Engine modification from gasoline to E85

fathermorefathermore Member Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in General

I have been trying to find information on what the main differences between the engine of a FFV and that of a normal benzin vehicle are. It's not difficult to find information on ethanol fuel, but detailed TECHNICAL info on engine modifications/ differences are what I can't find. Could someone give me some ideas/where to look/hints ...?

Many thanks.


  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Could someone give me some ideas/where to look/hints ...?

    Welcome to the forum. Here is what is currently available, nothing. It is for all purposes illegal to convert. So they gotcha. You have to buy a vehicle that is FF ready.

    Vehicles being converted were engineered, designed and built to operate on unleaded only. Shortly after the emergence of the “conversion firms” the U.S. EPA determined that when converted from gasoline to another form of fuel, the exhaust emissions from these converted vehicles were often much “dirtier” than prior to conversion.


    This bulletin board is intended for fleet managers to discuss topics related to using E85 as a fuel and installing E85 infrastructure on site. E85 is designated for use in flexible fuel vehicles only and there are currently no conversion kits available that will allow a conventional vehicle to be retrofitted to run on E85.


    There is only one major additional part that is included on an FFV, the fuel sensor that detects the ethanol/gasoline ratio. A number of other parts on the FFV’s fuel delivery system are modified so that they are ethanol compatible. The fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel injectors, computer system, anti-siphon device, and dashboard gauges have been modified slightly. Alcohols are corrosive. Therefore, any part that comes in contact with the fuel has been upgraded to be tolerant to alcohol. Normally, these parts include a stainless steel fuel tank and Teflon lined fuel hoses.

  • fathermorefathermore Member Posts: 2

    I guess I didn't make it clear enough, but I asked about "differences". I'm not asking about converting a normal engine to run on E85, nor am I interested in doing that. I'm just writing a report on biofuels and FFV, and although I can find lots of info on ethanol as a fuel, info on the technical differences between a FFV and a normal vehicle is a bit hard to find. Actually part of ur post answered my question already. I just want to know these differences: sensor, tank material, filter at a more detailed, engineering level.
  • john500john500 Member Posts: 409

    Some of the references in this document might be useful for your report. I've simply heard that the spark timing and the fuel - air ratio are altered for ethanol engines in addition to the material used for some of the engine seals.
  • jmlowskyjmlowsky Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Toyota Camry V-6 which I would like to run Ethanol fuel in. Currently there is E10 (10% Ethanol) in most stations and the car runs with no trouble. As a matter of fact, you don't even know there's Ethanol in the gas. What if the percentage was increased to 20% Ethanol?? Would the fuel system, tank, injector, computer and so on, be able to handle that?? Toyota only recommends the E10, but I was wondering if you could push it a little up to the E20?? Thanks
  • wrenchbender1wrenchbender1 Member Posts: 3
    When I was 16 years old the Western Mountain station was selling gasahol. I used it in my 78 ford pickup. It was billed as being made from corn. You could smell the corn in the tail pipe. I do not know what the mixture was. But I had to trouble with anything. I know it must have been a lot more than 10% because I don't smell any corn in the tailpipe nowadays. Oh and I am 42 now.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    A new device will hit the market in 2008 which will enable a gasolene powered vehicle to run on E85 as well.

    I dont think the current gasolene only vehicles will run on E20, though it does in Brazil because of climate difference.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Just like Edmunds have a separate section for Hybrids , they can open a separate section for Flex-fuel vehicles, after all, more than 1 million flex-fuel vehicles are sold in US.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    There is a section for E85 and Ethanol. This thread is in there. E85 will have to cost a third less than regular unleaded for it to be a smart buy. Plus there is a lot of evidence coming out that it is environmentally damaging. More so than gas or diesel. I have a 1999 Ford Ranger Flex Fuel in San Diego. There is only one station in So Cal that sells E85. Last I checked it was 35 cents more than regular unleaded.

    Some day we will have to face the facts. This whole ethanol boondoggle is corporate welfare at its finest. The oil companies love it as they can jack up the price of gas when forced to add ethanol. It is particularly bad where it costs a fortune to be trucked or brought in by rail. It cannot go through the pipeline system which is so much less expensive and environmentally cleaner.

