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man114

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Everything posted by man114

  1. I doubt one or two tanks would cause buildup, plus future e85 fillings would clean it out. What I would worry about more is computer calibration. If I put in a tank of gas after running E85 for a while the gas mileage doesn't improve that drastically. The next tank will be better. The subsequent E85 filling will be worse then improve. Supposedly it takes the computer 50 miles or so to recalibrate after you reset it and I'd be its the same when switching back and forth. I usually get 15.6 or so on E85 in my Grand Marquis 17-18 on gas. If I run a tank of gas it only bumps it up to 16, then if I switch back its like 13. (Those are mostly city figures, highway would be slightly better). It takes a tank or two to balance back out. Consequently I just run E85 all the time.
  2. Just hit 15% spread here at the station I usually get it at close to Buffalo NY. Gas is quickly approaching $4 here. The station usually keeps the price 50 cents or so between the two, up until a point, (expensive ethanol/ cheap gas or vice versa, more often than not the ethanol is cheaper than NY gas prices). Most stations are actually 4-10 cents more but this place price battles another right next to them. This is on winter blend too. If they don't get greedy and the ethanol prices stay really similar I would not be surpised to see a larger spread sooner than later, especially when summer blend hits. Last year the summer blend was averaging in the 20% range vs. gas. Of course any sort of hostility on the near by reservation could mean dirt cheap gas, they keep a false 20-30 cent spread but aren't paying any taxes at all, they have dropped the price like a rock at the first mention of NY collecting taxes. I'm exactly halfway between the two, so my realized spread could be much less
  3. I don't see any issue if you're driving long distances or warming it up well. I just see this as a potential problem if you were doing a lot of city driving or short trips. I'd imagine it would rust the inside of the exhaust out, maybe not on stainless steel, but if you were driving over a period of many years, regardless you'll eventually need another exhaust, or at least muffler, and often times they'll replace the muffler and the pipes at the same time, this stuff is usually cheap steel. I'm still running the original exhaust from 1997 on the Grand Marquis, however these are all observations. Curious how this would play out in the long term. If it would even amount to anything is debateable. Of course the old Crown Vic circa 1984 would produce steam like no tomorrow during its "warm up" while the engine raced to warm up the throttle body and I can't say it went though exhausts that quickly either.
  4. Had two experiences. Guy looks at my 2001 F150 and sees me putting in E85. Looks at the Flex Fuel logo on the back. Asks me what year it was. He was like "how is that possible?". I showed him the conversion kit. He said he ran it all the time because the state troopers run it in the Crown Vics (they have a filling station at the main Thruway police station for the fleet vehicles only), and his friend did repairs on them he said when his friend tore the engines down they were clean inside as if they'd never been run. Was filling up my Grand Marquis, a guy sees me filling up with E85. Takes a curious glance. Goes in and pays. Comes out, looks at my trunk deck where I've got a Flex Fuel logo and then he gets in his car and leaves without saying anything. I'd bet he was curious as to the year of the vehicle.
  5. Why did I switch? My Grand Marquis has always pinged on almost any gas, unless you run premium with an octane boost, even though the good old OBD II says everything is ship shape. Figured I'd give the E85 a try. Let me tell you, a whole summer of no pinging is music to my ears. Additionally ever see the deposits in a gasoline engine left by it burning? Ever burn alcohol and see what deposits it leaves? I can almost guarantee those depostits will wear out your engine faster than the solvent properties of the alcohol. Do you want to take the Ethanol challange? Take 1oz pure ethanol (or as pure as you can buy, hint it is called Everclear) mix it with one oz water and drink it. It'll burn, you'll survive. Would you take 1oz pure gas and do the same? Don't think so.
  6. Well late last week I stopped at a station I never frequent, which had a spread of only 20 cents or so because it was where I was going and frankly I was too cheap to spent $3.79 a gallon for gas since I hadn't gone to the bank yet (E85 was $3.59). The station was Sunoco, but the pumps said that the E85 wasn't provided by Sunoco (and didn't say where it was from either). They even went so far as to say that the E85 was at least 70% Ethanol. After much driving around I stopped by my usual station where the price of E85 dropped 10 cents to $3.19 vs. $3.71 (that stretch is cheaper on gas, and while gas went down 3 cents since the prior week the E85 took a bigger hit). The station right before is boasting that their 91 octane premium (which is low considering most are 93 octane) is Ethanol free. The next station down, within a stones throw is boasting E85. Wonder which one is right. I can say with certainty that the 91 octane premium isn't exactly cheap. About the only thing I could say is the E85 pumps at the expensive station pump faster. Don't think its worth the premium. Gas on the Reseravation of an undetermined octane and blend ratio is hovering near $3.20-3.25 almost worth the drive down if I had a bigger tank. At least I know they're sourcing the gas from Canada, which they're proud of. Can't say where the stuff comes from from the non reservation gas stations, they don't care to say.
