1990-10-01

Methanol-Capable Vehicle Development: Meeting the Challenge in the Crankcase 902152

A major drive to develop methanol-fueled vehicles began with the 1973 oil embargo. Early work with dedicated methanol-fueled vehicles demonstrated that lubricant choice influenced engine durability. The qualities desired were not defined by the gasoline engine oil classification system in place at the time. As a result oils were developed which optimized those properties deemed desirable for methanol fuel.The advent of fuel sensors made it possible to design a vehicle which can operate on gasoline or gasoline with varying levels of methanol without intervention by the operator. This created a need for a lubricant that can handle a diversity of methanol/gasoline mixtures as well as conventional gasoline.The paper reviews some of the lubricants that have been used in prototype methanol-capable vehicles and the improvement of these formulations to meet the latest gasoline engine performance criteria while maintaining satisfactory methanol performance.One of the major difficulties in developing lubricants for methanol-containing fuels is the lack of short, field-correlated laboratory tests to define methanol performance. This need may not be fully resolvable without further field evaluations.

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