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Old 06-12-2006, 02:26 AM   #1
frpe82
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Default Converting to E85 (ethanol fuel)

Converting your car to use E85


During the last few years a lot of so called "flexi-fuel" cars has seen the light of day. They are ordinary cars with the capability of running ordinary gasoline, E85 or E100 (ethanol) and a blend between the two. This is developed in response to the high fuel prices and to try to take care of our environment. In theory or in a controlled lab, ethanol only leaves behind the rest-products of water and carbon dioxide after a complete burn. When burning ethanol in real life it is easy to get very close to this as well.

I and many others have converted their gasoline car to run on E85 (ethanol fuel). This is a guide on how to do the same thing. I will try not to get too technical and I will try to keep it simple for everyone to understand.

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First of all, what is E85?:
E85 consists of 85% ethanol and 15% additives. The additives vary a lot depending on where you live and time of the year. But roughly, the 15% additives is mostly made up of gasoline, additives that helps the engine to make a complete burn, additives that helps the engine start when itīs cold and additives to color the fuel and the flame (so you know what substance it is, and also to help you see that it is really burning).


(Positive) facts about E85:

1. It is not corrosive to the fuel system or the engine. This is a myth and ethanol is often confused with methanol, which actually have corrosive properties. Some models before 1988 on the other hand may have some parts that is not ethanol resistant. If we are talking Volvoīs, then this mainly applies to the non-electronically injection systems such as K-jet etc. Most cars with electronical fuel injection (EFI) should be resistant to ethanol.

2. It is not as harmful to the nature/environment as gasoline or any other petroleum products for that matter. Ethanol is made out of renewable energy resources such as crops and trees to name a few things. The carbon dioxide that an ethanol powered car emits is not contributing to the greenhouse effect, but is taken up by the plants and is being "re-used". The carbon dioxide then goes around in a closed loop. Gasoline on the other hand is made from oil that comes from old dinosaurs , plants and other stuff 100 000 of years ago, and it doesnīt take part in the closed loop but only adds to the amount of greenhouse gasses. Ethanol is also easily bio-degradeable if it should leak into our environment.

3. E85 is 104-105 octane and therefore itīs more knock-resistent and can tolerate more boost or a higher CR.

4. E85 cools the intake charge more and therefore itīs more knock-resistent and can tolerate more boost or a higher CR. And it also makes the engine run cooler and to some degree, even safer.

5. E85 is in most cases at least 5% more effícient than gasoline at the same lambda value (up to 25% more efficient on some cars optimized soley for E85).

6. Since E85 has very good cleaning properties as well as leaving behind a rest-product of water, it is cleaning the fuel system and it will keep the injectors nice and clean. The combustion chambers, valves, ports and the exhaust will also be clean(er), almost like the car had water injection.

7. In most cases it will cost less $/mile to run on E85.


(Negative) facts about E85:

1. Cars running on E85 have some trouble starting when the engine temperature drops below +5*C. Cars running E100 (not very common) have some trouble starting when the intake (the air) temperature is below +15*C. This is easily solved by using an engine heater in the winter, electrical or fuel-heated (this is recommended on all cars regardless of fuel to get better mileage, less wear on the engine and less impact on the environment etc., but that is another matter to discuss and will not be brought up here...). Some people also adds a little extra gasoline to the tank of E85 to help with cold-starts.

2. Since cars running E85 requires roughly 30% more fuel, a tank of E85 will not get you as far as a tank of gasoline and you will have to refuel more often. This is often disregarded by E85 users who learn to live with it because of the economical gains.


Technical facts about the mentioned fuels:

E85 requires 42% more fuel to reach stoich even if that is not what you may come up with when doing calculations based on the table below. This is because the injector flow is slightly different when using E85 among many other things I canīt really think of at this time (will be added at a later time).

Fuel ........................ AFRst ........ FARst ....... Equivalence Ratio ... Lambda
Gas stoich ................ 14.7 .......... 0.068 ................ 1 ................... 1
Gas max power rich .... 12.5 .......... 0.08 ................. 1.176 .............. 0.8503
Gas max power lean .... 13.23 ........ 0.0755 .............. 1.111 ............. 0.900
E85 stoich .................. 9.765 ....... 0.10235 ............ 1 ................... 1
E85 max power rich ...... 6.975 ....... 0.1434 .............. 1.40 ............... 0.7143
E85 max power lean ..... 8.4687 ...... 0.118 ............... 1.153 .............. 0.8673
E100 stoich ................ 9.0078 ...... 0.111 ............... 1 .................... 1
E100 max power rich .... 6.429 ........ 0.155 .............. 1.4 .................. 0.714
E100 max power lean .... 7.8 .... ...... 0.128 .............. 1.15 ................ 0.870

The term AFRst refers to the Air Fuel Ratio under stoichiometric, or ideal air fuel ratio mixture conditions. FARst refers to the Fuel Air Ratio under stoichiometric conditions, and is simply the reciprocal of AFRst.

Equivalence Ratio is the ratio of actual Fuel Air Ratio to Stoichiometric Fuel Air Ratio; it provides an intuitive way to express richer mixtures. Lambda is the ratio of actual Air Fuel Ratio to Stoichiometric Air Fuel Ratio; it provides an intuitive way to express leanness conditions (i.e., less fuel, less rich) mixtures of fuel and air.

When driving purely on E85 you can blend it with up to 25% gasoline in case you want to raise the AFR number used to produce max. power. In that case you can raise the boost even further since the volume of fuel needed to reach the desired lambda is decreased.


Performance application and fuel needed:

Performance application:
Letīs pretend for a while that the ECUīs in our cars are pretty good at their jobs. On gasoline it will try to keep an AFR of 14.7 (lambda=1) all the time at idle, cruise and light load. It will also try to keep a good AFR at WOT/boost of 13.2-12.5, sometimes even lower than that, probably closer to 11.x.

