Updated: June 11, 2016
A few things to think about environment, driving habits, engine, fuel system, and selecting carb size.
Environment: Oil will not last and we can be ready now and slow the oil consumption and clean the air. The fun part is we can do this with lots of power and fun. E85 is made from corn but there is many plants like switch grass that will provide a better source for more E85 fuel. E85 will likely be around for some time. It may go up in price but it's hard to beat 105 octane fuel you can grow!
Driving Habits: If you drive your show/race car just once or twice a year you may want to stay with gas because E85 works like a sponge grabbing all the water it can from the air. So driving some on a weekly basis would be good. If you use E85 keep it moving don't store it! If you need to park your car for long terms you should fill your tank with gas and stabill. This will provide you with some protection from rust and fuel system problems.
Engine: E85 likes high compression to make big power but it works fine on low compression engines to. You do need harden valve seats and to change the oil more often. E85 will bring more water into your oil, but with proper maintenance this should not cause problems.
Fuel System: Your current system might be just fine. Your fuel tank should be clean without rust and the vibration rubber sections in your fuel line should be replaced with new fuel hose. Your pump needs to pump about 25% more fuel and work with E85. We are using Holley mechanical and electric pumps without problems. Good fuel filter with stainless steel mesh element is always a must and braided fuel line is good for looks and safety.
Selecting E85 Carb Size: We recommend the following as a basic rule--which can be broken--for street/strip-driven cars with normal engine RPM from idle to 7,000 rpm. For 327 to 400 ci engines, choose the 750 E85 carb. For 400 to 468, 850 E85 carb; 468 to 500, 950 E85 carb; and for greater than 500, choose the new 1050 E85 carb. Of course if your engine will rev to a much higher rpm, you will need to select a larger carb. Of course duel carb's is an option.
Notes: The most importan thing with E85 is just use it. I mean don't leave the car just sit for weeks on end. All alcohol based fuels will suck up moisture from the air and thats causes the fuel to seperate. Now I have not seen that happen but It will. So no long term storage in a vernted fuel cell. I recomend off loading the E85 into a sealed fuel container for 3 week or longer storage terms. Yes I see the alcohol level vary from one station to the next. Of course that can mess up your day in bracket raceing. The fix is simple and something that should be done for all E85 raceing. Take the fuel needed for the raceday new and last weeks and mix it all together in one drum or purchase it all from one location at the same time. That way you start the day with the same fuel you end the day with. I feel that E85 as a race fuel works great! I worked the pits for many weekend racers and we found right away the car just runs the numbers all day long even with the air qualitiy dropping we just ran it without changing jets With gas we had the jet thing going all day long.
Keep in mind any carb can be converted some are just better. The best carb to convert is a HP style Holley body with screw in air bleeds. If your carb is older or doesn't have the screw in bleeds then I would consider upgrading the body or just selling the old carb and ordering one of my new billet E85 carbs but if you have the HP body then just order up a Do-It-Yourself E85 kit and with just basic tools you can save $$ and set your carbs up yourself. I do offer the conversion service here at the shop. Checkout the carbs we convert page.
Myth busters on Ethanol (E85)
Ethanol-blended gasoline powers cars and trucks hundreds of thousands of miles across the United States each and every year. In fact, it has powered vehicles through more than 2 trillion miles in the past 25 years. It is proven to decrease air pollution, enhance engine performance and boost local, regional and national economies. Every major automaker approves and warrantees its use. Even so, there's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there. The truth is ethanol is economical, efficient and earth-friendly, and in North Dakota, it's good for all of us. Get the facts, and Go E85!
Myth: Ethanol makes your engine run hotter.
Fact: There's a reason many high-powered racing engines run on pure alcohol. It combusts at a lower temperature, keeping the engine cooler. Ethanol, a form of alcohol, in your fuel does the same for your engine. They run cooler.
Myth: Ethanol is bad for fuel injectors.
Fact: Olefins in gasoline cause deposits that can foul injectors. By comparison, ethanol burns 100 percent and leaves no residue, so it cannot contribute to the formation of deposits. Fact is, ethanol actually keeps fuel injectors cleaner and improves performance. What's more, ethanol does not increase corrosion, and it will not harm seals or valves.
Myth: Ethanol plugs fuel lines.
Fact: Ethanol actually keeps your fuel system cleaner than regular unleaded gasoline. In dirty fuel systems, ethanol loosens contaminants and residues and they can get caught in your fuel filter. In older cars, especially those manufactured before 1975, replacing the filter will solve the problem. And if you continue to use ethanol-blended gasoline, your filter will remain cleaner for improved engine performance.
Myth: Ethanol isn't safe for older vehicles.
Fact: Many older cars were designed to run on leaded gasoline, with the lead providing necessary octane for performance. However, even dramatic changes in gasoline formulation over the past few years have not affected older engine performance. Ethanol, a natural, renewable additive, raises octane levels by three points and works well in older engines.
Myth: Ethanol harms small engines, like those on lawn mowers, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and recreational vehicles.
Fact: Small engine manufacturers have made certain that their engines perform with gasoline that contains oxygenates such as ethanol. Fact is, ethanol-blended fuel can be used safely in anything that runs on unleaded gasoline.
Myth: Ethanol actually increases air pollution.
Fact: There can be no increase in emission from ethanol-blended fuels; it's the law. In fact, ethanol reduces carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 25 percent and displaces components of gasoline that produce toxic emissions that cause cancer and other diseases.
Myth: Ethanol contributes to global warming.
Fact: The energy balance for ethanol is positive, 1.35 to 1, so the greenhouse gas benefits of ethanol are also positive. Fact is, using ethanol produces 32 percent fewer emissions of greenhouse gases than gasoline for the same distance traveled.
Myth: It takes more energy to produce ethanol than it contributes.
Fact: Fact is, corn plants efficiently collect and store energy, so for every 100 BTUs of energy used to produce ethanol, 135 BTUs of ethanol are produced. In addition, ethanol facilities are extremely energy efficient.
Myth: Ethanol production wastes corn that could be used for food.
Fact: In 2001, U.S. farmers produced 9.5 billion bushels of corn and only 600 million bushels are currently used in ethanol production. Fact is, there's no shortage of corn, and the ethanol market could expand significantly without negatively impacting its availability. Besides, ethanol production uses field corn, most of which is fed to livestock, not humans. Only the starch portion of the corn kernel is used to produce ethanol. The vitamins, minerals, proteins and fiber are converted to other products such as sweeteners, corn oil and high-value livestock feed, which helps livestock producers add to the overall food supply.
Myth: Ethanol does not benefit farmers.
Fact: Demand for grain from ethanol production increases net farm income more than $1.2 billion a year, and ethanol production adds $4.5 billion to U.S. farm income annually. Studies have shown that corn prices in markets near ethanol plants will increase between 5 cents and 8 cents per bushel. In North Dakota, ethanol production increases the market price for corn by 25 cents per bushel. In addition, ethanol production accounts for a portion of the overall corn supply and helps improve corn prices nationwide.
Myth: Ethanol only benefits farmers.
Fact: The increase in net farm income results in a boost in the agricultural sector that cuts farm program costs and taxpayer outlays. Beyond that, ethanol production has been responsible for more than 40,000 jobs, or more than $1.3 billion in household income. It also directly and indirectly adds more than $6 billion to the American economy each year by boosting surrounding economies.
Sources: American Coalition of Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Association
N.D. Department of Commerce
1600 E. Century Avenue Suite 2