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E85 Information

Typical Applications & Advantages

E85 has the biggest advantages on Supercharged and Turbocharged engines. Used mainly as a replacement for race fuels, it has typically allows us to achieve at least 10% HP gains at the rear wheel while costing less that race fuels. Customers have reported that they will spend on the average of $85 for 5 gallons of racing fuel where E85 is currently about $8 for 5-gallons. Since most alcohol fuels run cooler customers usually report that the cooling systems typically run 20 degrees cooler than on gasoline.

Example: VP C16 is averages about $85 for 5 Gallons. Today E85 was $5.80 for 5 Gallons. If I burned the same 5 Gallons of E85 at 47% increase in flow I would be saving $75 for every 5 Gallons that I used.

The Dyno Graph below are actual tests from the same car and engine with E85 (RED) and Race Fuel (BLUE) - Tell me THAT don't make a difference. Picked up 60 HP at the REAR WHEELS!!!!!!!!!!

FAST and BigStuff have had capabilities to operate on Alternative Fuels for many years now. We currently run Methanol on MANY of our customers cars. The advantage for us is that we eliminate the Intercooler and support items which are a tremendous cost savings plus a huge weight savings in the front of the race car.

What Is Needed to Convert

First, most EFI cars can operate on E85 with some changes but to have a “Flex Fuel” car certain changes are normally required. FAST and BigStuff are working with Alternate Fuels and have incorporated capability into their new computers for E85 and other fuels.

(A) Flex Fuel compatible ECM like FAST XFI or BigStuff 3
(B) Larger Fuel Injectors
(C) Fuel Pump with about 50% extra capacity
(D) Fuel Composition Sensor
(E) Wiring and Plumbing of the Ethanol Sensor and Fuel

E85 Sensor

Vehicles using these ECM’s may utilize E85 or other fuels like Methanol without the use of the Fuel Composition Sensor and not use the FLEX mode.

Conversion Simplified

Installation of the Ethanol Composition sensor into the fuel supply or return allows the computer to read the percent of Ethanol that the motor will be burning. E85 (85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline) fuel would require about an additional 46% fuel as compared to gasoline. The computer tests for the amount of Ethanol then modifies the fuel injection output to provide the proper Air/Fuel Ratio. Typically “pump” gasoline is burned at a Stoichiometric A/F ratio of about 14.5:1 A/F where E85 would be 10.0:1 A/F. The incorporation of the E85 Sensor along with the software in the computer makes sure that this gets done correctly.

XGI Setup

Above is the Flex Fuel Setup Page for FAST XFI


People that might drive their converted cars in the winter months might see some longer than normal cranking times when starting the motor in cold weather. However, since the word here is Flex Fuel, the car can equally be driven in the winter months on standard fuel for best economy. Also, the program in the computer allows a different fuel warm-up correction based on the Ethanol content.

E85 burns at a lower A/F ratio thus the more Ethanol present in the “mix” the worse fuel economy the car will see. Although the economy issue is one way to look at things, the other way is that even if you burned 2X the fuel on E85 you would still be saving mega dollars as compared to driving the same vehicle on Racing Fuels.

Food for Thought and some History....

FAST and BigStuff have E85 capable systems. This means that you can run pump gas OR E85 and have a true Flex Fuel car. E85 has increased HP in EVERY application we have used it on. Partly because the boost can be increased and partly because the fuel cools the air down similar to what they "claim" water injection does. Although water does not burn - ethanol certainly does. If you don't know already, E85 is 85% Ethanol and 15% gasoline where the pump gas we buy at the pumps has always been 90% gasoline and 10% Ethanol since the 50's or so. Many people are not old enough to remember the old saying at the gas station when they said "fill it with ethyl" which back in those days they added the Ethanol to increase the octane instead of the chemical they were using which was highly toxic and eventually outlawed.

Anyway - enough for the history lesson. E85 does several things. First it allows the motor to run MUCH cooler. Typically we see 20 degrees drop in water temperature and the overheating in hot weather is gone.

Second, like I said the HP is greater (average 10%) and the engine runs smoother. Both FAST and BigStuff allow you to use a composition sensor used by GM - FORD and other manufacturers to measure the content of ethanol in the mix. The ECM then modifies the fuel output to match.

FYI - All of our cars we buy today are already calibrated to run on E10 (pump gas) which requires slightly more fuel than race gas which has zero ethanol content.

The ONLY draw back of E85 is that it will not get as good fuel economy as E10 (pump gas). The BIG advantage is that you don't have to buy premium gas or race gas an pay the high $$ for them. E85 has been cheaper at the gas pumps than 86 octane at least around here and 3 to 5 times cheaper than race fuel.

Our tests were done with race fuel to make HP comparisons because doing it with pump gas was not fair. We could not run the boost we needed to get close to the HP levels we could achieve with the E85 when we ran pump gas.

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