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(Post Link) post #1 of 23 Old 03-07-06 Thread Starter
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E85 and a T-Spark

I'm not sure how much people know about E85, it's a blend of 85% Bio-Ethanol and 15% Unleaded. It has a higher octane number than petrol so it's more difficult to ignite. It's currently used in FlexiFuel Vehicles which have a smart ECU which can adjust the fueling and ignition timing to run on E85, regular unleaded, or any mix of the two. Here in ireland, E85 costs approximately 30% less than regular unleaded, there however is a mileage penalty, but nowhere near the 30% mark. In addition to this, there is a significant environmental benefit.

Just looking at running E85 with no unleaded mixed in, the fueling needs to be increased and the timing needs to be retarded. The thing is, with a twin spark, it should be possible to achieve better burning of the E85 i.e. each spark helping things along, potentially making it ideal for conversion. I'm throwing this open to any of you who might have played around with the ECU settings to get your take on it, how difficult would it be to increase the fueling and to retard the ignition timing?

Warning: One big caveat in all of this is materials compatability. Ethanol is a strong solvent and may degrade some rubber or plastic components in the fuel system so a little reasearch into the materials needs to be done before going out and filling up with E85.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

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Warning: One big caveat in all of this is materials compatability. Ethanol is a strong solvent and may degrade some rubber or plastic components in the fuel system so a little reasearch into the materials needs to be done before going out and filling up with E85.
I think that is the main "issue", far more than the ECU.

I'm sure there are some members in Brasil where they run almost pure Ethanol with no problems.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

As I understand it, the TSpark has a knock sensor and the ECU takes care of advancing and retarding the timing. So I guess, in theory, it should work fine. (Subject to the materials holding up).
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

The knock sensor may compensate for the ignition timing, but I would have thought it would be more biased towards advancing the timing to prevent preignition where a lower octane fuel is used. That still leaves the problem of fueling because there is less energy contained in the E85, it is necessary to increase the ammount of fuel injected, this could possibly be done with a piggyback device inserted inline between the ECU and injector pump, increasing the injection period. What do people think?
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

iirc Alfa only recommend the use of 5 or 10 percent ethanol petrol.

For a bit more info do a search, there was a long thread sometime ago about ethanol petrol in Australia.


Incidently there an argument that there there is not a significant environmental benefit to using ethanol as the growing and transport of maize (from South America) to manufacture the product is extremely wasteful of land and resources, albeit the supply is renewable unlike oil.

The 99 octane petrol available at some Tesco (UK) stores is ethanol based.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

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Originally Posted by norbert
Incidently there an argument that there there is not a significant environmental benefit to using ethanol as the growing and transport of maize (from South America) to manufacture the product is extremely wasteful of land and resources, albeit the supply is renewable unlike oil.
True, but more and more is being made here using our own crops. A friend of mine is a grain trader and his company are building a refinery/distillery at the moment.

Have a look here.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

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True, but more and more is being made here using our own crops. A friend of mine is a grain trader and his company are building a refinery/distillery at the moment.

Have a look here.

Interesting. I wonder when George Bush and his cronies will put a huge tax on Ethanol petrol?
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

I`m not sure that is quite right. There may be less energy (calorific value) in the fuel but that doesn`t mean you cure it by putting more fuel in. You may get less energy per gram but it still takes up the same amount of volume as petrol with its higher energy rating. If you put more fuel in you have less room for the air and you will get rich running, not more energy output. Thats how LPG systems work and you just have to accept that a lower calorific value means you are just going to get less power - hence the lower mpg figures (this is improved on in later LPG systems but never completely overcome).

Increased octane means it won't self-combust as easily as petrol will under pressure, not that it won`t burn as easily, so the timing can actaully be advanced and give slightly better performance from this angle. The ECU can handle this without problems - have you got your retardation and advancement terms the wrong way around? Alternatively you may mean that ethanol burns slower than petrol and thats why you want retardation, although thats not actually anything to do with octane. In that case you may be stuffed as the ecu may do its best to advance the timing if it detects no pinking at all. In that case I would suggest a permanent remap or you could go for a seperate fuel system that shares the common fuel rail with a manual valve to switch between them. A LPG system brain could possibly manage that for you as they are pretty simple affairs, easily reprogrammed and do as they are told rather than try to be clever with various sensors. Mine only uses throttle postion and lambda readings so would be ideal. It also normally turns of the injectors but you just wouldn`t connect that bit so your new fuel would still flow.

Mind you, its all a theory and I wouldn`t want to try to cobble it together!
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

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Originally Posted by norbert
The 99 octane petrol available at some Tesco (UK) stores is ethanol based.
yep, that is E5 (ie 5% Ethanol).
Works very well in my 156.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

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Originally Posted by norbert
The 99 octane petrol available at some Tesco (UK) stores is ethanol based.
[pedant]
Well, considering it's only 5% ethanol, I'd say it's petrol based!
[/pedant]
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

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Originally Posted by badgers_nadgers
[pedant]
Well, considering it's only 5% ethanol, I'd say it's petrol based!
[/pedant]

lol

i'll give you that one

btw when does it become simply alcohol rather than petrol? 51% I guess.

