E-85 flex fuel who using it????
This is a discussion on E-85 flex fuel who using it???? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; To run E85 you need to have upgraded valves and quides. The E85 has less lubrication than gas. GM has ...
05-09-2006, 02:26 PM #41
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
- DETROIT MI
- 2000 SS M6
To run E85 you need to have upgraded valves and quides. The E85 has less lubrication than gas. GM has been upgrading the heads for E85 engines for years.
I think you also need to adjust the controls to get the right efficiency unless you have a fuel anyalizer found on a E85 engine.
05-09-2006, 03:41 PM #42
Originally Posted by NinerSevenTango
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
- south chicago burbs
- 04 srt4 and 99 firebird
Nicely put. The government lies about too much. They love to lie about drugs as well. You said so much so perfectly.
05-10-2006, 04:34 AM #43
- Join Date
- May 2006
- Warren, MI
- 2001 Camaro SS
Stage274 and Goldfingerfiff, thanks for your nice comments.
I hadn't mentioned problems of scale.
Just how much fuel per acre could we yield from corn? 406 gallons per year per acre under the most optimistic estimates, and that is if you don't count the energy it takes to make it. If you didn't have oil to burn for your still, your tractors, and making your fertilizer, you will net somewhere around 1/4 that much. Not counting losses in distribution.
So let's give the optimistic estimate of 100 gallons per acre per year.
At current use rates, we would need to devote more area than the land mass of the United States to stop importing oil.
Even with more productive methods, such as cellulose conversion, we are up against some hard physical facts. It's going to result in a big decrease in your standard of living even at ten times the efficiency.
The standard values for the ratio of energy delivered to energy used are:
Saudi oil: 30 to 1
Tar sands: 2 to 1
corn ethanol: 1.34 to 1
There just isn't going to be any substitute for something you pump out of the ground and burn for almost free energy. Ever.
To complicate matters, the U.S. subsidizes corn, and alcohol both, to the tune of about $.68 per gallon. Archer Daniels Midland gets $500,000,000 of our tax dollars to produce ethanol. Like I said before, the money in the alternative energy economy goes from the unsuspecting public to the well connected 'friends of politicians'.
Using our best technology to date, it is taking about $7.87 to reduce the imported fuel use of one gallon of gasoline.
Their answer? Make gasoline cost more than that.
Think of how that will affect your standard of living, essentially tripling the cost of energy in your purchased products.
We should not let them get away with telling lies while busily working to reduce us to the status of mud hut dwellers.
If the numbers don't add up, it just can't work on a large scale!
Supporting information can be found at zfacts.com/p/60
05-10-2006, 04:57 PM #44
Okay, I did some research and I was wrong about the gas mileage. It seems that you lose about %15. I don't understand how at 6.5 A\F ratio but....
I found the sole E85 in Louisville Ky and called them. $2.92 a gallon. WTF. That's .20 HIGHER than gas here. I said "Someone is gouging" he said "He said it's not us. It's the distributor" That sucks.
It's still about the same price as 93 octane. Who knows how much they will cost next week. If I had a turbo car it would be a no brainer. 105 octane would rule all.
05-10-2006, 05:03 PM #45Originally Posted by brushrunabout
05-10-2006, 05:09 PM #46Originally Posted by NinerSevenTango
05-11-2006, 03:38 PM #47Originally Posted by ericwilloughby
05-11-2006, 03:46 PM #48
That doesn't make since. The gas in almost all States is already E10. Has been since the 80's. They used to call it gas-o-hol but just dropped the name.
05-11-2006, 03:51 PM #49Originally Posted by ericwilloughby
05-11-2006, 03:53 PM #50
In the United States, one out of every eight gallons of gasoline sold contains ethanol. Most of this ethanol is purchased as blends of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, known as gasohol or E10, and is used as an octane enhancer to improve air quality.
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 mandated the use of oxygenated gasoline in areas with unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide. At the time, the primary oxygenates were ethanol and MTBE. Subsequently, MTBE has been found to contaminate ground water supplies, and the demand for ethanol has increased significantly. The Renewable Fuels Standard, mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, calls for the gradual escalation of biofuels use in the United States.
