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Methanol and Gasoline Safety - You Can't Make this Stuff Up!
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DRR Pro
Picture of Brktracer
posted
Fairly technical report...then I ran across this:

Page 9: "In summary, gasoline may be more or less hazardous than methanol depending on the particular set of circumstances. A tragic example of this involving a race car driver and his chief mechanic occurred in 2010. The driver and mechanic were celebrating winning an important race in the parking lot of their automobile repair shop. In their excitement they decided to ride a lighted drum of methanol across the parking lot of their garage facility. They poured four gallons of methanol racing fuel into an empty drum, tipped the drum over, positioned the bung in an easy-to-reach position, sat atop the drum like it were a horse, and lit the drum. Their expectation was that the drum would slide across the parking lot like a rocket. Instead, the drum exploded. One man died and the other was critically injured. 25 "

The Report

(The reference link no longer works, but the source URL is from Seattle, WA.)

This might be more about ethanol safety.


Matt Ward



 
Posts: 1394 | Location: South Carolina | Registered: March 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Sportsman
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Well I guess that was a bad idea.

I'm certainly not an expert on the subject of methanol vs gas safety but I can offer a story.

A few years back at the bracket finals at Atco I was parked next to tinbanger and he had won first round, put his car on the charger, and went into the grandstands. A bit later my wife came out of our coach yelling fire as she saw smoke coming out of the decklid of his car.

There was methanol dripping out from out of the trunk area and smoke coming out the top. We took the decklid off and shot it with a fire extinguisher. No big flames, but it was hot enough to bubble the paint on the decklid and was smoldering. The cause was the steel braided fuel line moved during transport and grounded out against the battery disconnect which arced and burned a hole through the fuel line. The dripping methanol never caught fire; I think if he was running gasoline it would have been a much worse situation.

We jumped in as a team, replaced the fuel line, replaced the battery disconnect and cleaned the fire extinguisher powder as best as we could. NHRA wanted to inspect it before they would allow him to race, they did, he went up for second round and unfortunately lost but we got him up there.

His insurance through Bill Horton covered everything, new paint, lexan windows that were damaged, it might have even needed a decklid I forget. It wasn't a cheap bill.
 
Posts: 727 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: July 02, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR S/Pro
Picture of Lenny5160
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My Nova has a fuel pressure gauge out on the cowl, and is an old gauge with small copper tubing.

Many years ago, my brother made a full 1/4 mile pass with the copper tubing broken from the vibration, and methanol spraying out of the tube right onto the header.

I am sure it would have burned to the ground with gasoline in that situation.

Since then, I always leave the gauge unhooked unless I thinking I need to check the pressure. I know the correct solution is to swap to a -3 braided line on the gauge, but the car is too nice to modify the cowl grates to make it fit.


Tony Leonard
 
Posts: 3172 | Location: Inver Grove Heights, MN | Registered: March 18, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Sportsman
Picture of Richie
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Few years back, I left the upfront Meth. cell cap unlocked, when launching fuel dumped out but the cap was limited because of the hood, but lost well over a gallon of meth. right into the rad./Fan which blew it all over the motor & covering the windsheld, no fire....had (1) hand on the Bottle waiting to see the heat haze...if that were gas.. car would of been toast.
I donated a part to the Tin-knocker project too, can't remember what?
 
Posts: 256 | Location: Windsor locks Ct. | Registered: November 25, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Pro
Picture of CURTIS REED
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Some people can't be kept safe no matter how hard you try.



____________________________
2017 and 2018 Osage Casinos Tulsa Raceway Park No-Box Champion

2018 Div4 Goodguys Hammer award winner
 
Posts: 2981 | Location: KIEFER, OK. | Registered: August 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Top Comp
Picture of wideopen231
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I watched flames shoot across lane and catch fuel jug on fire. Flames came from fumes of guy pouring gas into car and when they reached another racers pits who was connecting charger they ignited. Had to be 20 ft. between the two pits. Can not say alcohol would not have done similar, but do not think it would.
Simple solution to fire hazard run nitro. You can throw a match into a gallon of nitro and it will go do not compress it. Now 35 to 40 bucks a gallon can burn your bank account pretty bad.LOL

Seriously you have to pay attention when dealing with either fuel. I think I over think stuff like wiring and plumbing. Trying to make sure no way they get together with leak or arch near the other.

As for igniting a barrel of alky or gas and riding it. Just another way of weeding out the stupid.




