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E85 Ethanol in BMWs

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

    • Member


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    I was going to start a thread about this very subject... Perhaps I should being this is about E85..

    But if I was going to start a thread It would have been along the same lines what or who has the best fuel? I was using only Sunoco in my BMW. But I also have access to BP and Shell oh and Mobile. We also have a lot of the lesser brands like speedy Q and speedway that I will not use in my BMW! Wouldn't this also be true of E85? What stations or brands have the best E85? Does it vary between them?

    edjack guest

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    Ethanol is hygroscopic and corrosive. The fuel systems of flex-fuel cars are designed with components to resist this corrosive effect.

    Good Luck using it, you'll need it.
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    Honestly, E85 Ethanol and BMW should not be used in the same sentence. It doesn't matter; if you have a BMW, forget about it. lol

    I checked the Top Tier list and BP wasn't listed. I can't be sure it's not a top tier gasoline distributor though because I don't know if it runs under another name... but if it runs under Amoco or BP, it's not on the list. I actually remember someone mentioning that it was one of the worser fuels, but I have a hard time believing that.

    The list can be found here.
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    I am not suggesting E85 at all! I am just wondering if it is like normal gasoline that varies from station to station. I think Running E85 in your BMW is a huge mistake and should not be done!

    E36M3MIKE guest

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    Why Are You Saying This.... You Must Have A Good Explanation Since You Sound So Sure About Not Using It...... I Have Been Running It For 1 Week And Good So Far.

    Dr Obnxs guest

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    This is interesting...

    Ethanol requires different A/F ratios, and requires larger injectors to get the same power. Hot Rod had a great article where they built a 504 or something and dyno tuned for both gas and E85. Took different jetting to get the peak power for each fuel, and they were within spitting distance for both of them after tuning. But because the E85 takes more fuel for the same power, you'd have to fill up more often (I think they said 20%).

    I'm actually surprised that everything is running so well, I guess that the stoiciometric for gas (14.whatever to 1) is rich for E85. Were it the other way, you'd know as soon as you floored it that it was a mistake, as you'd grenade your engine!

    You're basically running rich, and will be down on peak power.

    As far as the environment, the only reason ethanol makes any sense at all is because of the gov subsidies. For enviromental impact, the creation of the ethanol is not a good thing at all, but it does act as a bit of an oxygenate and does reduce smog a bit. But overall, it's not something I'd do with non-E85 designed cars. One thing that flex fuel cars have is chemical sensors that tell the ECU to switch maps.

    If you're running it, let us know in a year how you're doing.

    1 people like this.

