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NF Octane Booster Racing Formula

250 ml treats 80 litres RRP: $29.95

Time for an Aussie-made product. From Perth, the NF Octane Booster Racing Formula was the smallest bottle in the field, but looking at the mixing ratio, also the strongest NF relies on an incredibly small dose – a mere 3 percent! Claiming to increase octane as much as 6.0 RON, NF took the gold medal in a surprising tie. If it were a split decision based on concentration though, it would be the clear winner.

OCTANE IMPROVEMENT: 99.6 (+2.8 RON)

1st

Nulon Pro Strength Octane Booster

500 ml treats 60 litres RRP: $20.95

Note: Also available in four-litre container for $110

The Australian-made Nulon Pro Strength Octane Booster is the top of the range Nulon fuel product, claiming to boost octane "up to seven number". The Pro Strength gained a test-winning, gold-medal-gaining and Nf-equalling 2.8RON increase. And at $21, it’s good value too!

OCTANE IMPROVEMENT: 99.6 (+2.8 RON)

VP Motorsport 103 fuel

Used straight fuel (20-litre minimum) RRP: $70

Purely for interest, we decided to also test a straight racing fuel. While there are a number available (such as ELF) for no particular reason we chose VP. The highest octane VP fuel which was still totally street-legal was the Motorsport 103. Working out at $3.50 per litre and "designed for maximum power and throttle response", the VP was very impressive with an octane rating of 107RON – more than 10RON points more than PULP. Obviously more expensive than the boosters, if octane is problem, racing fuel like VP may be the answer.

OCTANE IMPROVEMENT: 107 (+10.2RON)

As the name suggests, a knock engine is designed to test the detonation or anti-knock rating of fuels and fuel additives. It’s a slow revving engine capable of running most fossil fuels through an adjustable compression ratio. As the comp ratio increases, it accurately measures the intensity of the knock and determines the fuel’s octane rating.

The world standard is a one-cylinder two-valve four-stroke engine with exposed valve gear. Archaic in appearance, a carby is fed from any one of three fuel bowls to allow three different fuels to be run back to back. The mixture is actually controlled via gravity feed and by raising or lowering the float level of each bowl!

Run under load via a belt-drive linking the flywheel and load system, it ensures a real world situation and ensuring minimal variation between tests, oil temperature, intake air density and air temperature are all monitored and controlled.

The engine is somewhat agricultural, however its unique ability to vary the compression ratio while running between 5.0:1 and 15.0:1 is quite amazing. The operator simply winds a handle and the entire head and cylinder assembly moves up and down relative to the crankshaft.

A knock sensor measures both the frequency and intensity of the ping (as displayed on a knock metre). Figures are then cross-referenced on a chart using the information provided by the knock meter, plus the height of the head and barrel.

Finally, knock intensity is figured in and the fuel’s octane rating determined.

Taking two hours to warm, this $200,000 engine is super robust and rarely needs rebuilding. Individual tests can then proceed at approximately $120 per test sample.

Being subjected to so much detonation, you can only imagine how much maintenance an engine of this nature must need. Interestingly, this isn’t the case as the piston and rod assembly are rejects from a monstrous ship engine (just kidding)! They’re frigging huge with the incredibly thick piston crown contributing to a combined gudgeon pin and piston weight of 1794 grams! Likewise, the rod weighs an astonishing 1929 grams. The bottom line is these engines which have replacement value of over $200,000 and almost never require rebuilding.

DYNO BOOSTERS

Ultimately, the role of an octane booster, is to regain horsepower lost through detonation or retarded ignition timing due to detonation. But two of our products, the nitro additives, weren’t specifically designed to increase octane. Instead, they contain a mix of nitromethane (the petrol Top Fuellers run) in a "percentage" concentrate. Power Fuel’s Super Street and Max Race additives has 20-percent and 35-percent nitro respectively, and the Australian importer specifically claimed they would increase power, not necessarily octane.

So, we took those two products, and the two best-performing octane boosters to MRT Performance for some Dyno Dynamics dyno testing. Interestingly, we were going to use MRT’s rally Civic, which normally runs on avgas. On PULP – even with the booster – it was pinging too much, so a Jap-spec EF Honda Civic was used with a 1.6-litre VTEC and about 10.0:1 comp ratio.

The graphs tell the story though, and to be fair to the products, with variables such as heat soak, the results weren’t as conclusive as could be gained from an engine dyno. But that is not to say the products don’t work. As our test prove, they do, but it’s not as easily measured on a chassis dyno. Plus the Civic had no detonation problems on PULP, further hampering the "apparent" effectiveness of the boosters.

