.The basic issue with running E85 on non flex fuel vehicle is that Ethanol
contains slightly less energy than gasoline.. you need about 10%-30% more fuel
running through your injectors for the vehicle to run on E85 . If you just try
and run E85 in a vehicle not designed to run e85 what happens is your Check
Engine light will come on , your cars computer is telling you that the vehicle
is running lean ( not enough fuel- and that is what will cause engine problems).
That is the single largest problem to over come and backyard mechanics do
everything from drilling out their carburetors to changing fuel injectors sizes
but there is a far easier way using a product that is used and Government
approved in Brazil (which has more Flex Fuel vehicles on the road than any other
It's called FlexTek and FlexTek is simply a computer component that changes the pulse width of your injectors , leaving the injectors open slightly longer thereby delivering slightly more fuel that you need into the combustion chamber for your vehicle to run correctly on e85. you remove the Injector plugs on your Fuel Injectors and plug them into the FlexTek plugs and then insert the FlexTek plug on your fuel Injectors . On most Vehicles this is a do it yourself project ...on the Explorer it was difficult to reach the injectors on one side so I ran it over to my local mechanic ..cost $90
And that folks is how simple it was to convert my Ford Explorer to run on E85 , Gasoline or a combination . The FlexTek unit has 2 switches "A" or "G" and you simply place the switch to whatever fuel you want to run. Alcohol (E85) or "G" Gasoline.
But there is much more you can do to complete the conversion to run as efficiently as possible to protect your engine as well as increasing your fuel efficiency.......with relatively minor associated cost
Corrosive properties of E85
This is an issue that many need to strongly consider , E85 contains less energy than gasoline , it has roughly 80% the energy as gasoline. You can lose anywhere from 2% to 30% in fuel economy. Now I have a home office and fuel economy isn't overly important to me as it is to the person that needs to commute 50 miles back and forth to work everyday . If it were critical for me I would have chosen a vehicle that gets better mpg than the SUV to start with . It is great to able to use an alternative fuel just for the sake of not having to send my $$ overseas to OPEC , that said fuel economy matters and if you need to travel daily then start your E85 vehicle project with a car that gets good gas mileage to begin with.
I do care about fuel economy and want to squeeze every last mile I can get out of every gallon of E85 so I researched everything I could do to increase MPG and I'll list them here. Many are common sense processes you have heard before and others are things you may not have considered
Tire Pressure..the experts say you can recover an additional 2-3 MPG for having properly inflated tires. This was the first thing I did on the Explorer was check my tire pressure.
Changing your Oil : The less friction the better your MPG , change at regular intervals and in the case of running E85 choose a good quality Synthetic Oil to offer maximum protection and help in mpg. $35
So what's the Bottom Line with my mileage ?
The Explorer got 14 in city on Gas and 18 on the Highway before the conversion .
After conversion and adding High performance spark plugs , High Flow Air Filter , New Fuel Filter and Synthetic Oil gas
Mileage is 14 In City and almost 20 on the Highway in a driving rain ! This was one a one day test (April 28th) over 150 Miles..
Discuss this article or Ethanol in our E85 Forum Planet E85
Disclaimer : This is an at risk project , If anything were to happen to my vehicle it would be my responsibility , if after reading this article you would like to experiment and convert a vehicle over E85 you agree that is your responsibility .
Converting 2000 Ford Explorer to run on E85