Why? Because the fuel has a cooling effect on the intake charge and the space in which the combustion occurs.

As you can see from the table shown above this section, the ideal target AFRīs under boost for both gasoline and E85 are listed. For gasoline itīs 13.23-12.5, and for E85 itīs 8.47-6.975. However, with E85 you will not need to richen the mixture under WOT/boost as far as 6.975 or beyond. It does not need to be proportionally richer when compared to gasoline.

Why? Again, Because the fuel has a cooling effect on the intake charge and the space in which the combustion occurs. And at such a low AFR as 9.765 (lambda=1 on E85) or lower the fuel cools pretty good, donīt you think so?

Many people with some experience in mapping an ECU for use with E85 says that as high AFR as 8.5 or lambda=0.80-0.85 works well. No need to go to the extreme end of the useable scale to get safe power. It only uses a lot of fuel without giving any benefits.

Since you donīt have to richen the mixture as many percent (proportionally) as you have to on gasoline, you can make more power without having to use as much fuel. Instead you can keep the AFRīs leaner across the board and by doing so you can make room for higher boost without maxing out the injectors.

The burn rate will of course be different for different AFR's. It is a matter of tuning it right and getting the peak cylinder pressure where you want it (10 degrees after TDC). But if you are around the same ratio as on gasoline (i.e if you have installed injectors that are almost exactly 42% bigger) you are in the ballpark and do not have to worry about it. More about this later on.

Fuel needed:
As you will see, both in my article as well as other places on the internet, different fuel requirements are listed. What numbers will you see and why?

1. A car converted, but not specifically mapped for E85 will consume ~30% more fuel.

2. A car running E85 will require ~42% more fuel.

3. According to your own calculations (if you have bothered to look in to it), it will not quite add up. Most people scratch their head.

Let me show you a table again:

Mode ........... Gas .... E85 ...... extra % (mass) ... extra % (flow)
Stoich .......... 14.7 .... 9.765 ........ +50.5% ................ +42%
Lean power ... 13.2 .... 8.47 .......... +55.8% ................ +47%
Rich power .... 12.5 .... 6.975 ........ +79.2% ................ +69%

E85 has a higher density than gasoline. The change in AFR from 14.7 (lambda=1 for gasoline) to 9.765 (lambda=1 for E85) is 50.5%. But the resulting flow needed is only 42% greater.

Explanations to this: E85 will need a fuel flow that is 42% greater than the flow needed for gasoline. However, it will not use 42% more fuel since it will actually be more efficient. Generally, the engine will consume ~30% more fuel.

If I am using 46.7lb/hr injectors (45% larger than stock) which are easy to get hold of, my AFRīs should theoretically look like this:

*At idle, cruise and low load (closed loop) the AFR will be 9.56, the O2-sensor sees this and will correct it to 9.765. A very small correction, and it lies well within the adaptation limits. Not even noticeable as more than normal adaptation by the ECU.

*When at WOT/boost (open loop) the AFR will be between 8.58-8.13. This looks a little lean according to the AFR table, doesnīt it? It isnīt even in the "rich" area according to the table. No worries, the cooling properties of E85 are pretty good. But in reality I will actually get an AFR of around 8-7.5 since my ECU wants to run a slightly richer mixture than 12.5 on gasoline. It obviously does not know that it is running E85...

Efficiency:

Lets start off with some facts:

* You need 42% more flow derived from the difference in AFR at Lambda=1.

* A car straight converted to E85 without any other modifications will use 30 to a little over 35% more fuel. Since 42% bigger injectors are actually needed, but the fuel consumption is not 42% higher, you can see that the efficiency goes up.

* If a car tuned for gasoline use and high power is converted straight to E85, it will use more E85 at part throttle and less E85 at WOT than a car tuned for running only on E85.

* A car tuned only for E85 use and high power will use less E85 at part throttle and more E85 at WOT than the car that was initially tuned for gas and then converted to E85.

* An efficient engine can take advantage of a good tune and only use ~20-25% more fuel when running on E85 than on gasoline. That doesn't just have to do with energy content, but also the other properties of E85, like burn rate (which can use a more efficient ignition setting), octane number (can also use a more efficient ignition setting), and cooling properties (ultimately leads to a cooler combustion chamber and the possibility of a more efficient ignition setting).

Then you ask why?

Let's start with this...

Energy content by weight:
Gasoline: 46.4 MJ/Kg
E85: 33.1 MJ/Kg

Weight per volume:
Gasoline: 0.7329 Kg/L
E85: 0.7806 Kg/L

Energy content by volume:
Gasoline: 34 MJ/L
E85: 25.84 MJ/L

Some of the numbers here will be recognised from the previous statement:

You need 42% more volume of E85 to reach Lambda=1.

At Lambda=1 on E85, the energy content is 7.92% higher than on gasoline.

That is why a car that is converted straight to E85 doesn't consume 42% more fuel. You get more energy from E85 at the same Lambda. The cooling properties and slightly different burn rate also adds a positive effect on the fuel consumption here.

If you then tune the car to use all the properties of E85, it will be a lot more efficient and use even less fuel that a car converted straight to E85 (aka: a car tuned for gasoline, but equipped with bigger injectors to run E85).

When it comes to power:

This is basically just repeating what I said previously in the same post, but to clarify I will say it again.

On E85 you can use much richer mixtures when aiming for very high power. One of the advantages of E85 is the cooling properties since a lot more is injected. Because of that, you can run a much more advanced ignition setting.

Since the octane number is higher, you can also run a much more advanced ignition setting.

And the car will also develop more power because E85 will contain more energy at the same Lambda.

