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Old 05-26-2014, 04:36 AM   #1
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Proper maintenance for a steady diet of e85

I've seen this discussed lightly in other threads but have never seen a dedicated thread to this.

I plan to switch over to e85 and continue using it as my regular fuel for an extended period of time (years) using my Open Flash Tablet. What I plan to do comes with some apprehension however.

-Things I know so far-

-half your intervals between changing oil
-use e85 compatible oil
-alcohol attracts water, e85 is more susceptible to attracted water into fuel which is very dangerous I hear.

-Things I'd like to know-

-material of fuel lines and fuel tank. E85s high ethanol content has been know to dissolve fuel lines and/or tanks.
-does e85 cause injectors or any other part of the motor to "gum up" with buildup.
-does e85 play nicely with the metals that our engine is made up of.

There is probably plenty more to know outside of what i know and would like to know. So more questions are as welcomed as answers in this discussion.

I would like this thread to turn into a nice big list of what we all know about running on e85 and running it safely for an extended period of time.

Our engines probably haven't been around long enough for good long term data on this topic but you gotta start somewhere right!
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:45 AM   #2
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Lucas ethanol fuel treatment.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:59 AM   #3
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:41 PM   #4
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Brad Penn says; As a matter of fact, the issue is compounded when used oil is left in the crankcase during lengthy cold ambient temperature storage conditions. Our BRAD PENN®
Penn-Grade 1® High Performance Engine Oils should not be considered for use with E85 fuel. Prior to the very latest PCMO ILSAC GF-5 / API SN (Resource Conserving) classification, most motor oils were not specifically designed to handle E85 fuels.

As flex fuel vehicle (FFV) manufacturing is expanding, so is the range of available ethanol-containing fuels. As you may know, (FFVs) are capable of operating on gasoline, E85, or a mixture of both. The latest ILSAC GF-5 /API SN (Resource Conserving) specification addresses improved rust protection and emulsion retention with E85 fuels. Since alcohol fuels tend to attract and hold water, motor oils meeting ILSAC GF-5 / API SN (Resource Conserving) are formulated to prevent phase separation (free water) of the crankcase oil due to fuel dilution. The technology developed for ILSAC GF-5 / API
SN (Resource Conserving) engine oils was designed to prevent both premature and catastrophic
engine failure by keeping oil, ethanol, and water in one phase.

Bottom line….we recommend motor oils meeting ILSAC GF-5 / API SN (Resource Conserving) requirements for FFVs utilizing E85 fuel.

Im currently running amsoil dominator 10w-30 on 100% E85 and will be submitting my UOA is a week or so.
Another popular oil is rotella. AND its CHEAP! but it only comes in a 10-40.

E85 dissolves cork and corrodes brass, neither are in our fuel system. A factory flex fuel system uses the same fuel lines as us. I dont know about the stock pump, but e85 doesn't play nicely with a few aftermarket pumps. I've HEARD aeromotive pumps are not recommended with e85. Walbro 485 works great.

There are a few on here that have been running E85 for thousands of miles with no issues but ill let them comment.
As far as water in the oil goes if you run an oil cooler on the street it should be thermostatically controlled and i always support a VTA catch can. That should help with moisture in the crankcase. Now moisture in the fuel system is a different problem. So far i havent had any issues.
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Old 05-28-2014, 11:53 AM   #5
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Let me start by stating that I am not a chemist. Water is less of a problem with higher % of Ethanol. There reason Ethanol is so corrosive is due to it's desire to bond with another substance and it will make strong preferential bonding with water. The Ethanol we use is dry or anhydrous which makes it more corrosive. Ethanol has a high % of oxygen content. Gasoline/Petroleum and Ethanol forms a weak chemical bond but when water exceeds a 30:70 ratio, Ethanol will phase separate. Thereby sinking to the bottom of the fuel tank. Ethanol test kits use a much larger ratio of water, ~50:50, to separate Ethanol from Gasoline. A little bit of water in Ethanol has been found to reduce corrosion by providing a stronger bond for Ethanol molecules, per a study in Japan. This was about 2% water and eliminated corrosion of aluminum. Ethanol in Brazil and Sweden has always had 5% water content in their Ethanol, making it 95% Ethanol by volume.

That doesn't mean I would recommend adding water, some people would/do. But I wouldn't worry about E70-E85 and water. If you somehow did get phase separation, we would be talking significant amounts of water contamination. More than Ethanol could absorb moisture from the ambient air.
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:39 PM   #6
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Now that, is a serious amount if information!
The main thing I'm taking away from all that is to make sure you use e85 compatible oil. Good to hear our fuel lines are the same as any normal flex fuel car. I'm not doubting you but I'm curious how found out about this. And it's good to know that there are alternative pumps. I'm curious to hear from some if the highmilage guys


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Old 05-29-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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Now that, is a serious amount if information!
The main thing I'm taking away from all that is to make sure you use e85 compatible oil. Good to hear our fuel lines are the same as any normal flex fuel car. I'm not doubting you but I'm curious how found out about this. And it's good to know that there are alternative pumps. I'm curious to hear from some if the highmilage guys


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Old 05-29-2014, 08:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Allch Chcar View Post
Let me start by stating that I am not a chemist. Water is less of a problem with higher % of Ethanol. There reason Ethanol is so corrosive is due to it's desire to bond with another substance and it will make strong preferential bonding with water. The Ethanol we use is dry or anhydrous which makes it more corrosive. Ethanol has a high % of oxygen content. Gasoline/Petroleum and Ethanol forms a weak chemical bond but when water exceeds a 30:70 ratio, Ethanol will phase separate. Thereby sinking to the bottom of the fuel tank. Ethanol test kits use a much larger ratio of water, ~50:50, to separate Ethanol from Gasoline. A little bit of water in Ethanol has been found to reduce corrosion by providing a stronger bond for Ethanol molecules, per a study in Japan. This was about 2% water and eliminated corrosion of aluminum. Ethanol in Brazil and Sweden has always had 5% water content in their Ethanol, making it 95% Ethanol by volume.