    Last to the subject line. You will NOT be able to modify any engine with aluminum engines. That being the reason that Toyota and Honda are not jumping on the bandwagon.
  • autodrautodr Member Posts: 27
    One difference is that everything that touches the fuel in an E85 vehicle, fuel tank, injectors, pump, lines, filter, fuel rail, ect. are alcohol compatible. Like using stainless steel fuel lines and filter, different compounds of plastics and rubbers. These same parts in a gasoline vehicle are not usually alcohol compatible, because they don't have to be.

    PCM programming, sometimes spark plug types, and more

    Here is a link to an article I did some time back on E85 vehicles for a little more info.

    "Getting Tanked"

  • waterdrwaterdr Member Posts: 307
    I can tell you that there are tuners getting really good and re-programming computers to run E-85. Nearly any car can be made to run on the stuff, you just have to get the tune correct which means advancing the timing, possibly adding bigger fuel injectors and re-setting the fuel tables on the cars computer. E-85 has 30% less btu value, so all this needs to be taken into consideration when changing the tune.

    I have an SCT 4 position switch chip in my car that allows me to have 4 custom programs. This means, that I can switch programs on the fly and adjust for different fuels being used.

    All the talk about fuel lines etc being different is turning into a bunch of bunk. The biggest challenge to making the car run correctly is the high-variation in E-85 quality. There are 4 different seasonal blends that are used during the year and they range in ethonal concentrations between 70 to 85%. The octane differences are great which means you have to tune the car to the least common denominator.

    There is no economic reason to use E-85 as others have already pointed out. But the advantages offered to the weekend racer are great. Buying 115 octane fuel for $2.60 is CHEAP when compared to 100 octane racing fuel for $7.00. And none of these guys give a crap about material compatibility as you don't put thousands of miles on a car that you race (if there is even a problem in the first place).

    I do know one tuner who drives he modified car daily and runs E-85. I asked him if he was concerned about the material issue and he stated "that is what the manufacturers tell people so they don't do what I did". True? I don't know. He knows more then I do.

    I also saw a young kid at a pump with a rust-bucket putting E-85 in the tank one day. I asked him if the car was altered or re-programmed. He indicated that the car was a piece of crap, had 200k miles on it, and never ran better since using it. What does he have to loose? Though I certainly would not advise using E-85 a new car with a warranty.
  • sirlenasirlena Member Posts: 30
    Check out:
    FlexFuelMyRide.com for an affordable conversion kit and NearE85.com for a way to find E85 stations. If you travel, you can even plot out an intinerary and they have atool to find all the E85 stations along your route.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    I don't see any info on modifying the most popular cars in the USA. The Toyota, Camry & Corolla, the Honda Accord and Civic. Does this company guarantee the ethanol will not corrode aluminum engines? Don't expect to travel in CA on E85. Only one station in the whole state sells E85.
  • sirlenasirlena Member Posts: 30
    I think you need to download thier Order Guide. There's only 6 popular injector connectors..Bosch EV1, Bosch EV6, Delphi, Toyota, Honda and NipponDenso. So, those japenese vehicles can be converted also.

    As far as warranties, they advise to buy an additional warranty if you are concerned, but personally, I am not. I have read a lot about and it's only rubber that the auto manufacture's where concerned with in the 80's (not metal), that's why there are no more rubber fuel lines. Plus, gasoline and ethanol both have anti-corrosive chemicals in it, to protect against corrosion in the gas pumps and for vehicles. Also, everyday use is not the issue, storage is. As long as the fuel keeps moving...there should be no issue. Brazil has been using for over 20 years...
  • scortchscortch Member Posts: 41
    I came across this and thought it was interesting. The best part? It works with current engines.

    Check this out
  • sirlenasirlena Member Posts: 30
    In response to your waranty statement warning...check your Owner Guide. Most automobile manufactures correctly call out Methanol damage as not being covered, not Ethanol. Methanol corrodes metal and damages plastic and rubber. The only statement about E85 that you'll find in the OG is telling you not to use it if you do not have FFV. That is more about EPA than any possible damage. OEM has to certify vehicles to run on unleaded or E85. Those certs are seperate. So it would voliate EPA to tell you to do otherwise.
    Also, due to the Magnuson-Moss Act, no one can VOID your warranty. They can deny repairs but the burden is on them to prove that an aftermarket part damaged whatever component they are denying. You have rights per the Magnuson-Moss Act.
    And, the myths about ethanol being corrosive are just that, myths. All gasoline whether conventional, reformulated or oxygenated are regulated for such things as volitility, corrosivity, octane, and stability. There are standards set by the ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials. If E85 were as damaging as people claim, the nozzle would be a different size, like unleaded vs. leaded.