With changes too small to accurately measure, we would suggest if your engine is sensitive to octane, a booster is for you. If not, try the nitro or racing fuels.

CONCLUSION

Both the Nulon Pro Strength and the NF Racing Formula rated the best octane boosters in our test. And considering that less NF was needed than Nulon, it evens out a little with a slightly higher cost. Still, both proved extremely effective at increasing octane, even outranking Toluene, which needs much higher levels of concentration. The VP Motorsport 103 fuel was an interesting exercise, and if a little more effort (ie: buying it from the selected outlets) is worth the octane, it’s a good representative of what to expect from straight racing fuel. As for the nitro additives, if you’re not experiencing any type of detonation, they’re definitely worth a try. So whether you detonate or not, we’ve found a fuel additive for you!

Material courtesy of Fast Fours Magazine Nov/Dec 1999.
 

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I've used NF for about six months now and have really noticed a difference. Which remibnds me, I must order some more:eek:
 

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All this talk of detonation has got me scared.

I've just been filling up with Esso SUL and nothing more, and I haven't "heard" anything odd as far as Im aware (then again I'm not even sure I would recognise detonation noise if it was doing it anyway).

I was always under the impression that octane boosters just increased the power - not that they were essential to avoid one's motor damaging itself??

:confused:
 

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As far as octane boosters are concerned, nothing beats the good ol' toluene. 121 octane with a sensitivity rating of 14, RON+MON /2 is still 114 octane, dirt-cheap (£3 a gallon), doesn't damage the oxygen sensor and it works.

Just make sure you get _pure_ toluene; solvent-grade toluene will clog up your engine in no time. This means you'll probably have to buy a whole barrel (44 gallons) but once you're used to cranking up boost like you never could with pump gas there's no turning back... ;-)

Btw., toluene is the secret behind those 1000bhp/l F1 turbo engines of the 80's, they used ~80% toluene mixture (20% filler, in order to stay within octane regulations) for fuel.

20-30, even 40% mixtures are still OK on street, any higher than that and the fuel must be pre-heated, which isn't practical anymore.
 

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If you run more than 12% on a SUL mix on a regular engine it can cause lots of damage.

;)

Think i will stick to the NF as its not flammable and doesn't stink the car out ;)
 

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worried,

I am also getting a bit concerned my understanding of Det it very limited but I thought that OB was used to lessen it rather than bring back horse power lost to it.

quote "Ultimately, the role of an octane booster, is to regain horsepower lost through detonation or retarded ignition timing due to detonation. "

If my understanding is correct (which it may very well not be:D ) then the quotation above is incorrect, could someone please explain.

I understand that Det is very over worried about and all engines will get it to a certain degree but I thought increasing the octane advanced the timing a bit(via ECU) thus reducing det.?????

confused
Steve
 

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Steve,

As far as I understand it, the stock ecu is not self learning. It will not advance the timing given the scope when running a higher octane fuel. The stock ecu will only retard the timing (and boost) should it pick up det.

I guess the logic of the statement about regaining hp is that if you increase the octane rating of the fuel you use, you could advance the ignition timing and gain some extra power without the risk of det. In practise however, most cars will not have the facility for easy changes to the ignition map other than doing a manual advance.

Peter.
 

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dingy

As what I have heard about octane booster additives there is an alternative to use xylene instead of toluen. (Said to be better, but I can be wrong)

Do you have any information on this substance regarding octane levels?

Any info on what kind of damage might occur using toluene?

PS.
Thanks for your good work on explaning the differences between the various brands on the market.

//bobban
 

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Octane ooster

Hi Guys,

While we are on the subject of octane improvers, a mate of mine who runs in a drag chamionship with a Ford Engined car, is using a mix with Methanol added on a small percentage!!

My question is this? Is methanol better than toluene/xylene??
What about using AVGAS (aircraft fuel) maybe to much lead there!!:(

Cheers

Stu
 

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Det

All this talk of detonation has got me scared.

I've just been filling up with Esso SUL and nothing more, and I haven't "heard" anything odd as far as Im aware (then again I'm not even sure I would recognise detonation noise if it was doing it anyway).
Durzel,

I blew 5 pistons through Det and didn't hear or feel a thing. My apexi PFC is set up to warn me is excessive det is occuring so I've got that safety warning now.
 

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Gah!

Where can I source this Apexi PFC from then? How much roughly + fitting? I take it the "APEX Super AFC Fuel Controller" is something completely different?
 