America home of free. Brought to you by 2nd amendment.
 
Posts: 4236 | Location: Greensboro NC | Registered: May 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Pro
Picture of CURTIS REED
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I have always run Methanol. When I put gas in the car to store it at the end of the year and it's in my trailer I always fan the door some before turning on the 110v lights. Gas scares the heck out of me.



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2017 and 2018 Osage Casinos Tulsa Raceway Park No-Box Champion

2018 Div4 Goodguys Hammer award winner
 
Posts: 2981 | Location: KIEFER, OK. | Registered: August 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



DRR Sportsman
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Laughing Hard "ethanol safety"
 
Posts: 528 | Location: Southeast | Registered: March 14, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Sportsman
Picture of FootbrakeJim
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quote:
Originally posted by wideopen231:
I think I over think stuff like wiring and plumbing. Trying to make sure no way they get together with leak or arc near the other.

Same. Even though fuel cell & battery box are both in trunk, I ran the fuel lines and battery cables as far apart as possible up to the front of the car.
A friend was selling fuel out of a box truck at a dirt track, and as he was filling a jug in the truck something caused a spark, possibly static electricity. In the panic, the jug got tipped over, result was big fire. He was badly burned and went through a long rehab. Can't be too safe with fuel or electricity.


Dan "Jim" Moore
Much too young to feel this damn old!!
 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Farmersville, TX  | Registered: December 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Trophy
Picture of Bad Nusz
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quote:
Originally posted by Lenny5160:

I am sure it would have burned to the ground with gasoline in that situation.

Since then, I always leave the gauge unhooked unless I thinking I need to check the pressure. I know the correct solution is to swap to a -3 braided line on the gauge, but the car is too nice to modify the cowl grates to make it fit.

Whoa, that was close. I think on mine now I'm going to go with an electric fuel pressure gauge, though they're so expensive.
 
Posts: 365 | Location: Sioux Falls, SD | Registered: March 17, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Trophy
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I didn't ride mine across the parking lot, but I did launch an empty 55 gallon methanol drum 20 feet across the shop one night. I got ahead of myself making a BBQ pit out of an empty 55 gallon drum.

I had cut the old one off and set the new empty (not rinsed, both bungs removed) in the newly fashioned flat bar saddles for it to sit. I was planning ahead for the next drum replacement to be a simple task. To this point the legs were welded directly to the drum and rotted out in only 2 years of BBQ.

I was officially just taking measurements at this point and had every intention of rinsing the drum out with water before I welded it down, but things looked just right so I reached over and grabbed the mig torch to tack one of the saddles in place standing on the end of the drum by the bungs. I tacked one spot, heard a loud noise like a jet engine, felt some heat on my leg, then heard the drum hit the floor on the other side of the shop. It balooned both ends out like a bubble and ruined it for use on the BBQ Pit. At that point I closed up shop and abandoned the idea of methanol drums for a BBQ pit. The new version is all SST and fully fabricated.

I didn't get to see any of the action because i had the welding hood down (old school non-auto dark helmet). I heard it and felt it on my leg though. Close call for sure.
 
Posts: 393 | Location: Pride, La | Registered: April 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Sportsman
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I'll add to the stories. Gasoline tank out of 67 Chevelle that we wanted a sump brazed into. Old timer doing the brazing told us to empty the tank, and let it air dry for a day. Then he said to run a hose off a cars exhaust and let the exhaust fumes run thru it for about 30min to fully dry it out.

Well we did that and had just setup the tank outside an overhead garage door with a line off a car running to it. We went back to working inside. After about 5 minutes we heard a very large explosion. We ran out and the tank was no longer there. We looked at each other for a moment and just then the tank smashed down about 30 ft away in the parking lot. To this day I would have loved to see how high it had to have gone for it to take that long to touch down! Luckily nobody was hurt and amazingly just the corner of the tank was bent over where its doubled over and welded! We abandoned the idea of drying it out and told the old timer what happened, and he swore it was impossible.
 
Posts: 1450 | Location: St Marys | Registered: January 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Trophy
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brother had a fire in his shop, and a 1/3 full drum of methanol blow the barrel up (blew lid out) and sent it through the roof, took off 3 roof panels of his 30x40 metal shop. Also had a 55 gal drum full, it burned but didn't explode like the 1/3 full drum did. Just swelled up and leaked.
 
Posts: 114 | Location: Il,IL | Registered: March 22, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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