I’m a long time lurker, first time asker. I was curious about the effects of E85/E90 ethanol laced gasoline. I have read a bunch about how older cars are susceptible to corrosion damage to various parts of the fuel line.
I was curious to know if this, or any other ethanol related problem, is still applicable in modern cars? Thanks a lot!
Let’s try to avoid the Ethanol Sucks/Support Our Farmers debate, hmm-kay? Long time TTAC readers already know where “we” stand on the issue.
Cars older than 2001 cannot run gasoline with more than 10% ethanol in the mix. Most newer cars cannot run E85/E90 because they aren’t tuned/programmed for it. Older cars (and small gas engines like lawn mowers) with rubber fuel lines are totally screwed, and perhaps also there’s a concern with corrosion of metal components. But ethanol is only corrosive in some applications: per Wikipedia:
“High alcohol fuel blends are reputed to cause corrosion of aluminum fuel system components. However, studies indicate that the addition of water to the high alcohol fuel blends helps prevent corrosion. This is shown in SAE paper 2005-01-3708 Appendix 1.2 where gasoline/alcohol blends of E50, nP50,IP50 nB50, IB50 were tested on steel, copper, nickel, zinc, tin and three types of aluminum. The tests showed that when the water content was increased from 2000ppm to 1%, corrosion was no longer evident except some materials showed discolouration.”
I spoke (off the record? Ish?) with a Ford engineer friend of mine…just to make this posting a little more kosher.
“It’s only calibrated to do so if it’s advertised. I know at Ford we slap E85/E90 on the capless filler if it can take it. So like on newer cars like the 2.0L Focus, yes. But legacy powertrains like your Ranger, no. (except the 3.0L Vulcan, GOTCHA! – SM) It’s all in the calibration and the capabilities of the ignition system.”
What’s the key takeaway here? RTFM…son!
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.