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Bacardi mothball emergency fuel kit.

Trunk equipment.
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
  [vote for,

It is no fun to run out of gas. But it is unsafe andmaybe illegal to keep a full gas can in your car. Plus gas is only good for one thing: running the car (and maybe cleaning off tape residue). Could their be a safe alternative?

I was very impressed that on Mythbusters, they added crushed naphtha mothballs to gas and concluded that it increased the octane. I know in Brazil they run their cars on pure ethanol.

So, the emergency kit: a bottle of Bacardi 151 and a tub of naphtha moth crystals. In an emergency, the crystals can be added to the rum, shaken until dissolved, and added to the tank. The mothballs should compensate for the water in the rum, with an end result suitable for 10-20 miles. The rum would also be useful for cleaning sticky scum, sterilizing scissors, or (with a rag inserted as a wick) an emergency flare/lantern. The mothballs could be used for moth repelling purposes.

bungston, Feb 01 2005

mothballs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naphthalene
Those things are bad for you [Lasko, Jan 29 2006]


       //or (with a rag inserted as a wick)// an effective release of road rage. I'll stick to roadside assistance and a cell phone for fear of ruining my car with this stuff, but this could be useful for trips to the middle of nowhere.
Worldgineer, Feb 01 2005

       //gas is only good for one thing: running the car (and maybe cleaning off tape residue)//   

       You're way wrong, [bung]. Gas is also good for blowing up gas stations. Not that I've ever done anything like that.   

       So, have you actually tried to run your own car on this stuff? If it works it's not a bad idea to stock the car with rum and mothballs.
Machiavelli, Feb 01 2005

       Everclear (sp?) might be better for the engine.
tiromancer, Feb 01 2005

       Or convert to biodiesel and carry some cooking oil. Also useful in case you get your thumb stuck in a rum bottle.
Worldgineer, Feb 01 2005

       I agree: Everclear is probably the hooch of choice.
bungston, Feb 02 2005

       //(with a rag inserted as a wick) an emergency flare/lantern. The mothballs could be used for moth repelling purposes.//
One to lure 'em in, one to keep 'em away.
Aq_Bi, Feb 02 2005

       Naptha increased the octane? Did they do a chemical analysis or was it just an empirical observation?
bristolz, Feb 02 2005

       Funny, this mixture is described in a very old out-of-print (OK, banned) book. Old enough to refer to the ingredients as Camphor Tar and Aqua Vitae. Bring back the old fashioned pyrotechnics I say. +
Shz, Feb 02 2005

       //this mixture is described in a very old out-of-print (OK, banned) book// I bet the gas companies had it suppressed for fear of loss of revenue.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 02 2005

       This would present a tough choice. 10-20 miles in a stuffy automobile that I've probably already been in for over an hour - or ramrodding bacardi 151 through my blood-brain barrier cross-legged on the trunk and wagging my thumb at passers-by. Not to mention how a bit-o-napthalene might perk things up a bit. Were your ancestors British Colonials in India by any chance?
JungFrankenstein, Feb 02 2005

       I imagine that anything that can run a combustion engine is explosive. Would mothball fumes combined with alchohol vapors be explosive?
robinism, Feb 02 2005

       don't know [robinism], but it would sure make one hell of a drink!
zen_tom, Feb 02 2005

       My bro-in-law, formerly a mechanic and truck driver amongst other things, claims to have once made a car run on some kind of liquid weedkiller. According to him it knocked very severely but it wasn't his car anyway. I suspect there's a wide range of liquids that IC engines will burn with sufficient modification (diesels seem to run on almost anything with 'oil' in it; coconut oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil etc.) the emissions may still leave something to be desired though.
squigbobble, Apr 29 2005

       I think there should be a contest: who can find the absolute cheapest stuff that can be put into a car engine to get it to drive one mile.
bungston, Apr 29 2005

       Perhaps build in a roadkill refinery?
Worldgineer, Apr 29 2005

       It's illegal to have an open alcohol container in your vehicle. And 151/Everclear bottles aren't alcohol containers, they're chemical weapons.
disbomber, Apr 30 2005

       //HOWEVER, once upon a time, midwestern states actually sold pure ethanol at the pump like gasoline for cars with appropriately modified carberators.//   

       Midwestern states still do sell E85, or 85% ethanol, fuel. Miracle juice. I got 25 MPG out of my TrailBlazer on that stuff (believe me, that's a feat).
disbomber, Apr 30 2005

       Any emergency kit that features Bacardi 151 as a central component can't be all bad. Imagine, an emergency fuel that DOESN'T say, "If ingested, call poison control."
elhigh, Jun 16 2005

       Do you have any idea how terrible this would smell?
MikeOxbig, Jan 02 2006

       Do burning mothballs smell bad? How did you find this out?
bungston, Jan 02 2006

       Any worse than normal exhaust?
bristolz, Jan 02 2006

       I'm fairly certain that alcohol is already harder to ignite than normal gasoline. Raising the octane of the fuel will only exacerbate this problem, already a major issue what with the 25% water content of Bacardi 151.   