    alexdds guest

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    first of all Ethanol fuel burns cooler than gasoline that is the reason why Indi cars run on 100% ethanol.
    The temperature needed to ignite ethanol is much lower than that for gasoline.
    It burns cooler and cleaner.
    there are conversion kits available to convert any car made after 1985 to ethanol
    these are mini computer boxes that communicate with the ECU fuel injector computer and instruct the fuel injectors to squirt out more ethanol to get the same performance. The new kits address the cold start issues. Flex Fuel International makes these for any car including BMW.
    If you want to use E85 or higher E100 you need to get this kit cost range depending on your engine is $370-$700. for an 8 cylinder engine it is about $500.
    You also are advised to change your spark plugs to The Bosch Platinum to help with fully burning the fuel and better ignition. These plugs cost a bit more but from what i read should help in the milage aspect.
    With e85 you will use up approximately 30% more fuel, and in order for you to benefit at the pump the ethanol fuel to gasoline price difference needs to be more than 30%.
    That said, there is a way to make your own ethanol fuel for about $1/gallon. Do a search on the microfueller by efuel100.com The machine is a bit pricey but the manufacturer claims you will break even in 1.5 years. plus there are tax write-off for this machine, look at their site. I asked them if my BMW will run on this fuel and they said that with the ffi converter, I should not have a problem. The connected me to a sales rep at change2e85.com who confirmed this for me.
    if you are getting fuel at $1/gallon do you really care about the milage???? BTW the converter allows you to use any blend of fuel from E10 regular gas to E100 100% ethanol.
    Also there have been studies done that say 30% ethanol blend actually gives you better milage and then goes down with higher ethanol content.
    Now in Brazil they sell BMW's and by law all gas in Brazil is Minimum E25 that's 25%ethanol blend. so if you drive your car there guess what is going into your tank?
    The 18% that one poster found in his tank without the converter in not a big deal. I am told just add regular 87 octaine gas and you should be fine. Adding 89 or 91 is not going to hurt but it will take longer for your car to get back to normal.
    E85 is 105 octane E100 is 115 octane so the engine burns cooler and you get less knocking with higher octane fuels so it is actually better for your engine. All cars after 1985 have to be made with non corrosive parts and should be compatible with e85 or e100 fuel.
    There is some issue with the fuel pump on cars that were previously run of regular gas and then converted to e85 or higher, this is because ethanol will clean out the fuel system and debris may get caught in the fuel pump. Replacing a fuel pump is not a big expense and any mechanic can do this for you or you can do it yourself. You may just need to clean the pump and put it back. This is not a big expense. There is a lot of misinformation going on due to the oil companies' propaganda to keep people from switching to ethanol.
    I found that the current prices for ethanol being only 50 cents cheaper are not worth it and are overpriced unless you make your own fuel, but that is a different issue. Also there are very few e85 stations around nation wide. California only has 4 e85 gas stations. Las Vagas on the other hand has several which make it easier for drivers there, but not the rest of Nevada.
    Also in Brazil, there is a 3rd party software update available for BMW ECU to run on e85 or e100. I do not speak Portugesse and it is hard for me to even look for places where this update can be obtained, unless you ship your car there get the update and ship it back. Honestly for the US it is not worth to do the software update on the BMW, better to get the converter so you have control on what you want to use. I am not sure if the software update will allow you to go back to gasoline e10 without another visit to the dealer.
    Brazil has BMW dealerships just do a google search and you can compare the specs on the cars there.
    Milage with e85 will go down by 4-5 miles per gallon compared to gasoline, so if you are getting 15 city you will get 11 city with e85. So learn how to tell if the price is right before you purchase gas. I suspect that by December 2008 gas is going to cost $6/gallon.
    Converting makes sense for the environment, and our own economy, the fueller will really save you money since you will bypass any fuel taxes since you are making it yourself. However when the government gets wind of this they may change legislature to get their share especially if you advertise that you are making your own fuel. Supposidly there is a federal permit you need to get which is free, but if you file for it you will be on file and they will find you eventually.
    Anyone that is saying that the price of gas is high because we are running out is a liar. One on my clients is a petroleum engineer (the guy that knows where to look for oil and how to get it out of the ground etc...) tells me there is no deficit of oil, it is all a lie. He says the world has enough oil to last us for centuries, in fact we may be destroyed by the sun, by the time we run out of oil.
    If you look at your food and how much corn syrup high fructose is in it, it is no laughing matter that everyone is getting fat. you are much better off burning that in your car than storing it in your body. To produce this syrup is not going to cost more because 1 after you make your fructose for fermentation the left over material becomes used as animal feed etc... and you can have electric tractors charged by solar power so you are not going to use deisel or gas. Again lots of propaganda going on, do your research and then make up your mind.
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    Well, in a topic done to death in alot of places. Keep in mind, Octane to most people is kinda like golf to a basketball star......backwards. Everybody thinks higher octane is better. Lower octane means more power per unit volume. Higher octane gasoline means it's harder to light the fire (more resistant to autoignition at a time undesireable to engine performance) The lower octane an engine will run on, for a higher performance engine, will mean more power. Engines have to be up-rated to higher octane when doing performance work because the engine charachteristics will mean that engine will pre-combust or detonate (ping or knock) on lower fuel.

    Octane on gasoline is raised by additives (intentional contaminants, diluters, impurities, anything that isn't going BOOM) Ethanol has a very high octane, which is a ratio of 2 fuels, one at 100 octane equivalent, the other at 0 octane equivalent. (93octane beign 93% "a" and 7% "b" Since Ethanol is more resistant than compound "A" at 100% strength, it has octane over 100, meaning it's harder to light...

    Look at wikipedia for octane rating. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane_rating
    E85 is 105 octane, as someone said. If you have a car that will run wonderfully on 87, do you pay more for the 93? If your car runs wonderfully on 93.....why 105?
    Ethanol, E100, is 116....again....same as before. Just means less power per stroke.

    And like others have said, it's a solvent, aggressive, and will eat some rubber, some plastics, most metals, your pocketbook, and your stomach (especially if distilled in the woods with a radiator)

    blah blah.

    Ethanol is for drinking, gas follows beans, water is for fighting over, and I want a diesel BMW with good performance like my ole' E30. Or maybe a 2 stroke 2.5 litre L6 heh heh....wow that'd be fun.

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