Running E85

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by WE0H, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I will read that site later tonight. No worries as the car is not from MN. It wont develop fuel leaks, the world will not end, San Francisco will have higher gasoline prices than the rest of the country & thank you for your constructive comments & link ;)

    Have a wonderful week,
    Mike :)
     
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,544
    2,118
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Just because it appears to have not developed leaks now doesn't mean it won't in the future due to your err... experimentation, and present a possible danger to the future owner.

    Although this is not related to E85 or ethanol, my former 350Z had a recall for rubber fuel hoses.
    My car never leaked fuel before I had the recall performed, nor did the vast majority of Zs. But, Nissan did receive reports of this problem in mid-05, prompting an investigation and recall. The recalls spanned numerous models produced from 01 to 05, not just the 03-04 Z.

    If you see the attached PDF of the procedure, the repair is very labor intensive and it seems there are many places where a mistake could be made. Some folks on my350z.com (stupidly, IMHO) refused to have the recall work done and at least one of them, sure enough eventually had fuel leak from his Z.

    More documents on the recall at Recalls Documents | Safercar.gov | NHTSA. The defect acknowledgement mentions that the fuel filler hose may crack from exposure to ozone and another mentions that this was due to an inappropriate production quality control process.

    The first link I provided has a <4 min video. That's all you need to see there.

    As a side note, at the unveiling of the 3rd gen (2010+) Prius in Detroit in January 09 (big thank you to Toyota!), someone asked the chief engineer, Otsuka-san, whether the new (at the time) Prius was E85 compatible. I was present when that someone asked. He understood the question and I believe repeated back/clarified E85 == 85% ethanol. The answer was no.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Gary in NY

    Gary in NY Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    153
    20
    0
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie NY
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Googling Prius E85 shows other people have tried. Someone else in Minnesota did a more complete study (see here), and somebody else claims they ran 30K miles on it (see here). There's also 2 other PriusChat threads that I found:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii-2010-prius-main-forum/93893-e85-experiences-so-far-france.html
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-modifications/98721-e85-fuel.html

    But, a big concern with E85 seems to be long-term corrosion of the fuel system (tank, pump, fuel rails, valves, oxygen sensor, etc.). Vehicles designed to run on E85 have made all these components tolerant of the corrosive effects of Ethanol. I would not want to run E85 in my Prius, even if it appears to work at first, because I wouldn't want to risk a lot of expensive repairs due to this corrosion.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I will check out those links tonight when I get home. I think it is safe to say I wont be running anymore tests :)

    Take care,
    Mike ..
     
  5. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,964
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Hey, sorry Mike, you are smarter than we thought!

    Enjoy your new Prius when you get it!
     
  6. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    336
    134
    0
    Location:
    North Dakota
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A

    Check this,
     
  7. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    4,539
    1,425
    9
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    We all know an organization called "American Coalition for Ethanol" wouldn't be biased.:D

    I was a little suspicious when they spent so much time on parts that one wouldn't expect E85 to cause problems with and so little time on parts that E85 might cause problems with.

    Then there was the caveat when the female narrator said they aren't recommending that people run E85 in vehicles that weren't built to use E85. That wasn't her exact wording, but I believe I got the message right.

    Then the was the quick gloss over by one of the male narrators that said something to the effect of there being some areas of concern about the fuel delivery system. That would be the place to expect problems to show up. The fact that of all the plastic and rubber parts in the fuel system they only showed the pump and one fuel line is suspicious.
     
  8. timtim2008

    timtim2008 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    203
    21
    0
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    where u get the rental from? and how much?
     
  9. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    That's OK, I have been waiting since '09 to buy a Prii and finally the wife says I will get to locate one or order one in May. It's been a long time waiting and driving rental Prii, but it took this long to also make up my mind on what model and options I wanted. With lots of help from the Prius Chat people, I have my final decision on what I want to own.

    Take care,
    Mike :tea:
     
  10. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I own two of those Change2E85 converters and a White Lightning. I mistakenly thought they were EPA certified but I think they are not. I will still install the kit in my SUV but will leave my Prii bone stock on dino gas :p

    Mike
     
  11. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    It has answered one query for me - The Prius can run on E85 in an emergency situation as a one off. Ideal if there's no alternative.

    I'm assuming one off use won't cause long term damage and unless you're filling from totally empty, there'll always be some normal petrol to mix it with.
     
  12. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A

    That is why I always run some 87 octane blended so the motor still had whatever is in that stuff plus the E85 is 15% dino gas :p On my SUV I run 3 gallons 87 octane with 10 gallons E85 which saves me $3.50 per tank ( 1 gallon milk or a bunch of donuts) plus it only drops the mpg .5 from running a 50/50 blend. The motor has a 10:1 CR.

    Mike
     
  13. ImeanGreen

    ImeanGreen Prius v Five BP Brigade #236

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    547
    70
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere out there
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Just wondered what the long term effects would be. Just thinking whether to save some gas now or lengthen the car's longivity by using recommended fuel.
     
