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Old 03-19-2017, 08:56 AM   #1
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E85?

My 2010 is a flex fuel 5.4L. First FF vehicle I've ever owned. I've done the K&N, opened the exhaust. Both of those things added no noticeable power increases or fuel mileage increase. I don't plan on buying a programmer for the computer since they are very expensive and I'm not convinced that they will do anything other than change the timing. Living and driving at 5-11,000' doesn't warrant extra fuel IMO.
A friend said to run the E85 because it would add extra power. So I tried a tank full. Absolutely not impressed. Got 2mpg less and it felt like it had much less power going over Eisenhower and Hoosier pass. The only thing I really noticed was that the exhaust sounded a little different and that the fuel was .30 less per gallon.
What is your experience/opinion of E85 at altitude?

(Didn't see this topic in a search, sorry if it has already been discussed)
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:33 PM   #2
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Can't speak to vans, but I run e85 in my Cadillac CTS-V. If you're running ethanol for fuel savings then it's really a wash. The reduced fuel economy you see with E85 pretty much negates the fuel savings at the pump. Now if you're using E85 strictly for more power like I am (smiles/gallon) then E85 is totally worth it. With E85, my cts-v gets 737 whp. With 91 unleaded I dyno'd at 685 whp. So I'm seeing a power difference with the E85. But doubtful you'll notice a difference on an econoline van. Also you may not be getting 85% ethanol with each fill up. Depends on the time of the year, summer typically has higher ethanol content. I've measured as high as 83%. In the winter, I've seen as low as 70%. Only downside is that your car smells like a drunken sailor while running E85


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Old 03-30-2017, 06:35 PM   #3
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Can't comment too much on altitude as I live at the beach. Couple times I've taken the cts-v over the cajon pass and through the grapevine, I was passing everybody....lol but I've got a lead foot


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Old 03-30-2017, 09:25 PM   #4
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I would suspect that the vans factory tune isn't designed to take advantage of E85 for a performance improvement. I base this off of the statement that there was only a 2 mpg decrease in mileage as compared to gasoline. That's not much increase in fuel volume. My experience with fuels is that when the same engine is set up for alcohol based fuels we were feeding the motor nearly 1/3 more fuel volume vs gas at the same altitude density. And of course a lot of other changes were needed as well, timing advance, cam phasing, etc. This would translate out from say 15 mpg down to 10 mpg or worse. Plus the fuel system was designed to supply the much larger performance quantity of fuel in anticipation that we were going to use different fuels. Using E85 or M100 methanol would produce a lot more power than pump gas when done correctly. Your van dose all these things automatically after it determines the ethanol content but I have a feeling that as a highway vehicle it still leans toward mileage vs performance even though it "can" run on E85 and as mentioned the ethanol content can vary.

Here is a cool introduction to tuning with ethanol for performance. It's leaning towards turbo powered cars but the physics are the same.
Knowledge Boost: Ethanol Explained - Speedhunters

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Old 03-31-2017, 07:20 AM   #5
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E85 as less energy per gallon than gasoline, so yes, you will get less mileage.

Ethanol was designed as a supplement to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, there are side effects to ethanol including lower available energy, spending a lot of energy to produce the ethanol, and ethanol can also retain water.

An interesting comparison article.
https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy...ison-test.html


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Old 03-31-2017, 07:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShuttlePilot View Post
I would suspect that the vans factory tune isn't designed to take advantage of E85 for a performance improvement. I base this off of the statement that there was only a 2 mpg decrease in mileage as compared to gasoline. That's not much increase in fuel volume. My experience with fuels is that when the same engine is set up for alcohol based fuels we were feeding the motor nearly 1/3 more fuel volume vs gas at the same altitude density. And of course a lot of other changes were needed as well, timing advance, cam phasing, etc. This would translate out from say 15 mpg down to 10 mpg or worse. Plus the fuel system was designed to supply the much larger performance quantity of fuel in anticipation that we were going to use different fuels. Using E85 or M100 methanol would produce a lot more power than pump gas when done correctly. Your van dose all these things automatically after it determines the ethanol content but I have a feeling that as a highway vehicle it still leans toward mileage vs performance even though it "can" run on E85 and as mentioned the ethanol content can vary.

Here is a cool introduction to tuning with ethanol for performance. It's leaning towards turbo powered cars but the physics are the same.
Knowledge Boost: Ethanol Explained - Speedhunters

-Eric
That does seem legit. Without the vehicle dumping more fuel to the cylinders and adding the altitude, I can see where it may not perform as good here.
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