E85 Frequently Asked Questions

E85 and Ethanol (9)

What is Ethanol?

Ethanol is alcohol used in transportation fuels. It is a high octane, liquid, domestic and renewable fuel, produced by the fermentation of plant sugars. In the United States, ethanol is typically produced from the byproducts of corn and other grain products, although in the future it may be economically produced from other biomass resources such as agricultural and forestry wastes or specially grown energy crops. In Iowa, ethanol is produced from corn, at 4 state-of-the-art facilities.

What is E85?

E85 is the term for motor fuel blends of up to 85 percent ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Why should we use ethanol?

Besides its superior performance characteristics, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; it is a completely renewable, domestic, environment friendly fuel that enhances the nation’s economy and energy security. Today the U. S. imports more than half of its oil, and overall consumption continues to increase. By supporting ethanol production and use, U.S. drivers can help reverse that trend. E85 can reduce pollution. Government tests have shown that E85 vehicles reduce harmful hydrocarbon and benzene emissions when compared to vehicles running on gasoline.

E85 also reduces carbon dioxide (CO2), a harmful greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global warming. Although CO2 is released during ethanol production and combustion, it is recaptured as a nutrient to the crops that are used in its production. Unlike fossil fuel combustion, which unlocks carbon that has been stored for millions of years, use of ethanol results in low increases to the carbon cycle. Ethanol also degrades quickly in water and, therefore, poses much less risk to the environment than an oil or gasoline spill.

 

Will we deplete human and animal food supplies by using corn and other grains for fuel production?

No, actually the production of ethanol from corn separates starch from the corn kernel, leaving all of the valuable protein, minerals and nutrients for feed. One bushel of corn produces about 2.7 gallons of ethanol AND 11.4 pounds of gluten feed (20% protein) AND 3 pounds of gluten meal (60% protein) AND 1.6 pounds of corn oil.

Does it take more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the energy we get out of it?

No. Current research indicates an approximate 38% gain in the overall corn-to-ethanol process and use of that ethanol for fuel. Corn yields and processing technologies have improved significantly over the past 20 years and they continue to do so, making ethanol production less and less energy intensive.

What is the octane rating of E85 compared to gasoline?

Regular unleaded gasoline has an octane rating of 87; E85 has an octane rating ranging from 100-105 making it a high performance fuel.

 

Is E85 more toxic or dangerous than gasoline?

No. 100% ethanol can be and is ingested by human beings. The fuel ethanol must be “denatured” with gasoline or a bitter agent to prevent ingestion. Also, ethanol does not contain the harmful carcinogens and toxins found in gasoline.

 

f E85 is spilled on the ground, can it contaminate ground water?

Ethanol is water soluble, non-toxic and biodegradable. E85 contains roughly 80% less of the potential contaminates found in gasoline.

What is the price of E85?

As is the case with all forms of fuel, the larger the number of outlets, typically, the more competitively priced is the fuel. E85 is priced to be competitive with 87-octane gasoline. Nationwide the average price difference is over 20%, or approximately $.50 per gallon. Go to www.e85prices.com for current prices.

Flex Fuel US (4)

What kind of warranty does Flex Fuel U.S. Provide?

Flex Fuel U.S. offers a two year / 24,000 miles warranty on the conversion system and all of its major components. The Flex Fuel U.S. warranty also covers the fuel delivery system from the fuel tank to the fuel injectors for a period of one year beyond the manufacturers warranty for issues that result from the use of commercial standard E85.

Where is the Flex Box Smart Kit manufactured?

The Flex Box Smart kit is manufactured in the USA. None of our components come from China or India, and all of the components used in the Flex Box Smart Kit are OEM sourced.

Who Installs Our Kits?

We have partnered with Aamco to be our key installer of our products. There are other installers also, please contact us for details.

How much is the kit, and how hard is it to install?