From : http://www.eere.energy.gov/cleanciti...s/ethanol.html
05-11-2006, 03:54 PM #51
That point was all our cars have been running on E10 for decades now. Maybe the winter storage caused water to condense.
05-11-2006, 07:48 PM #52
I was told that if your car sits a long time, fill it completely up prior to its sitting. Gasoline is lighter than water, so all the water sits on the bottom of your tank. Water and oxygen makes rust, so if your tank is near empty, your going to have some rust on the bottom of your tank to deal with. This happened to my Dad once and he realized when he kept on clogging fuel filters and needed to replace the tank. He also just flushed the gas tank out his 85 Astro Van for the first time. The car had about 2 gallons of pure water sitting at the bottom of it, but then again he did live in FL for 3 years.
05-12-2006, 12:22 AM #53Originally Posted by myk02k
05-12-2006, 02:24 AM #54
Wrong? No he is right. Same is true with diesel so I've heard. Full is better than empty. He did not say store it with E85 in it. Maybe you thought that.
05-12-2006, 04:27 AM #55
- Join Date
- May 2006
- Warren, MI
- 2001 Camaro SS
Alcohol is water soluble.
That means, if there is water in the bottom of your tank, and you fill up with taxohol, errr, gasohol, it's the same as putting a can of dry - gas in. The water will be taken up by the alcohol and mixed with the fuel to be burned. This is usually harmless, unless there is a large blob of water at the bottom of the tank, in this case the first load of alcohol will take up a lot of water, and maybe some sediment too since it acts as a detergent, making the car run crummy and possibly clogging things up. In the worst case, if this mixture with a lot of water in it is cooled significantly, it can separate out of the gasoline and sit in the bottom of the tank. With that much water, the car wouldn't have run on the mixture before it separated, though.
Regular or occasional use of an ethanol blend won't hurt your car and will keep the normal condensation that occurs from accumulating in a pool at the bottom of the fuel tank. Just like putting in the occasional can of dry - gas. Helps prevent fuel line freeze - up in the winter.
Same thing is true of MTBE, by the way.
In the early days of reformulated gasoline, which was mandated to carry an oxygenate to lower emissions, some gasoline suppliers were using a percentage of methanol. Methanol can cause corrosion all by itself without the presence of air. That might explain corrosion damage in an older vehicle that stuck to one brand all the time. Nowadays I don't think they are using methanol at all. If they are, now it is mixed with anti-corrosive additives, but I think it is cheaper for them to just use ethanol. Ethanol by itself or water by itself, are not really corrosive to the metals in fuel systems in the absence of air. But in the real world, you mix the two, and throw in some organic acids which are inevitably present, and there is some corrosive action going on. Older vehicles were built without the anticipation of these corrosives, and are at slightly higher risk for some corrosion. Mostly the risk is from the reaction with non-metallic components like hoses, seals, and gaskets.
The old saw about storing a vehicle with a full tank is true. If there is air in the tank, the tank will breathe as the air expands and contracts with temperature changes. Warm moist air when cooled will cause the moisture to condense on the surfaces of the tank, the water will run down and pool in the bottom of the tank. Store it long enough, for enough temperature excursions, and you get a little pool of water in the bottom of the tank. Every aircraft I have ever flown has a valve at the low point of the fuel tank; preflight procedure is to drain a sample and check for water. If water is present, keep draining until all the water is gone.
10% ethanol in modern fuels isn't bad. The refiners have done a lot of research to get around the problems it introduced at first, like driveability, cold weather warmup issues, intake valve deposit issues, and a bunch of other stuff. Basically, it acts as an octane enhancer, fuel system cleaner, and pollution reducer. With the proper additives, it runs through a car just like regular blends, although with a slight mileage hit. Being that you get taxed from your other activities to subsidize the alcohol, it even falsely appears to be the same cost as regular blends!
Storing a vehicle with an ethanol blend is another story. If you can't store the vehicle with straight gas, it should be mixed with a stabilizer because of increased formation of gum deposits and corrosion concerns.
Here in Michigan, gas stations are required to indicate whether the gas has ethanol in it. I like to usually burn straight gas, with an occasional tank of taxohol to keep things clean.