Or do we just call it (colloquially) petrol whatever the concentration?

So many questions...Pedants corner
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

If you going down the pedantic route, I think that if you look back far enough "Petrol" is actually a trade name that over the years has been adopted as the actual description of the product (i.e. like Hoover).


... I'll get my coat...
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

Hi All,
I have been running my previous car (Fiat Coupe 20V) on E85 for about a year now using a Fullflex system. Here's a few links.
Ethanol Conversion Kits - Go On Green
Full Flex
e85 conversion kits - Full Flex International is now Fuel Flex International- Full Flex Gold and ECO Flex Platinum USA Distributor flex fuel - Pulstar Spark Plugs
I just got the Alfa and the system is running fine on it, with one set of cables hanging free. One tuner here in Ireland claims that he can remap to take advantage of the higher octane, and I quote
"Yes we can remap your ecu to optimise the potential using E85 fuel.
We can remap specifically for E85 fuel and maximise efficiency for
the higher octane,
This remap will also perform better and will deliver quicker more
responsive take off with higher low-mid range Bhp and Torque."
What do you think? Is it worth getting a system for 4 cyinders and remap?
D.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

The whole issue about bio fuels is TAX..... if it works well for the majority of cars, the government will make sure that tax will be as high as to equal on oil based petrol. In holland about 75 % of petrol price = tax. No way that bio fuel will be cheaper , the environment card will be drawn to accuse us (car owners) of our criminal behaviour.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

I think that biggest difference between gasoline and ethanol is that ethanol is very aggressive liquid. In time it will destroy rubber gaskets in your injectors and all other rubber parts in the engine. That's why the motor gaskets are not the same in gasoline and ethanol powered motor.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

You may find cold starts may become a problem. There has been a lot of testing and 15% blend seems to be ok with most engines.

Anything over that and you will start to get problems.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

I´m thinking of trying to run my other car on E85, Hyundai Atos....(I know, horrible car! - mostly my wife driving it however). Have been through lots of internet sites, and I can´t seem to find any evidence that E85 would be hazardous to the engine, at least not a simple thing like the 1,1 litre Atos lump. From what I understand, as long as it reads lamnda=1 things would be ok. If not, the ECU is simply not capable of increasing the fuelling enough. The knock sensors, (if there are any) would take care of the ignition advance, but I hardly think it will matter much in that car. What do you reckon? Have anybody out there driven a ordinary petrol car for long using only E85?
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

As has already been said in this thread, the usual issues running ethanol are not the engine, but the rubber fuel lines and gaskets.
The engines will usually run fine until the fuel system leading to the engine falls apart or seizes up.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

Ok, then I think I will take that risk with the Atos. I´ve read in several places that the "rubber-issue" is vastly exaggerated by the manufacturers. (of course they want to sell flexifuel cars instead) According to these forums and even some E85-communities in Sweden regular petrol is a much more aggressive fluid than E85. I think maybe there may be the same kind of "hype" as it was when old R12 air conditionings had to be "converted" at great costs for R134. I filled mine (old Fiat Croma Turbo i.e with R12 system) with R134 without any changes and it worked perfectly for the next 4 years when I finally sold it.

I plan to fill the Atos with half a tank of E85, test it for a few days and measure tha lamnda. If ok I will increase to 100% E85.
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

Bio-Ethanol is an environmental and humanitarian
disaster in the making.

I'll be shunning it as long as possible.
 
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Re: E85 and a T-Spark

I'd give anything to be able to buy E85 locally – that way I'd be able to run 11.5:1 compression on my Beetle without any problem. Amazing stuff and the closest to race fuel we'll ever get from the pump…
 
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How did the E85 test runs go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Rikard View Post
Ok, then I think I will take that risk with the Atos. Iīve read in several places that the "rubber-issue" is vastly exaggerated by the manufacturers. (of course they want to sell flexifuel cars instead) According to these forums and even some E85-communities in Sweden regular petrol is a much more aggressive fluid than E85. I think maybe there may be the same kind of "hype" as it was when old R12 air conditionings had to be "converted" at great costs for R134. I filled mine (old Fiat Croma Turbo i.e with R12 system) with R134 without any changes and it worked perfectly for the next 4 years when I finally sold it.

I plan to fill the Atos with half a tank of E85, test it for a few days and measure tha lamnda. If ok I will increase to 100% E85.
Soooo, what happened with the half tank and full tank?
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Agree with Chris.
Lower calorific value. Slower burn rate means generally you need a bit more advance when at idle but less at higher rev's than standard petrol.

Now most car's will still run regardless of the ignition map. Most also have quite a wide tolerance.

I can run a 1.6 1.8 and 2.0 using the same ECU the tolerances are that wide.
That's before I even put in LPG. Again I end up pushing through more LPG for any given value of petrol injections.


Say petrol injections are 10ms, then gas will be roughly around 12ms (All depending on the flow). But the ECU's have quite a wide range of adaption to keep a car running.


I would suspect the engine will run without issues. Or you might get the occasional EML but it'll run okay.
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