The kit is priced at $1295, and can be installed in less than two hours. The kit requires no special tools and anyone with good mechanical skills can easily be installed following the step-by-step instructions that come with the kit. Because the kit is EPA certified, you may qualify for federal or state tax credits and or rebates. The State of Illinois offers an 80% rebate when you convert over to flex fuel. So, the actual cost of the kit after the rebate is $300.

Flex Fuel Vehicles (15)

What is a flexible fuel conversion?

A flexible fuel conversion will allow a vehicle to run on any ethanol blend up to 85% ethanol. An electronic control module receives a signal from an alcohol sensor that “reads” the fuel blend, enabling drivers to fuel with E85 or gasoline in any combination from a single tank. There are no switches to flip, no mixing or blending. The electronic control module adjusts the fuel trim to compensate for the different fuel mixtures, and optimizes the operation providing excellent drivability and fuel economy.

What happens when E85 is not available?

The FFV (Flex Fuel Vehicle) system allows the driver to use any combination of gasoline or ethanol—from 100 percent unleaded gasoline to 85 percent ethanol. A driver can therefore use unleaded gasoline if ethanol is not available.

What are the differences in an FFV compared to a regular gasoline-only model? Are different parts used?

There is only one major additional part that is included on an FFV—the fuel sensor that detects the ethanol/gasoline ratio.

What is the range of a flexible fuel ethanol vehicle?

Ethanol has less energy content than gasoline. However, E85 also has a much higher octane (ranging from 100 to 105) than gasoline. OEM FFVs are not optimized to E85, so they experience a 15% to 25% drop in fuel economy. This will vary based on temperature and driving conditions. The Flex Box Smart Kit is however optimized to run on E85, so the fuel loss is much less, typically 2% to 5% when compared to regular gasoline and up to 10% when compared to premium fuel (93 Octane). In addition, the Flex Box Smart Kit improves horsepower and torque with E85. Typically Flex Fuel U.S. measures a 10% increase in horsepower and torque.

Are repairs and maintenance costs for FFVs any different than they are for gasoline?

No, the costs are roughly the same as regular auto repairs and maintenance. A FFV does run cleaner and, therefore, some maintenance costs may actually be reduced in the long run. One FFV model line still required special, higher-lubricating oil in model year 2000.

Will I hurt a gasoline-only vehicle if I use E85?

No, as long as you have an EPA certified flex fuel conversions system installed. All vehicles produced after 1995 are required by law to be ethanol resistant. Some car dealers are spreading rumors and charging $300-$3000 for cleaning out one tank of accidental E85 use. One tank full may cause misfiring and a rough ride. Your check engine light will come on. If you should accidentally or on purpose put E85 in your vehicle, drain the tank, put in regular gas and all will be well. If you use E85 without a conversion kit or non-Flex Fuel capable vehicle for an extended period, you can damage your engine or the emission components.

If I have a gasoline vehicle and convert it to alcohol, am I going to damage the engine?

No, there have been no reports of engine damage due to conversion with proper technology. In fact, The Flex Box Smart Kit is the only system that uses an alcohol sensor and a microprocessor. Beware of conversion systems that do not use an alcohol sensor. Burning alcohol instead of gasoline has been shown to decrease engine oil contamination and extend engine life. Alcohol burns cooler than gasoline providing additional benefits in terms of engine life and performance. In the early 1980’s all auto manufacturers started using parts that were not harmed by ethanol. Today’s vehicles are built to withstand the corrosive effects of water in ethanol and gasoline. Any vehicle built since 1985 will have no ethanol related issues. Older vehicles that used more steel in the fuel systems or cork gaskets may have issues from long term exposure to water.

Does the Flex Box Smart Kit alter the vehicle’s originality?

No. the Flex Box Smart Kit installation does not alter the originality of a vehicle; nothing is removed or replaced on the vehicle. The Flex Box Smart plugs into the vehicle’s existing wiring harness without cutting. Flex Box Smart Kit is easily removed leaving your car completely unaltered and back to original factory condition.

Will E85 corrode my fuel system?

