When most people hear you talking about injecting meth, they may give you some funny looks or nasty glances. But in reality, you’re talking about water-methanol injection for your car. Water-Meth injection is an idea that has been around for many years, first pioneered by the Germans in WW2. The Germans would spray a 50/50 water-meth mixture into the supercharges of fighter planes reducing the risk of detonation and allowing the pilots to push the aircraft harder and increase boost pressure when needed. With this system installed, the Germans were able to increase the standard 1600HP engines to over 2000HP.
But I don’t own a WW2 German aircraft how does this help me? Well, in 1962, Oldsmobile brought out the world’s first car that had a “Turbo-Rocket Fluid” injection. Now in modern-day, there are a few key manufacturers such as Snow Performance and AEM producing water methanol injection systems.
How does meth injection work?
Meth injection is a reasonably simple concept. A water-methanol mixture is shot into the intake of the car. When this mixture is combined with the air in the intake, it rapidly cools the air. When air is cooled, it becomes very dense. Because the air is dense, much more air is able to be pushed into the motor. More air means more fuel means your car goes faster… a lot faster.
But what is the point of meth injection?
When it comes down to it, the whole reason for installing a water methanol injection system is to increase boost levels on turbocharged and supercharged cars. In some cases, you may see systems installed on naturally aspirated motors, but this is rare. With a system installed, it has the ability to cool the air rapidly. Because of much colder air entering the engine, it allows the driver to increase boost levels significantly, resulting in more horsepower, all while lowering the risk of detonation.
What type of fluid can I run?
When it comes to what type of fluid you can run in your water-methanol system, you have a few options. The first option is a specially designed race fluid such as snow performance boost juice. These fluids come pre-mixed 50% water 50% meth. You also have the ability to use winter windshield washer fluid. Unfortunately, winter windshield washer fluid only contains a 39% concentrate of methanol, meaning you cannot push your car as hard as you would be able to with a 50/50 mix due to the fact it cannot cool as efficiently. You also have the option to top up washer fluid with 100% methanol to bring it up to an exact 50/50 mixture. The cheapest option is to make the mixture yourself. The best way to go about making your own fluid is to purchase 100% methanol from a fuel supplier or an off the shelf product like HEET. Mega Mechatronics has a very in-depth video regarding the topic.
What are the risks of meth injection?
The significant risk of running a methanol injection system is running out of fluid. The reason this is a concern is that with the system enabled, you are pushing the car much harder. Now with the system functioning correctly, this is not an issue, but if you run out of fluid and are not adequately able to cool the engine, your risk of knock/detonation increases significantly. Fortunately, there are failsafe options on the market to prevent this from happening.
What are the benefits of meth injection?
Water methanol injection offers a variety of benefits for your car. As previously mentioned above, you get the ability to increase boost levels due to much lower temperatures. Water meth also increases the octane rating of your gas anywhere from 8 to 20 points, essentially giving you race fuel depending on what octane rating you put in your car. Because you are shooting a liquid mixture into your engine, it can also help clean up carbon build-up.
How much horsepower will I gain?
It’s hard to give an exact number because every build is different. Usually, you can expect somewhere in the range of 7 to 15 percent gains. Search the forums for other drivers running a similar setup to yours to get a more accurate answer.
Do I always have to drive with the system enabled?
Fortunately, you don’t have to drive with the injection system running all the time. Most drivers install a button in their car to switch between a water-meth tune and a tune without it. The benefit of this is if you daily your car. When just cruising around town, you don’t use any fluid, but when you are on track or the Mexico streets, you can quickly change tunes.
How long will a full tank last?
This all depends on how hard you drive your car. If you always have the system on, you can expect to go through a tank in a matter of a few days. But if you don’t usually drive with the injection system enabled and only turn in on for some fun on the streets, it could last upwards of a few weeks to a month.
Snow Performance Water/Methanol Injection Kit
Snow performance produces a variety of water methanol injection systems for your turbo / super charged, naturally aspirated, or turbodiesel motor. Each system they offer is labeled as “stage.” These stages refer to how advanced the controller is not the horsepower of your car. The stage one controller is the budget option of the three. It is just a simple on-off switch. You can control the boost pressure the system turns on or off at, but the system is either running or not. This is ideal for track cars where you are either at idle or full throttle. The stage two is a 52mm gauge style that allows for a user-friendly experience and shows you what is happening in real-time. The gauges screen color can be changed to suit your dash. The gauge has two options to select your boost start point and boost full point. The controller then injects more or less depending on the boost pressure. The stage two kit is the most popular option offered by snow performance. Finally, the stage three kit is the most fine-tunable kit available. The system takes into account boost and fuel system load to create the injection map. All while being able to fine-tune it from the controller without the need for standalone tuning software. Every kit comes with a 3-liter reservoir, 300 PSI pump, installation hardware, injector with multiple nozzles, controller, hoses, and various fittings and adapters. The controller will then do
Snow performance also offers an upgraded tank in 9.5L and 26L, so you have to refill the system less frequently, making it much more convenient. They also have the safe injection V2, but it is getting increasingly harder to find because it has been discontinued. Fortunately, there are other manufacturers producing fail-safes that are compatible with these systems.
Overall, all of the injection systems offered by snow performance and an excellent choice for your car. Stage one is most popular for strictly track cars. Stage two is the most popular for streetcars. And stage three is most popular for street and track cars that need the ultimate tuning potential.
AEM V2 Water Methanol Injection Kit
The other major player in the water methanol injection market is AEM. They bring to the table two injection kits, the 30-3350 and 30-3300. The 30-3350 is their offering for ultra-high-performance cars pushing over 35PSI of boost or high compression naturally aspirated engines. Typically most streetcars are not exceeding 35PSI of boost, making this kit ideal for track cars.
The V2 version of the kit is AEM’s latest upgrade to the old V1 kit. The V2 kits come with a 4.3-liter reservoir with the new anti slosh technology and low fluid level sensor. The package also includes a 200psi pump, controller, injector with three nozzles up to 1000cc, wiring harness, and various hoses and fittings for a complete installation. The heart of the kit is AEM’s advanced controller. The controller features easy to use turn resistant knobs, large status LED, and multiple adjustments. The largest-selling feature of this kit is the boost safe feature. Boost safe monitors the entire system and triggers a ground signal if it identifies a voltage related error such as an overheated pump, broken wire, etc. When this occurs, you have a lot of options to prevent damage to the rest of the car, such as switching fuel maps to simply flashing a warning light. AEM also has an optional failsafe gauge that monitors the entire flow of the system to adjust for failures under all conditions.
Overall, both offerings from AEM and Snow Performance and great options for your vehicle in need of some extra horsepower. The most significant difference between the two systems is AEM’s fail-safe technology out of the box. This feature alone will push most people towards their kit.