       A high-compression engine might be able to burn this stuff, but I imagine that most engines would just flood their cylinders with unburnt fuel and go into hydraulic lockup. It's entirely possible to run a car on alcohol, but it has to have the compression ratios increased above what most normal petrol cars use.
5th Earth, Jan 02 2006

       Well, I figured since regular mothballs stink, burning mothballs would smell even worse.
MikeOxbig, Jan 02 2006

       Truth told, I am not at all certain mothballs (naphtha) will increase octane. Apparently the addition of 10% ethanol to gasoline increases octane, which is not what I thought would happen. This betrays my total ignorace of what the measurement "octane" reflects.
bungston, Jan 02 2006

       the octane number, to be precise, is the difference in combustion characteristics between pure octane and pure heptane. 0(%) octane fuel acts the same as pure heptane, and 100(%) octane acts the same as pure octane. The difference is twofold: first, octane relases more energy when burned, and secondly, octane is significantly harder to ignite than heptane.   

       However, the octane rating as it is now used has been divorced from its chemical origins and is now approximated mathematically, which is why you can have fuel with a rating of more than 100 octane. These days, for all practical purposes, it's purely a measure of how difficult the fuel is to ignite, which indirectly controls what compression ratios you can use, and how much fuel and air you can cram into the cylinder before it starts to spontaneously combust (knocking). Thus, adding ethanol or water to gasoline increases the octane rating.
5th Earth, Jan 03 2006

       ...For example, one of my cars had a compression ratio of 10:1. It ran nicely on airplane fuel rated 110 octane. When I couldn't get this fuel I'd use regular 97 octane from the station, but this made it knock. By installing a water injection system I stopped the knocks, and could even use 92 octane with no troubles.   

       //I bet the gas companies had it suppressed for fear of loss of revenue// I think it was banned for other reasons, maybe the contact explosive recipes, or something.
Shz, Jan 05 2006

       Just a couple of bits. 1.) 151 has the little mesh cover on the top which will make a bear to cram mothballs down the bottle. (It is a bitch to get off just to put the little pour spout in the bottle.)   

       2.) Mothballs will make your car smell like my aunt's house.   

       What about some sort of carbon rod, jumper cables, section of garden hose (or the vaccume lines from the windshield washer) and a jug of water? Use the 12V to start making crude hydrocarbons and run the car from that till you can get to where you are going. The energy density isn't the best but after all, we are talking about roadside engineering.
Seven, Jan 05 2006

       I can forsee certain problems...   

       Bungston is sitting in his car in a long open stretch of motorway. A police-car rolls up and spins its sirens once [fx: "verWOooh!"]. It pulls to a stop, and the window is wound down.   

       Bungston: Can I help you officer? [fx: corks bottle of extra strong liquor].   

       Officer: [gets out of car.] What is that perculiar smell?   

       B: Just run out of petrol, officer. [a few white pills roll off his lap and onto the road.]   

       O: Put the bottle down and place both hands on the bonnet, please.
Loris, Jan 05 2006

       Reminds me of a lima bean joke I heard once.
reensure, Jan 05 2006

       Do tell.
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2006

       ... It's clean burning, but I smell too dirty to get close to.
reensure, Jan 05 2006

       [bungston], is your mechanic MacGyver by any chance?
MikeOxbig, Jan 28 2006

       More like my patron saint.
bungston, Jan 28 2006

       The mothballs in question are based on benzene which is a potent carcinogen. I wouldn't recommend it unless you don't mind a nice case of leukemia. However, benzene does burn well.   

       If it’s at all possible I wouldn’t try it on a fuel injected car or a car with a catalytic converter. If you want to test it try it on a lawnmower or something.
Lasko, Jan 29 2006

       The emergency fuel bottle warning could be changed from "In case of ingestion, call poison control" to "In case of ingestion, call ex-lover and wax maudlin"
Galbinus_Caeli, Jan 29 2006

       I recall the mothballs-in-the-gas-tank trick from my misspent youth- it's a better way to sabotage someone's car than adding sugar to the gas, as it actually makes the car run MUCH better for a few dozen miles, before it burns the tops off the pistons.
whlanteigne, Sep 17 2006


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