That doesn't mean I would recommend adding water, some people would/do. But I wouldn't worry about E70-E85 and water. If you somehow did get phase separation, we would be talking significant amounts of water contamination. More than Ethanol could absorb moisture from the ambient air.
I'm getting the idea your education is a lot more advanced than just "chemistry"...
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:41 PM   #9
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Talk to @Luckrider @Hawaiian or @86viper
let me say, I'm not a chemist scientist or mechanic, I just like my car to go fast.

I've been very busy this last week so I hadn't had a chance to do a brief right up like I had planned. My car has reached the 45000 mile threshold with more than half of those being run strictly on e85, as well as 7000 of those miles being turbo charged.

so far I have had zero issues. The only changes I've made to the fueling system are upgraded injectors and a new fuel pump when I went FI.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:00 PM   #10
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I also run e85 just about exclusively now. Oil changes come at 5k and I now have just over 15k on the clock (probably about 8k running e85). Fuel systems use ethanol safe materials due to the lack of e0 fuel. It just makes no sense for manufactures to try to design for markets with and without ethanol in the fuel, especially when we have very good thermoplastics that are ethanol safe to choose from. The only moisture to worry about would be in places where the fuel would sit contacting raw steel for extended periods of time. I myself burn through about 2-3 tanks per week now so that isn't a concern for me since the fuel is always moving.

The one issue I haven't tackled in depth are injectors. They are ethanol safe, but I remember seeing one technical paper from Chevrolet (if I'm not mistaken) about build up on the injectors. Beyond that, I can only find horrible inaccuracies from people spewing bullshit against ethanol. I am not sure about the specifics on this one, but my last attempt to find reliable information showing it to be an issue was fruitless. Ethanol burns slower, but more efficiently than gasoline and is a natural cleaning agent. This makes the combustion process more complete and cleans the engine. I would believe this would be the same for the direct injectors. As for the stock injectors themselves, the only thing I can conclude is that they appear to be ethanol safe. Their material composition (and chrome plating) should easily be able to withstand the higher e%.

Beyond just the people running e85 in this platform, realize that there are other cars on the road with many more miles that started out as regular gas sippers and have been switched over to corn burners with many more miles and no issues.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:06 PM   #11
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I also run e85 just about exclusively now. Oil changes come at 5k and I now have just over 15k on the clock (probably about 8k running e85). Fuel systems use ethanol safe materials due to the lack of e0 fuel. It just makes no sense for manufactures to try to design for markets with and without ethanol in the fuel, especially when we have very good thermoplastics that are ethanol safe to choose from. The only moisture to worry about would be in places where the fuel would sit contacting raw steel for extended periods of time. I myself burn through about 2-3 tanks per week now so that isn't a concern for me since the fuel is always moving.

The one issue I haven't tackled in depth are injectors. They are ethanol safe, but I remember seeing one technical paper from Chevrolet (if I'm not mistaken) about build up on the injectors. Beyond that, I can only find horrible inaccuracies from people spewing bullshit against ethanol. I am not sure about the specifics on this one, but my last attempt to find reliable information showing it to be an issue was fruitless. Ethanol burns slower, but more efficiently than gasoline and is a natural cleaning agent. This makes the combustion process more complete and cleans the engine. I would believe this would be the same for the direct injectors. As for the stock injectors themselves, the only thing I can conclude is that they appear to be ethanol safe. Their material composition (and chrome plating) should easily be able to withstand the higher e%.

Beyond just the people running e85 in this platform, realize that there are other cars on the road with many more miles that started out as regular gas sippers and have been switched over to corn burners with many more miles and no issues.
What kind/viscosity oil do you use?
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:12 PM   #12
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What kind/viscosity oil do you use?
Oil viscosity has nothing to do with the type of induction or fuel being used as seen being debating in the maintenance section of just about every single automative forum on the internet. I use 0W20 or 5W20 for the BRZ (I prefer 0W20 as that is the factory recommendation, but from my reading and understanding, there isn't enough difference between the two to matter because the 5W20 will eventually sheer to 0W20). The FA20 has tight clearances on the bearings. With my Jeep, I don't care if it is 5W30 or 10W40 as long as I get some good old zinc for the flat tappet cams. That motor has much less strict tolerance for the bearings so it is the cams that get the extra attention with oil.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:37 PM   #13
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I'm getting the idea your education is a lot more advanced than just "chemistry"...
Nah, just way too many late nights spent reading academic studies on the effects of Ethanol in automotive applications.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:05 AM   #14
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So @Reaper is using amsoil dominator 10w-30. However the recommended viscosity in our manual is 0W20. I assume it would be a better choice to find an E85 compatible oil that is as close to 0W 20 as possible. Anyone have any opinions on this?

Would this be a better choice considering what is recommended?

http://www.amref.com/CMSFiles/file/b...E_0W_20_PB.pdf
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