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FlexFuel/E85ing a hot rod... Products that work

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 4t64rd, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. I just saw my first gas pump here in FL with E85 available... Since I am putting a new engine in my jalopy that might possibly NOT have to run on premium, I'd like to go through my whole fuel system and replace all the parts and gaskets with stuff that is E85 compliant... I see the writing on the wall.

    The plan is a mechanical fuel pump (I run an not-in-the-tank Carter electric now and the noise is nuts).
    2 fuel filters, tank and up front
    Rubber hose only as a connection between steel hardlines.
    Holley 600 4160

    Where do I get, or what should I look for when it comes to parts that will not deteriorate faster than a Vega in Key West.
    Here's the list.

    E85 safe SBC mechanical fuel pump
    E85 safe fuel filters
    E85 safe hose
    E85 safe gasket/rebuild kit and power valve cups for Holley 4160.

    I figure if its E85 safe, the 10% regular unleaded should be fine... Overkill for reliability, and I don't want to have to do this once every few years.

    The existing part I wanted to keep is the plastic "Tanks" gas tank... will that be the weak link? anybody else have problems with plastic deteriorating?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,122


    Stay away from any Ethanol based fuels additives. Hard to do BUT not impossible. Ethanol spells problems for the older engines. My engine is a pre-lead fuel additive one so I buy my gas through a vendor in Sacramento. 104 octane, no additives. Not cheap but absolutely no problems. And great fuel economy too!
  3. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 704


    Here in Iowa, I have been running E85 since it came out. I use it in everything from the lawnmower/snowblower, motorcycle and all my cars and trucks. I have never changed anything to use it. I have not noticed anything deteriorating because of it in any of my older cars. Now, that being said, my oldest car is a 1963, not a jalopy.
  4. So far, no help at all...

  5. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,117


    My Tanks poly tank has been fine for 12 years with ethanol. The weak link is their rubber grommets. Even w/o alky they seem to deteriorate. I run a high quality black woven hose from the tank to the frame and the frame to the pump. Off the shelf CARQUEST pump.
  6. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,117


    Naw, I forget the lining but it is a black Aeroquip product that uses push on fittings. Disappears and does not look "modern"
  7. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,583


    Use a good quality fuel injection hose for fuel lines... good quality new pumps, etc. should be OK for ethanol. Stay away from cheap Chi-Com stuff and you'll be OK.

    I've run E85 in virtually everything I own at one time or another without any problems.
  8. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Having a flex fuel vehicle, I'll tell you exactly what you need. Everything up to the carb needs to be stainless. Using the carb, you'll need to find a low volume pump especially made for E85. The carb you can get away with an ethanol 'resistant' accelerator pump.

    I'm assuming that you are not planning on switching back and forth from regular and E85. The car needs a computer to do this. I have a 2001 Ranger with a 3.0L V6. All the part numbers differ from a straight gasoline vehicle. Once the E10 was rolled out, GM, Ford and Chrysler updated their vehicles to flex fuel spec across the board with the exception of the computer. Aluminum parts will corrode.
  9. I actually had thought about running normal 10% gas (the only thing universally available right now), and upgrading all the components so it has less effect on them. LEss to do later when they up the minimum Ethanol to 15%.

    Let me remind everyone that when they started putting the catalytic convertors on cars and shifted everyone over from leaded to unleaded about 1974, leaded fuel disappeared from normal pumps by 1980... They didn't give a damn who was still driving cars without hardened valve seats.
  10. Anyone building or repairing a fuel system today or next week should have ethanol on the brain while doing so. Stainless steel or cunifer for hard lines and J30r9 or j30r12 markings for rubber hose. This should last the life of the car.

    Funny thing about the switch from leaded to unleaded - the refineries used to have to purchase, add and mix the lead into the fuel. When the cost of the lead, transporting it, handeling it, and extra steps of adding it were removed from the refining process the price of fuel went up ! It should have came down considerably or at the very least stayed the same.
  11. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,117


    This is what I do with the 54. Run 10% all the time and tune for it. Same with my old Touring and the Rocky 33.

