E85: Can I use it?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Paul Johnson, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Guest

    I'm a courier in the Portland area, and my delivery van is a 1977
    Dodge Tradesman with a 5.9l 260in² V8. It's starting to drive me
    batshit with how much cheaper E85 is than E10 (gasoline sales have
    been banned here for over a year now), and it only gets cheaper and
    more available week after week here. Can I go ahead and switch to
    E85, or do I need to do something special before I go and do that?
    Paul Johnson, Jan 20, 2008
  2. Paul Johnson

    Bill Putney Guest

    When I designed fuel related parts for automotive in the 90's, my
    understanding was that special materials have to be used to go to E85.
    Problems would be corrosion of metal parts and degradation of plastic
    materials that are not specifically engineered for that amount of ethanol.

    Maybe someone will post who has more specific information.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Jan 20, 2008
  3. Paul Johnson

    maxpower Guest

    That is correct Bill

    maxpower, Jan 20, 2008
  4. Paul Johnson

    Road Runner Guest

    You must also factor in that alcohol has less energy than gas and you must
    use more of it to go the same distance.
    Road Runner, Jan 20, 2008
  5. Paul Johnson

    Ron Seiden Guest

    The cars manufactured to run on E85 (so-called "flex-fuel" cars) have their
    computers set up to detect the burning & energy characteristics of whatever
    fuel is going into the engine. It then adjusts the injectors for the proper
    mixture (considering the differing BTUs of alcohol vs. gasoline) as well as
    making any necessary adjustments to the ignition. Changing a gasoline-only
    engine to run on E85 involves lots of different hardware & software...
    Ron Seiden, Jan 21, 2008
  6. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Guest

    [citation needed]

    Never mind biodiesel has more energy than petrodiesel; I have a very
    hard time believing it doesn't carry over to ethanol.
    Paul Johnson, Jan 23, 2008
  7. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Guest

    Someone wasn't paying attention. Vehicle in question is not fuel
    injected. The only printed circuit board that came with the vehicle
    exists only to provide mounts and power for some instrument lights and
    a couple gauges. It's all-analog, baby!
    Paul Johnson, Jan 23, 2008
  8. "A big problem is that ethanol cuts miles per gallon by about 27%. The
    energy content of E85 is 83,000 BTU/gallon, instead of 114,000 BTU/gallon
    for gasoline. Even by 2030, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
    projects that only 1.4% of ethanol use will be E85. The vast majority will
    be for small percentage blending with gasoline."

    Max. Power Stoichiometric
    Gasoline 12.5-13.2:1 14.7:1
    E85 6.9-8.4:1 9.7:1

    Unlike biodiesel, corn ethanol is a losing game energy wise. I have heard
    reports that when you consider the oil based fertilizers and diesel required
    to farm the corn you end up with between 1.1-1.8 gallons of diesel in to get
    a single gallon of ethanol out. since E100 (pure ethanol) is ~75,000 BTU/Gal
    and diesel is 130,500BTU/Gal you need 143,550-234,900 BTU in to get 75000
    out. that is between a 1.914:1 to 3.132:1 ratio of BTU in:eek:ut.
    Daniel Who Wants to Know, Jan 23, 2008
  9. Paul Johnson

    Road Runner Guest

    Ethanol has less BTU than gasoline, therefore the more gasoline you replace
    with ethanol (E10, E85,etc) the less energy you will get out of it so you
    must use more of it to get the same power. FFV vehicles get 25-35% less fuel
    economy on E85 than on gasoline alone. Yes the emissions are cleaner but the
    production of the fertilizer to grow the corn and the processing to ethanol
    more than make up for it. To run a carbureted engine would need new fuel
    system that wouldn't be destroyed by the ethanol, carburetor with richer
    mixture, advanced ignition timing and compression to restore lost power.
    With decrease in mileage, is it worth it to switch and will you ever recoup
    your cost to your now E85 ONLY vehicle?
    Road Runner, Jan 23, 2008
  10. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Guest

    What if the local ethanol source is not corn, but soy or canola?
    Paul Johnson, Jan 23, 2008
  11. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Guest

    I'm wondering if changing out the carb is necessary if it's a manual
    choke...isn't the mixture controlled by the choke?
    At 60 cents cheaper than E10 and dropping fast, yes, in relatively
    short order compared to someone who is doing this on a project beater
    or commuter rig. About the only way it wouldn't be the cheapest
    route is if manufacturers started charging actually reasonable amounts
    for new vehicles instead of charging about what it costs to buy a
    house in the deep woods.
    Paul Johnson, Jan 23, 2008
  12. Paul Johnson

    who Guest

    I wouldn't waste my time, effort and dollars on converting your van.
    As has been said you lose power and you will have less MPG.
    Consumers Reports covered this a few years ago.
    It makes no economic sense, even without considering the energy costs to
    produce it.

