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Old 11-22-2013, 09:55 AM   #11
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I run E85 here in Iowa because it's cheap AND it gets used enough that the octane rating stays rather consistent. I would recommend that you check your E85 with an octane tester (Yes Tom, you finally convinced me) and make sure it's staying consistent before you ever take E85 as your daily fuel. The real reason I say this is that the performance benefits of the fuel do not take effect on the stock tune. You REALLY have to advance the timing and change some things around before E85 starts to make sense.

On the stock tune I got about 26-28 MPG at best on E85 and around 35-36 on 91. Tuned, I saw no improvement on the 91 tune for MPG and minimal gain in HP. On E85 I saw a jump to 30-32 MPG and the same minimal gain in HP. All things being equal, I'd say it's hinged on the price difference of E85 vs MPG, and only after testing the consistency of your available fuels. For me, it was an easy decision because E85 has been over a dollar cheaper, though with the recent drop in gas prices the difference has only been about 80-85 cents. At about 70-75 cents difference it becomes a wash to go either way.

BTW, blender pumps finally made their way to my local Kum and Go!!! YEAY! I have to go test some E30 to see if it's a better balance of MPG per $$$ or not.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:49 AM   #12
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Wish we had blender pumps round here ...
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #13
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If you are doing WOT work, like racing or 0-60 runs, then your best bet is always going to be the highest octane you can with as little ethanol is possible. i.e., 93 octane E0. Your engine WON'T knock thanks to the knock sensor no matter what fuel is used, but as some of you have discovered with datalogging, the timing will not advance and thus there is potential horsepower not being tapped into!

Every day driving though; there really isn't going to be any measurable difference.

Even at a 40 cent difference though that only works out to 4 or 5 bucks a tank, and the extra oomph at full throttle may be worth it to some! It is to me sometimes! :)
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Old 11-25-2013, 04:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
If you are doing WOT work, like racing or 0-60 runs, then your best bet is always going to be the highest octane you can with as little ethanol is possible. i.e., 93 octane E0.
I happen to disagree with you there. E100 will give you more power than E0 93. E85 has more power potential than E10.

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Your engine WON'T knock thanks to the knock sensor no matter what fuel is used,
Disagree there if you're tuned and pushing the timing. This poor little thing will ping like crazy if you run as much timing on 91 as was meant for E85. Oops!
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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Disagree there if you're tuned and pushing the timing. This poor little thing will ping like crazy if you run as much timing on 91 as was meant for E85. Oops!
Well, that's not really an apples to apples comparison. When talking about a stock Focus, the timing will adjust ITSELF using, among others, the knock sensor.

Obviously there are tons of variables! Take a Volkwagen TDI engine and dump E85 in there. It'll run like crap! (If at all) LOL. But it wouldn't be a fair comparison because it's a diesel engine- an entirely different animal. Just like a modified or tuned 2.0L Duratec is a different animal than a stocker.


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I happen to disagree with you there. E100 will give you more power than E0 93. E85 has more power potential than E10.
Do you have a source for that? Everything I've ever read says ethanol has less potential energy than gasoline. That's why fuel economy goes down, range goes down, and dyno numbers (stock) go down. It takes more ethanol to do the same work because ethanol has LESS energy than gasoline.

Ethanol, like high octane fuel, can ENABLE power with tuning. But in a STOCK engine, which is what we were discussing, it'll reduce power. Even in a heavily turbocharged or high compression engine, E85 does NOT 'give you power'. What it DOES do is resist knocking allowing you to have aggressive ignition timing, compression, and boost. Ethanol itself, however, has less power than gasoline. Which is why it's amazing in a heavily modified engine, but then people can't figure out when they dump it in their stock Focus it does nothing but kill their gas mileage and reduce horsepower!

It's all cause/effect. Kind of like higher octane fuels. People put 93 in a car on a Dyno and then 87 in the same car and see more horsepower with 93. So they think; oh, it's more powerful! Well not quite; it's just that the computer advanced timing enabling more power. So, yes, running premium in that car means more power; but not because the fuel has more energy- because it resist knocking.