Why stock engine management systems can't adapt to E85:

Even if the stock engine management systems had bigger injectors to be able to run E85, they would never pull it off in a safe way, and this is why...

Any modern EFI can, and if you let it, it will adapt to any fuel regardless of what AFR it takes to reach Lambda=1. But they are not programmed that way.

You can extremely easy program it do run on gas, then on E85 without even doing anything else than just filling up with E85 at the pump. The programming is the easy bit. The EFI just reads the O2-sensor and corrects the base fuel mixture and stores how much is needed to get to Lambda=1. Then it uses that base line to run the fuel in question, whichever fuel it may be.

But... all modern EFI's have a built-in adaptation already. Not as big as the step between gas and E85, but big enough to fix the car if any error with the fueling should occur.

What that means when it comes to practical use is this: An EFI that is suppose to be fail safe, and at the same time have the possibility of running another fuel type, can not operate if something goes wrong in the system. It can not differentiate between a fault and a different fuel.

We could easily instruct both LH, Motronic, Megasquirt or any other self-learning computer to do this, but they would never be fail-safe. They would simply have a too big span in fuel adaptation (fuel-trim) that the car would break very easy if something went wrong.

Example 1: On a normal car when an injector only can spray half of its rated capacity, the O2-sensor picks this up and instructs the ECU to increase the fueling. Since it is increasing the fueling much more than it is suppose to in order to get to the right mixture again, it thinks that something is wrong, goes into limp-home mode and lights the CEL.

Example 2: On a car with a great span in adaptability, this would instead be interpreted as a different fuel, ultimately creating a dangerous situation for the engine, never goes into limp-home mode, and it also never tells the driver that something is wrong.

That is why there are no cars with this kind of adaptive EFI.

Other kinds of EFI systems exists though, like the SAAB Trionic system in the bio-power cars (and the GM system of course), or the Volvo system in the flexi-fuel cars. They do it differently. They have a sensor in the fuel line that tells the EFI what fuel is being used. Then the EFI switches tables in the computer.


Economical gains:

I canīt compare to other cars, users or driving styles but myself and my own Volvo 945 Turbo.

So let me tell you guys about the fuel prices here in Sweden.
98 octane gasoline cost 14.0sek/L = $2.32/L = $8.78/gallon.
And 104 octane E85 cost 8.14sek/L = $1.35/L = $5.11/gallon.

My car usually use 11.0L (average) of gasoline per 100km of driving (mixed, pretty normal driving). E85 is supposed to use up 30% more fuel, so my consumption should be 14.3L of E85 per 100km of normal driving.

I have driven the car a lot on E85, and I am going through just a little over 57L of E85 in 400km. WOW! That is 14.3L per 100km, just like calculated.

I am impressed!

This also means that my usual cost of 154sek/100km has gone down to 116sek/100km, even though I drive like a maniac .

And of course, the power and driveability is much better.


My experience with E85:

1. Better power (cooler intake charge, higher octane and the fact that it is cleaning the engine pretty good).

2. Smoother power and better stability at part-load.

3. I can run a tremendous amount of boost, and it keeps pulling harder and harder all the way to redline without any problems.

4. After only 50 miles the tail-pipe began to get a lighter color. It was black inside before, now itīs brown and very transparent. My pipe is chromed and now you can see the chrome on the inside as well.

5. The sound from the engine is different. It sounds more powerful.

6. The smell from the exhaust is much nicer.


Thoughts about E85 for those who like to go one step further:

Since E85 is more knock-resistent you can modify your engine to make better use of the properties of the fuel and thereby gain both power and mileage at the same time. You can benefit from:
* Advancing the timing (statically or dynamically).
* Raising the compression ratio by milling the head down.
* Still maintain a high boost level in conjuction with high CR.
* In some cases you can run a slightly leaner mixture under part-load or WOT that will benefit the mileage and give head-room for more boost.

* If you have an aftermarket EMS you can get a lot out of E85 with careful mapping.
* For those of you that have looked in to Somender Singhīs groove theory, this may be very interesting for you (think: 12:1 CR or more, very advanced timing and high boost...).

* And yes... My chips clearly makes a larger (positive) impact on performance when used with E85 (better AFRīs and more advanced timing).




Tuning spark maps with E85:

With ethanol you can advance the timing pretty much because of two things:

* Burn rate at different rpm's.

* Octane rating.

Thoughts on LH2.2 and LH2.4:

The stock chips are not very good to run ethanol (E85) on. The spark map is f-ed up even for gasoline use, and even more f-ed up for ethanol. It doesnīt look very good when you view it graphically (think roller coaster). The tuned chips I sell will already be at the limit of knock and have a more consistent map and will therefore work excellent with E85. Then it is just a matter of advancing it further if you desire.

Donīt get me wrong. I am not saying that the stock chips are bad in anyway when it comes to running E85, they are just inefficient. Pinging is definitely not an issue since the spark map is very conservative.

Thoughts on programmable EMS:

Let the piston pass TDC with at least 10 degrees before the peak pressure occurs.

Richer mixture will burn quicker, but... a richer mixture will also raise the threshold of knock.

Follow this rule: MBT = "Minimum ignition for Best Torque". Use the least/smallest possible ignition advance that gives maximum torque.

So... how much advance can you actually run? Since knocking is not the greatest problem with ethanol you should worry about other things, namely the headgasket and other things! You can advance the ignition a lot across the range but how much pressure can the headgasket take? How much pressure can the head bolts take before they stretch? How much force can the rods withstand before bending/breaking?

I ran +3 degrees across the board on my chipped LH2.4 system for a while. It gave me a lot better low end torque but made my engine sound "hard" above 5000rpm at 20psi of boost. The reason it sounded "hard" was that the cylinder pressure was so great at a very early stage of the combustion cycle. It made me gain low end torque but robbed me of horsepower up top.