    Boycott OPEC Everyday!
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Boycott OPEC Everyday!

    Where do you think the oil comes from to run the tractors, trucks & combines to produce the CORN? Where does the oil come from that powers the tanker trucks that deliver the ethanol to the refiner? Then that same OPEC oil is in the tanker truck that hauls the mixed E85 to the handful of stations across the Nation that sell that crap. I would say OPEC is loving the ethanol industry as is the mega-AG companies like ADM. Of course there are all the little startups that are converting cars to run on E85. I just hope those people that convert a car over to E85 get sued when the owner is denied warranty coverage caused by ethanol damage.

    From SAE on ethanol corrosiveness:

    Catastrophic failures of fuel pumps used to transport ethanol have occurred in various facilities. Failures occurred in as little as 50 hours on pumps with a 2000-hour life expectancy. Post-failure inspection of the pumps showed corrosive pitting of the metal in the areas of sliding contact. Several potential causes, including cavitation, thermal expansion of pump parts, and fuel contaminants such as acetic acid were ruled out. Fuel samples from facilities with high pump failure rates passed all D 4806 specification tests for fuel-grade ethanol, including titratable acid by D 1613. However, pH readings as low as 2.0 indicated potentially corrosive fuels. Controlled tests on pumps and corrosion tests showed that pump failures correlated with fuel pH. Corrosive fuels were found to contain ethyl sulfate, which correlated with fuel pH. It appears that ethyl sulfate originates from sulfur dioxide, which is used as an antioxidant and antiseptic in the production of ethanol.

  • sirlenasirlena Member Posts: 30
    That study http://store.sae.org/technical/papers/971648 was done on roller pumps and gear pumps used to deliver fuel-grade ethanol to a catalytic conversion facility (within the ethanol industry). NOT on fuel pumps used in automobiles.

    The paper also gives it's Background.
    "...fuel system corrosion is a familiar problem in Brazil, where fuel-grade ethanol contains up to 10 vol.% water and impurities such as acetic acid."
    It also states that "these problems have been alleviated by changing fuel system materials, developing corrosion inhibitors and specifying limits on acidity, sulfur and chlorine in alcohol fuels. RECENTLY, limits on pH and electrical conductivity have been instituted in Brazil and advocated by workers in the United States."

    Our commercial grade fuel has corrosion inhibitors and limits on acidity (on both E85 and conventional gasoline). Per the White Paper on Internationally Compatible Biofuel Standards, it is clear that Brazil has a different standard on acidity.
    Limits and Methods:
    Brazil Limit: 0.80 mg KOH/g max Method: ABNT NBR 14448/EN 14104
    EU Limit: 0.50 mg KOH/g max Method: EN 14104
    USA Limit: 0.50 mg KOH/g max Method: ASTM D664

    Also, in chatting with a local gas station owner, he told me he pays to have water pumped out of his fuel tanks. It's something he must maintain to be compliant.

    If there are over 100,000 non-fuel flex vehicles on the road with conversion kits running today, where is the outcry and postings about fuel pump failure? All the threads I have read where people have converted, are having no problems. In fact, they are amazed at the performance they have gained and find that a lot of these scares about mpg loss are blown way out of proportion (which is typically 5-15%).

    Also, in states where the E85 fuel price is more than 15% lower than conventional gas, people are actually saving money over several years of use and that would pay for any future fuel pump failures, IF any occur.
  • bradguybradguy Member Posts: 3
    I am considering converting my daily driver to E85. I would really like to talk to this tuner that has done the same thing, or anyone else that actually has successfully converted their daily driver car to E85.
  • ct1881ct1881 Member Posts: 1
    I work for an auto parts supplier, we supply to all of the major automakers (for those of you who think your Honda or Toyota have superior parts than GM or Ford, in most cases you are kidding yourself). Unless the vehicle is certified as flex fuel do not use E85, there are many gaskets, hoses and components that are not tested to and will not stand up against ethanol.
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