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Diesel Regen Reduction Trick Using Water-Methanol

Using Water-Methanol Injection for More Power, Better MPG, and Fewer DPF Burns

Jun 2, 2016
Photographers: Courtesy of Snow Performance
Diesel particulate filters are a double-edged sword. They allow manufacturers to meet strict modern emissions requirements and build trucks with world-record torque output, but that comes at the price of fuel economy. The edge only gets sharper once you decide to pursue more power.
Programmer vs. DPF
Handheld programmers are electronic devices used for changing a diesel engine’s fueling and timing strategies via the ECU. When fuel supply is increased over the factory settings, more exhaust particles are being sent into the DPF. This leads to more frequent regenerations. Extra fuel is required for each “regen” to heat the DPF and burn off the soot that builds up. Enthusiasts were quick to notice this once the DPF became standard equipment on all modern diesel-powered trucks.
MPG vs. DPF
Since diesel must be burned for each additional regen, fuel economy suffers with every operation hour. Whether a truck is being used for daily driving, towing, off-roading, dyno runs, or drag racing, the effects of these extra burns are very noticeable. According to the experts at Snow Performance, this means up to 5 mpg can be lost with a relatively mild 50hp tune.
Water-Methanol vs. DPF
These same engineers have figured out a way to add up to 100 hp while keeping the number of regens the same as stock—or even reducing the number of mpg-robbing soot burns—through the injection of water-methanol. While this technique has been known for decades as a way to add power and reduce exhaust gas temperature, it can also be used to dramatically lower the emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (aka soot). Tests show the “micro explosions” of the rapidly evaporating water-methanol mix help to break up the fuel droplets inside the engine and make them smaller and more homogeneous. This means the diesel fuel is more apt to burn during the power stroke, and less unburned fuel will be lost by slipping through the exhaust ports and into the DPF.
Regen Reductions
While this all makes sense on paper, the team at Snow Performance wanted to prove it with tests in the real world using driving loops and dyno runs. A ’12 Ford F-250 was chosen as the test vehicle and fitted with an MPG-MAX (PN 520; $949.99) water-methanol injection kit. To keep the results practical for the average diesel owner, the tests were performed using cost-effective windshield washer fluid from a local Walmart. It has just a 33 percent methanol content but costs only $1.70 per gallon (that is, if it’s available in your state; California does not allow methanol to be included in washer fluid). Significantly more power can be achieved with a 49/51 percent mix of water-methanol. Even with the reduced methanol content, an Edge Products Evolution CTS2 (PN 85400; $679.95) programmer was combined with the MPG-MAX setup, resulting in maximum gains of 78 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque over stock on our test rig’s 6.7L Power Stroke engine. Not bad at all!
Real-World Proof
To validate results, each driving test was run multiple times, and the average of the outcomes is what you see here (except for the final drive, which was run only one time). The loop used was 34 miles and consisted of approximately 50 percent city and 50 percent highway terrain. The tests were done back-to-back to minimize uncontrolled variables, such as weather changes or increases in traffic, with the settings in a constant rotation (stock, then Tow tune, followed by Tow tune with water-methanol, and so on). In between each test, the DPF was normalized by waiting for the active regen to complete, and then the engine was idled until the Edge Products programmer indicated a 20 percent soot load. Before driving the loop, the starting mileage was noted, and then the odometer readout was recorded at the time of the regen onset.
With the stock engine settings in play, the F-250 averaged 118.3 miles of driving between each regen. Once the 20hp/21–lb-ft Tow tune was engaged, this distance dropped to 100.9 miles, which constitutes a 14 percent escalation in regen frequency. With the Tow tune engaged and the MPG-MAX injecting water-methanol, it took an average of 147.5 miles before the regen kicked in. That’s a significant 46 percent decrease in the frequency of regens! At the request of the truck’s owner, a single driving loop was performed with the stock engine settings along with the water-methanol injection. Believe it or not, it took 176.3 miles of driving before the DPF requested a regen! So, if you own a modern diesel-powered truck, it’s not hard to see the benefits of adding a water-methanol injection kit such as the Snow Performance MPG-MAX.
Photo 2/17   |   001 2002 Ford F 250 6 7L Power Stroke Diesel Towing With Snow Performance Water Methanol Injection
Water-methanol injection is known for increasing the power output of diesel engines while reducing exhaust gas temperature, which can lead to premature wear on the turbocharger and expensive modern diesel exhaust parts. The tests performed for this article prove that an unladen truck can benefit greatly from the addition of water-methanol for up to an additional 58 miles of driving between regenerations.
The test truck for this experiment is a ’12 Ford F-250 with the 6.7L Power Stroke engine. The factory ECU settings result in dyno readings of 320 hp and 606 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. With the Edge Products Evolution CTS2 programmer’s Tow tune, the truck makes 340 hp and 627 lb-ft. With the addition of water-methanol injection (using windshield washer fluid with only a 33 percent methanol content), the Tow tune is able to create 398 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque.
Photo 6/17   |   005 Snow Perfromance Diesel Water Methanol Injection Kit
The Snow Performance MPG-MAX water-methanol injection kit comes with everything you need to upgrade a modern diesel engine for more power, along with fewer regenerations of the diesel particulate filter.
The water-methanol jets are installed in the intake tract of the 6.7L Power Stroke engine, downstream from the intercooler. The experts at Snow Performance say the injection of this additive creates “micro explosions” that promote the creation of homogenous particles that are more fully burned during the power stroke.
Photo 11/17   |   010 EGT Probe Installed In Tube
A probe is installed in the exhaust gas recirculation tube to get accurate readings of the exhaust gas temperature.
Photo 12/17   |   011 Snow Performance Water Methanol Boost Cooler Injection
Boost Juice by Snow Performance contains a mix of 49 percent methanol and 51 percent distilled water. In many states, you can save some money (at the expense of power output) by using over-the-counter windshield washer fluid, which usually comes with more than 30 percent methanol content.
Dyno runs with the ’12 Ford F-250 show an increase of 78 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque over the stock output.
Photo 15/17   |   014 2012 Ford F 250 Diesel Edge Products Display
The Edge Products Evolution CTS2 display includes lots of helpful features, including readings for the soot load and pressure inside the diesel particulate filter.
Photo 16/17   |   015 2012 Ford F 250 Diesel Towing 5th Wheel Trailer
Power and Torque Output  
Stock 320 hp at 2,850 rpm and 606 lb-ft at 2,660 rpm
Edge Tow tune 340 hp at 3,340 rpm and 627 lb-ft at 2,540 rpm
Edge Tow tune and water-methanol 398 hp at 3,350 rpm and 735 lb-ft at 2,610 rpm
Miles to Regen  
Stock 118.3 miles
Edge Tow tune 100.9 miles
Edge Tow tune and water-methanol 147.5 miles
Stock and water-methanol 176.3 miles*
*Only one run
Photo 17/17   |   016 Dyno Data Snow Performance 2012 F250

Sources

Edge Products
Ogden, UT 84404
888-360-3343
www.edgeproducts.com
Snow Performance
Woodland Park, CO 80863
719-633-3811
www.snowperformance.net

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