  7. I usually use a 190 or 195 degree thermostat, maybe higher if the car will allow, this avoids problems in the winter around here plus gives you heat. If you try using a 160 (I did it in my old F150 back in the day to keep the engine cooler during heavy hauling), you get lukewarm heater air if its really cold out which doesn't quite cut it in the cold winter. I just thought of the potential of it rusting the inside of the exhaust if you left it idling around a lot or did a lot of short trips. I had been doing some tuneup work on the Grand Marquis and in the process drained the cooling system, I noticed it mainly when idling the car to refill the cooling system because I had to idle the car until warm to get the thermostat to open since the car has no radiator cap. If the car doesn't get warm, you get quite a bit of steam. Of course changing the plugs and mass airflow sensor probably did some disruption of things too as the car was previously running lean due to the MAF sensor. I also reset the computer too at this time. This coupled with the cooler ambient air temps at this time of year vs. the summer and its been pretty noticable that unless you get it warm there is more steam with the E85 than with gas. The couple of times I did it with the Grand Marquis won't make any long term difference and the exhaust at 78k miles is pretty old as it is, I was less concerned about the engine as I had to let it run until it was hot to open the thermostat and circulate the coolant for a few minutes, but a long exhaust when the weather is cool takes a bit longer to warm up at those low engine speeds. My commute is 10 miles all at 55, either is plenty hot by then that it wouldn't be an issue, however if you're doing a lot of short drives on E85 I could see a problem developing if the car isn't getting hot.
  8. While I have noticed that E85 leaves fewer deposits and cleans what is in there out, I'm wondering if there is a potential downside, that being the health of the exhaust system. Both vehicles I run this in are conversions but I don't know how much a difference there would be in an actual flex fuel. First I'm sure most of us have smelled the exhaust off the E85, or lack of smell. Unlike gas it hardly smells like much, a slight twang of corn seems present, but not much else. However I think it burns wetter. I'm not sure how to quite describe it, but if you've ever started your car on a cold winter day you see the clouds of exhaust from the present moisture byproduct of combustion. E85 seems worse in the moisture department, but I'm not sure the direct cause, if it is the moisture it absorbs or it burns more completely (hence the lack of real smell). I've noticed though that if I just idle the car in the driveway it is quite steamy on a humid day. Its been hovering around 90% humidity so if I just start and idle the vehicle after a few minutes of running steam is present I'm not talking billowy clouds of steam, but if you look its there and noticable and the exhaust feels wetter. If you don't take the vehicle and get it good and hot (as on the highway), there is a quite a bit of moisture in the exhaust seemingly a lot more than if you were running regular gas. Idling you can watch water drip out, if its humid there is noticable faint puffs of steam. I just did some work on the Grand Marquis and this, with new iridium plugs, is actually more noticable than before. I leaned the conversion kit out a bit but I'm not sure if it was from that (perhaps I was running it too rich if the old plugs were inefficient it certainly seems to run better now) or if the E85 absorbed water from the humid air on the week and a half I was doing the work on it (tank was down 1/4). I drove the truck today, and fresh filled it with E85. I noticed that unless I got it up on the highway it was the same basic thing. If I was doing city driving you could see water sitting on the bottom portion of the tail pipe and didn't dry out until I heated up the enigne with highway driving. After letting it sit two hours you got some nice steam out of the exhaust until you actually started driving it until it got hot. I tested this against a modern fuel injected car running gas an an older car running gas, the older car, which seems to run richer at startup behaved more akin to the E85 results. I don't see this posing much of a problem if you drive until you heat the exhaust up, but if you're sitting idling the thing (as I did with the Grand Marquis while testing some of my work), I could see potentially more water building up in the exhaust and rusting things out faster. I can however say that gas isn't quite the same in this respect. I'm not really concerned, the GM is more than due for a new exhaust anyway a little bit over a course of a week and a half is trivial, if it rusts out from whatever moisture I left in the exhaust then fine. I'm just wondering how things would pan out if you had E85 in a car you drove in the winter, and you spent a lot of time idling it keeping it thawed/warm between driving. Or if you frequently idled a car for a long period when running E85, or used mainly for short city trips. I'd think if there actually is extra moisture, which there seems to be, would it rust the exhaust from the inside, or would the fact that its less corrosive and toxic smelling balance things out?