    No gasoline sales in Portland?
    Guess I won't fuel up there on my trips south.
    Portland has always been my first fill up location on my drives south
    from Vancouver,BC. My oldie '95 car likes gasoline!

    I see this online:
    So why not stick to E10?
    The article says even E10 may cause some fuel system problems with older
    Factor in the reduces mileage with E85. That may change you mind as what
    E85 is worth per gallon.
    A Google tells me there is a 25 to 30% MPG reduction with E85.
    who, Jan 23, 2008
  13. It can work with the right source. Brazil seems to be having great success
    with ethanol from sugar cane waste.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil I know it is just a
    wiki page but it is better than nothing.
    Daniel Who Wants to Know, Jan 23, 2008
  14. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Guest

    In Portland last year, the 10 willamette valley counties starting
    1/1/08, another 5 counties this summer, and statewide by the end of
    the year.
    My old 1995 Kia couldn't ever tell the difference. Neither did the
    ancient Tradesman.
    While E10 is cheaper than gasoline, it's not cheap enough for my
    Yeah, and it costs 50% less.
    Paul Johnson, Jan 24, 2008
  15. Paul Johnson

    Steve Guest

    Citation needed??? You've GOT to be kidding!

    Any chemistry course is sufficient citation. Reading any book on jetting
    a carburetor for alcohol vice gasoline is sufficient citation. Its damn
    near common knowledge that alcohol contains fewer joules of energy per
    gallon, and that its stoichiometric ratio with air is affected (meaning
    exactly what Roadrunner said- you have to burn more of it to go the same
    distance. But if you insist on playing dumb, just look it up in the CRC
    Handbook of Chemsitry and Physics.
    Alcohol isn't biodiesel, and gasoline isn't petrodiesel. Did you even
    engage your brain for a half second before posting this drivel?
    Steve, Jan 24, 2008
  16. Paul Johnson

    Steve Guest

    If you don't understand a carburetor any better than this, you're in
    over your head while still in the kiddie pool.

    NO the choke doesn't control mixture during normal operation. The jets
    and either metering rods (Carter and Rochester carburetors for example)
    or power enrichment valve (Holley and Stromberg carburetors for example)
    control mixture during normal operation. The mixture adjustment screws
    only affect the mixture at idle, and the choke only enriches the mixture
    at very low power settings and when cold.

    Holley makes carburetors set up for operation on straight ethanol (drag
    racing applications) which would probably be the best starting place to
    start in setting up a carburetor for E-85, since E-85 is much closer to
    straight alky than it is to straight gasoline. IOW, you would start with
    an alky carb and lean it a few percent, rather than starting with a
    gasoline carb and have to enrich it >100%
    Steve, Jan 24, 2008
  17. Paul Johnson

    Guest Guest

    Wow, big payout by the taxpayer!
    Guest, Jan 25, 2008
  18. Paul Johnson

    Road Runner Guest

    Just checked fuel prices in the Portland area and found no E85 prices
    ($2.69) that were anywhere near 50% less than gasoline($3.18) but more
    like 50 cents cheaper per gallon which works out to about 15% cheaper. Again
    the E85 is more expensive to run because you must use about 30% MORE!!!! No
    Road Runner, Jan 25, 2008
  19. Paul Johnson

    Bret Ludwig Guest

    You DO NOT need to change cam and compression to keep power the same,
    only to increase it.

    You do not need to replace the entire fuel system, the stock tank and
    hard lines are fine on E85. I would replace the rubber, and rebuild
    the carb with the latest gaskets and float as well as of course lay in
    a good supply of jets as you will need to experiment. Actually I would
    change to a Holley with the aftermarket Weber emulsion tube metering
    block. I'd get rid of the engine driven diaphragm pump and run AN
    lines and a really butch fuel filter on a pad probably.

    I'd probably punch the cat con for good measure.

    Fuel mileage will suck, but, it's the satisfaction that counts,

    If you want economy check out propane.
    Bret Ludwig, Feb 6, 2008
  20. Paul Johnson

    Bret Ludwig Guest

    Find out if it is for M100 or E100, usually the former. Methanol must
    be run considerably richer than ethanol.

    Better yet get the books and build your own carb from parts because
    the drag race carb will not be worth a shit for the street.

    If I were going to do this I'd have a good EGT gauge fitted too.

    Another alternative is to use GM TBI and MegaSquirt ECM.
    Bret Ludwig, Feb 6, 2008
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