It is more a rule than an exception that you will have over-advanced the ignition (and thereby loosing power again) before knock occurs on ethanol. The cylinder pressures will therefore become very high so watch the rods/headgasket.

Knock is not proceeded by the rods making a window in the block when running ethanol. The rods will pop out to say hello much earlier than that...

I am now back at the stock setting on my tuned chips again. The torque at low rpm's is lower but I gained top end and the engine sounds healthier.

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And now: How to convert to E85

There is one advanced, and three simple and different ways to convert to E85:

1. The advanced way, tuning and re-flashing the ECU to optimize it for E85.



Advantages:
* The car will be optimized for E85.
* It will be very fuel-efficient.
* More power at the same boost level.

Disadvantages:
* So far, extremely expensive (many hundred up to several thousand dollars).
* You canīt easily go back to gasoline if you want to, unless you feel comfortable with opening the ECU now and then.
* An optimization for E85 causes the injectors to use most of the "overhead" potential they have. Forget being able turn the boost up at all.
* To be able to get any bigger performance gains out of this setup you will need even more performance parts like injectors etc.
* Not the Turbobricks way...


2. An electronical device (piggyback device) that you plug in between the injector wires and the injectors. It will expand the injector pulsewidths by approximately 30% and it will have the possibility of both running on gasoline and E85 by flicking a switch.



Advantages:
* Easy to install and use.
* Has the capability of both gasoline and E85.

Disadvantages:
* Expensive ($350+).
* When running in E85 mode it causes the injectors to use most of the "overhead" potential they have. Forget being able turn the boost up at all.
* To be able to get any bigger performance gains out of this setup (when running E85) you will need even more performance parts like injectors etc.
* Not the Turbobricks way...


3. An adjustable fuel pressure regulator.



Advantages:
* Easy to install.
* The car ECU will adapt to the changes (if it is equipped with an O2-sensor).
* Cheap (~$100 including hoses and clamps).
* You can still do (most of) the performance mods listed on Turbobricks.
* Can be used if you want to blend gasoline and E85. You will always have to keep track of the percentual blend of gas/E85 though. If you want to run a blend of gas/E85, for simplicity, decide a percentual blend and stick to it.
* Can benefit from being used in conjuction with conversion alternative #4.
* This looks more like the turbobricks way...

Disadvantages:
* Too high fuel pressure will put unneccesary strain on the fuel pump or kill it.
* Too high fuel pressure will alter the spray pattern and/or hinder the injectors from opening properly.
* You have to set the fuel pressure differently for different blends between gasoline and E85 (doesnīt take more than a few minutes but can be irritating to some).


4. Bigger injectors.



Advantages:
* Easy to install
* The car ECU will adapt to the changes (if it is equipped with an O2-sensor).
* Cheap (at least if you buy some used ones from a junk-yard or pick-n-pull).
* You can still do all the performance mods listed on Turbobricks.
* Can be used if you want to blend gasoline and E85 (to some degree, more about this further down the page).
* Can benefit from being used in conjuction with conversion alternative #3.
* This looks more like the turbobricks way...

Disadvantages:
* You canīt run on a high percentage of gasoline (will run too rich).
* If you have to run gasoline, you will have to swap back to a set of smaller injectors.


So, we will be looking at the two easiest/cheapest ways which most people think are the best ways of doing it.


Installing a fuel pressure regulator (FPR):

You will need a fuel flow that is roughly 30% (39% or more is preferred) higher than stock. Up to 60% more flow can be used for performance purposes. A good target is 35-40% increase in flow to start with.

Here is an example of increase in flow, and as you can see below, this will yield a very high pressure. Some injectors can take it and some canīt. The fuel pump will also have to work harder. Very good results can be had on a stock car, but if you want to get some performance as well the fuel pump may not support the needed pressure and flow. For performance, an adjustable FPR is best used in conjuction with larger injectors:
* Going from 3bar (43.5psi) of fuel pressure to 4bar (58psi) you will gain ~15% of flow.
* Going from 3bar (43.5psi) of fuel pressure to 5bar (72.5psi) you will gain ~29% of flow.
* To get a satisfying injector flow on stock injectors, you will probably have to go to 5.5bar (80psi) or more...

What you need:



* An adjustable FPR.
* A mounting bracket.
* 30-35" of soft fuel-lines (rubber hose?).
* 20-25" of vacuum-hose.
* A T-junction.
* 4 hose-clamps.
* A fuel pressure gauge is highly recommended.



How to install:



* Run the car until you only have a gallon or so left in the tank.
* De-pressurize the fuel system by pulling fuse #11 (or #1 in some cases) while the car is running.
* Find the stock FPR.
* Connect a fuel-hose between the outlet of the stock FPR and the inlet of the adjustable FPR.
* Connect a fuel-hose between the outlet of the adjustable FPR and the fuel return-line.
* Cut the vacuum hose that connects to the stock FPR and put the T-junction in the middle.
* Connect a new vacuum hose between the T-junction and the vacuum inlet of the adjustable FPR.
* Secure all fuel hoses with hose clamps and make sure there are no leaks (you should be two persons for this, one operating the car and one looking at the connections).
* Fill up with E85.
* Disconnect the vacuum hoses to both FPRīs and set the base fuel pressure to the desired value.
* Connect the vacuum hoses again.

This is what it may look like when it is installed:




There is also an alternative FPR that will fit in the stock location, replacing the original FPR.

It is the Holley HLY-512-503-5 and that can be found here: Summit racing, direct link

It is adjustable between 2.4-4.5bar (35-65psi) of base fuel pressure.

(Thanks to adam_c for finding it.)




