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Has anyone tried E-85 in a non-FFV 4.0 yet?

I've never been an ethanol fan but I drive alot of rental cars for my sales job and I've had several FFV Impalas lately that I've been putting E85 in as an experiment. I know when you go from E10 to E85 the computer has to adjust and mpg drops but I've noticed after 2-3 tanks of E85 the mpg seems to come back up somewhat. I traveled all over Iowa last week and E10 was $2.59 most places and E85 ranged from $1.83 to $1.95. Even with the mpg drop, E85 ends up being cheaper. The last Impala I drove had the smaller 3.5 V6 and it had noticeably more power with E85. The 3.9 V6 Impala I drove before it felt about the same with E85.

I know if I were to fill my DGC with E85 it would probably throw codes at first but I'm wondering if it would "adjust" after a couple tanks?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #42
The biggest issue you'll run into is degredation of incompatible materials in your fuel system from long-term use. FFVs use different materials in the fuel system, because certain rubbers and metals are not compatible with ethanol. In my opinion, every car should be an FFV. The cost difference is trivial, and just increases the flexibility of our national fleet of vehicles.
 

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I understand that Ethanol eats rubber, is more corrosive etc. I'm betting the fuel tank and lines will probably be ok since the 3.3 model is FFV. It doesn't make sense from a manufacturing standpoint to have different versions. I know with 5.3 Silverados, the FFV and non-FFV have the same fuel tanks, lines etc. The only difference is the computer programming and injectors.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Yes. With the earlier vans, the FFVs had different injectors as well. Larger ones, for more flow I guess. I'm sure it wouldn't be a "big" deal, but I'd hate it if you had any problems with the fuel system under warranty, and they find evidence of corrosion.

A co-worker started running E-85 in his old '89 Corvette and it apparently ran great in it. He sold the car shortly thereafter, though, so no long-term durability data.
 

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Any and all new fuel system components are fine with e85. The plastics and rubber hoses will be fine, but the injectors may lack the flow to handle it. And the computer will be unhapy as it is not likely programmed to adjust the fuel trims enough to make the e85 run properly.
 

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I wonder why they didn't give the 4.0 flex capability? It would be nice to be able to use E85 if I wanted to. I guess they only did the anemic 3.3 to try to get more people to buy it maybe?
 

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I wonder why they didn't give the 4.0 flex capability? It would be nice to be able to use E85 if I wanted to. I guess they only did the anemic 3.3 to try to get more people to buy it maybe?
in most places, e85 is not available. We make lots of ethanol in Illinois, yet the only places you can get it are mainly down south near the plants. I've yet to meet anyone around chicago with a FFV that has actually gotten e85 around the city. Plus the few stations that DO have it, they get avoided because the lack of buyers causes the fuel to absorb water and get many cars towed to the dealers.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
I wonder why they didn't give the 4.0 flex capability? It would be nice to be able to use E85 if I wanted to. I guess they only did the anemic 3.3 to try to get more people to buy it maybe?
The use of E-85 in government fleet vehicles is a federal mandate. This topic is sensitive to some, so I hope we can keep it non-political and simply let the fact stand that government fleets are required to use it where available. Since most fleets purchase the smaller/cheaper powertrains, Dodge put the FFV capability on the 3.3L, since it knew that's the powertrain that fleets purchase. You can see similar strategies from other automakers, though some (like Ford and GM) have proliferated FFV capability through more of their model lines than others.

We have a 2006 Grand Caravan at work, and it's the 3.3L with flex fuel capability. All of our Ford Tauruses (2004 vintage, with the Vulcan V-6) are also FFV. We also have a 2006 F-150 and it's an FFV. I'm not sure about our '08 Dodge Ram, but I think it's an FFV also (4.7L V-8). Our entire fleet, I think, is E-85 capable. Most of the North Carolina state cars are also FFV. Most are either the same vintage Tauruses that we have here, but the majority of the remainder are actually Dodge minivans.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
I wonder why they didn't give the 4.0 flex capability? It would be nice to be able to use E85 if I wanted to.
I agree that it makes sense to FFV-ize most everything. The difference in materials is very small, and it adds a lot of flexibility. In other words, I don't see many (if any) downsides. It only adds value.
 

