Replacing Truck’s Fuel with Brake Cleaner: What Happens on the Dyno

by parker
YouTube video


In this episode of McFarland Science, we are going to put a Silverado truck with an LS V8 engine to the test. The experiment? Running the truck solely on brake cleaner instead of fuel. Brake cleaner is a commonly used tool in our shop that cleans grime and grease effectively. But what happens when it becomes the only source of fuel for a powerful engine? Will it make any horsepower, or will it be detrimental to the engine? Let’s find out.

The Importance of Brake Cleaner

Before we dive into the experiment, it’s important to note that brake cleaner is highly flammable. It is often used to start cars in our shop. However, there is an urban myth that using too much brake cleaner can dissolve the oil on the cylinder walls and harm the engine. We aim to test this theory today with the Silverado on the dyno.

The Process

To conduct the experiment, we will use several bottles of brake cleaner and empty them into a bucket. This bucket will serve as our makeshift fuel tank. We will then connect the bucket to the fuel rail and injectors of the Silverado using a specialized fuel system. Dr. Tune’em All, our tuning expert, will ensure that the engine runs smoothly on the brake cleaner. But before we proceed, there are a few important considerations.

Stoichiometry and Stability

We couldn’t find specific information on the stoichiometry of brake cleaner, which refers to the ideal air-fuel ratio for combustion. This means we will have to make an educated guess about how the brake cleaner will perform as fuel. Additionally, brake cleaner is known to be less stable than traditional gasoline. It requires less fuel to ignite, making it more volatile and potentially less reliable.

Baseline Run

Before switching to the brake cleaner, we perform a baseline run using regular pump gas. The Silverado produces an impressive 260 horsepower and 260 torque. Now, it’s time to see what happens when we switch to the brake cleaner.

Testing Brake Cleaner as Fuel

With the brake cleaner-filled bucket connected to the fuel system, we start the Silverado. The engine roars to life, but we immediately notice some concerning signs. The fuel flow is erratic, and the engine produces a spark knock, indicating premature combustion. These symptoms suggest that brake cleaner may not be the ideal fuel source.

Making Adjustments

We make some adjustments to try and improve the engine’s performance. Dr. Tune’em All adds more fuel to compensate for the brake cleaner’s volatility. Despite our efforts, the engine continues to produce a spark knock and delivers a lower power output compared to the baseline run. It’s clear that brake cleaner is not a suitable replacement for fuel in terms of performance.

Exploring Other Options

Since the brake cleaner experiment was a letdown, we decide to explore other options. We fill the tank with race gas and inject a small amount of nitrous to see if it can boost power. The engine responds positively, producing an impressive 409 horsepower. This experiment showcases the benefits of using race gas and nitrous compared to brake cleaner.


In conclusion, although brake cleaner can technically be used as a fuel source, it is not recommended for optimal engine performance. The experiment demonstrated the limitations of brake cleaner as a replacement for traditional fuel. However, it is worth noting that brake cleaner can be used temporarily in emergency situations to get a car to a gas station. Moving forward, we are open to trying other fuel experiments suggested by our viewers. Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of McFarland Science!

Key Takeaways:

  • Brake cleaner is a highly flammable liquid commonly used to clean grime and grease.
  • Using brake cleaner as a fuel source for an engine is an urban myth that we aim to test.
  • When running a Silverado truck solely on brake cleaner, the engine shows signs of poor performance, including fuel flow issues and spark knock.
  • Brake cleaner is not a suitable replacement for traditional fuel in terms of power output and overall engine performance.
  • Experimenting with race gas and nitrous produces impressive results, highlighting the benefits of using these fuel additives.

Related Videos

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.