Compiled by Chad Schwartz
Alcohol sprayed directly into the charged air stream has a substantial cooling effect and acts kind of like an inter-cooler. Alcohol’s cooling ability reduces detonation and allows higher boost levels to be run with low octane fuel. Cylinder temperatures can drop as much as 300 degrees. Alcohol injection may be added to your recipe at any point as it works well from a stocker to a full racer.
The concept of injecting alcohol and water into an engine to increase power output is not new. The research and testing has been done years ago and still continues today. During WWII the military used alcohol and water injection on aircraft to enhance combustion by cooling the charged air coming in from forced induction. Ever wonder why Turbo Regals have the "Power Injection" light on the dash and "Power Injection" location in the fuse box? GM had plans to put water injection on Turbo Regals for power enhancement by reducing detonation and increasing boost levels. Unfortunately it did not go into production. The light would illuminate when the water injection was pumping. Jay Carter, Steve Chlupsa, and Frederic Breitwieser are just a few great examples of people that have done extensive design and testing of alcohol injection systems for Turbo Buick applications. They have been very successful with their efforts and have brought forward great technology.
Many people have successfully used alcohol injection on Turbo Buick engines hundreds of passes with no damage to parts, seals, or cylinder walls. GM did implement alcohol injection on a few durability test engines run on a dyno. During the durability tests the engines were cycled between the peak torque RPM and the peak horsepower RPM for the equivalent of 100,000 miles. Afterwards they were tore down and examined. They noted significantly more cylinder bore wear in the alcohol/water injected engines. It was believed to be from unburnt alcohol and water washing the oil off the cylinder walls but they could have also been running higher boost levels. This wear problem was only found on engines run through the durability dyno test and not on any other tests. The alcohol kits for Turbo Buicks only turn on during boost situations. So, I guess if you plan on having your foot to the floor for 100,000 miles with the alcohol injecting this could pose a potential problem for you otherwise there is no worry. This is a tried and true safe method of increasing the power of your Turbo Buick engine. The only real danger to alcohol injection is letting it run out of alcohol during a high boost blast. If the alcohol runs out severe knock is most likely going to occur because you probably are running higher boost levels than the gas in your tank at the time can handle. Bad enough knock could occur causing a blown head gasket or maybe even worse engine destruction. So, make sure there is always plenty of alcohol in the container.