E85 was put in car by mistake: help!

bikemanApril 11, 2006

my bw (beautiful wife) was trying to save us $ and put e85 in our 96 Honda Odyssey 4 cyl. I looked around on the web and I get mixed research -- some says don't worry about it, one time is no problem; others say serious results could occur to the fuel injectors, fuel lines, gasket material etc...

The gas tank is siphon proof so I can't get the e85 out unless I pay to have the gas tank dropped. Should I do this? Should I pay big bucks to have it checked out or should I just drive it?

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What does it say about it in your owners manual? I'd also ask the service writer at the Honda dealership what he thinks about it. I'd be suprised if it were a problem.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 8:11AM
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Hmmm, off hand I don't know. We havn't heard much about this happening and it being a problem. Your fuel system should stand up to the alcohol all right. The computer will sure be a touch confused as it tries to make the engine run correctly though. Thats why the cars that are designed as "flex fuel" have different programming, and the ability to determine the alcohol content in the tank.

Best guess, you'll be OK. The car will simply run a little poor until a few days after you fill back up with gasoline.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 8:51AM
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It won't make a damn bit of difference. One tank will do nothing. There is only %10 alcohol. Almost all cars were designed to run on " fortified fuels " after the 80's because of the mandate in 2010 that over 50% of all gasolines will have alcohol in them. Your car will do one of two things. Run better or no difference. You will need at least 3 tanks of E85 to notice better performance if there is going to be any. Over %60 of our gas stations have alcohol in their gas. The older cars run better with better mileage or they stay the same. Our snowmobiles and dirt bikes are made for alcohol. No big deal. Just don't put it in a Taurus with a
Carter fuel pump. You won't last the summer. Works fine in
winter though.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 10:27AM
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E85 is 85% Ethanol, and 15% gasoline.

Here is a link that might be useful: E85 Clean Air Choice

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 1:00PM
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Bikeman,this was posted on another forum. Someone wanted to know if he could run E85 in a non FlexFuel vehicle.


Here's a bit more to it than that. It will cause damage to components that are not materially compatable with high alcohol-content fuels. But trying to use E85 in a non-FF vehicle will probably not even work. The pump and injectors are higher capacity to handle the increased fuel volume needed when running alcohol fuels. Methanol stoich is about 6.5. Ethanol is 9:1. Gasoline is 14.7. E85 (85-percent ethanol/15-percent gasoline) runs around 9.7 which means that E85 has a mass flow volume increase of 150 percent over gasoline fuels. Fuel trims will not be able to sufficiently increase the pulse width of a gasoline-only injector to account for this volume increase. The resultant A/F ratio would be so lean with a non-compatable system that the engine would run poorly, it at all.



    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 1:42PM
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Hey guys, I appreciate the discussion. I will let you know how it turns out. I have a 16 gallon tank. 12 gallons of E85 was put in. After 50+ miles, I put in 2.5 gallons of regular unleaded 87 octane. I read to dillute it with low octane since alcohol is high octane. The check engine light came (right John G) on at about 50 miles probably because of the computer being confused by the oxygen mix or something like that.

Gary, I checked with the Honda service guy and he suggested bringing it in and put it on the scope for $104. Pass. The owners manuel says don't put anything in more than 10% ethanol. Too late. And yes, e85 is 85% ethanol.

Bob, thanks for the info-- the honda is running fine so far, maybe it is diluted enough. Kalining, I appreciate your stories and experience with alcohol.

It sounds like the fuel injectors sending the wrong amount of fuel might be the biggest problem, however no ill effects yet.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 10:00PM
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Bikeman, I would keep putting in 87 octane as soon as there is room for it. If you have a gas can for a lawn mower I would use that to top it off every time I used it. The more you delute the E85 the sooner you get back to normal and the less problems. Keep us posted how you make out. I am sure this is going to pop up more than once. Like Kalining a lot of people think E85 is only 10% ethanol.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 10:32PM
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You gotta give the engineers that design these systems a lot of credit. For the computer onboard to be able to adjust itself to E-85 fuel, or "regular" gasoline on a flex fuel engine is pretty awesome. Even your car which is NOT designed to be able to do this should be showing signs that you should be starting to see your way through this.