It may seem pedantic, but the only way we can really realize the power of things like ethanol, high octane fuel, turbochargers, tunes, or anything- is if we understand HOW they affect our engines, and why what works for one engine won't yield the same results on another.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
Well, that's not really an apples to apples comparison. When talking about a stock Focus, the timing will adjust ITSELF using, among others, the knock sensor.

Obviously there are tons of variables! Take a Volkwagen TDI engine and dump E85 in there. It'll run like crap! (If at all) LOL. But it wouldn't be a fair comparison because it's a diesel engine- an entirely different animal. Just like a modified or tuned 2.0L Duratec is a different animal than a stocker.




Do you have a source for that? Everything I've ever read says ethanol has less potential energy than gasoline. That's why fuel economy goes down, range goes down, and dyno numbers (stock) go down. It takes more ethanol to do the same work because ethanol has LESS energy than gasoline.

Ethanol, like high octane fuel, can ENABLE power with tuning. But in a STOCK engine, which is what we were discussing, it'll reduce power. Even in a heavily turbocharged or high compression engine, E85 does NOT 'give you power'. What it DOES do is resist knocking allowing you to have aggressive ignition timing, compression, and boost. Ethanol itself, however, has less power than gasoline. Which is why it's amazing in a heavily modified engine, but then people can't figure out when they dump it in their stock Focus it does nothing but kill their gas mileage and reduce horsepower!

It's all cause/effect. Kind of like higher octane fuels. People put 93 in a car on a Dyno and then 87 in the same car and see more horsepower with 93. So they think; oh, it's more powerful! Well not quite; it's just that the computer advanced timing enabling more power. So, yes, running premium in that car means more power; but not because the fuel has more energy- because it resist knocking.

It may seem pedantic, but the only way we can really realize the power of things like ethanol, high octane fuel, turbochargers, tunes, or anything- is if we understand HOW they affect our engines, and why what works for one engine won't yield the same results on another.
Okay so you agree it enables more power... so E85 does enable/give more power to this engine. I am not sure why you guys are arguing since both of u are saying the same thing just differently. I still have half a tank of 92 w/ethanol once that is done I will try a tank or two of E85 and report back. Big problem right now is that it's very very cold around here and I am averaging 22-23 mpg with 92 so it will get a lot worse with E85 from what I am reading here.
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:57 AM   #17
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Okay so you agree it enables more power... so E85 does enable/give more power to this engine. I am not sure why you guys are arguing since both of u are saying the same thing just differently. I still have half a tank of 92 w/ethanol once that is done I will try a tank or two of E85 and report back. Big problem right now is that it's very very cold around here and I am averaging 22-23 mpg with 92 so it will get a lot worse with E85 from what I am reading here.
Enables, yes, gives.. no. That's the point. On a stock engine, E85 will result in a reduction in power. You need some very aggressive timing, compression, and/or forced induction to take advantage of E85's knock resistance. Otherwise, you just have a less efficient and lower-energy content fuel.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
Enables, yes, gives.. no. That's the point. On a stock engine, E85 will result in a reduction in power. You need some very aggressive timing, compression, and/or forced induction to take advantage of E85's knock resistance. Otherwise, you just have a less efficient and lower-energy content fuel.
I get what u are saying but can u answer me why people are reporting better drivability and more power with e85 on a stock car? I think you might be speaking in general but with our vehicles there is a dfference in power and smoothness of the vehicle. If what u are saying is correct then going from 87 to 92 I should have lost power since it is not tuned for it but my car feels A LOT smoother and more powerful especialy down low in the rpms. If you have mk3 fill it up with e85 and report back on ur findings. I still got about a week to go before I fill up to tell you what I found out. It seems like u are arguing but ur point does not apply in this case since people are reporting improvements. Btw not trying to be mean or anything just want some proof from u that it does not work on mk3.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I get what u are saying but can u answer me why people are reporting better drivability and more power with e85 on a stock car? I think you might be speaking in general but with our vehicles there is a dfference in power and smoothness of the vehicle. If what u are saying is correct then going from 87 to 92 I should have lost power since it is not tuned for it but my car feels A LOT smoother and more powerful especialy down low in the rpms. If you have mk3 fill it up with e85 and report back on ur findings. I still got about a week to go before I fill up to tell you what I found out. It seems like u are arguing but ur point does not apply in this case since people are reporting improvements. Btw not trying to be mean or anything just want some proof from u that it does not work on mk3.
I'm just talking about the fuel itself. I'm glad you are asking questions; blind acceptance doesn't help anyone learn anything! And no, I'm not arguing- just remember you can't convey tone over the internet. I'm just discussing. If someone has some Dyno numbers; I'd love to see them.

