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E85 Ethanol in BMWs

Discussion in 'DIY (Do-It-Yourself)' started by toa5tmaster, May 22, 2008.

    toa5tmaster guest

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    What do you think about ethanol? I tried an E85 kit and installed it on my 95 (OBDI) E36 325iC and ran straight E85 for the past few months, but I recently disconnected it and am still running on ethanol and it seems no different than with the kit on. But I have heard ups and downs on E85. Things like it is less harmful than petrol to the environment, yet I also hear it takes more energy and the production creates more problems than petrol to begin with...

    It is cheaper than premium here in Michigan, almost always 50 cents per gallon less. It is 105 octane and it IS clean in the engine, I recently did some internal engine work and there is hardly any carbon deposits since using ethanol. The fuel is more powerful, but less efficient, but not 50% like people think. Contrary to popular beliefe, fuel lines are fine, injectors are fine, and seals are fine and actually everything is cleaner and runs smoother. The power is equivilent to running racing fuel, but my mileage dropped by 2-3 mpg (not huge i know). I get 22mpg on e85 or 25mpg on premium 93.

    My main convern however is the environmental impact, which is less harmful? I have not found anywhere that lists all the FACTS about each fuel and compares them equally with out being biased. I think ethanol is a pretty decent fuel, but like I said, what is the real cost of using it, the environmental cost.

    PS here is something to think about:
    http://www.efuel100.com/
    1 people like this.

    bradley01 guest

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    I do believe that the E85 will make your engine run HOTTER! I would NOT run E85 in my car!

    E36M3MIKE guest

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    so you are saying you dont need to put any special kits to run the ethanol? i have a 97 M3 AND WOULD LOVE TO POUR THAT STUFF IN JUST VERY CONCERNED ON ENGINE DAMAGE

    bradley01 guest

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    Good luck. Let us know how that works out for you.

    M3Driver guest

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    I asked that question to BMW NA a few months back and I was told their cars were NOT meant to run on E85.

    That said, I'd be interested in hearing any long-term test results you may have. :)

    If you want to run standard ethenol-blended fuels it should be no more than 10% if I remember correctly.

    I personally will not run any ethenol-blend in any of my cars and always check the gas pump for stickers if stopping at an unfamiliar station. I've actually pulled up and driven off on a few occasions when seeing the "All Grades Contain Ethenol" sticker.
    • Member

    330indy1

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    105 octane huh!:eek:

    very interesting. what is BMW's official position on this fuel for their vehicles exactly? CCA techs -- need your input!

    M3Driver guest

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    From my 08 X3 owner's manual:

    Fuel specifications
    Never use leaded gasoline. Otherwise,
    you will cause permanent damage to your
    catalytic converter.

    Do not use flex fuel or E85, i.e. fuel that is com-
    prised of 85% ethanol as these can damage the
    engine and fuel supply system.




    Use high-quality brands
    Field experience has indicated significant dif-
    ferences in fuel quality: volatility, composition,
    additives, etc., among gasolines offered for sale
    in the United States and Canada. Fuels contain-
    ing up to and including 10% ethanol or other
    oxygenates with up to 2.8% oxygen by weight,
    that is, 15% MTBE or 3% methanol plus an
    equivalent amount of co-solvent, will not void
    the applicable warranties with respect to
    defects in materials or workmanship.
    The use of poor-quality fuels may result in
    stalling, starting and drivability problems
    especially under certain environmental condi-
    tions such as high ambient temperature and
    high altitude.

    Should you encounter drivability problems that
    you suspect could be related to the fuel you are
    using, we recommend that you respond by
    switching to a recognized high-quality brand
    such as gasoline that is advertised as Top Tier
    Detergent Gasoline.



    I emailed BMW NA from within the Owner's Circle and will post their reply when I receive it.

    Cheers....

    E36M3MIKE guest

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    I Think All Car Companies Are Linked To Gas Companies So I Dont Care About Their Input On What Fuels Not To Pour! Show Me Results... Theres A Video On E85 Which Shows A 2000 Chevy Suburban That Ran Its Entire Life On E85... It Was Then Opened Up At Like 100k Miles And It Showed No Cons Just Like One Plastic Hose That Was Still Working But Was A Little Hard.... So While All These Companies Are Saying Not To Do Something, Again Show Me Some Results. Dont Just Say Dont Do It. Soi Will Be Pouring Till I See My Own Results Gas Is Way To Expensive.
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    lcjhnsn

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    How about some of you guys that are running E85 in your BMW post some dyno curves of the E85 performance compared to the published curve for the recommended octane gasoline. Then the rest of us could evaluate the impact on performance for ourselves.
    1 people like this.
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    Wretched

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    My 2006 330i Manual says the same thing about E85 and not more then 10% blended fuels. As far as I know if you live in a colder climate then E85 could do real harm to your fuel system! Is needs a special heater to warm the fuel. I was watching this on Discovery and all the E85 cars had a special heating/holding tank under the hood. I am not sure if it is still this way but it is something to research and think about.

