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HuskerFlex

custom built e85 only commuter car...

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I have been thinking of using methane from my digester for cold start assist. I could pump it into a nitrous bottle, then use the plate to inject it into the engine. No need to buy anything, and its using existing stuff that is already laying around here.

 

Something has been rattling around in my head. I realize I do mostly high way driving, where others do mostly city driving so the highway gears and overdrives wont work as well. So I got to thinking, what if I build a roadster, or a small coupe kinda like a Cobra Daytona Coupe on a tube frame with a high compression 302 Ford v8 in it? Give it 3.50-4.10 gears since it doesnt have to go highway much and make it very light. That would mean it can get away from stoplights easy, and parts to build a 302 are everywhere and cheap. Maybe when it is done I could challenge the Tesla Roadster to a race, see who can go farther and faster on a single charge. Might have to swap gears for that.

 

Also there is a car called the Atom, it is powered by a Honda engine and its pretty much a space frame with an engine and a couple fairings. What would be stopping someone from enclosing it more for weather, upping the compression in the Honda 4, and using it as a commuter car on ethanol? Most people drive alone and dont carry much with them on the commute, so a very small two passenger vehicle would be better than driving an empty SUV or minivan to work, plus they would look cool and be fun to drive. Sure it would be a second car and not family oriented at all, but if it was built inexpensively enough people could afford it. Think of it as a $15k 911 or Miata. You could do it with a Miata, S2000 (if you find one cheap) or any of those light two seaters, I like the Fiero myself. If you do mostly city driving, then hopping up an engine with compression and a custom cam would be the only expense, and fuel would be much cheaper.

 

Perhaps I should build something like that....  Anyone want to invest?

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OK, looking at the same problem, and the same goal (building an e85 only high compression engine for a commuter type car)... but from a different angle...

 

Rather then taking a gasoline engine, boosting compression and timing to try to make it more optimized for ethanol... why not take a small diesel that is ALREADY very high compression, and adapt IT for ethanol...  different injectors, add spark...  Any merit in this?

 

My father has an old very long stroked torquey little Isuzu 1.8 liter inline 4 diesel engine from the early 80s... sitting in a shop... could make for an interesting little test bed...

 

Would such a project be at all possible?  Would it be easier to convert a diesel to ethanol then a gas engine?

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The problem with going from a diesel to gas is you would have to reintroduce the ignition source, spark plugs, wires, distributor or crank trigger system. Compression may or maynot be a issue as several tricks to use thicker head gaskets or dish pistons. It is defiantly easier to give a gas burner more compression and more timing to give the E85 or even E100 what it needs to be happy. Shaving down the block deck height, milling down the head, taller pistons or any combination of are easier to accomplish.

 

I would be intersted in a investment opportunity to develop and build this type of commuter like the what Smart Car has seen in the market place here in Omaha. My only problem is a market for such a vehicle is limited due to the amount of E85 stations around here and nationaly. If E85 was available at every other station, I think it would take off like sliced bread.

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was thinking that may be the case...

 

As for the commuter ethanol car...  the thing with commuters, is they typically drive the same route over and over, hardly ever venturing off it.

 

 

I'd be willing to bet that 90% of my miles on my "commuter car" have been put on in the Douglas/Sarpy county (Omaha Metro Area)... never out of range of one of many e85 stations...

 

Many other commuters are this way.  Don't need to be large, heavy or have lots of cargo space... get 1 bloke from point A to point B day in and day out.  A "smart car" (though I don't know if my 6'4" 240# frame would comfortably fit in one...) would be neat to see customized to be an ethanol only commuter car.

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The problem with going from a diesel to gas is you would have to reintroduce the ignition source, spark plugs, wires, distributor or crank trigger system.

 

Not necessarily.  Diesel fuel injected into air under the proper compression ratio will ignite.  It will not care if the ethanol is there or not.  The igniting diesel could be your 'spark' and the ethanol would burn by default.  The down side is you would need a fairly fancy, and likely custom set of electronics to vary the amounts of diesel and alcohol in the proper proportions.  Hard, but probably doable with modern electronic injection of diesel (which I doubt covers an early 80's isuzu) and ethanol.  Plus you'd be keeping track of two of the harder to find fuels...diesel and E85, and bearing in mind the cold starting characteristics of 80's diesels are often not much better than E85, etc.

 

 

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I believe the goal is to have a E85 only powered commuter car. Diesel fuel in ratios would be no different than burning regular gasoline and E85 in ratio. With huge compression E85 would ignite without spark also. With that much compression it would not be affordable to operate and maintain.

