The increased focus on alternative fuels research in the recent years are mainly driven by escalating crude oil prices, stringent emission norms and the concern on clean environment. The processed form of vegetable oil (biodiesel) has emerged as a potential substitute for diesel fuel on account of its renewable source and lesser emissions. The experimental work reported here has been carried out on a turbocharged, direct injection, multi-cylinder truck diesel engine fitted with mechanical distributor type fuel injection pump using biodiesel-methanol blend and neat karanji oil derived biodiesel under constant speed and varying load conditions without altering injection timings. The results of the experimental investigation indicate that the ignition delay for biodiesel-methanol blend is slightly higher as compared to neat biodiesel and the maximum increase is limited to 1 deg. CA. The maximum rate of pressure rise follow a trend of the ignition delay variations at these operating conditions. However, the peak cylinder pressure and peak energy release rate decreases for biodiesel-methanol blend. In general, a delayed start of combustion and lower combustion duration are observed for biodiesel-methanol blend compared to neat biodiesel fuel. A maximum thermal efficiency increase of 4.2% due to 10% methanol addition in the biodiesel is seen at 80% load and 16.67 s-1 engine speed. The unburnt hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions are slightly higher for the methanol blend compared to neat biodiesel at low load conditions whereas at higher load conditions unburnt hydrocarbon emissions are comparable for the two fuels and carbon monoxide emissions decrease significantly for the methanol blend. A significant reduction in nitric oxide and smoke emissions are observed with the biodiesel-methanol blend investigated. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.