    Damien

    M3Driver guest

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    Excellent idea! :)

    E36M3MIKE guest

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    In Miami I Dont Think I Would Need A Heating Tank And Yes E85 Gives Hard Starts With Cold Weather

    M3Driver guest

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    BMW NA Response to E85 Question

    I am reproducing this in its entirety. Draw your own conclusions. :)

    Dear Mr --------------------------:

    Thank you for contacting BMW of North America, LLC regarding our vehicles. We
    appreciate your interest in BMW.

    Fuels containing up to and including 10% of ethanol will not void the applicable
    warranties with respect to defects in materials or workmanship. Although, usage
    of such alcohol fuel blends may result in drivability, starting, and stalling
    problems due to reduced volatility and lower energy content of the fuel.

    BMW does not produce flex-fuel vehicles, and use of E85 gasoline in our vehicles
    would cause service concerns which would not be covered by our warranty. We are
    sorry if this is disappointing information for you.

    If you have any further questions, please respond to this e-mail or contact the
    Customer Relations and Services Department at 1-800-831-1117, Monday through
    Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time. Again, thank you for
    contacting BMW.

    Sincerely,

    Jen Edgin
    Customer Relations and Services
    Representative
    • Member

    johnh

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    BMW NA is very clear about running no more than 10% ethanol (E10) in its vehicles if you expect them to honor the warranty. Also, BMW recommends premium top tier gasolines with high detergent content. http://www.toptiergas.com/
    E85 (85% ethanol) has less energy, as you point out. I've seen estimates of around 25% lower fuel economy. Now if BMW (and other manufactuers) were to build vehicles tuned to run just on E85, and not the flexibility of either E85 or gasoline, then you could probably make them more efficient. E85 is rare except in the upper midwest.
    AAA's daily fuel gauge has a formula to calculate the cost including a reduced MPG factor.
    http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/
    For today, that formula shows E85 costs as much as premium - at least on a national average.

    Then there's the premium versus regular gasoline argument... another topic for which I suspect there's scarce real world long term test info. But we know BMW says the engine is tuned for max performance with premium.

    M3Driver guest

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    I have typically always ran Chevron fuel (93) in my cars. Now I noticed at my local Chevron station they had stated on the pumps that "All Blends Contain Ethanol". Just can't seem to get away from that stuff anymore. I am now looking for a good Shell station. Chevron is one of the Top Tier brands too.

    The only alcohol I like is in a rock glass with a little ice and typically comes from Lynchburg TN.....:D
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    johnh

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    Most Shell has ethanol, also. Most US gasoline contains some ethanol now. In addition to government mandate to produce more ethanol in coming years, as a practical matter, it's being used as a replacement for the octane booster MTBE (bad stuff for ground water). Whatever problems it may or may not cause, ethanol boosts octane and cleans fuel systems. Keep in mind, BMW says up to 10% ethanol is OK. That's mostly what you find in the US (E10).
    Clarifying, E85 will be clearly labled on the pump and that's for flex fuel vehicles, which BMW says its vehicles are not.
    • Member

    az3579

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    The Shell petrol is wonderful. If I'm really low on gas (rare), then I will only pump enough gas at another station to get me to the nearest Shell station. Ever since I've ran my car only on Shell gas, it seems overall peppier and I think my internals are looking a bit cleaner. Less sludge. :D


    AND, the best part; the price may be a bit higher, but you can be rest assured that if you go to the town next to you or the town after that, the prices will be the same. I've found them to be very consistent in their pricing, at least around where I live.




    Honestly, it's not cars that you really have to worry about when it comes to pollution. One car, a hundred cars, a thousand cars, or even a hundred thousand cars running on cleaner energy like hydrogen won't make a noticeable difference at all, so running your car on E85, spending maybe a few cents less per gallon but a few hundred dollars more a year due to reduced fuel efficiency, AND possibly voiding a warranty (for newer cars) is not worth it at all.
    • Member

    kkratoch

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    I also try to use only Shell ever since I looked at the top tier list. Shell was the only station on the list that was within a reasonable distance to my home/work. I do think my car runs better. I can't comment on cleanliness on internals as I have never had to open up the engine but I would not doubt it was cleaner.
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    330indy1

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    what about BP/Amoco 93 Ultimate??
    That's supposed to be ultra-refined... good stuff

    M3Driver guest

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    It's fine; used to use the Amoco "clear" gas for years I don't know if BP continued that when they bought them out a few years ago.

    The way I think I understand to make the Top Tier grade, the refiner must meet that designation with all their fuel grades. Just having the extra good stuff (i.e. additives like Techron) in premium only doesn't get that designation.

    Bottom line I'd be willing to bet is that as long as you stay with a major name (Chevron, Texaco, BP, Shell, etc..) I'd be willing to bet you'd be ok. We have several independent dealers in our area (Wavaho, Kangaroo, Cowboys -- No I am not making these names up) that I'd be hesitant to put their fuel in my lawn mower much less a BMW :rolleyes:

    Cheers.

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