    My ranger flex fuel actually loves a 24% blend the best over 85.
  12. Hot Rod Apprentice
    Joined: Feb 28, 2012
    Posts: 89

    Hot Rod Apprentice

    It is my understanding that prime fuel efficiency of e85 requires a higher compression ratio than gasoline. While prime fuel efficiency of gasoline is 8.5-9:1 compression, e85 prime efficiency operates in the range of 12.5-13:1 compression. Because gasoline would pre-detonate at such high compression, flex fuel vehicles were forced to run e85 below prime efficiency. This is the reason for such bad mileage in flex fuel vehicles. A friend of mine swears by e85 and says that running it at prime efficiency will be substantially more powerful than gasoline. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  13. gicknordon
    Joined: Oct 11, 2012
    Posts: 64


    There are some guys that run e85 in their drg cars instead of race fuel because you can get the same power as high octane race fuel at much less the cost. The only down fall is the corrosive properties and the almost 30% loss in fuel economy.
  14. I believe everything you said is correct.

    Very easy to compare one fuel to another in the same engine.
    Much more involved to compare 2 fuels in two different engines.

    The engine built specifically to run and maximize E 85 Will make more power than an equal engine built to run on gas or flex. Most alcohol motors do.

    To figure if its making that power more efficiently you'll Need the conversion to equalize the energy in gasoline and e85, then you'll need the BSFC of each engine and a calculator.

    I can tell you that my DD is flex fuel and runs like a scalded dog on E85 but uses 30ish % more. Where I live the e85 is price fixed at 25% below current gas prices. So it actually costs me 5% more to burn corn than dinosaurs. However when I travel, I can find it cheaper and run E85.
  15. Diavolo
    Joined: Apr 1, 2009
    Posts: 815


    Teflon coated lines like you found, replace gaskets in carbs with alcohol proof versions, modern brand name electric fuel pump that is rated for alcohol or a rebuildable mechanical pump with internals replaced for alcohol.

    Basically, plumb it like you are going racing with methanol. I don't know the cost difference, but I can't imagine it will be less expensive than regularly rated stuff. Drag racing parts are not cheap.
  16. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,999


    Haven't seen it around here and I frankly know very little about it. For us layman can you give a overview about what needs to be changed and why. I understand the rubber part, but why can't you run regular steel hard line and I assume viton parts in the carbs?.
  17. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,126


    The proper air fuel mixture for E85 9.8:1**, unlike straight gasoline, which is 14.7:1, or E10, which is 14.1:1*. Pure Ethanol is 9:1.

    So, for starters, a big re-jet is required, and, possibly a fuel pump of a larger capacity.

    As for energy: Straight gasoline is 114,000 BTU/gallon. E10 is 111,000 BTU/gallon. E85 is 81,800 BTU/gallon. Straight Ethanol is 76,100 BTU/gallon.

    As you can see, the more Ethanol you put into gasoline, the lower the energy output. In other words, used in a mechanically identical engine, even with proper fuel metering, the output WILL be lower. Since the effective octane of E85 is between 100-113, the loss in power can be made up by increasing compression ratio, without fear of detonation.

    Simply putting it in an engine that is not set up to take advantage of it, even if properly tuned, will result in a power loss over straight gasoline, or even E10.

    Fluoroelastomer fuel lines, of certain grades, are often used to resist deterioration. A common fluoroelastomer brand is Viton, from DuPont.

    You can tune a carburetor to run on any of these blend (within the limitations of the design), but not on several, or all of them.

    If you are going to build for E85, you need to run just that. Flex Fuel vehicles are really good at detecting the fuel blend, and compensating for the air/fuel mixture, and even timing, but they can do nothing about adjusting for the compression ratio. Some compensate better than others, but it is a performance and efficiency compromise, often in BOTH directions.

    In any case, even with a compression increase, you will be burning more E85, to produce the same power, than you would straight gas, or E10, so choose wisely.

    I have a customer M-Code 351C-4V, headed for E85, as the expected 100-octane fuel that this is supposed to run on, can't be easily had.

    *Note, if you are running E10, in a vehicle tuned for straight gas, you are running lean.
    **Note, if you are running E85, in a vehicle tuned for straight gas, you are running dangerously lean.
  18. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,932

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I think a lot of guys here think E85 is 15% ethanol, the next step from today's 10%. It is not. E85 is 85% ethanol! Un-altered old cars won't run on it. It WILL destroy most rubber/plastic, and aluminum is affected, too.

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