Installing bigger injectors:

The easiest way that gives the best results. Highly recommended!!!

You will need 42% bigger injectors. I use ~50% bigger injectors than stock though, and that works perfect. I also chose a little bigger step up than 42% because of my performance goals.

Example:
* If you are using stock injectors, then look for 42lb/hr injectors or use 37lb/hr injectors (browntops) in conjuntion with an adjustable FPR.
* If you are using 37lb/hr (browntops), then look for 48-52lb/hr injectors, 42-46lb/hr injectors + an adjustable FPR, or just raise the fuel pressure if your fuel pump can handle it.

Calculating useable injector size:
(CURRENT INJECTOR SIZE x 1.42) up to (CURRENT INJECTOR SIZE x 1.6)



945T man has done an excellent article on how to swap injectors:

How to install Brown Tops on LH 2.2!

Everything that is said about swapping injectors in that article also goes for E85 on both LH2.2 and LH2.4.

The adjustment of the AMM does not apply to LH2.4 though.



--------------------------------------------------------------------

READ THIS:
An air/fuel-ratio gauge is always recommended when doing any of the two mentioned upgrades. On some vehicles that doesnīt adapt well, you may have to set the base idle and lambda again. You donīt want to run too lean and destroy your engine. LH2.4 will auto-adapt and needs no further adjustments .


Good luck and happy driving ,
Fredrik

Last edited by frpe82; 01-05-2009 at 11:12 PM..
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Old 06-12-2006, 02:58 AM   #2
Hank Scorpio
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Damn, sounds extremely tempting.

What about this:

Mapping 1 ECU for gas but using the 30% larger injectors. Map a second one for E85 and the "correct" injectors. Then you just have to swap ECU's if need be.

Fantastic write up!
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:22 AM   #3
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Great to see some others stepping out of the box. Wonder how my TPI wold like it?
Friday I went to our local dirttrack, Watsonville speedway is within earshot, so I gotta go once in a while...
I was noticing how much better the Alky cars going by smelled than their milder gas operated cousins.

Thanks for the nice concise write up (I'm counting on part two beingjust as good)
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:26 AM   #4
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The bit about LH-Jet Volvo's not having any dissolvable parts in their fuel system gives me a great deal of comfort.

Some info for MS equipped vehicles.

1) MSII and FCS (Fuel Composition Sensor) - It's no suprise that the cramped firmware on MSI boxes can't handle the additional tasks, but MSII already has support for the GM FCS. no need to set up multiple fuel tables, it interpolates the correction factors from the regular gas table based on the reading from the FCS. This would allow you to run various mixtures through the tank (full E85, half & half, E10) with no on-the-fly reconfiguring. Lots o' info: http://www.megasquirt.info/flexfuel.htm

2) MSI boxes - I guess no support for the FCS, and possibly there won't ever be. An alternative would be a dual map setup. One map set up for gas, the other set up for E85. You'd have to run the car pretty close to empty before switching over. I think you can rig up an external switch to flip that will switch between tables so you wouldn't have to have a laptop with you. If you were really l337 you could probably also swap ignition tables and alter your MS-managed boost controller at the same time...
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:06 PM   #5
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The article is as good as finished, and my picture host is back up again.

Please tell me what you think, suggestions etc. and if I have left something out.

You may also ask some relevant questions.

Last edited by frpe82; 06-12-2006 at 05:46 PM..
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:25 PM   #6
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I've allways been under the understanding that Ethanol has some negatives in terms of engine longevity.

http://www.journaltimes.com/nucleus/...hp?itemid=3514
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The proponents are silent on the fact that any alcohol-based fuel is extremely hard on small engines like outboard motors, snowmobiles, chainsaws, and a wide variety of lawn and garden equipment. Ethanol is also destructive in older vehicles that were not designed to accommodate fuels containing alcohol.
From http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_392b.html
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Amoco used to put decals on some of its pumps saying "Pure Lead-Free, No Alcohol Added," but now the no-alcohol line is being dropped, in part due to protests from gasohol advocates. Amoco pumps that do have gasohol are prominently labeled, but this is not necessarily the case with all retailers.
It's also been my understanding that ehtanol attracts moisture. Here is a post on a board that is a guy quoting a Mercury (boat engines and stuff) dealer about ethanol.
Quote:
Also, he stated that boats with polypropylene (plastic) gas tanks need to be kept almost full after use because the Ethanol in the gas attracts moisture by way of the fuel vent. He said that both scenarios can wreak havoc on your motor if you are not vigilant.
Then there is the entry on The Auto Blog about it. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/21/i...its-big-break/
One of the comments is really interesting.
Quote:
Not only is distribution a problem put the processing into ethanol isn't done in the USA to any degree. Surprised? Then be more surprised that the USA is a net importer of ethanol to meet it's needs. SO if distribution is remedied expect more importing of ethanol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Currently the largest ethanol processing plant in the USA is being undertaken bya FRENCH company. Get the feeling the Petroleum industry isn't behind this effort???? SOmebody should be...soooooon.
And another...
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we have reformulated gas in Northern KY because of EPA. This stuff uses Ethanol. And it S-U-C-K-S! BIG TIME! gives cars here fits! bad performance! bad milage! up to 30% less. and it cost$ more!
makes my ford focus go nuts during summer months. don't know why any one would want it. i would rather ride a bus! and i do every summer.
In short, I'm not really convinced in spite of the aggressive nature with which it's being pushed onto the public. As a fuel, it works, but it's no saviour. The bugs and surrounding issues need to be solved.
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Old 07-15-2006, 04:52 PM   #7
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I've allways been under the understanding that Ethanol has some negatives in terms of engine longevity.

http://www.journaltimes.com/nucleus/...hp?itemid=3514


From http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_392b.html


It's also been my understanding that ehtanol attracts moisture. Here is a post on a board that is a guy quoting a Mercury (boat engines and stuff) dealer about ethanol.


