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Mysterious racing Fuels - Hydrazine? Green Flames? Anybody know about this?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dustyoldbodyman, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. So, Back in the 60's - maybe even late 50s some dragster guys were experimenting with different fuels, I am told - hydrazine (sp?) being one - maybe others along with different nitro mixes.
    An im thread with a friend revealed this morsel of info:
    Yes! Bobby Langley (Scorpion dragster) out of Texas was one of the guys that fooled with it. It would cause spectacular engine explosions...very unstable sh*

    There is also this thread to look at... Jun 2001/SOD-062601.htm
    Anybody have any first hand experience with this stuff?

    Another good read:

    It will be fun to see what the collective knowledge base comes up with here..
  2. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,751


    I am not old enough to have first hand experience with it but I am old enough to remember an engine loosing the heads before it was outlawed. Doesn't matter how old or young you are or even if you come down with dementia that is something that you will never forget.

    Hydrazine was rocket fuel or so I have been told.

    If you get some let me know I have grenaded a motor in a while.
  3. PVTA Jay
    Joined: Dec 17, 2010
    Posts: 150

    PVTA Jay

    It's 'rumored' that The Greek was running Hydrazine when he ran that 206 MPH in '62, way faster than anyone else at the time
  4. In the book "We were The Ramchargers" they talk about running hydrazine - I remember a line about the pistons being "compressed"
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  5. "IF the ground's shaking and the flames are green,
    They must be running that hydrazine..."
  6. I remember Tony Nancy, I think AND Berserk, Jim Brisette (spelling)....."a little drop'l due ya"....the tone of a 392 would change from a "piece that talks" to something you don't want to stand near. Tony Nancy also used to use "Oil of Mervane".......but just to clear the was the most foul stuff you could imagine. Mainly at San Fernando Raceway with Harry Hibler as Manager.....lots of funny stuff during the day. John Funny....."Never An Adult Moment".....nothing has changed! hehehehe
  7. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,869


    Hydrazine is N2H4 in chemical composition. And yes it was used as part of liquid rocket fuel. No doubt where some enterprising drag racers learned about it. It is a reducing agent. It is also carcingenic. We used it in power plants to scavenge oxygen from the boiler water to reduce corrosion. Stuff we got was 35% in aqueous (water) solution. Smelled like dead fish. Unfortunately in the early days ('70s) the drums didn't have the warning labels on them as they did later. We used to use rotoflex pumps (two rollers kneading tygon tubing) to put the stuff into the chem feed tanks at the plants. When the tubing failed, you took a hydrazine bath, of which I have had several. Wife used to make me change all my clothes in the garage when I came home after one.
    From what I remember from the early days, racers would use hydrazine in conjuction with other fuels such as nitromethane. It would sit in the "moon tank" and cook in the pits in the sun until it suddenly exploded. I doubt if those early pioneers using it in fuel cars really understood the chemical reactions that well and just thought, hey it is rocket fuel so lets see how much boost we can get from it.
  8. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559


    I watched my cousin stuff his go kart through a wooden garage door using Hydrazine. Very power stuff and very destructive.
  9. firingorder1
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,085


    I don't think its a "rumor" that Don Maynard was running hydrazine in the late 50s/early 60s. I think it was a pretty well known fact at the time. It was April, 1960 when Karamesines went 204 at Alton Ill.
  10. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,751


    I had completely forgotten about it self igniting. That was one of those things that we thought of as an urban legend in my teen years.

    I don't think it was outlawed as a fuel because if its carcinogenic qualities. It may have been the self ignition that made them consider it to be a bad idea.