  9. Corrosive or not, anyone ever look at the mess gasoline leaves in terms of deposits in your engine? I was doing some work on my Grand Marquis, with 78k miles, and took the intake manifold off. My god what a mess of black caked on junk from gas in those intake ports. I don't see how that could possibly be better to run gas! Thats running name brand gasoline too and at relatively low milage. Interestingly you could see where the E85 had cleaned some of it away in the direct spray path of the injectors and how clean the actual intake chambers were from it from only a few thousand miles. Additionally all that other crap backfeeds through the EGR system and that is all caked in black soot too. Yuck. Thats on what probably is a better than average maintance job running top quality wires and plugs! Ever wondered why cars won't run good when they get older? I'm taking some pics of it for the heck of it. I'll clean it all up really clean again and try and run mostly E85 and if I ever tear it down again I'll see just how clean it is then. I doubt I'll run much gas in here in the future unless winter weather and hard starting make it prohibitive in the winter. Hopefully the F150, with only 20k miles on the rebuilt engine, fares better if I take it apart in the future. I'm sure I'll dig into these, if not for repairs for curiousity sake at the end of their useful lives, but I can't imagine that mess is better for the engine than E85.
  10. Check your connections again. I used two kits purchased from change 2 e85. One on my Grand Marquis another on my F150. Had a lean light a few times on the GM, didn't get a single CEL on the F150 even when filling its super thirsty 30 gallon tank entirely with E85. Neither even idled outside of normal however.
  11. This whole food cost thing is mostly nonsense. You could make ethanol from almost anything that will ferment. A lot of it is investing in the infrastructure to do so, and what is at the moment convenient to do.
  12. Here in NY both are taxed something in the arena of 50 cents a gallon. Even if prices were dead even but E85 was taxed only on its 15% gas content it would equate to a 42 cent savings or so per gallon. State by state savings would vary but most states probably have in the realm of 20 cents a gallon tax so there would always be a 15 cent spread at a minimum as long as prices don't climb higher for ethanol than gas. This would create a perfect reduction across the blender pumps, everything getting cheaper with its increasing ethanol content. I highly doubt many people really care about anything than the bottom line cost at the pump. If E85 ran in a person's car and the cost was cheap they'd buy it, because in terms of relative performance when driving there isn't really any difference other than the gas milage. Most of the people I see filling up with E85 are not flex fuel Tauruses which are a dime a dozen but big gas guzzling trucks and SUVs that just happen to be flex fuel and the immediate savings at the time of fillup of that 40 gallons they take to fill up is $20 at the going rate. Granted the real savings if any is less but its that up front $20 that people see. Trust me it is psychologically convincing to see your usual $50 fillup become $44 even though you're technically not saving that much. The only person I ever saw buying it for any other reason explained to me he bought it because his friend worked repairing the Thruway patrol Crown Vics and they'd have next to no deposits on the engines when they were torn down for repairs. I still think if gasoline taxes were waived for the ethanol portion of the product at fillup, subsidies would not be needed but would still transition people to E85 for the cost savings. I'm sure people would buy it just based on the fact they didn't have to pay as much tax, because as we know everyone hates taxes. Perhaps that is a bigger incentive for more people aside from environmental benefits and a renewable fuel. As I mentioned before I doubt many of the buyers are considering anything other than that immediate savings at the pump. For every person educated on the matter there are probably 5 that are just buying it because its cheap and runs in their vehicle.
  13. Thanks to the insane gas prices in NY the price spread has remained at pretty decent at the one station close by that has it. They want something like $3.29 vs. $3.75 for their regular gas, and technically their gas is cheap anyway most places are $3.80 or higher. However if I drive a few miles to the reservation then they've got tax free gas for $3.34. Obviously the gas milage is gonna be better at $3.34 than it is on the $3.29 E85, but it more inconvenient to drive there. Ethanol fuels should be taxed on the basis of its gas content, not as gas itself.