Then there is the entry on The Auto Blog about it. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/21/i...its-big-break/
One of the comments is really interesting.


And another...


In short, I'm not really convinced in spite of the aggressive nature with which it's being pushed onto the public. As a fuel, it works, but it's no saviour. The bugs and surrounding issues need to be solved.
Hey guys, learn, learn.
There are a lot of very uneducated statements here. Ethanol is a far superior fuel than Hydrocarbon fuels, "OIL/Gasoline."
Truth, if you just pour it into a none Ethonal tuned system it will be a real problem as you seem to think it is. The other possibility here is that you are paid to say these things by the oil companies.
I really don't believe that but the possibility exists.
No we will not need to emport Ethanol from anywhere. No the largest ethanol maker in the US isn't a foregin owned agent. It is a U.S. Farmer owned company in Iowa.
It also appears that those of you posting here think E-85 is something you mix with gasoline.
E-85 is 15% gasoline, 85% ethanol hence the E-85 label, "E for ethanol, 85 for 85%.
If your worried about reporgramming your ECM for each of or mixtures of the ethanol/gasoline then look at the MegaSquirt ECM. You can do almost as much as you please with this system.
You do have to learn, learn and think, think! Of course the oil companies are not going to support this but the security of this country is at stake on this oil problem. Watch the news. If we didn't need oil, if just 50% of the U.S. population would make thier own fuel and help their neighbor who can't/won't we would need oil only for durable goods like plastics, other synthetics, drugs, chemicals that only can be made from, "petrochemicals", "hydrocarbons" and live in a cleaner environment.
My old man used to say, "boy you need to enguage your brain before running your mouth."
You all sound like intellegent people and you seem to be WEB savvy so do some research.
Learn, the info is here. If you don't understand, talk to someone who does, "it's called totoring".
Have fun! Burn clean/cheap/free fuel.
I make about 1500 gal of ethanol each year.
I use absolutely free energy to distill it.
I built the still.
You can too.
I don't mix ethanol with gasoline.
I don't want that crap, "gasoline" in my machines. For your info I fly a home built aircraft that cruises at 410 mph at sea level. At 25,000 ft that is very close to the speed of sound. It uses ethanol. I make it to the West coast from Texas in about 2.5 hours if the jet stream is below 100mph. If it is that fast I load on another 20 gal or so of jet fuel before I leave the coast, Phew, nasty stuff so as to get back nonestop.
No I'm not going to offer to do the tutoring on ethanol, injectors, ECM's, aircraft.
It is easy to do.
Bottom line....... learn, learn, learn,
If your still in High School, stay and learn, learn, learn.
It doesn't take a high IQ for this it takes a little effort. Learn, learn, learn.
I've been using ethanol since 1973.
At first I used it outside the law when it was nearly impossible to make it legaly.
Now it would be stupid to break the law. It is easy to get a license to make your own brew for fuel.
P.S. I also inject a small amount of Hydrogen into the airstream entering the engines of my road vehicles that causes the primary fuel, "ethanol, gasoline etc" to change the mode of combustion to the hydrogen cumbustion mode making the burn even cleaner, faster proprogating and allowing ingition timing to be after top dead center thus saving the load of compressing against an already started combustion process like is occuring when fireing before TDC.
More miles per gallon.
More power where it belongs, "the wheels".

Same machine tuned for pure ethanol will out perform gasoline in almost every way.
1. mileage
2. brute power
3. cleaner
4. longivity
5. maintainance
6. etc,etc,etc,etc
The only people who are saying bad things about Ethanol, Ethanol mixes, "E-85", Hydrogen etc are either oil investors, producers or people who just don't understand the combustion process.
Those who don't understand the process are probably stating their opinion from making a half baked attempt to burn something besides gasoline or hydrocarbon Diesel.
It isn't any harder to burn good fuel verses the damned garbage that's been sold to us ever since Henry Ford got into a relation with the oil producers back when.
Misinformation and ignorance is the largest problem.
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Old 08-26-2006, 10:43 AM   #8
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No we will not need to emport Ethanol from anywhere. No the largest ethanol maker in the US isn't a foregin owned agent. It is a U.S. Farmer owned company in Iowa.
...
Of course the oil companies are not going to support this but the security of this country is at stake on this oil problem. Watch the news. If we didn't need oil, if just 50% of the U.S. population would make thier own fuel and help their neighbor who can't/won't we would need oil only for durable goods like plastics, other synthetics, drugs, chemicals that only can be made from, "petrochemicals", "hydrocarbons" and live in a cleaner environment.
From The Oil Drum, http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/5/23/23846/0807

