North American Turbocoupe Organization



Occasionally, I run E-85 in my 'Bird...
powerstrokin Offline
Junior Member
#1
A few times (every other week or so) I ran up to one of the gas stations that sells E-85 and put 3 gallons in, and filled the rest of the tank with regular 87 octane.

Car seemed to run better and get better fuel mileage.

Last time I went up there (last week sometime) I put about 6 gallons of E-85 and the rest 87 octane.

Car is running fantastic. Idles smoother when I run the ethanol, absolutely tons more power, better mileage. Car can be weird about fuel consumption but generally between 19 and 25 mpg on regular gas, and usually around 23-29 mpg on the partial ethanol tank. This is mixed driving, mostly country roads... but a LOT of skinny pedal action.

NO, I'm not planning on running a full tank of it. I have heard of the problems it can cause and I'm sure I will hear it from some here about how I shouldn't run it at all. My point is- shouldn't my fuel mileage go DOWN?

Also, when I run just regular gas (regardless of octane) I get quite a bit of detonation and obviously not so much if at all on the ethanol due to its higher octane. My timing is right on the money per specs, both cam and ignition.

I can't put the pedal to the floor no matter what though, as I set the over boost buzzer off at 3/4 throttle and boost gauge (stock) zips up to 18+ psi and I guess the computer pulls fuel at that time? My only other turbo gasoline car was a 2008 Cobalt SS and it just ran great no matter how you treated it. I realize I'm not driving 20 year old technology. Still seems odd though.

Anyways..

I guess I just wanted to see what anyone here thought about all of this, if anything.

So far like I said the car seems to love the ethanol (I searched before hand and everyone online says not to run it...lol)

It's cheaper, runs better, more power, better mileage.

Is the whole "ethanol is bad in a car not designed for it" just an oil company line of crap or what?
'88 Turbo Coupe
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zip Offline
Member
#2
E85 requires ~30% more fuel, so you should be seeing lower fuel mileage. Fuel won't be pulled from 'overboosting', something else is happening there. How much boost and what octane are you running when you get detonation?

It sounds like you are running rich if you are running better and getting better gas mileage with the ethanol mix.

Matt
86 TC 5spd:QH/SD,Walbro190,CFI 52#, AFPR,WB,FMIC,3"dp to axle, .63 T3, E6,Stock Longblock.
Shelf:N/A 2.3, Die grinder, Carbide Burrs.
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#3
^^^ +1000

In addition to what Zip said, our old fuel system components contain metals and elastomaric seals that are not compatible with the corrosive nature of E85. Modern flex fuel vehicles use different fuel pumps, different metals, different seal materials, etc to deal with this corrosion issues.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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Scott Mabe Offline
Member
#4
I definitely wouldn't even mix some e85 with every tank. Maybe once a month or two months. The ethanol will clean moisture out of your fuel system which is a plus, but there are alot of down sides to it. I've dealt with the ill effects of ethanol in fuel systems that were not designed for it. Rubber seals are affected worst.
1987 Turbo Coupe
1988 Thunderbird parts car/ possibly street/strip car
1990 F-250HD 460ci
2001 Pontiac Montana (wife's ride)

-PLEASE FORGIVE TYPOS, I USE SWYPE ON MY PHONE-
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Stang8u Offline
Senior Member
#5
Little off topic but I mixed in a few gallons of e85 to pass ca smog and if worked like a charm lol
:mad:
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ZeroRain Offline
Member
#6
Doesn't ethanol attract more moister then dispels?

Zero
1987 Turbo Coupe Auto- gone
1991 Sport 5.0 Auto- gone
1996 LX 5.0 5spd- Gone
1989 Super Coupe 5spd- gone
1984 Turbo Coupe 5spd- newest project
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goldwing Offline
Senior Member
#7
ZeroRain Wrote:Doesn't ethanol attract more moister then dispels? Zero
Yes! I believe that's what Scott ^ was saying about removing moisture.
That's also why you can buy pure gasoline at boat marinas. There was a major lawsuit or two concerning destroyed boat engines because of this factor. It will eventually gel and clog carb jets too.
T.C:87 5 speed
HOLSET(HE341/HY35W type-D),255 Walbro, No intercooler yet,8lbs boost,Timing @ 9,Low& C.C Plates & SN-95 Bumpsteer Kit, KYB-AGX Struts,Belt driven fan,Custom oil cooler feed,Relocated ECT,Relocated TFI,N/A Hood, showing 178K
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powerstrokin Offline
Junior Member
#8
zip Wrote:E85 requires ~30% more fuel, so you should be seeing lower fuel mileage.

That's what I thought, but I'm getting higher on ethanol.

zip Wrote:Fuel won't be pulled from 'overboosting', something else is happening there. How much boost and what octane are you running when you get detonation?