Last edited by NinerSevenTango; 05-12-2006 at 04:43 AM.
05-12-2006, 07:19 AM #56Originally Posted by NinerSevenTango
05-13-2006, 08:16 PM #57
I found a great E85 forum. http://www.e85forum.com/
In the news: "Net Engery" bunk gets... debunked
Ethanol gets a mixed report-card in a study from U-C Berkely. Researchers note only a mild decline in greenhouse gas emissions when ethanol made from corn is burned (but a bigger improvement when ethanol is made from grass). The authors also noted several flaws in the measurements cited in a study by Patzek and Pimentel, which has been used for years by ethanol critics to claim that the production of ethanol uses more energy than it produces when burned (negative "net energy"):
A new study by California researchers challenges claims that substituting ethanol for gasoline consumes more energy than it creates — an argument that has dogged ethanol programs and their supporters for more than a decade.
properly accounting for the byproducts of ethanol production, which include corn oil and animal feed
..."you gain about 20% more energy in the ethanol than you required in fossil energy to produce it."
05-13-2006, 08:40 PM #58
E85 in standard engines: A must read
I found an amazing article on E85 use in standard engines.
E85 is best used in engines modified to accept higher concentrations of ethanol. Such flexible-fuel engines are designed to run on any mixture of gasoline or ethanol with up to 85% ethanol by volume. The primary differences from non-FFVs is the elimination of bare magnesium, aluminium, and rubber parts in the fuel system, the use of fuel pumps capable of operating with electrically-conductive (alcohol) instead of non-conducting dielectric (gasoline) fuel, specially-coated wear-resistant engine parts, fuel injection control systems having a wider range of pulse widths (for injecting approximately 30% more fuel), the selection of stainless steel fuel lines (sometimes lined with plastic), the selection of stainless steel fuel tanks in place of terne fuel tanks, and, in some cases, the use of acid-neutralizing motor oil. For vehicles with fuel-tank mounted fuel pumps, additional differences to prevent arcing, as well as flame arrestors positioned in the tank's fill pipe, are also sometimes used.
Experimental use in standard engines
E85 has a considerably higher octane rating than gasoline — about 110 — a difference significant enough that it does not burn as efficiently in traditionally-manufactured internal-combustion engines.
Use of E85 in non-FFV vechicles is generally experimental, with some users recommending light blends as low as 20%, while others have successfully run 100% E85. The main attraction of burning E85, of course, is the lower price per gallon at the pump of E85 versus gasoline. Other advantages include the common benefits of renewable energy sources, such as less environmental impact and less reliance on foreign energy.
Modern cars (i.e., most cars built after 1988) have fuel-injection engines with oxygen sensors that will attempt to adjust the air-fuel mixture for the extra oxygenation of E85, with variable effects on performance. All such cars can burn small amounts of E85 with no ill effects.
Operating fuel-injected non-FFVs on more than 50% E85 will generally cause the check engine light (CEL) to illuminate, indicating that the ECU can no longer maintain closed-loop control of the internal combustion process due to the presence of more oxygen in E85 than in gasoline. Once the CEL illuminates, adding more E85 to the fuel tank becomes rather inefficient. For example, running 90% E85 in a non-FFV will reduce fuel economy by 33% or more relative to what would be achieved running 100% gasoline. (This example is again for the same 1998 Chevy S10 pickup for which the fuel economy was studied in the controlled experiment mentioned previously.) Even more importantly, continuing to operate the non-FFV with the check engine light (CEL) illuminated may also cause damage to the catalytic converter as well as to the engine pistons if allowed to persist. It just does not make good economic sense to run a non-FFV with amounts of E85 high enough to cause the CEL to illuminate.
Under stoichiometric combustion conditions, ideal combustion occurs for burning pure gasoline as well as for various mixes of gasoline and E85 (at least until the CEL illuminates in the non-FFV) such that there is no significant amount of uncombined oxygen or unburned fuel being emitted in the exhaust. This means that no change in the exhaust manifold oxygen sensor is required for either FFVs or non-FFVs when burning higher percentages of E85. This also means that the catalytic converter on the non-FFV burning E85 mixed with gasoline is not being stressed by the presence of too much oxygen in the exhaust, which would otherwise reduce catalytic converter operating life.