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If you listen to the news lately, you know that E85 is going to lead the U.S. to energy independence, just like it did in Brazil. Senator Hillary Clinton has announced that she is getting into the act:
"President Bush and other elected officials have called for a greater expansion of E-85, a fuel made of 85 percent ethanol that can be used in vehicles built to run on both regular unleaded gasoline and E-85. E-85 is currently available in less than one percent of the country's gas stations, and Clinton wants to accelerate the spread of the fuel to half of the nation's gas stations by 2015 by offering a 50 percent tax credit for station owners who install ethanol pumps. `We've got to take action on this pump issue or we're just spinning our wheels,' she said."
There's more... (705 words) | Comments (232) | Permalink
Just spinning our wheels. Indeed. But let's do a reality check and see whose wheels are spinning. These claims deserve a mathematical analysis, which none of the E85 proponents appear to have done.
According to http://www.corn.org/CRAR2005.PDF (Warning: 1.9 meg file) the estimated corn harvest in 2005 was 10.35 billion bushels, and corn exports were 1.95 billion bushels. According to the 2002 USDA study Estimating the Net Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol, you can get 2.7 gallons of ethanol from a bushel of corn. That means if we turned the entire corn crop into ethanol, we could make 27.9 billion gallons of ethanol. But as we all know, the BTU value of ethanol is around 67% that of gasoline, meaning that on a BTU basis this much ethanol is equivalent to 18.8 billion gallons of gasoline.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, our annual gasoline consumption is up to almost 140 billion gallons. That means on a BTU equivalent basis, converting the entire corn crop into ethanol would amount to 13.4% of our annual gasoline demand. Putting all of that ethanol into the gasoline supply would mean ethanol could comprise 19% of the gasoline supply on a volumetric basis (while consuming all of our corn production). In other words, all of the gasoline in the country could be E19 if we wanted to use 100% of the corn crop. Of course if we only want to turn all of our current exports into ethanol (ignoring the many implications), that would amount to 2.5% of our annual gasoline demand. In that case, E10 could make up about a third of our gasoline supply on a volumetric basis. If we want to convert all of the corn exports into E85, it could make up 3.3% of our total gasoline pool.
But that's the good news. According to the previously mentioned USDA study, it takes 77,228 BTUs of fossil fuel inputs to make 83,961 BTUs of "green, renewable" ethanol. Ignoring co-products for a moment, that means the created energy was a mere 8% in excess of the input energy. Given that the fossil fuels (primarily natural gas) that went into making the ethanol can usually serve as transportation fuels, the amount of transportation fuel that is displaced is only the 8% that was "created". That means that in reality, using our entire corn crop would only displace 1% of our annual gasoline consumption. If we only decide to use our exports, the net displacement of gasoline would be 0.2% of our annual gasoline consumption.
Now, a word about co-products. Energy balance studies of grain ethanol almost always include a BTU credit for the co-products (mostly animal feed). I think this is appropriate, provided that a proper analysis is made of the energy inputs into the products that were displaced. Let's ignore for a moment the fact that some estimates indicate that the "byproduct markets could saturate well short of 11 billion gallons of production". Let's give full credit for the byproducts, just as if they are liquid fuels to be burned. This has no effect on the BTU equivalent calculation, but will affect the displacement calculation. With by-products included, the USDA report has 77,228 BTUs of fossil fuel inputs for 98,333 BTUs of total outputs. In this best case scenario, the ratio of energy out/energy in is 1.27. Converting 100% of the corn crop into ethanol, presuming we had a market for the byproducts, would then displace an incredible 2.0% of our annual gasoline consumption. So, why the big rush to get E85 pumps at 50% of the nation's gas stations? We can't possibly produce enough E85 to justify putting in all those pumps. Wouldn't it be much better just to push for E10 at more locations? In that case, expensive new pumps are not required, and E10 can already be burned in most vehicles on the road. Or how about encouraging more natural gas vehicles, instead of inefficiently and expensively turning natural gas into ethanol? But I suppose those would be rational solutions, as opposed to feel-good solutions that promise energy independence.
So much for no longer needing oil, huh?
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JohnMc
The bit about LH-Jet Volvo's not having any dissolvable parts in their fuel system gives me a great deal of comfort.

Some info for MS equipped vehicles.

1) MSII and FCS (Fuel Composition Sensor) - It's no suprise that the cramped firmware on MSI boxes can't handle the additional tasks, but MSII already has support for the GM FCS. no need to set up multiple fuel tables, it interpolates the correction factors from the regular gas table based on the reading from the FCS. This would allow you to run various mixtures through the tank (full E85, half & half, E10) with no on-the-fly reconfiguring. Lots o' info: http://www.megasquirt.info/flexfuel.htm

2) MSI boxes - I guess no support for the FCS, and possibly there won't ever be. An alternative would be a dual map setup. One map set up for gas, the other set up for E85. You'd have to run the car pretty close to empty before switching over. I think you can rig up an external switch to flip that will switch between tables so you wouldn't have to have a laptop with you. If you were really l337 you could probably also swap ignition tables and alter your MS-managed boost controller at the same time...
What about MSI running only E85- not some random mix of ethanol and gas?
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:42 PM   #10
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What about MSI running only E85- not some random mix of ethanol and gas?
Assuming your injectors won't max out, just up the req fuel number by 39%. And call it a day.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:47 PM   #11
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I just wanted to say that they lowered the price of E85 in Sweden today.

Before today it cost me 7.99sek/L = $1.12/L = $4.24/gallon.
Today it cost me 7.24sek/L = $1.01/L = $3.82/gallon.

Compare that to the gas price of 12.49sek/L = $1.75/L = $6.62/gallon.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:27 PM   #12
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Fred, about the "pulse width extender". I've use similar piggybacks (that work after the ECU) and found any change in duty cycle in closed loop causes the ECU to flip out. So Im not really sure how viable that option is.

Also, wouldn't we need to reprogram the ecu's in closed loop to look for a different target AFR than 14.7:1?
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:38 PM   #13
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Fred, about the "pulse width extender". I've use similar piggybacks (that work after the ECU) and found any change in duty cycle in closed loop causes the ECU to flip out. So Im not really sure how viable that option is.
Yes, I totally agree. You can´t just flick the switch on the dash and think that everything will be allright and that the car is going to run fine on the other fuel again. It has to re-learn and that is when it gets nasty. The ECU will definitely freak out.

You can´t really do it while you drive, but you can actually do it with the car shut off. I have actually tried it.

Honestly, I didn´t like it...

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Originally Posted by Hank Scorpio
Also, wouldn't we need to reprogram the ecu's in closed loop to look for a different target AFR than 14.7:1?
No. The narrow band lambda sensor doesn´t have a clue about AFR, only lambda.