  14. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,350
    6,730
    2
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    One of my early wishes was that Toyota had made the Prius E85 friendly, it would be wise to use even less petroleum. Sadly, I may have been too frugal to ever use it much as the only station near here with E85 does not price it more than 10% lower than E10.
     
  15. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    That's the sad part where some states have E85 priced way lower than gas and others are nearly the same price as gas. One would think with all the BS of buying foreign oil and the speculators screwing us by jacking up the oil and gas prices, that the US government would be pushing a cleaner made in the USA fuel (ethanol). Brazil runs it and so can we :) Every gallon of E85 used is less support for those oil companies.

    Mike :)


    iPhone :)
     
  16. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,964
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Politics:
    The oil companies control the govt. as they have most of the money the politicians need to get elected.

    Some facts about ethyl alcohol in gasoline:
    The good -
    The alcohol absorbs any water in the fuel system and distributes it throughout so it "burns" with no real ill effects.
    The alcohol helps keep much of the engine internals cleaner, including the intake tract (something the Prius needs).
    The bad -
    The alcohol increases the amount of water in the exhaust, which can cause corrosion problems there.
    The alcohol changes the vapour pressure, which can cause increased pressure in the fuel tank. This also has a good side however, as in very cold temperatures it's easier to ignite in the engine.

    Note that "gasoline" is a mixture of several molecules, the most dominant being naptha ("white gas"). So adding ethyl alcohol isn't "diluting pure gasoline" as some claim. It's just changing the existing mixture. Something every oil company does anyway, often differently (additives).

    All alcohols attack parts of the fuel system to some extent. Methyl alcohol is very aggessive at removing or attacking parts of rubber seals, so isn't usually used as fuel line antifreeze anymore. It also produces toxic exhaust when burned (though some of us actually -like- the smell ;) ). Isopropyl alcohol is less aggressive and is currently the preferred fuel line antifreeze. Ethyl alcohol is the least aggressive of the three and because it's now in most automotive fuel gas line antifreeze isn't really necessary. Unless you were the victim of a "bad tank of gas" with lots of water etc. in it. Best recourse with this is to drain the tank, filter the fuel and put it back in. If you can. Extra isopropyl alcohol -can- absorb the excess water in the fuel but the water is usually the least of your worries. There is "rust dust" in there too! It will destroy injectors and fuel pumps. BTW, in most places you can't buy "pure" ethyl alcohol. People would drink it so it isn't allowed to be sold. Also, you can distill ethyl alcohol to about 95% (the rest being water). To get it to about 99% they have to add a toxic alcohol to absorb the water then boil that combination off (extra distillation run). -Some- of the toxic alcohol remains, making the 99% alcohol not safe for drinking. Oh, and yes, even the 95% ethyl alcohol is toxic, it's just that we can tolerate it in moderate amounts. But not at that concentration.

    So, the question remains, how come some people can burn E85 with no real problems. Well, -any- alcohol in the fuel causes damage. It builds up over time. IF something else happens to the car before that damage manifests itself you will never experience the problems it causes. At 15% (E15) that "other cause of destruction" will be inevitable. At higher concentrations (up to 85% or E85) all bets are off!

    "Are you feeling lucky today punk!" ;)
     
  17. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    3,524
    976
    8
    Location:
    US
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    There is a lot of good read on BITOG about people safely using E85 or E85/E10 mix in non-FFVs for many years. Some people did investigate and discovered that FFVs used the same parts as the non-FFVs and the only difference is ECU software and a yellow gas cap.

    My take is if synthetic polymer (no rubber is used these days) can withstand 10% ethanol, it will withstand E85 as well. The only real danger is E85 is very hygroscopic and can get contaminated with water and it creates lots of acids and chemical engine wear on cold starts.

    I would only use it on long hwy trips and only if much cheaper than gasoline. However, no E85 in my area.
     
  18. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    336
    134
    0
    Location:
    North Dakota
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A


    I dont know, I have been using E10 for 30 years(since it was called Gasohol :), have yet to have a fuel problem because of it.
    Hope to see the evil stuff tear up something, anything, before another 20 years passes and I no longer care LOL.;-)
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    3,247
    525
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I am gonna run an experiment this spring where I will soak modern fuel system components in straight E85 and check them every so often for drying or corrosion. I'll have to keep the bucket topped off as it evaporates ;)

    Anyone suggest specific components? I can run thru a local junkyard and buy components to experiment with. How long should the soak experiment run? It'll be warm from April thru November in MN so the bucket can stay outside although E85 does not stink like gasoline does. It has a sweet smell to it :) Serious.

    Mike


    iPhone :)
     
  20. ImeanGreen

    ImeanGreen Prius v Five BP Brigade #236

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    547
    70
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere out there
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Just filled up my tank today. Fuel cap states NO E15-E85. :eek:
     
Loading...