Nonetheless, even when the CEL does not illuminate on the non-FFV burning E85, proper catalytic operation of the catalytic converter for a non-FFV burning higher percentages of E85 may not be achieved as soon as necessary to prevent the emission of some pollution products resulting from burning the gasoline contained in the mixture, especially upon initial cold engine start. This is because the catalytic converter needs to rise to an internal temperature of approximately 300 degrees C before it can 'fire off' and commence its intended catalytic function operation. When burning large amounts of E85 in a non-FFV, the cooler burning characteristics of alcohol fuel than gasoline fuel may delay reaching the 'fire-off' temperature in a non-FFV as quickly as when burning gasoline. Any additional pollution, however, is only going to be emitted for a very short distance when burning E85 in a non-FFV, as the catalytic converter will nonetheless still 'fire off' quite quickly and commence catalytic operation shortly. It is not known whether the small amount of pollution emitted prior to catalytic converter 'fire off' may actually be reduced even during the cold startup phase, as well as once catalytic operation commences, when burning E85 in a non-FFV. Likewise, even once the catalytic converter 'fires off', operation with the CEL illuminated will still result in excess amounts of nitrous oxide being released, greater than when operating the engine on gasoline. The solution is simply to add gasoline, and extinguish the check engine light (CEL), at which time exhaust pollutants will return to within normal limits .
For non-FFVs burning E85 once the CEL illuminates, it is the lessened amount of fuel injection than what is needed that causes the air fuel mixture to become too lean; that is, there is not enough fuel being injected into the combustion process, with the result that the oxygen content in the exhaust rises out of limits, and perfect (i.e., stoichiometric) combustion is lost if the percentage of E85 in the fuel tank becomes too high. It is the loss of near-stoichiometric combustion that causes the excessive loss of fuel economy in non-FFVs burning too high a percentage of E85 versus gasoline in their fuel mix.
E85 gives particularly good results in turbocharged cars due to its high octane . It allows the ECU to run more favorable ignition timing and leaner fuel mixtures than are possible on normal premium gasoline. Users who have experimented with converting OBDII (i.e., On-Board Diagnostic System 2, that is for 1996 model year and later) turbocharged cars to run on E85 have had very good results. Experiments indicate that most OBDII-specification turbocharged cars can run up to approximately 39% E85 (33% ethanol) with no CEL's or other problems. (In contrast, most OBDII specification fuel-injected non-turbocharged cars and light trucks are more foregiving and can usually operate well with in excess of 50% E85 (42% ethanol) prior to having CEL's occur.) Fuel system compatibility issues have not been reported for any OBDII cars or light trucks running on high ethanol mixes of E85 and gasoline for periods of time exceeding two years. (This is likely to be the outcome justifiably expected of the normal conservative automotive engineer's predisposition not to design a fuel system merely resistant to ethanol in E10, or 10% percentages, but instead to select materials for the fuel system that are nearly impervious to ethanol.)
Fuel economy does not drop as much as might be expected in turbocharged engines based on the specific energy content of E85 compared to gasoline, in contrast to the previously-reported reduction of 23.7% reduction in a 60:40 blend of gasoline to E85 for one non-turbocharged, fuel-injected, non-FFV. Although E85 contains only 72% of the energy on a gallon for gallon basis compared to gasoline, experimenters have seen much better fuel mileage than this difference in energy content implies. Many automotive writers and columnists suggest that because of the lower energy content, you should expect an equivalent 39% increase in fuel usage. This has not been observed in practice when running gasoline and ethanol blends. Some of the newest model FFV's get only about 7% less mileage per gallon of fuel of E85 compared to their gasoline fuel mileage.