The ECU will tune to lambda=1 on idle regardless of the fuel used, and lambda=1 for E85 is 9.8.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:59 PM   #14
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In response to BDKR´s post:
To me it looks like all those quotes are regarding gasoline with alcohol content (gasohol of different degrees), and that is what most people are referring to in discussions like this. E85 is an alcohol fuel and is not really directly linked to gasoline.

I do agree with you in your claims there Terrence, and I know that gasoline with alcohol content has a negative impact on many engines, both when it comes to longevity/durability and mileage/fuel-economy:
* Most of the engines that gasohol is used in are not optimised for it.
* It is actually proven that engines run like crap on gasohol.
* A blend of gasoline and 25-40% of E85 is not going to do anything for an engine that is not optimized, but may ruin it really quick since it will run too lean.
* E85 with a gasoline content is another thing and if the engine is optimized for it, it will be performing better than the gasoline counterpart.

Did I interpret your post correctly?

Last edited by frpe82; 06-12-2006 at 09:10 PM..
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by frpe82
The ECU will tune to lambda=1 on idle regardless of the fuel used, and lambda=1 for E85 is 9.8.
Ohhh... duh. Ok I get you now. That makes sense
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:17 PM   #16
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Old 06-19-2006, 05:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by frpe82
No. The narrow band lambda sensor doesnīt have a clue about AFR, only lambda.

The ECU will tune to lambda=1 on idle regardless of the fuel used, and lambda=1 for E85 is 9.8.
what about an LC1 wideband?
I cant remember if it bases the analog output signel off of the afr
or if its a direct corrilation to lamda...
(aka do i need to reprogram it....)
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:49 PM   #18
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what about an LC1 wideband?
I cant remember if it bases the analog output signel off of the afr
or if its a direct corrilation to lamda...
(aka do i need to reprogram it....)
You have to set the fuel type to ethanol in the "LM programmer 3.0" program that came with the LC1 WB sensor. Look at page 12 in the manual: http://www.innovatemotorsports.com/s...C-1_Manual.pdf
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:30 PM   #19
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No. The narrow band lambda sensor doesnīt have a clue about AFR, only lambda.

The ECU will tune to lambda=1 on idle regardless of the fuel used, and lambda=1 for E85 is 9.8.
I'm sorry. I know this has been covered and I'm not trying to be difficult here(I appreciate the write up!), but I don't understand how the O2 sensor can compensate. The ecu doesn't tune for lambda, it tunes for 450mv. O2 sensors use the difference in outside air and exhaust air oxygen content and output a signal voltage based on that. Oxygen content increases with AFR. It does not spike in any way at lambda. If the amount of flow remains the same, and the fuel content increases, the O2 content will decrease. The ECU will not change it's desired reading of 450mv. Maybe I'm missing something here. I have to confess I didn't read all 6 pages. Thanks in advance for any clarification you can give me.
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:41 AM   #20
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I'm sorry. I know this has been covered and I'm not trying to be difficult here(I appreciate the write up!), but I don't understand how the O2 sensor can compensate. The ecu doesn't tune for lambda, it tunes for 450mv. O2 sensors use the difference in outside air and exhaust air oxygen content and output a signal voltage based on that. Oxygen content increases with AFR. It does not spike in any way at lambda. If the amount of flow remains the same, and the fuel content increases, the O2 content will decrease. The ECU will not change it's desired reading of 450mv. Maybe I'm missing something here. I have to confess I didn't read all 6 pages. Thanks in advance for any clarification you can give me.
The swing back and forth at around 450mV is Lambda=1 regardless of fuel used. The O2-sensor doesnīt read differently just because E85 is used.

So to conclude: 450mV is Lambda=1, and 450mV is what the ECU is trying to achieve all the time at idle and cruise.
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:42 PM   #21
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The assertion of a Lambda value requires not just knowledge of oxygen but also of the fuel. Otherwise it would not occur at a specific afr for a specific fuel. Oxygen sensors do not measure fuel, only oxygen. Therefore O2 sensors don't detect or output any reference to lambda. These associations are done by math. If the air/fuel ratio changes, the oxygen level changes, and the O2 sensor voltage output changes, and the ecu will tune back to that same amount of oxygen(450mv). You will be left with the same afr as with gasoline, in which case you will be too lean.

Can anyone point me in the direction of any tech info that says that narrowband O2 sensors directly read and output lambda? Such a sensor would have to ignore oxygen level readings and measure fuel to compensate for what lambda is on said fuel, if the output voltages remain the same.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:35 PM   #22
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The AFR is merely derived from the remaining amount of oxygen present in the exhaust. Ethanol will give the same sort of reading on the O2 sensor at stochiometric as gas would. No changes needed. A wideband gauge would still show 14.7, though, as it has the gasoline specific exhaust oxygen to AFR conversion table hard coded into it.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:34 PM   #23
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Just curious frpe82 could the group-buy chips you have be converted for use as 85 IE more performance oriented e85 tune???

if so some 50 lb injectors may make the list of my wanted mods.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:14 PM   #24
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Default Convertion to E85 Ethanol

Does anyone know if this kit is available in the UK ? If not what is it's website so I can go speak with them.

Deciding which way to go LPG or E85 Ethanol has just hit the UK Norwich being one of the first places to trial it and would be interesting to see how it runs

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Old 06-13-2006, 07:25 PM   #25
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Does anyone know if this kit is available in the UK ?
Which kit?

There are 4 ways to go:

1. Tuning and re-flashing the ECU to optimize it for E85.
2. A piggyback device.
3. An adjustable fuel pressure regulator.
4. Bigger injectors.

IMO, the best way to do the conversion is bigger injectors + chips if you want to boost the performance and mileage...
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