E85 Flex conversion kits

It was only a matter of time. For those who like their existing car but want to run E85, here is a major part of your solution: a conversion kit.

According to their press release Abcesso is now making their Ethanol FFV conversion kit available in the US. Be warned, however, that there are additional concerns.

In addition to the fuel management systems, you will want to ascertain the fuel system component’s ability to handle higher concentrations of ethanol. While all US cars sold in the last couple decades are able to support up to E20 (20% ethanol/80% gasoline mixture) throughout the system, E85 may not be safe for the tank and fuel lines. Check with the manufacturer and a knowledgeable mechanic as to what your vehicle’s system uses for these components.

Even for vehicles that are built with ethanol friendly componentry, you still want to exercise restraint. Sludge builds up in the bottom of gasoline tanks. Ethanol mixtures will tend to clean them out. If you have a car with say 30,000 miles on it, you’ve got a good deposit of sludge. If you switch to E85 without cleaning the tank out, you’ll flush a large portion of that gunk into the engine.

Your options here are to have the tank cleaned (or do it yourself, it generally isn’t complicated) , or to gradually increase your ethanol usage. For example, run 10% for a month and gradually increase the percentage each time you fill the tank. Try to keep the tank at half or more, the lower you go the higher the concentration of sludge that will come out. You want a nice, easy transition.

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