The reason for this non-intuitive difference is that the turbocharged engine seems especially well-suited for operation on E85, for it in effect has a variable compression ratio capability, which is exactly what is needed to accommodate varying ethanol and gasoline ratios that occur in practice in an FFV. At light load cruise, the turbocharged engine operates as a low compression engine. Under high load and high manifold boost pressures, such as accelerating to pass or merge onto a highway, it makes full use of the higher octane of E85. It appears that due to the better ignition timing and better engine performance on a fuel of 100 octane, the driver spends less time at high throttle openings, and can cruise in a higher gear and at lower throttle openings than is possible on 100% premium gasoline. In daily commute driving, mostly highway, 100% E85 in a turbocharged car can hit fuel mileages of over 90% of the normal gasoline fuel economy. Tests indicate approximately a 5% increase in engine performance is possible by switching to E85 fuel in high performance cars.
Experimenters who have made conversions to 100% E85 report that cold start problems at very cold temperatures can easily be avoided through adding 1 - 2 gallons of gasoline to the E85 in the tank, prior to the arrival of the cold weather.
No significant ignition timing changes are required for a gasoline engine running on E85.
05-13-2006, 08:50 PM #59
Risks of use in standard engines
Risks of use in standard engines
Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of ethanol may corrode metal and rubber parts in older engines (pre-1988) designed primarily for gasoline. The hydroxyl group on the ethanol molecule is an extremely weak acid, but it can enhance corrosion for some natural materials. For post-1988 fuel-injected engines, all the components are already designed to accommodate E10 (10% ethanol) blends through the elimination of exposed magnesium and aluminium metals and natural rubber and cork gasketed parts. Hence, there is a greater degree of flexibility in just how much more ethanol may be added without causing ethanol-induced damage, varying by automobile manufacturer. Anhydrous ethanol in the absence of direct exposure to alkali metals and bases is non-corrosive; it is only when water is mixed with the ethanol that the mixture becomes corrosive to some metals. Hence, there is no appreciable difference in the corrosive properties between E10 and a 50:50 blend of E10 gasoline and E85 (47.5% ethanol), provided there is no water present, and the design was done to accommodate E10. Nonetheless, operation with more than 10% ethanol has never been recommended by car manufacturers in non-FFVs.
Operation on up to 20% ethanol is generally considered safe for all post 1988 cars and trucks. This equates to running a blend of 23.5% of E85. Starting in 2010, at least one US state (Minnesota) already has legislatively mandated and planned to force E20 (20% ethanol) into their general gasoline fuel-distribution network. Details of how this will work for individual vehicle owners while maintaining automobile manufacturer warranties, despite exceeding the manufacturer's maximum warranted operation percentage of 10% of ethanol in fuel, are still being worked as of late-2005. However, the choice of transitioning to a 20% ethanol blend of gasoline is not without precedent; Brazil, in its conversion to an ethanol-fueled economy, determined that operation with up to 22% ethanol in gasoline was safe for the cars and trucks then on the road in Brazil at the time, and the conversion to a 20% blend was accomplished with only minor issues arising for older vehicles. Recently, conversion to a 24% blend was accomplished in Brazil.
In addition to corrosion, there is also a risk of increased engine wear for non-FFV engines that are not specifically designed for operation on high levels (i.e., for greater than 10%) of ethanol. The risk primarily comes in the rare event that the E85 fuel ever becomes contaminated with water. For water levels below approximately 0.5% to 1.0% contained in the ethanol, no phase separation of gasoline and ethanol occurs. For contamination with 1% or more water in the ethanol, phase separation occurs, and the ethanol and water mixture will separate from the gasoline. This can be simply observed by pouring a mixture of suspected water-contaminated E85 fuel in a clear glass tube, waiting roughly 30 minutes for the separation to occur (if it does), and then inspecting the sample. If there is water contamination of above 1% water in the ethanol, a clear separation of alcohol (with water) and gasoline will be clearly visible, with the colored gasoline floating above the clear alcohol and water mixture.
For a badly-contaminated amount of water in the ethanol and water mixture that separates from the gasoline (i.e., approximately 11% water, 89% ethanol, equivalent to 178 proof alcohol), considerable engine wear will occur, especially during times while the engine is heating up to normal operating temperatures, as for example just after starting the engine, when low temperature partial combustion of the water-contaminated ethanol mixture is taking place. This wear, caused by water-contaminated E85, is the result of the combustion process of ethanol, water, and gasoline producing considerable amounts of formic acid (HCOOH, also known as methanoic acid, and sometimes written as CH2O2).