Sure people used to run straight alcohol in some cars. They either played with the jetting on the carb, and adjusted the timing to work with the alcohol, or maybe even had a different carb for gasoline than they did for alcohol.

BTW Methanol is corrosive and is not used as an automotive fuel.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 7:12AM
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since this just happened and the vehicle seems to be running ok, than why not just let it idle in the driveway to burn it off? I am also pretty sure that most FI vehicles have a fuel rail with a threaded port for hooking up a fuel pressure gauge. i bet you could hook up a proper hose and turn on the ignition and just pump out all the E85. thats my theory at least. you might not be mechanically inclined enough to do it. maybe a garage could do it. i think the main issue is gasket/seals compatability with high ethonal concentrations.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 10:56AM
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E85 105 octane for tuning performance cars a starting setup point is 9/1 fuel/air ratio. 2 - 3 degrees less total advance. So slightly more fuel pump pressure and about a 10%volume increase with richer jetting or nozzles.

Makes for hard cold starting too, not as fume'y and about 15% increase in consumption - or mileage decrease. Can handle about 12:1 compression.

Alcohol has a high affinity for moisture absorption and that water separates out fast which can quickly start corrosion in the metal reservoirs and fuel lines made from other than anodized alum or stainless. So it should not just sit around - it needs to be flushed or used up fairly soon.

If I recall.. most cars sprung leaks back in the 80's from alcohol/petrol mix deterating rubber hoses and seals quickly which prompted manufacturers to start building the fuel systems alcohol safe ...on those rubber parts anyhow. I know my 1980 car lost fuel pump hoses at the tank and from the hose on the crash switch over my footwell after using some. GasAhol? seemed fine, until it got the squirts.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 5:00PM
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Get it burned out and tell your wife to wail until you buy a E-85 ready vehical before doing that again.Also thank her for supporting the Corn growers accosiation.Thats supporting the American farmer rather then terrorist countries and the croocked oil tycoons in this country.Ethanol plants are getting ready to start springing up through out the midwest.GM and other manufactures are building more flex fuel E-85 vehicals and they need your support also.Consider E-85 ready vehicals and manufactures who build them at trade in time.It helps you and the environment and the Hand that feeds you the American farmer.He deserves your support and can help put a stop to the price goudging that is taking place at the pump today.By doing so you help drive a nail in the coffin of the crooked oil industry and there line of BS there feeding the consumer.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 8:44PM
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The conclusion to e85 in our '96 Honda...so far. After bw put in 12 gallons of e85 in our Honda last week, I dilluted it several times with 87 octance unleaded regular as we drove out the tank. We have put over 1,000 miles on it since it happened and the e85 is long gone I think. I have not noticed any side effects yet. It accelerated normally on the highway, and I don't see any leakage from gaskets. I disconnected the battery to get the "check engine" light off at about 150 miles into the tank and it has stayed off since. The Honda dealer and another shop both suggested I bring it in and have it put on the scope for a starting fee of $104. It turns out that would have been a waste of money. I'm sure my bw won't be the last one to make this mistake in America. It was truly a learning experience and thanks for the discussion.
As for me, I will rely less on cars no matter what the fuel is, and ride a bicycle more often. That is my solution to the fuel crisis.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 1:56PM
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Some people are experimenting by finding what mixture of gasoline and ethanol works for their car. Most cars can handle a 1:2 mix of E-85 and gasoline, and some can handle a 2:1 mix. One site discussing this is http://e85forum.com . The affects of high-concentration ethanol (like 85%) manifest after weeks (or years), not a single tank, and are mostly a problem for pre-1970's cars.

As bikeman wrote, if you're thinking about alternative fuels, conservation is the best policy.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 6:33PM
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you have totally destroyed your car by doing this, nothing to do now but sell it to me, for $50.00 hahahaha

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 7:41PM
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