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Re: Octane ooster

R32BigSly said:
Hi Guys,

--

My question is this? Is methanol better than toluene/xylene??
What about using AVGAS (aircraft fuel) maybe to much lead there!!:(

Cheers

Stu
Methanol and ethanol have a octane rating of around 98 RON (similar to super unleaded) so it does not give the same octane boost, but might have other good effects..

For some more info on this subject look at links below

http://www.dragracingpinoy.com/tech_avgas.html
http://www.off-road.com/rick/gas2/

// bobban
 

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Durzel said:
Gah!

Where can I source this Apexi PFC from then? How much roughly + fitting? I take it the "APEX Super AFC Fuel Controller" is something completely different?
Hi Durzel, We are getting slightly off the subject here :)

But..

I bought my APEXi PowerFC (Replaces Standard ECU box) from a web-based tuning supplier: Advanced Imports in New Zeeland (forgot the url..). but don´t forget to buy the programming unit as well.. or you will end up with close to the standard setting of the replaced ECU-box ( i.e. the default program in APEXi unit).

Perhaps if you contact the people at DP Motor Sports in Warrington, England, (01925 - 445174) they can tell where to find the closest dealer in Britain, and perhaps give you a price.

Fitting is a D.I.Y. job.. about 3-4 screws to loosen and retighten..

Cheers
LB
 

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Many thanks.

Sorry to hijack the thread with my enquiry, it just got me thinking thats all. I presume detonation is just a problem with modified cars - I find it hard to believe Nissan (or anyone in fact) would ship cars out that ultimately will destroy themselves through normal everyday usage.

:(
 

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If you have an Import Japanese car then detonation is an issue due to the fact of the fuel rating over there.

100+Ron fuel compared to our 97/98 RON over here.

I know of 2 GTR's that have had engine failures from standard form.

I don't have an import but if i did i would be running on closer to a 100 ron fuel than not.

:D
 

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Japenese Fuel

I understand from Shin that the Japanese standard for premium fuel is a minimum of 97.5 RON, and that many people have happily run on Optimax with no O/Boost - Thats how I run my imported WRX...

If you're worried about det get something which detects it, or get it checked on an RR. Octane booster is good for track days etc, but not strictly required for the road in most relatively sane states of tune.

Just my opinion of course, and I know some cars don't get on with optimax (eg CraigH's Scooby, but others run better than SUL+Octane Boost)

Jon
 

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Det, Fuel & dyno's

I've been following this thread with interest.
My 2p worth....for what its worth,
If you're worried about det then put your car on a rolling road.
Det is imposible to detect at high RPM.
No one who runs a Skyline should run on anything other than super U/L.........ask Stu, where Det destroyed 5 of his 6 cylinders!!!!!! I think I'm right in saying he was using ordinary U/L.
I've taken my car to 2 of the dyno days at Tuning Japanese. Tim, Ike and the boys know what they are doing and have all the equipment to detect Det. My car got a complete bill of good health twice using Optimax with no OB. This was a relief and something I now don't need to worry about.
At both dyno days some runs were aborted due to Det. I'm sure the owners were dissapointed, but at least they new and as such could get it sorted without a massive bill (ask Stu again!!).

I've used O/B for both Kemble days and once or twice when going on long fast cross country runs. The difference has been noticable. I don't run OB all the time as I use my car on a daily basis for slow traffic bound commutes into central London. But the car will soon be pensioned off for W/E use only. I will then probably use it all the time as I'm sure it does make a difference

So moral to keep your wallet intact
Only use Super U/L
Run your car on a Dyno to find out if it Dets (shameless plug for Tuning Japanese......I think they are good)
Only take your pride and Joy to a proper Skyline specialist (ask DaveW!!!)

98-100 RON wroestar

P/S.......Just a bit of a plug for Abbey. I've taken my car to them for almost 5 years now. When I had my car dyno'd I wasn't really expecting any Det as I know Tony, Mark and the boys know what they are doing...........but it still put my mind at rest.:smokin: :D
 

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Thanks for using me as an exemple Mr Wroestar. Even though my car has a clean bill of health from an ex-middlehurst mechanic and is running better than when i got it, I still do not consider it ok until i have run it on THE dyno (tuning japanese). Once that has been done and there is no det I will be as happy as stu :D
 

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STILL SMILING

TOOK my baby around MK today, dry roads and LOTS of full throttle

May need new tires soon:D

Oh....... and definitely STILL SMILING:D


COME TO DADDY:D
 
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