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Corey,

 

I was more thinking of replacing diesel with e85 in a diesel engine....  What you are talking about is being done already.  A group of Nebraska farmers has developed a system that uses two fuels Diesel (or b20 biodiesel) and hydrous ethanol (160 proof) in standard diesel power units found commonly on Nebraska irrigation motors.  They have found that not only do their run MUCH cheaper, but their emissions are drastically improved, which with new EPA standards is a huge concern.  Their system I believe was quite pricey, something like $5k for a conversion of one engine, less for bulk discounts.  One of the farmers involved in this was a former president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Board, Bob Dickey, of Laurel, Nebraska .

 

They were mixing anhydrous ethanol with water to make 120 proof (60% ethanol, 40% water), but their intent was for farmers to make their own ethanol, but skip the last stage (dehydration) therefore making it all that much cheaper to produce and use.  They have even been talking with BNSF about the possible use of this technology on the large diesel engines on their locomotives.  This would be huge for them to clean up their emissions with out many changes or added expenses... actually saving them money... and creating a new massive market for ethanol!

 

They have also done this conversion on tractors, grain trucks, and pickup trucks... any diesel engine seems to be a possible candidate!

 

http://cleanflexsystems.com/

 

Sorry for hijacking my own thread... :-[  Corey just brought up a good technology that may be a viable solution for many industries.

 

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Thumpin455 - New member here but just read this thread and saw you mentioned the L series 3800v6 from GM.  I own a 2000 Buick Regal GS (Supercharged) and a lot of people in the 3800 community have done a full e85 conversion including myself.  Now we didn't do it for any sort of efficiency gain, it was all in the name of performance.  Forced induction+E85=Huge Win for all of us.  It's pretty straightforward on this platform.  If you are a more or less stock drivetrain larger injectors and a tune to adjust AFR is usually all that's needed.  In a supercharged GTP or Regal GS typically fuel pump needs to be upgraded as well to meet the larger demand for fuel during full throttle runs without starving for fuel and leaning out to dangerous levels. 

 

I have a friend that is running an cam'd 3800 on e85 and it runs great.  There are a lot of options out there for a cam on the 3800 thought if you're N/A its much more limited as there isn't a huge performance market for the L26/L36 motors unless the individual wanted to top swap or install a turbo setup with that higher compression block. 

 

I just did the switch on March 27 and it's running great, the engine loves the 11.5psi of boost that is now possible with the charge cooling the e85 provides.  The car is far from stock with aftermarket exhaust, headers, high ratio rockers, custom tune, ect...  Mileage is respectable at about 13.5 city and 22hwy.  On premium fuel I used to average about 16.5/27 so the net cost on my end is virutally the same with the current $1.20 price spread with premium in Indianapolis area.  I daily drive the car but being in indiana there is no shortage of stations whatsoever.  I believe there are close to 100 here.  There's at least 4 within a 5-10min drive of my home and 1 about a quarter mile from my workplace.

 

Check out Clubgp.com, regalgs.org and pretty much any other 3800 oriented board for TONS of information and access to locals who are experienced at tuning for this fuel change.  If you aren't on one of these boards I recommend you take a look, if you need some direction on where to go or who to talk to PM on any of the national boards.  I go by the same name on them and have been involved in the scene for a few years now. 

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You guys are suggesting huge engines for a commuter car.

I think ideally you would want a 1.3 liter or 1.6 liter engine.  13:1 compression.  You don't need 200+ horsepower and only 23 MPG for a commuter car would be horrendous.

 

Not many cars come with small engines, so I think the next best thing would be a 2006+ Honda Civic with the R18 motor.  Swap in some new pistons/rods, new injectors, and a Hondata FlashPro to tune the ECU.  You'll need a few hours of dyno tuning as well.  Wait a few weeks to change the fuel filter.  Done.  I don't think they make a bigger cam for these motors.

 

Of course if you want power than get a Civic Si or Acura RSX with the K20 motor.  You could still get kind close to 30 MPG on the highway.  13:1, injectors, bigger cams and a Honda KPro programmable ECU. 

 

I have a car that is not flex fuel nor is it a commuter car.  It's E85 only.  I've been thinking about doing an E85 commuter car, but lack of availability is what is stopping me.

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that is what I'm thinking of... mid sized car (malibu/stratus type), maybe the next size smaller... 1.6-2.0 sized 4 banger... exactly what I'm thinking of...  I have NO 85 availability issues, as I have a Kum&Go 2.5 miles from my house, super saver 3.5 miles and a bucky's that I drive by every day!  All top well priced.

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