In addition to the production of formic acid occurring for water-contaminated E85, smaller amounts of acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) and acetic acid (C2H4O2) are also formed for water-contaminated ethanol combustion. Nonetheless, it is the formic acid that is responsible for the majority of the rapid increase in engine wear.
Engines specifically designed for FFVs employ soft nitride coatings on their internal metal parts to provide formic acid wear resistance in the event of water contamination of E85 fuel. Also, the use of lubricant oil (motor oil) containing an acid neutralizer is necessary to prevent the damage of oil-lubricated engine parts in the event of water contamination of fuel. Such lubricant oil is required by at least one manufacturer of FFVs even to this day (Chrysler).
For non-FFVs burning E85 in greater than 23.5% E85 mixtures (20% ethanol), the remedy for accidentally getting a tank of water-contaminated E85 (or gasoline) while preventing excessive engine wear is to change the motor oil as soon as possible after either burning the fuel and replacing it with non-contaminated fuel, or after immediately draining and replacing the water-contaminated fuel. The risk of burning slightly water-contaminated fuel with low percentages of water (less than 1%) on a long commute is minimal; after all, it is the low temperature combustion of water contaminated ethanol and gasoline that causes the bulk of the formic acid to form; burning a slightly-contaminated mix of water (less than 1%) and ethanol quickly, in one long commute, will not likely cause any appreciable engine wear past the first 15 miles of driving, especially once the engine warms up and high temperature combustion occurs exclusively.
For those making their own E85, the risk of introducing water unintentionally into their homemade fuel is relatively high unless adequate safety precautions and quality control procedures are taken. Ethanol and water form an azeotrope such that it is impossible to distill ethanol to higher than 95.6% ethanol purity by weight (roughly 190 proof), regardless of how many times distillation is repeated. Unfortunately, this proof ethanol contains too much water to prevent separation of a mixture of such proof ethanol with gasoline, or to prevent the formation of formic acid during low temperature combustion. Therefore, when making E85, it becomes necessary to remove this residual water. It is possible to break the ethanol and water azeotrope through adding benzene or another hydrocarbon prior to a final rectifying distillation. This takes another distillation (energy consuming) step. However, it is possible to remove the residual water more easily, using 3 angstrom (3A) synthetic zeolite pellets to adsorb the water from the mix of ethanol and water, prior to mixing the now anhydrous ethanol with gasoline in an 85% to 15% by volume mixture to make E85. This absorption process is also known as a molecular sieve. The benefit of using synthetic zeolite pellets is that they are essentially comparable to using a catalyst, in being infinitely reusable and in not being consumed in the process, and the pellets require only re-heating (perhaps on a backyard grill, in a solar reflector furnace, or with heated carbon dioxide gas collected and saved from the fermentation process) to drive off the water molecules adsorbed into the zeolite. Research has also been done at Purdue University on using corn grits as a dessicant.  Once the ground corn becomes water logged, the corn grits can be processed much as the zeolite pellets, at least for a number of drying cycles before the grits lose their effectiveness. Once this occurs, it is possible to run the now water-logged corn grits through the natural fermentation process and convert them into even more ethanol fuel.
Running a non-FFV with too high of a percentage of ethanol will also cause a lean air fuel mixture. A lean mixture, if allowed to persist over considerable periods of time, will cause overheating of pistons and will eventually cause engine damage. It will also cause premature catalytic converter failure. This is also why the check engine light will illuminate if you mix more than around 50% to 60% E85 by volume with your gasoline in a non-FFV. If this happens, just add more 87 octane regular grade gasoline as soon as possible to correct the problem. (Some premium blends contain up to 10% ethanol; to correct the problem as quickly as possible, always add regular grade gasoline, not premium grade gasoline.) These lean mixture problems will not happen in a properly-converted vehicle.
