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E85 in a FFV

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Old 02-07-2011, 09:47 PM   #1  
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Default E85 in a FFV

Hey guys, I was wondering whether any of you have tried using E85 in your flex fuel vehicle. I wasn't paying attention when I bought my new Ford Escape, but I noticed that it has one of those flex fuel badges on the back. There is an E85 station a few blocks away that is currently selling it for $2.60 a gallon and was wondering what you guys thought about it if you have tried it before.

My understanding has been that a typical flex fuel naturally aspirated engine that is unable to change the compression gets 20-30% worse fuel economy on E85 over just regular petrol. Some turbocharged flex fuel vehicles like the Saabs supposedly deliver a much smaller penalty with E85 of around 5-10% due to the factory allowing for higher levels of boost to take advantage of the naturally higher octane rating. I am morally opposed to the use of ethanol in our vehicles, but do plan on running 1-2 tanks at most just to satisfy my curiosity with it.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:56 PM   #2  
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Ok, so noone here has ever tried running E85 in their FFV?
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:34 AM   #3  
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I don't have a FFV but from what I heard the mileage will go down but the power will go up. If tuned properly it can go up a nice amount!
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:35 PM   #4  
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I don't have a FFV but from what I heard the mileage will go down but the power will go up. If tuned properly it can go up a nice amount!
Supposedly E85 is around 102-105 octane, but that is the issue as the vast majority of FFV's on the road are not running high enough compression to make use of that. From what i've been reading, an engine utilizing just regular multiport fuel injection needs to be running compression of 12.5:1 or 13:1 in order to make good use of that. You can have an engine built for it, but then you lose the ability to run regular petrol.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:55 PM   #5  
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Supposedly E85 is around 102-105 octane, but that is the issue as the vast majority of FFV's on the road are not running high enough compression to make use of that. From what i've been reading, an engine utilizing just regular multiport fuel injection needs to be running compression of 12.5:1 or 13:1 in order to make good use of that. You can have an engine built for it, but then you lose the ability to run regular petrol.
You can still run the timing higher with higher octane which is always good for power.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:21 PM   #6  
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You can still run the timing higher with higher octane which is always good for power.
Yes, but you can advance spark timing only so much. If you look at the previous F150's, the 5.4 litre Triton V8 was only rated at 300hp and 365lb-ft of torque on straight petrol, while it was rated at 310hp and 390lb-ft of torque on E85. It just can't make that big of a difference by itself. This is why I can't wait to see what Ford can do once they make their Ecoboost E85 capable. They claimed that all their Ecoboost engines will be E85 capable in the future, and that is going to be good news for their performance enthusiasts since the turbos could then overboost when running E85 to take advantage of that 102-105 octane rating!
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:01 PM   #7  
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Yes, but you can advance spark timing only so much. If you look at the previous F150's, the 5.4 litre Triton V8 was only rated at 300hp and 365lb-ft of torque on straight petrol, while it was rated at 310hp and 390lb-ft of torque on E85. It just can't make that big of a difference by itself. This is why I can't wait to see what Ford can do once they make their Ecoboost E85 capable. They claimed that all their Ecoboost engines will be E85 capable in the future, and that is going to be good news for their performance enthusiasts since the turbos could then overboost when running E85 to take advantage of that 102-105 octane rating!
Yes, anything with wastegate control could take even greater advantage of the octane boost .
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:56 PM   #8  
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Yes, anything with wastegate control could take even greater advantage of the octane boost .
A good example is the Saab 9-5 sold in Europe as a FFV. As you know, nearly all of them are turbocharged from the factory. Not only does it run higher boost when it detects E85 in the system, but it also suffers only a 5-10% fuel economy hit versus typical naturally aspirated engines that take a 30% hit.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #9  
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Well, curiosity got the better of me today as I decided to fill up my Escape with E85 today at the Krogers gas station. It was $2.40 a gallon, and I finally ran out that complimentary first tank of gas. So far, it drives just like normal although I noticed my engine is pinging a bit going uphill. According to the manual, the vehicle is supposed to take upto 5 miles to adjust whenever you make a switch to/from E85 to petrol and vice versa.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:27 AM   #10  
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I'm anxious to hear your results!
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:24 PM   #11  
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I am going to see if there are any long term negative effects with using E85. There are a few gas stations in indiana that sells it and its much cheaper than normal gas.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:49 PM   #12  
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I'm anxious to hear your results!
So far, the on board computer display is showing that i'm averaging 19-20 mpg on this tank of E85. I filled up when there was still 4 gallons of petrol left in the tank, so my fuel economy should go down more the next time I fill up with E85. I was averaging 21-22mpg on the complimentary first tank of fuel the dealer put in for me.

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I am going to see if there are any long term negative effects with using E85. There are a few gas stations in indiana that sells it and its much cheaper than normal gas.
Your Honda Accord is not a flex fuel vehicle, and you will potentially void the warranty if you run E85 in it. E85 can only be run in flex fuel vehicles that are capable of running on either petrol or E85. One of the big reasons why E85 is significantly cheaper, is because it is heavily subsidized by various governments. On a flex fuel vehicle, you will typically see 30% lower fuel economy when running E85 which means that it only makes financial sense if E85 is selling for 30% cheaper than petrol. For instance, my new Ford Escape 4WD is rated at 18/23 by the EPA on petrol, but only rated at 13/17 by the EPA on E85.
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:37 PM   #13  
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Heh..thnx for letting me know that. I thought all cars could use it. That shows you how much I know about that How long have you had the escape? I thought u had a hybrid or something and someone hit it. Did u trade it in for the escape?

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Your Honda Accord is not a flex fuel vehicle, and you will potentially void the warranty if you run E85 in it. E85 can only be run in flex fuel vehicles that are capable of running on either petrol or E85. One of the big reasons why E85 is significantly cheaper, is because it is heavily subsidized by various governments. On a flex fuel vehicle, you will typically see 30% lower fuel economy when running E85 which means that it only makes financial sense if E85 is selling for 30% cheaper than petrol. For instance, my new Ford Escape 4WD is rated at 18/23 by the EPA on petrol, but only rated at 13/17 by the EPA on E85.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:26 PM   #14  
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Heh..thnx for letting me know that. I thought all cars could use it. That shows you how much I know about that How long have you had the escape? I thought u had a hybrid or something and someone hit it. Did u trade it in for the escape?
Yeah, I ended up trading it in for a 2011 Ford Escape AWD with the V6. I got 1.9% financing for 72 months on it via Ford Motor Credit. They sold me this Escape for invoice and offered me MORE than Kelly Blue Book for the Hybrid, which is rare as you can't even get KBB values when you trade in a car usually. The car felt different and didn't feel the same, which is why I decided to get rid of it. I still have an old Focus that gets me around 26-30mpg, and have thus allocated the Escape as a pleasure vehicle for insurance purposes. It is definately different going from 44mpg to low 20's in fuel economy, LOL.
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