The gains from running 92/93 over 87 are due to the knock sensor in the engine. It is actually able to detect any knocking and adjust timing accordingly. When you run higher octane fuels, it's able to advance timing. This INCLUDES E85 because of the advanced timing, which is why people will report better drivability and smoother running; evidently the engine runs better with more advanced timing! More advanced timing, in theory, means more horsepower. However, E85 has so much less energy than gasoline that it kind of cancels out the timing improvements, unless you REALLY aggressively advance the timing.

Your car does a lot of 'tuning' on it's own. It's adjust timing, air fuel mixture, even cam timing! (That's what the Ti-VVT does). It adjusts for altitude, load, temperature, even fuel type. However it only goes 'so far', and a tune will be necessary to force the car to go beyond it's own limits in terms of timing.

The biggest evidence you can see on a mk3 focus is just the fuel economy. It goes down because of the lack of power. It might sound counterintuitive, but the reason it goes down is because the engine needs more fuel to do the same work. It takes more E85 to go down the interstate for 10 miles than it does regular gas. At wide open throttle, E85 will be able to have the engine at the computers full advance, whereas 87 octane would require retarted timing to prevent knocking. The question is whether or not the advanced timing is enough to make up for the less energy potential and less thermal efficiency of the E85. It might! I haven't put an E85 Focus on the dyno vs one running 93 octane! I'm discussing the fuels more than the car, really. And really it's just for the sake of discussion. It's like high octane fuels, when people say high octane fuel 'gives more power', it doesn't; but it DOES enable more power because the engine can advance timing. Now, on engines that don't do that? Like my motorcycle for example; there is a REDUCTION in power, because the timing is set from the factory for regular gas (on other motorcycles; it's set for premium, but it doesn't adjust). In fact, I even get backfiring in my exhaust and sluggish throttle response with premium; because higher octane fuels actually burn just a tiny bit slower; and are harder to burn (That's how they resist knocking) so in my stock V-Twin engine, it harms more than it helps.

I run E85 in my vehicles too when the price is right. Reduced power, fuel economy, and range; but they certainly run nice and smooth. There have been engines, here and there, who actually see a gain in performance running E85. They usually see a gain in mpg as well instead of a loss; for the same reason (then it needs LESS fuel to do the same work).

The big thing is, we have to look at our individual vehicles; and try and get rid of hard-and-fast rules. They might work, but not always. Go back in time to the 1960's and tell a guy you have a car with a 12.5:1 compression ratio, and you run unleaded 87 octane (or 'low test') fuel. They won't believe you for a second. Things have changed; especially with how engines can adjust, tune, and change themselves to adapt to different scenarios. On my first car, if you wanted to adjust the timing, you needed to pop the hood and move the distributor cap! There was no computer involved at ALL in the ignition, OR fuel system. Carbeurated, distributor ignition. Everything was mechanical. It did have an electric fuel pump though!

Who knows- E85 might triple the horsepower of a mk3 focus while simultaneously causing it to sprout wings and fire off into deep space. But if it does; it's because of the fantastic engineering of the engine tuning itself with aggressive timing and cam adjustments to take advantage of the anti-knock properties of ethanol. NOT because ethanol fuel has more power- and that was my whole point! Tit for tat, ethanol has a lot less power than gasoline. That's been measured in a laboratory setting. But it does have tricks up it's sleeves!
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:58 AM   #20
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I get what you are saying. I guess we need someone do do a dyno with 87,93, and e85 :). If I had a dyno close by I would love to do it but I am in Iowa afterall.
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