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The use of E-85 in government fleet vehicles is a federal mandate. This topic is sensitive to some, so I hope we can keep it non-political and simply let the fact stand that government fleets are required to use it where available. Since most fleets purchase the smaller/cheaper powertrains, Dodge put the FFV capability on the 3.3L, since it knew that's the powertrain that fleets purchase. You can see similar strategies from other automakers, though some (like Ford and GM) have proliferated FFV capability through more of their model lines than others.
...
Interesting. Makes sense though, since the 3.8 is not a FFV engine either, right, even though it is basically just a stroked 3.8.
 

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You can run E85 in a later model car in a 1/2 tank rotation. Regular to 1/2 tank, fill on E85 to half tank, refill regular, so on so forth. This works great in warm weather, but will run badly in cold.

All car fuel systems will handle it at this point.
 

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You can run E85 in a later model car in a 1/2 tank rotation. Regular to 1/2 tank, fill on E85 to half tank, refill regular, so on so forth. This works great in warm weather, but will run badly in cold.

All car fuel systems will handle it at this point.
I'm thinking about trying it. I've got 1/2 tank of E10 in it right now. What's the worst that can happen?
 

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I'm thinking about trying it. I've got 1/2 tank of E10 in it right now. What's the worst that can happen?
The worse thing for you would be this. You try the E-85, mess up something, take it to the dealer (because it is under warranty) for repair. Dealer finds out your had an improper fuel in your vehicle and voids the warranty on your entire fuel system. That would be the worse case scenario for you. Best case, your MPG goes down, it runs a tad rougher, but no harm done.

I can see trying it with the 3.8 because the 3.3 is a flex fuel vehicle, and the 3.3 and 3.8 are pretty much the same engine. The 4.0 is a complete different animal. Not even the 3.5 is a FFV.

Having said that, I'd not try it period. But I'd have to drive around 30 miles out of my way for E-85 so I've never had the cost difference staring me in the face.
 

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The worse thing for you would be this. You try the E-85, mess up something, take it to the dealer (because it is under warranty) for repair. Dealer finds out your had an improper fuel in your vehicle and voids the warranty on your entire fuel system. That would be the worse case scenario for you. Best case, your MPG goes down, it runs a tad rougher, but no harm done.

I can see trying it with the 3.8 because the 3.3 is a flex fuel vehicle, and the 3.3 and 3.8 are pretty much the same engine. The 4.0 is a complete different animal. Not even the 3.5 is a FFV.

Having said that, I'd not try it period. But I'd have to drive around 30 miles out of my way for E-85 so I've never had the cost difference staring me in the face.

Good points! It's certainly not worth the risk!

I have seen a couple stations with E-20 and E-30. I wonder if those would have any effect other than lower MPG?
 

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From what I have read, e-20 will not harm engines designed for e-10. It is above e-25/30 that problems can really start.
I don't remember the website (maybe Wikipedia?), but it was a study done in Brazil (the largest ethanol user and producer in the world).
 

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what ive noticed has not been mentioned is that in the owners manual, as i drive a 2002 3.3 flex fuel, it says to use the flex fuel option you have to buy oil that is made for flex fuel vehicles. it give a part number for the mopar stuff. this is because the E-85 is more corrosive and will "wash away" any oil that is in the cylinder to lube the rings. i believe it has a chemical in it that resists the alcohol. i havent put any E-85 in my van, but i wouldnt be afraid to with the special oil. i would be leery without it.
 

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I believe that any SM rated oil now meets the standard for the FF "special" oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
Chrysler removed the requirement for special oil in 2006 as I recall. I think blupupher is correct: any SM oil is compatible with E-85.
 

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I ran my '02 for three summers on E-85 (~100k mi). No "special" oil - just coordinated the oil change interval to correspond with the start & finish of my 6months E-85 use.

-Jim
 

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I have been using E85 fuel in my 3.3 non flex 02 and 3.8 non flex 96', mix been 50/50 e85/95e10.
No difference in mpg, only issue in very cold winter is harder to start, so if temp is below -10'c then i use only 95e10 fuel


Does anyone know the EXACT differences with 3.3 ffv and 3.3 engine?

PP
 
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