This post is a bit long but after searching this site for some info on E85 or Ethanol conversions, I was amazed at all the misinformation posted about the subject. I figured at least a few folks here had completed conversions by now, what I found was just the opposite. So I would love to help change a few minds while converting my car at the same time.
Since Iím not looking to start a flame war Iíll include a couple links to get ya thinking. I see the main misconception listed is that many think ethanol is highly corrosive to your fuel system, this is just not true. Methanol is highly corrosive to most rubbers and some metals, Ethanol is not. I think the confusion comes from the old days of carbureted race cars converted to run on methanol. I use Methanol by the 50 gallon drums to make biodiesel. You canít use any rubber with methanol, all parts need to be plastics like HDPE because methanol loves rubber. Even the small amount left in the fuel after the reaction and washing of biodiesel can soften rubber lines on a vehicle over time. Once again on ďolder vehiclesĒ.
Ethanol is not nearly as corrosive, any car built in the past 10 years can run ethanol without changing out your injectors, pumps or fuel lines. You probably have 10 percent or more in your tank right now and donít realize it. Anyone from Brazil can back me up on this, they convert non flex fuels cars to run E85 or higher by the thousands each year.
However ethanol will clean out the crud from your fuel line, injectors and tank, depositing most of it in your fuel filter within the first tank or two. After a couple tanks of E__, you change out your fuel filter and you should be good to go. The differences between the two alcohol fuels donít stop there, so here are some quick ethanol facts. http://www.circlebio.com/faq_ethanol.htm
Now onto why you would want to convert you SC Bonnie to ethanol. POWER POWER POWER. And you were thinking global warming... Myth 2 I found listed a few times, your car will detonate and run hot if you run E85. Wrong answer!! Pure ethanol is 115 octane to start with. Look it up. It also burns at a much cooler temp than gas, so guess what, less heat everywhere. To prove this Iíd be glad to take anyone a ride in my bone stock SSEi and fill her up 50/50 gas/ethanol. It may not gain anything, but Iíll bet the engine it wonít hurt it either.
Now that I got your attention, to get that power yes your gonna give up mileage, but the returns can greatly out weigh the loss. Try up to 1.5 times the HP compared to gas on a properly tuned engine setup. Your not going to see this HP jump on you stock 8.5:1 compression naturally aspirated small block by dumping in some E85.
To unlock this power on any alcohol engine you basically need to make 3 simple changes, add more fuel, more timing advance, and raise your compression ďway upĒ. Probably as far as your stock rods can handle. So lets review, 12 points higher octane, lots less heat so no detonation. Sounds like a good time to drop a couple pulley sizes. Thatí* why Iím interested in duel fueling my SSEi. Getting the compression up is the easy part, ramping up the fuel and timing is why I was looking for good info to begin with.
If you just dump E85 or E100 into a non flex fuel vehicle its gonna run lean. But the computer will catch this and try to compensate in closed loop to reach stoich according to its fuel tables. The issue is stoich on ethanol is closer to 9:1 vs 14.7:1 on gas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_mixture
You need to trick the PCM to change injector pulse widths, or jack the fuel pressure to compensate and get the ďcorrectĒ A/F mix for ethanol. The Flex Fuel Vehicles do this by sensing what type of fuel youíre running and adjusting pulse and timing to match for best mileage and performance. Lacking a SC or turbo most canít boost the compression on the fly, so little or no performance gain is noticed. But anyone who has ever sat behind an alcohol powered blower motor will contest that whatí* easily obtainable here is untouchable by any other means than a big *** shot of laughing gas. Alcohol does it without the risk of blowing holes in the pistons because it leaned out for half a second. Imagine safely gaining 100 hp with no more than pulley change and filling up the tank with E85 or higher.
Now that Iíve cleared some why notí*, who would like to help dig up the how to? My goal is to start by moding the PCM to make it possible and safe. Making this a driver changeable config / switch so if Iím on the road and canít find E85 or donít have time to cook up a batch of E100, I can change back to 93 octane and dump some boost at WOT without swapping the pulley. Iím guessing someone here could figure out the PCM hacks needed to do this. Iím willing to test on my car while recording and giving back the data. There are other concerns to address down the line like cold start and such. But getting a bone stock SSEi up and running E85 is a good place to start.
Plus Iíd really like to jump on my sons hot 5.0 with his moms bone stock Bonneville, and win oneÖ