Q:We read numerous stories about the benefits of E85 fuel for cars, and I for one would like to use it, since it is becoming more available. But the service manuals for my ’03 Acura and ’07 Hyundai both state to use no more than 10 percent alcohol content in fuel.
Are there any fixes being produced by auto manufacturers or others to utilize this fuel that won’t violate the manufacturer’s warranty? If not, it’s all hot air and useless effort, as there are hardly any cars on the road today that can employ its pollution-reducing benefits.
A:No car manufacturer provides a kit to change a vehicle over to FFV (flex-fuel-vehicle) status. E85 cars have corrosion-resistant fuel systems with upgraded plastic and rubber parts and a fuel sensor that can determine the proportion of ethanol to gasoline. The fuel injection computer—different from the one non-FFVs use—can then inject the correct amount of fuel. This is necessary because it takes a larger volume of ethanol than straight gasoline to run your engine.
There are aftermarket kits, but they do not use this sensor and can only trim fuel mixture ratios by using the oxygen sensor, which I think isn’t adequate—and neither do the car manufacturers or they would have done it this way and saved the cost of the sensor. My suggestion is to go to epa.gov to look up what vehicles on the market are already available as FFVs, and buy one. According to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, there are already 6 million cars on the road that are E85 capable.
By Mike Allen