No, for corrosion to develop high levels of moisture are required. E85 is produced from dry-milled ethanol, which contains less than 0.5% moisture, which is required by law based on ASTM E85 fuel standard. Corrosion requires minimum moisture levels of at least 4% or greater. It is not the corrosive properties of ethanol that can cause damage to your vehicle; it is the water which can rust a vehicle’s fuel system from the inside out. Today’s vehicles (since mid 1980s) have fuel systems which are made to withstand corrosive motor fuels and rust from water. Because most states have gone to E10 or gasohol, we no longer experience moisture buildup in fuel delivery systems.

Will Flex Fuel U.S. be certifying other models?

Flex Fuel U.S. is continuously working on new applications, and certifications. We now have a Lincoln Town Car / Crown Victoria which has completed all necessary testing and is waiting for EPA to issue a certification. We have also completed emissions testing on an F150, and should receive a certification within the next thirty days. Flex Fuel U.S. has also developed an application for the Chevy Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe models, and will be submitting a certification application within the next sixty days. We expect to have over 80% of the domestic car market covered by late-2009

Will the conversion reduce the useful life (120,000 miles) of my vehicle?

EPA requires that all certified converters prove that their systems are durable and will perform properly for at least the useful life of the vehicle, and that the conversion will not adversely affect the durability of the vehicle itself.

Will the conversion void my factory warranty?

No, federal law requires that the original manufacturer of the vehicle honor all new car factory warranties if an EPA certified system has been installed on a vehicle.

What is a pilot program?

A pilot program is a controlled program targeted to fleet operators. The program consists of installing anywhere from two to five systems on the fleet operators vehicles, and the operator monitors the vehicles for two to three months. It provides the fleet owner with real world data on how their vehicles will function when converted to flex fuel operation. It also allows for installation of systems that have not yet been certified, but are in the process of certification.

So what’s involved in converting from gasoline to flex fuel?

Converting over to flex fuel requires that your fuel management system be calibrated to run on E85. Flex Fuel U.S. www.flexfuelus.com developed the first EPA certified flex fuel conversion kit for Dodge 5.7L, 6.1L Hemi motors. The kit is similar in nature to a nitrous injection system. The kit comes with a 60lb Bosch racing injector that gets installed into a separator plate supplied with the kit, and than is bolted directly behind the throttle body. An alcohol sensor is plumbed into the fuel stream. A high-speed processor receives signals from the alcohol sensor as well as from the engine, and determines an exact amount of fuel the Bosch injector adds to keep the engine run at an optimal 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio creating maximum power and excellent fuel economy.

Will I get improved performance?

The answer is YES… Typically we see an increase of about 10% in horsepower and torque. The increases are due to the fact that E85 is 105 octane, which is basically racing fuel. E85 allows the engine to run more timing, which means that the combustion burning time is increased creating more power. Ethanol is akin to nitrous in that 1/3 of the ethanol molecule is made up of oxygen, and because its alcohol it has a cooling effect on the incoming air. So, when we inject additional ethanol at the throttle, the ethanol vaporizes and enrichens the incoming air with oxygen, while at the same time cooling down the air stream. We all know that more power is created when you have a cooler denser air mixture.

The system was designed and built by one of the world’s leaders in the Hot Rod Industry, Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy 
Troy and his team of fabricators have built some of the most beautiful and fastest vehicles in the world. Troy built the Blowfish which holds the land speed record at Bonneville.

Blowfish--Cuda--AD-Image-we
Blowfish 1969 Plymouth Cuda
1150hp – 4 cyl 178cu in motor, run on E85
2006 Bonneville Land Speed Record Holder @ 256 mph.
Built by: TroyTrepanier, Rad Rides by Troy
Owned and driven by: George Poteet

The Blowfish is one of just many examples of Troy’s engineering, design and fabrication skills.When it came time to build the fuel system, Troy enlisted the help of his best friend John Meaney, who ine racing circles is known as the “grandfather of digital fuel injection” design and build the fuel management system that propelled the Blowfish to over 250 mph. John also designed and built our processor, and the technology John used on the Blowfish is the same technology used in the Flex Box Smart Kit.