  14. There was an article in the WSJ last week about the corn and wheat prices, with wheat now being cheaper than corn (or at the time of the article). Some Ethanol producers were buying wheat to use because it was now lower than corn. They said it would offset the high corn costs.
  15. I may pick up 02 sensor when I get my next fillup. I've driven the Grand Marquis mostly. My wife has driven the F150 mostly, but says it has more power, I'll check the fuel economy on that one after fillup. I have one of those Actron Superscanners and check the data from time to time, still seems fairly well within the range of normal but who knows. I'll change it anyway its not too epxensive. Of the 4 or 5 local E85 stations (not really local, most are quite a distance) The place that sells E85 cheapest is right near a cheap autoparts store and is also the closest station to me (and fairly easily incorporated into some of my regular jaunts). The computer resets while I tried to adjust to optimum performance without the check engine light, have had the fuel economy all over the board, from a low of 14.36 (this was when I replaced the fuel filter so I lost a bit of fuel there, I also got stuck in construction with extended idling) up to 16.38 (mostly straight without a lot of stop and go). I'm sure it will balance out eventually. This fuel economy technically isn't too bad, my normal range in the past year is only 17-19 in this car, best I've ever seen is maybe 21 on an extended straight highway run which I rarely do (I checked my log, I write it down every couple of fillups, if I notice a continued drop something might be up). I do run a K&N filter, Bosch Platinum 4 plugs and Taylor wires in this one. I'm not really concerned about fuel economy though I'd prefer if the overall costs at least are close to gas. Right now, due to New York's insane gas priced it is 57 cents a gallon less for E85 vs the cheapest non reservation gas station (which are as low as 3.36 and supposedly only use North American sourced oil, but are the opposite direction from where I go, not really worth the drive down there in the Grand Marquis I'd barely recoup the costs, the truck I could save substantially), regular runs about 3.85 maybe a low of 3.81. If it hovers close to 60 cents difference I'm technically saving money but at a reduced range, and despite their size the Grand Marquis has a comparably small gas tank (20 gallon on the modern version, a mere 18 on the old version) for its fuel economy, my old Lebaron which on a good jaunt with its V6 could average as high as 30mpg had a 15 gallon gas tank and was much smaller, its cruising range could be as much as 100 miles more than the Grand Marquis when averaged out. All this equates to more frequent fillups. I like the fact that it doesn't ping and has more power, however so I'd probably use it unless doing so becomes more expensive than running premium (which I'd have to use to keep the car from pinging) when factored out.
  16. Grand Marquis is at just over 76k, the F150 is at like 43k. I tend to have lots of weirdly low milage vehicles for the given model year. My 83 Grand Marquis has like 80k miles. My 88 Aerostar around 85k. I should state that I've had lean CELs on the Grand Marquis before I put this thing in that were related to the MAF sensor. I elected to clean the sensor as opposed to replacing it. When it threw the CEL after the kit I intially dialed it up a notch as Dave recommended, but changed the gas filter today (can't even remember when I last did it, might have been around 40k), and dialed it back 3/4 of a notch. If it throws the CEL again I'll turn it up to 1/2 of a turn. I cleaned the MAF again, I was driving through a very dusty construction sight sometime between the time I installed it and now. Other than that it has fun fine and so has the truck. Again my main reason for getting this is the GM has always pinged. Always. Its annoying as heck. With the Ehtanol, no ping.
  17. Converted my 97 Grand Marquis and 01 F150. I bought the kits from change2e85.com, was looking for used/old kits as I was trying to do this as cheaply as possible. David provided what I needed and was fairly prompt about responding to what I needed. Installation was simple enough but I've worked on cars before. F150, a V6, went without a hitch so far. Grand Marquis threw a check engine light, after a long trip at that. I dialed it up one notch on the converter. However I can't recall when I last changed the fuel filter so I changed it, then dialed it back down a bit so we'll see what happens. Could very well be the filter, it felt heavy when I changed it. I've had to key it twice to start it on E85. Fuel economy however was minimally different, 16 vs 17ish. I have a K&N in there and Bosch platinum 4 plugs. Mainly did the conversion for the high octane as the GM has always pinged under load.
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