E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V - Mustang Evolution

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Old 07-29-2008, 10:24 PM   #1
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E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

I have been wanting to play with E85 for a couple of years now. Cental Florida has been slow to get it, it has not been available until just recently. I found out on Friday it can be purchased from the Turkey Lake Service plaza on the turnpike (3.49 gal on 7/4/08). Until now, it was only available in Tallahassee, recently Miami, and at a biofuels distributor in Lake City. On my way back from Texas last month I picked up a barrel from the bio fuels distributor in Lake City (N. Florida) for testing, these guys mix their own E85 so it is very consistent fuel. Most E85 pumps claim up to 70% ethanol, so you *should* be getting E85 in the summer and E70 in the winter, which is enough of a difference to require a tune change.

E85 is cheaper by the gallon, but due to the 20-40% fuel economy loss, it's not usually any cheaper overall. There are some things I can do to help with the fuel economy loss by applying my fuel economy tuning, but it only offsets the loss by 5-10% at most. The fuel economy loss is due to the much lower energy content of ethanol, it also means you need much more fuel by volume. E85 really taxes the fuel system, the stoich point of normal gasoline is 14.64, E85 is about 9.85, 14.64/9.85=1.48, so you need roughly 50% more fuel mass to run E85.

A discussion on fuel demands and supplies...

The stock 05+ Mustang GT and V6 Fuel pump is capable of delivering about 4lb/min of fuel. The stock 05+ pump is the "Focus pump" that we install in the older 99-04 cars as an upgrade, it flows similar to the Ford GT pump and Aviator pumps.

A stock Mustang 05+ GT uses about 2.5lb/min of fuel peak, while a V6 uses about 1.7lb/min peak. The older 99-04 cars use just a little bit less than that.

2.5 lb/min fuel requirement on gasoline X 50% increased fuel demand for E85 = 3.75lb/min, which is how much fuel an 05+ GT should need to run E85, and my testing on Mike's car found that to be completely correct, which is still within the capacity of our stock pump.

The stock 05+ GT 24lb injectors aren't as well off as the stock pump, at the standard 40psi of fuel pressure they can only supply enough E85 up to about 5000RPM. If we do the math, they can only supply about 3.2 lb/min of fuel at 40psi. The workaround is to raise fuel pressure up to 50-60psi to get more flow out of them. The factory tune actually has all the parameters already set up to do this, so you don't actually need to change anything to get more out of them to run E85. Raising fuel pressure makes the pump work harder, but duty cycle still sits around 90-95% on E85.

The real value to us in E85 is the high octane rating, about 105. It is a very cheap race gas for boosted cars, assuming your fuel system is up to it. And based on our testing below, it seems to add power even in NA applications (more on that later).

Recently we put one of my local customers cars on the dyno to test E85 in it. He has an 08 Mustang GT Manual with a C&L Racer intake, CMCV deletes, stock cats, and magnapack mufflers. I made some baseline pulls on his 93 tune with around 12.7 A/F (.87 lambda), this car is able to run 30-31* of timing at WOT with no major knock sensor activity.

We then drained the tank and put in 8 gallons of E85.

I got the tune set up for E85 and dialed it in to run the same lambda that I was running on 93. I've found that a lambda of .86 to .89 (12.6 to 13.0 in gasoline terms) works best on these 3V motor. Going to .92 lambda on E85 (about 13.5 in gasoline terms) caused a power loss.

On E85 the car did not run significantly more timing, there may have been slightly less knock sensor ******, by 1/2 degree or so.

Now onto the results, the car gained 9RWHP and 9RWTQ on E85. This is totally suprises me, but is consistent with another 05+ GT owners results found here. The additional power could be from the oxygen locked up in the fuel, which is realeased during combustion or from the cooling effect of the greater fuel volume and the alcohol. On boosted cars, the gains will be even greater because of the additional timing that can be run on E85, due to the additional octane.



The alcohol in E85 is corrosive. The fuel systems in modern vehicles is designed to deal with a small amount of alcohol, 10%, which is now being found at many pumps in the form of E10 gasoline.

For short term use, E85 should not cause problems with fuel systems in newer non-FFV vehicles.

Mike left with half a tank so we can see how much gas mileage changes without doing any special fuel economy tuning.

I also plan to test E85 in a V6 and a GT500. I don't know if all naturally aspirated vehicles will gain power on E85 with no timing change, like the 4.6L 3Vs, further testing will be required.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:18 PM   #2
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

awesome read! keep us posted. you need to test a 5.0 pushrod and let me know how it goes... lol... i'm actually pretty concerned knowing that e85 is corrosive and running a 14/15yr old block, how much damage it can or will be doing.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:28 PM   #3
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

Well, since you don't fill up with it, you're safe.

The corrosion, if I remember right, is more towards your gaskets, o-rings, and seals and things of that nature. Basically, the rubber stuff in the fuel system. It's not so much the block at risk...however, I could be wrong.

I know Brad is all hyped up about this stuff claiming a website debunks all the corrosion theories of E85.....but, I believe the mechanics and those in teh industry, not people that run a site delivering propaganda.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:36 AM   #4
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

Great write-up Justin. I am waiting for E85 to get more widespread here in Baton Rouge so I can do more involved testing and run it in my personal car.

I have worked with an E85 1995 Mustang running 17psi and we were able to get away with an easy 6-7* more timing in boost over 93. The car has run E85/E70 for two years and has had no noticeable deterioration in the fueling system.

The fuel system (a bit overkill on the pumps) consists of Siemens Deka 60# injectors, base fuel pressure at 45, 255HP in tank, Trex inline and KB BAP through upgraded feed and return line (-6/-8) and stock 95 rails.

Car is a weekend car but owner noted that running E85 was about a wash when compared to using 93. However, when he drives then car... he drives it. The added octane was the reason for the switch, not economy.

Keep the information coming.

Wes
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:11 AM   #5
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

ZOMG ITS WES!

tune my car... now .... lmao. corrupt tunes + my car = no good sir
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:41 AM   #6
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

he will get to it be patient buddy...
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:46 AM   #7
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun JungleBoy View Post
ZOMG ITS WES!

tune my car... now .... lmao. corrupt tunes + my car = no good sir
If you get a chance snap me a picture of the chip that came on the car when you got it and we will get you taken care of.

Drop me an email and we'll talk further.

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Old 07-30-2008, 11:03 AM   #8
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

Nice post, keep us informed
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:49 PM   #9
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Re: E85 testing on NA 08 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V

Great Info !!!! Keep it coming
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