05-13-2006, 09:04 PM #60
From what I just read. Is this kit really needed. Maybe for use with 100% E85
After-market Conversion Kits and conversions
After-market conversion kits, for converting standard engines to operate on E85, are generally not legal in U.S. states subject to emissions controls unless you get your converted vehicle independently EPA certified. This is despite the fact that the exhaust emissions from any such converted cars are improved by utilizing higher percentages of ethanol in the gasoline blend. Unfortunately, EPA certification costs in excess of $23,000 and you additionally have to prove that your vehicle will maintain low emissions for at least 50,000 miles after the conversion. Most individuals won't give up their vehicles for the requisite 50,000 mile test period. Likewise, conversion kit manufacturers don't certify their kits any longer due to these overly protective laws, which by law must be tested with every model vehicle for which they are to be sold. If done in the US the Fees have already been paid though the original certification. The EPA Federal Test Procedure costs $750.00, but you can request the reduced payment of down to 1% of the car's added retail value of the conversion. A minimum fee may apply if the value added is not very high.
Similarly, U.S. Federal law prohibits the manufacture of such conversion kits for sale in the U.S. unless they are EPA certified, by a ban that dates to when conversion kits for converting vehicles to use compressed natural gas was enacted to prevent the sale of such conversion kits due to concern about the safety of such conversion kits being released among the general public. This is despite the fact that such kits are nonetheless legal in all states, but CA, and most states even offer a tax break for converting your vehicle (See tax breaks.)
Still, there is one Brazilian after-market kit available legally in U.S. states not subject to emission controls that will nonetheless permit the conversion of 4, 6, or 8 cylinder engines to operate from fuels ranging from pure gasoline to a mix of gasoline and ethanol to pure ethanol, including E85. It operates by modifying the fuel-injection pulses sent to the fuel injectors when in 'A', or alcohol mode instead of 'G', or gasoline mode. (In 'G' mode, no modification to the fuel-injection pulses is performed.) This conversion kit modification serves to extend the control range over which the ECU can adjust the air-fuel ratio to achieve an oxygen sensor reading measured before the catalytic converter that falls within nominal stoichometric ideal combustion limits. The general belief is that this conversion kit operates in its 'A' mode simply through lengthening the individual pulse-widths of fuel-injection pulses, thereby increasing fuel flow per injection pulse by roughly 30%, whereas in 'G' mode, it acts simply as a straight pass through for fuel-injection pulses.
Other than the one Brazilian after-market kit, no other pre-manufactured E85 conversion kits are known to exist. Nonetheless, it is still possible to modify existing non-FFV engines to operate on pure E85 without the use of this particular after-market kit.
The primary method used to convert non-fuel-injected cars is two-fold. First, any non-compatible rubber parts and gaskets and terne gas tanks and terne fuel lines are replaced. Then, it remains necessary to increase the fuel rate of flow by roughly 25% - 30%. This can be accomplished in one of any of several different ways, depending on the specific details of the fueling system. In the early 80's auto makers were required to make vehicles ethanol compatible, so most newer vehicles will handle E85 with no problem. If a car is converted though, the ethanol will clean out the gunk left over from the gasoline and plug the fuel filter. Replace your fuel filter after about 600 miles!
For converting later-model fuel-injected cars and trucks, fuel injection-pressure boosters can be installed, to increase fuel-injector fuel rate flow. It may be difficult to get your mixture right, plus there is a safety risk of more leaks in your fuel system. Likewise, if you do choose this method, you may loose some of your compatibility with running on pure gasoline, from moving the air fuel mix farther from optimum for what is needed for running on pure gasoline.
The disadvantage of most of these 'conversions' is the non-reversibility of the conversion, without changing out or removing added parts, unlike the Brazilian after-market kit which is completely reversible.
If any of these conversion techniques are used, especially in older vehicles in which there may be rust or other residue present in the fuel tank, it may be necessary additionally to replace the fuel filter within 400 to 600 miles, as ethanol has a tendency to release any trapped rust or gasoline fuel gum or residue, which can cause the fuel filter to become blocked. Once replaced, life expectancy of the new fuel filter should be normal, barring an exceptionally dirty gas tank or fuel system.
Interestingly enough, running E85 in a vehicle can actually improve fuel efficiency if the fuel delivery system was especially gummed up. This improvement remains if the vehicle is returned to operation on gasoline only.
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