E85 just became available in my area! So, naturally, I drove the old '92 Explorer down there and filled up. Here's what I noticed:
1. In general, it runs just fine. Starts up exactly the same, runs for the most part the same.
2. I noticed a few times, somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 throttle, there's a slight stumble. Like it's running lean. It only did it a few times on the way back from filling with E85, and appears to be gone. I think the computer is "re-learning" it's fuel curve.
3. WOT acceleration seems to be unaffected, and possibly slightly improved on the butt-o-meter.
4. Just going by the gas gauge, mileage seems unaffected. I'll let everyone know later with actual numbers.
I was curious what other people's experiences were with running E85 in a non-FFV.
How much regular gasoline you had in the tank initially? Chances are good that you're probably running something less than E85, but it should get pretty close after a couple of fill-ups if you continue on E85.
As for the fuel gauge, I know that mine isn't very accurate and definitely non-linear.
I've noticed most cars have a fuel guage that stays on full or the top 1/4 tank longer than it will on the bottom 1/4 tank. I always assumed it was due to the shape of the tank. Figured it was like an inverted triangle with the wide base at the top putting more volume there. I also figured it was a psychological thing the manufacturers did to make the driver 'feel' better about the car.
It was pretty close to empty. I'll run a few tanks through and let everyone know the results.
Oh and Eric, I looked back through a few pages of threads, and found nobody coming in and saying something like "I tried E85 in my non-FFV and this is how it worked." Maybe I'm not looking in the right place? Maybe the titles have nothing to do with the content? I dont know. Point me in the right direction! I do remember a couple such threads a LONG time ago, but nothing recent.
I thought maybe we could have a thread where non-FFV E85 users share their experiences.
Of course, none of this is to suggest people run E85 in a non-FFV. I'm doing what I'm doing at my own risk, and others should take the same approach.
Rusty, I am surprised that it runs with that much ethanol. I know of several GM cars that would not run after filling up with E85. You will not want to do this long term with out verifing your fuel systems integrity. You also are most likely running pretty lean, as the computer cannot adjust enough. I have run up to 35% ethanol by manual blending and have not seen any adverse effects other than drop in MPG. One thing for sure is it will clean any gunk out over a few tanks.
I have been running E85 in my sears craftsman lawn mower with a Techumshi 6.5hp flat head engine for about 100 hours. The ethanol is eating up the rubber gas line from the tank to the carb.
I've run it in the past, but unfortunately have not had steady enough access to it to be able to run it continuous. It will be interesting to see how it goes. I only so far have had one vehicle that started poorly after filling with E85, that was a 94 Plymouth Voyager. My old K1500 (90) ran fine on it, 83 T/A electronic carb did fine on it with a below zero start, my mom's 02 Buick runs good other than the emmisions code it throws, and I could go on with others, but I imagine you get the point.
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Well the first mileage results are in. Ran a few tanks through it, first tank mileage was not figured due to having some gas still in there. Second tank was mainly highway driving, and got 16.35mpg. Third tank was mostly in-town short trip driving, and was 14.11mpg. Overall I'm pleased, as this is exactly the mileage the thing got on gasoline and I'm only paying $2.259 vs. $2.509 for gasoline now.
Oh, and my friend the part throttle stumble is back. Stumble may not be the appropriate term, as it still fires on all cylinders, but the power goes down. I think what is happening is it goes open loop and the O2 sensor no longer compensates. I think a set of larger injectors would fix it right up, what do you think?
I am sure you are running lean, might want to check and see if the Flex fuel injectors from the new 4.0 V6 of the ones for the 3.0 V6 flex fuel will work? I also know that the o2 sensors for the Flex fule V6's have different part numbers, so they my be different as well to handle the higher o2 content.
Yup, probably running way lean. A check with a wide band O2 sensor may be needed. Sounds like he may also have some other problems with the fuel system or sensors that were causing the flat spot. Something is out of whack... Get everything fixed b4 something $$ fails, -then repeat the test with both gas and E85.
"Beam me up Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here..."
I'll let you guys in on something. Ever since it was brand new (know original owners) this thing NEVER got much more than 16mpg. It's also always ran like a top on gasoline. I do keep up the maintenance and fix any problems. Trust me, it was in *perfect* condition before the test started. Probably still is, just needs more fuel in open loop operation. Since 99% of my driving is closed loop, it's not a real big problem. I even checked a couple spark plugs! No signs there of a lean condition.
The way it runs, it's not so much a flat spot, as simply reduced power during open loop. Open loop, remember, the O2 sensor doesn't compensate like it does in closed loop. It's just real noticable when it switches from closed loop to open loop is all.
A while back, I found that some injectors were leaking down. I replaced them with Accel's recommended replacements which they rate at 21lbs/hr. I would assume the difference between this and Ford's stock 19lbs/hr is the way they're rated; I dont think the new ones flow any more. These worked great on gasoline, didn't notice it run any different and didn't affect gas mileage.
Now if we do the calculations:
Assume 25% more fuel required for E85.
So I need 26lbs/hr fuel injectors for E85. Simple enough.
So I'm going the cheap route. I looked up Accel's replacement table, and they list their 26lbs/hr injectors as stock replacment for a 1992 - 1997 Ford 460 in a truck. So now I'm thinking a trip to the junkyard is in order.
That is a great trick with the replacement injectors, nice find!
From what I have read it seems the reason some vehicles will work with E85 and others won't might be the fuel injector "reserve" capacity along with the fuel pump volume reserve. Some engines are real borderline in the fuel delivery department.
"Beam me up Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here..."
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