So when these cars set the over boost buzzer on, what exactly is supposed to happen? The waste gate is opening somewhere under 18 psi, more like 15-16, I can hear that. But the turbo still builds more and the gauge maxes out (stock gauge) at which time the light and buzzer come on. The car then feels like it's hitting a wall. Will not go faster almost like choking. Obviously I don't try to hit that point, but it does happen. I can't really drive it "hard" because of this.

For detonation- a few pounds will do it on 87 octane, but if I get the engine revved up to 3,000 rpm or more and THEN get into boost detonation is nonexistent. I don't really ever run premium so I don't know about that. To clarify, I don't lug the engine and try to build boost.

zip Wrote:It sounds like you are running rich if you are running better and getting better gas mileage with the ethanol mix.


I don't have any way to measure the air fuel ratio so I couldn't tell you.

I will say that I have noticed as I'm standing behind it while it's idling in the morning to warm up that it pops occasionally through the exhaust. Previous owner took the dual pipes off and put one giant super quiet muffler on it so it's not so noticeable unless you're back there at the tail pipe. I really want to get that muffler off and at least put stock pipes on but I don't want it annoyingly loud.

Also- new parts in the last few months include plugs, wires, cap, rotor, timing belt, thermostat and water pump. Timing on both sides was checked and set properly. Had an issue with retarded timing from when Ford replaced timing belt but set ignition timing myself with a light and spout pulled.
'88 Turbo Coupe
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Pete D Offline
Administrator
#9
The overboost light/buzzer is set to go on at 17.5 psi +/- 0.5psi. It does nothing but tell the operator that it is over boosting.

"So when these cars set the over boost buzzer on, what exactly is supposed to happen?"

The car was not designed to run at 15+ psi on 87 octane. That is why there is a fuel grade selector switch. Put it in 'reg" mode and if you have an after market boost controller, turn it down to around 12-13 psi or the detonation is going to continue until the head gasket goes or worse.

The EEC is suppose to enrich the mixture at higher rps. 3000 rpms is one of the thresholds where the mix is enriched, to protect against detonation . There is also a rev limiter that cuts fuel at 6250 rpms. Could that be the wall your hitting. You might want to run the fuel system diagnostics, http://turbotbird.com/techinfo/Fuel_Syst...ostics.htm

You might want check for air leaks as this could cause detonation
Pete Dunham


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powerstrokin Offline
Junior Member
#10
Pete D Wrote:The overboost light/buzzer is set to go on at 17.5 psi +/- 0.5psi. It does nothing but tell the operator that it is over boosting.

"So when these cars set the over boost buzzer on, what exactly is supposed to happen?"

The car was not designed to run at 15+ psi on 87 octane. That is why there is a fuel grade selector switch. Put it in 'reg" mode and if you have an after market boost controller, turn it down to around 12-13 psi or the detonation is going to continue until the head gasket goes or worse.

The EEC is suppose to enrich the mixture at higher rps. 3000 rpms is one of the thresholds where the mix is enriched, to protect against detonation . There is also a rev limiter that cuts fuel at 6250 rpms. Could that be the wall your hitting. You might want to run the fuel system diagnostics, http://turbotbird.com/techinfo/Fuel_Syst...ostics.htm

You might want check for air leaks as this could cause detonation


The fuel grade selector switch seems to do something but mostly, if I'm above 3,000 RPM it just has a little more power, even if I'm just running 87 octane. The original boost valve/thing that everyone bypasses is bypassed on this car and replaced with a generic little valve. I can turn it ever so slightly from where it's set now and I'll not build more than 10 PSI, if I open it up all the way it seems to build boost faster (which isn't good, because then it'll over boost even faster)

Let me be clear about the detonation- it doesn't do it constantly. It does it under partial throttle/getting into it/ until rpms are up and boost is built over 5 psi or so. I do not drive the car with it constantly bouncing marbles in a tin can lol. I'm not that dumb.

As for the 6,250 rpm rev limiter... YIKES! It sounds like it should be blowing up at anything over 4,500 or so and I don't think I've ever gone above 5,000 rpm. I'm a diesel guy... high revving stuff just is NOT my thing, so I don't rev things that high.

The car will hit the "wall" at ANY RPM as long as the over boost light/buzzer has come on. If I get over boost at 3,000 rpm, then that's where the wall is, et cetera.

This car is starting to annoy me. I bought it when I lived in Utah and it ran perfect up there. Never went above 15 PSI, had great power and idled fine. I move back to Indiana and it runs like crap, till I started using the ethanol anyways which seems to take care of a lot of problems except the "wall" thing with the turbo, which is probably because one of the previous owners put that stupid valve in there. Why can't people just leave their grubby little hands off things like that!

The original "valve" thing- the plastic is broken so I don't think it'll work if I re-install it. Plus the vacuum lines look like they've been charred for some reason.

Blah. Someone buy this gem from me while it's still in otherwise great shape! Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it.
'88 Turbo Coupe
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