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E85 fuel in non-E85 car

E85 fuel in non-E85 car

(OP)
My company has both regular gas vehicles and E-85 vehicles. Someone mistakenly pumped E85 fuel into a regular gas tank. Company emptied the fuel tank and replaced all fuel lines, costing $1,000+. It can happen again, and I bet it will happen again. Please advise the right thing to do. Thank you.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

The biggest issue is the alcohol in the E85 and the fact that your non-E85 vehicle will not have rubber fuel component that are suited for the alcohol.
But with this said, only one tank (or even the occasional tank) will most likely not cause any harm and you company probably spent an extra grand they really didn't need to spend.

under the right thing to do category
* inform the employees that use the vehicle
* take a paint pen and write "DO NOT USE E85" on the inside of the gas cap door/cover

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

You did what is needed, as long as you replaced ALL of the fuel system.
The biggest issues are with materials compatibility.
Unfortunately if there are parts or seals that were attacked and not changed you may not know it until you have problems (either leaks or loose material in the system) months later.

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P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

(OP)
Thank you for the replies. Let us assume that the mistake was noticed soon.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

How old is the car? US EPA nearly dictates what fuel system components are made from with its gas permeability rules. Hypalon and Viton are standard nowadays and both are compatible with alcohol. You would do worse to put diesel in the system vs. alcohol due to some minor incompatibilities between Hypalon and oil.

I would not return my business to whatever shop suggested to replace components or even agreed to perform the work after such a minor incident. Clearly, they are in the business of ripping off customers.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

(OP)
The vehicle is 2016 Ford Transit Connect. Is nitrile rubber incompatible with alcohol? If I really want to go an extra mile, do you think I can contact Ford with VIN and ask if the fuel line uses any nitrile (if it is the bad material)?
Thanks.

PS: The mistake took place last week and the car was immediately put aside for the repair.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

Accidentally filling E85 into a non-flex vehicle happens regularly so I wouldn't worry about it any further than labeling the gas cap, filler door, and/or maybe the car's key chain as suggested above. Standard practice btw isn't to replace anything other than the fuel, typically mechanics will simply siphon as much as possible from the tank and dilute the remainder with fresh. As mentioned fuel systems today arent sensitive to it by design because this happens so regularly, typically drivers only find out after XX miles when the MIL lights and they have it diagnosed, it hardly even affects performance in many cases.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

Yes, as others posted I also doubt there was any reason to replace the fuel lines.

I'd put a big ugly "NO E85" sticker on the cluster where it's always highly visible to the driver. The preferable place would be at the fuel gauge. The drivers might just think about it enough to avoid the E85 when they fill it.

As far as other markings, aren't the fuel tank caps always yellow on a E85 compatible vehicle? I also thought there was already a E85 compatible type label inside the fuel door on many of the E85 compatible fuel vehicles?

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

LH, I think the problem is (I believe, ???)that non-E85 vehicles don't have a sticker informing the uniformed to NOT use E85, many people see the cheaper price and think they are getting a bargain.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

If the components were going to be immediately damaged by E85, then wouldn't they also be damaged (albeit more slowly) by the typical 10% ethanol content in normal (US/Canada) gasoline over the years of warranty coverage?

Isn't it just a matter of degree and time? As opposed to a damage mechanism that suddenly switches on somewhere between 10% and 85%.

Just asking, as I don't know.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

I've done quite a bit of testing on various ethanol blends and "pure" gasoline and you are unlikely to see any damage in a modern fuel system with port injectors. I can't say if direct injectors are as forgiving. It appears that some 2016 Transists are port and some are direct injection depending on the engine fitted.

What you will find though is a non-flex fuel vehicle will run extremely lean on E85 and the necessary increase in fueling correction will be beyond the authority of the controller. So you will at minimum get a check engine light and possibly go into a limp home mode.

I agree with the others that all you need to do is drain and/or dilute the E85, no need to replace the entire fuel system.

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The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

I'm sure it will be fine to just drain most of the fuel out and refill with the correct stuff. As already noted, with up to to 10% ethanol in ordinary fuel the system components need to be resistant anyway.

I mis-fuelled in this way about 10 years ago, when one supermarket chain was still selling E85 here in the UK (not sure you can get it anywhere now). The victim was my 67 Triumph Vitesse, running homemade EFI based on a Megasquirt ECU and 80's era junkyard injection hardware, mostly Bosch. It still ran - but very badly, being horribly lean. I limped it 10 miles home before hooking up the laptop upping the fuelling by 30%. This allowed it to run reasonably at light to moderate throttle but there wasn't enough fuel flow (pump or injectors, not sure which) for anymore, so I put it back how it was, drained the fuel out and put the right stuff in it. It was absolutely fine and the same hardware is still soldiering on 10 years later.

I used the surplus E85 in my ancient (early 80s) side-valve Honda mower. Took two seasons to get through it. The mower ran ok once started and warm, but needed a shot of carb cleaner to get it going initially. It was possible to start it without but needed patience and a strong arm! I made no adjustment to the mower whatever and it also is still in use. Very hardy machine!

E85 never took off here (UK) as it cost the same as straight petrol but you use a good 30% more......

Nick

RE: E85 fuel in non-E85 car

I think replacing parts due to a mis-fueling was massive overkill. I ran E85 in an old Ford Ranger (I was able to adjust the ECU) for years and never suffered any ill effects. I'd bet hundreds of dollars that a 2016 model year vehicle would suffer no noticeable corrosion.

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I could get so much done if I didn't have to go to work

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