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2004 Forester XT
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone. I've been doing some research about using E85 as a fuel, particularly for performance applications, so I wonder if anyone here has converted their car to run on it. If so, I'm wondering about how extensive the conversion is, as I've seen modifications to the fuel tank material listed as a necessity (among other things) when using E85. Anyone have details? I'd love to hear not only about the conversion process, but from anyone knowledgeable about alternative fuels. Thanks.
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester XT Sports
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1,705 Posts
As for conversions there are a lot of people doing it for performance applications. Take a look at some of the generic subaru boards for a how-to.

As for E85 being a viable alternative fuel well that is a lot of opinion really. There are a couple ways to look at it:

Pros
It is renewable
There is less life cycle carbon footprint
Reduce dependence on foreign oil​
Cons
The life cycle carbon footprint is only slightly lower due to high amounts of energy needed for production (only about 10% better)
Linking a volatile fuel market to our food market? Not a good idea!​

These are my opinions but they are heavily based on facts, I have worked professionally in the alternative fuel field for a short time and have actually gotten paid to do research on this exact subject. I am all in favor of things like bio-diesel but ethanol just seems like a waste of time.
 

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Premium Member
2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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10,784 Posts
Plenty of Subarus running it, you don't need much besides large injectors and a tune. As soon as E85 becomes available locally, I'll be getting my car tuned for it. Check out this thread by a known Bay Area tuner.

It's basically cheap race fuel. If you are thinking of doing this to save money or environment, forget it -- it won't do either.

Stan
 

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1997 Legacy GT
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122 Posts
This may sound super naive....but, doesn't running ethanol (alcohol) through a rubber fuel line sound like a bad idea? Doesn't alcohol dry out and ruin rubber/plastics?
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,255 Posts
Here's a link to a Google search string on E85 conversion and conversion kits for Subarus.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2007 Forester
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32 Posts
You can always go for mix-fuel without converting. I do it time to time when it's economically preferrable. When I've got say 1/3 left with gasoline I fill her up with E85 and runs on it till It's empty. Works perfectly when it's above 12°C, feels like you also get some extra tourqe as well. The negative thing with driving unconverted is that the engine electronic failure lights up, complaining about Fueltrim values outta limits. When that happens, just fill her up with gasoline and it'll return to normal.

Never had any problems with rubberhoses and other stuff. Drove my old Audi 100 several thousand miles on E85 without problems. Though you might wanna change fuelfilter and oil after a while, since E85 clears old clogging.

Best regards
 

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2005 Sequoia, V70R auto
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2,869 Posts
Has anyone modded their stock injectors to flow more? I'd like to eventually have an e85 map, but I would definitely need higher flowing injectors without having to purchase or send in my injectors.
 

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08 BMW X3 3.0si 6MT X-Drive
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328 Posts
Cons
The life cycle carbon footprint is only slightly lower due to high amounts of energy needed for production (only about 10% better)
Linking a volatile fuel market to our food market? Not a good idea!​
I'd like to weigh in on the "Con". First off, the vast majority of corn Ethanol comes from corn that was destined to be feed corn, not corn for human consumption. One of the byproducts of Ethanol production is high protein animal feed. HFCS is also another byproducts of E85 production. All of the, "it's raising the cost of our food" is bunk. When gas prices were terrible 2 years ago, food prices went up because of the cost of gasoline. Food prices never came down, and now Ethanol is to blame? Please.

While I believe corn ethanol is sub-optimal, and I also believe that chopping down rainforests in Brazil to plant sugar cane for fuel use is not the wisest move, I do understand that by creating a demand for E85/Ethanol as a fuel, it will provide the market with more incentive to provide alternative (ie cellulostic) Ethanol fuels through methods that are in no way linked to our food market. If there is none to little market for E85, there will be no market incentive for businesses to work on ways to produce cheaper ethanol from less demanding feedstock.

All of that aside, In every functional way, except perhaps overall economy and availability, E85 is a superior fuel to gasoline in a turbo'd Subaru.
 

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2005 Sequoia, V70R auto
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2,869 Posts
I've now converted to e85. I've heard that I need to switch to a different oil to prevent issues down the road. I use GC for oil. Any of you heard anything about this?
 

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2011 Forester Limited Auto w/nav
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898 Posts
I'd like to weigh in on the "Con". First off, the vast majority of corn Ethanol comes from corn that was destined to be feed corn, not corn for human consumption. One of the byproducts of Ethanol production is high protein animal feed. HFCS is also another byproducts of E85 production. All of the, "it's raising the cost of our food" is bunk. When gas prices were terrible 2 years ago, food prices went up because of the cost of gasoline. Food prices never came down, and now Ethanol is to blame? Please.

While I believe corn ethanol is sub-optimal, and I also believe that chopping down rainforests in Brazil to plant sugar cane for fuel use is not the wisest move, I do understand that by creating a demand for E85/Ethanol as a fuel, it will provide the market with more incentive to provide alternative (ie cellulostic) Ethanol fuels through methods that are in no way linked to our food market. If there is none to little market for E85, there will be no market incentive for businesses to work on ways to produce cheaper ethanol from less demanding feedstock.

All of that aside, In every functional way, except perhaps overall economy and availability, E85 is a superior fuel to gasoline in a turbo'd Subaru.

Thanks for posting that. Many don't understand the E-85 process.
 

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Super Subie Fan
2004 Forester XT 6spd MT (2005 STI)
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287 Posts
I'd like to weigh in on the "Con". First off, the vast majority of corn Ethanol comes from corn that was destined to be feed corn, not corn for human consumption. One of the byproducts of Ethanol production is high protein animal feed. HFCS is also another byproducts of E85 production. All of the, "it's raising the cost of our food" is bunk. When gas prices were terrible 2 years ago, food prices went up because of the cost of gasoline. Food prices never came down, and now Ethanol is to blame? Please.

While I believe corn ethanol is sub-optimal, and I also believe that chopping down rainforests in Brazil to plant sugar cane for fuel use is not the wisest move, I do understand that by creating a demand for E85/Ethanol as a fuel, it will provide the market with more incentive to provide alternative (ie cellulostic) Ethanol fuels through methods that are in no way linked to our food market. If there is none to little market for E85, there will be no market incentive for businesses to work on ways to produce cheaper ethanol from less demanding feedstock.

All of that aside, In every functional way, except perhaps overall economy and availability, E85 is a superior fuel to gasoline in a turbo'd Subaru.
Nearly true! Coming from a major corn producing state and parents living about 10 miles from an Ethonal Production Facility, yes, E85 is derived from feed corn, however, farmers are getting paid nearly and sometimes more than $7 per bushel for feed corn now, so farmers are raising that instead of sweet corn in a majority of their fields to make more money, hence less corn for human consumption which in turn raises the cost of edible corn products, which increases the demand on edible corn which then raises the price per bushel which the consumer will have to pay for.

Now if sugar cane is utilized more, corn prices should fall... but we see what is happening with gas prices! I am surprised they didn't drop when the demand in Japan fell, then Libya happens a week later...

I would like to have an alternative E85 Map in addition to my 93 Octane Map on my Accessport though, just in case.
 

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2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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44 Posts
ethanol is also HEAVILY subsidised. if we are to continue to use ethanol, it needs to be from bagasse or something like that. and ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water.
 
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