower the combustion chamber temperature, during WW II, water injection was used extensively, but for every plane, was a maintenance crew. Was considered back in the 60's for automotive and some type of anti-freeze had to be used, but considered impractical for the average vehicle driver.

Only other alternative was to employ some kind of recirculation of exhaust gas to cool the combustion chamber temperature down, even with the negative side effect of reducing the effective engine displacement. Two ways of doing this, recirculating the exhaust with a valve called and exhaust gas recirculation or an EGR valve, or by closing the exhaust valves early in proportion to engine speed and load. Latter at first was too complicated.

Early EGR systems were super simple, venturi vacuum going through an intake manifold thermo-switch directly to this valve. EGR operation was only necessary when the engine was closed to operating temperature. Guys quickly learned by plugging that carb vacuum line, performance drastically increased, but with a price of burning their exhaust valves up and even getting holes in their pistons. With others, that vacuum line would just fall off.

With high combustion chamber temperatures NOx's are formed that was the only concern of the EPA, so would tell you to keep your EGR in good operation to reduce your NOx emissions. Ha, like anyone even cared, what they should have told you, you will shortly burn up your engine as well.

Cruze with variable valve timing employs the closing of the exhaust valves early method as controlled by the ECU. Not very easy to change, so you are not seeing the full advantage of namely water injection, still have a form of EGR. And of course,if you did change this, your engine would change to burnt toast very quickly if you water tank ran dry.

Lean burn can also drastically increase fuel economy, but also resorts in high combustion chamber temperatures, not as bad as bypassing the EGR system, but troublesome to the EPA. And will only permit it if someone can come up with a catalytic converter to eliminate NOx emissions. To date, this has not been done.

Of course the easier way to do this is to eliminate the N from NO, and while you are at it, also eliminate the C from HC's so the output would be pure H2O, but seems the government way is to tax the current emissions. Still garbage in and garbage out.

For water injection, even with the addition of methanol, best way to inject it is directly into the air stream feeding the carb or the TB. We didn't discuss this. Into the turbo would create more problems.
 
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