Wear Characteristics of Fleet Vehicles Operating on Methyl Alcohol 811202

Three 1978 Ford Pinto 2300 cc vehicles were retrofitted to operate on neat methanol and driven for an 18-month period. The modification package included carburetor rejetting, upgraded fuel filtration and electric cold start assistance. Internal engine components (excepting camshafts) and the engine lubrication system were not modified. A conventional motor oil was used in all vehicles.
Over 30,000 vehicle miles were accumulated in the test period. Wear metal samples were taken at 1000-mile intervals and analyzed for 16 metallic constituents using Direct Reading Emission Spectroscopy (DRES). Percentage fuel and water dilution were also measured. All oil samples showed abnormally high concentrations of lead and tin. Iron accumulation rates over the entire test were similar to those reported for gasoline engines. Maximum fuel or water dilution in any sample was 0.5%.
A deterioration in performance and increased oil consumption in all vehicles was noted after 10,000 to 12,000 miles of operation. Measurement of internal engine parts at the end of the test period revealed extreme upper cylinder and bearing wear.


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