    <HR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #e5e5e5; COLOR: #e5e5e5" SIZE=1>
    Damn that brings back memories, I remember freinds of the Ol' Man saying that to me in the pits when I was a little guy. It always made me giggle.
  11. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,666

    from nipomo, ca

    Hydrazine is very flamable but not a monopropellant. It is aboard satelites but needs heat (flame) and oxygen to ignite. However, in space there is no oxygen so it is mixed with an oxidizer, something like nitrogen tetroxide. In space, they can also use a catalyst grid to act as a the oxidizer. When the 2 are mixed, you get a violent chemical reaction, think rocket motor (Titan rockets used this principal).
  12. stealthcruiser
    Joined: Dec 24, 2002
    Posts: 3,668


    F-16 aircraft also use this, ( hydrazine and catalyst bed), to power their emergency power unit.
  13. Nailhead dodge roadster
    Joined: Jun 28, 2004
    Posts: 708

    Nailhead dodge roadster
    from Cheney Wa

    We used hydrozine on the f16's as an emergency only backup fuel....that stuff will kill you and cause cancer of he not mess with it.
  14. Nailhead dodge roadster
    Joined: Jun 28, 2004
    Posts: 708

    Nailhead dodge roadster
    from Cheney Wa

    My grandpa, who i never met, dies of cancer in 1969 after woring for nasa as a rocket scientist. He had alot of contact with hydrozine early on.....along with some other "rocket" fuels while developing the minute man rocket programe. He was 49. You really don't want anything to do with the stuff..
  15. the shadow
    Joined: Mar 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,077

    the shadow

    they still must use it in power plants in boiler feed applications, I just helped build a hydrozine injection feed unit for the cape canaveral power plant project.
    as stated in earlier posts about this topic, my good friend dick delfatti "the shadow" ran with don maynard & the greek back in the early 1960's. dick ran hydrozine with his nitro set up in a 484ci hemi till one day he had an explosion at an event in york pa. gernaded the block and severly burned him putting him out of the drivers seat till '67 when he drove his trick truck wheelstander. he showed me his legs...still badley scared. he said when you got the mix right it was good for 10-15 mph in the 1/4.
  16. afaulk
    Joined: Jul 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,165


    Adds a whole new meaning to the statement "parts is parts". Folks do not try this at home, as if nitro. wasn't bad enough!
  17. mtkawboy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,167


    I had an older buddy who used to run nitro propane {not methane}in his flathead & 301 Chevy powered stock cars. He called it Purple S#it, really made them go. They also didnt know about the carcinogenic side effects back then. He did of cancer @ 84 two years ago
  18. bob t!
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 209

    bob t!

    You will see green in the header flames on nitro cars today. It's caused when the pistons start to melt.
  19. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,739


    I worked in aerospace back in the '60s, and one of the rockets that I was involved with used UDMH and RFNA (a hypergolic combination when injected together) as the propellant and oxidizer. Those acronyms stand for Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine and Red Fuming Nitric Acid. I always thought that those two names were the most awesome-sounding chemicals of which I had ever heard!
  20. I thought that copper burned green, like when the engine torched a head gasket? :confused:
  21. safari-wagon
    Joined: Jan 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,453


    Smokey Yunick used to call that shit "the man killer"...
  22. bob t!
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 209

    bob t!

    Mike Dunn keeps referring to the green flame being caused by aluminum pistons burning. Detination ?
  23. Well Mike Dunn would know better than I would! :D Who knows what kind of aluminum alloy these pistons use. And they've got some funny coatings on them too. :eek:
  24. As always - a great education can be had here on the H.A.M.B.
    No where do I know of a greater repository of knowledge and experience.
    Great stuff - keep it coming
  25. jjordan
    Joined: Aug 19, 2010
    Posts: 42


    In the late 60's we got ahold of a little from some drag race guys and tried a few cc's in our go-kart motors (as many have said here, completely oblivious to the word carcinogenic). Made an obvious improvement in the Hp till we started to break head bolts in our little Mac 90's. Ran a 4-stroke honda years later at Pikes Peak, most guys were adding a little nitro to help in the tuning to compensate for the altitude change from bottom to top. Always was a rumor that the REALLY fast guys were adding a little something more.
  26. Roger Walling
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,133

    Roger Walling

    What you don't want to see when you open the hood.


    I'v heard of dropping the bottom out but I never heard of blowing the top off!
  27. Mark Hinds
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 467

    Mark Hinds
    from pomona ca

    Most piston are forged of a 2000 series aluminum which is aluminum alloyed with copper....
  28. Nasty stuff, probably not used as often as it was rumoured. During the match race era what the track announcer and the weekly papers told you had to be taken with a truckload of salt.

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