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Old 05-09-2022, 05:37 PM   #1
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Anyone tried running E85 in their 7.3 V8?

I have found a bunch of conflicting information on whether the Ford model year 2022 7.3L V-8 will run ethanol or not. The owners manual says that flex fuel vehicles have yellow gas caps but when I brought my VIN to the local Ford dealer, they showed no part number for a fuel cap for my RV at all. They ran the "Oasis report" and it is not clear other than I had no options for flex fuel.

I read a tech article somewhere that said the 7.3 flex fuel PCM uses fuel trim to determine if it is running on 87 octane or E85. Does that mean that the flex fuel capable rig's only difference is a PCM flash? Ford (dealer, techs, and FoMoCo tech line) have all basically said "usually if it was flex fuel it would have a badge and a yellow gas cap". Is the fuel pump the same? Are the injectors the same?

Why would I want to run E85? You lose about 10% MPG you may think. True, but in CA right now 87 octane is $5.50+/gallon and E85 is about $3.29/gallon. By my math, if I lose 10% MPG, it is still significantly cheaper to drive on E85. E85 also burns much cleaner and smoother.

So anyone tried it? Anyone know the difference between a Flex Fuel equipped rig and a non-Flex Fuel rig?
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Old 05-09-2022, 05:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rang-a-stang View Post
I have found a bunch of conflicting information on whether the Ford model year 2022 7.3L V-8 will run ethanol or not. The owners manual says that flex fuel vehicles have yellow gas caps but when I brought my VIN to the local Ford dealer, they showed no part number for a fuel cap for my RV at all. They ran the "Oasis report" and it is not clear other than I had no options for flex fuel.

I read a tech article somewhere that said the 7.3 flex fuel PCM uses fuel trim to determine if it is running on 87 octane or E85. Does that mean that the flex fuel capable rig's only difference is a PCM flash? Ford (dealer, techs, and FoMoCo tech line) have all basically said "usually if it was flex fuel it would have a badge and a yellow gas cap". Is the fuel pump the same? Are the injectors the same?

Why would I want to run E85? You lose about 10% MPG you may think. True, but in CA right now 87 octane is $5.50+/gallon and E85 is about $3.29/gallon. By my math, if I lose 10% MPG, it is still significantly cheaper to drive on E85. E85 also burns much cleaner and smoother.

So anyone tried it? Anyone know the difference between a Flex Fuel equipped rig and a non-Flex Fuel rig?
When carrying or pulling a load, I want maximum horsepower and torque. Does not put as much strain by using the proper fuel... I had an Avalanche that I tried a tank of E85 ONCE. Loss of power and performance sucked. Figured my mileage and it did not pay for me to use the E85... That is why I only tried it ONE TIME See the link....
https://thedriveradviser.com/e-85-fl...-similarities/
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Old 05-09-2022, 05:58 PM   #3
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Copy that. But at almost half the cost when filling a 55 gallon tank, I can live with a slight loss of power. Spread that over a 1000 mile road trip at 9-10MPG and the cost savings go through the roof.
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Old 05-09-2022, 06:14 PM   #4
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There's a reason why it's only $3.29/gallon. You will notice more than a "slight" loss of power, especially pulling any sort of grade. Your engine will have to work harder. False economy.
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Old 05-09-2022, 06:15 PM   #5
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Moved thread from the Forest River Lifestyle sub-forum to the Tow Vehicles sub-forum since topic is specific to Tow Vehicles.

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Old 05-09-2022, 06:17 PM   #6
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Copy that. But at almost half the cost when filling a 55 gallon tank, I can live with a slight loss of power. Spread that over a 1000 mile road trip at 9-10MPG and the cost savings go through the roof.
Check out the article that I posted the link. It says that you will lose up to 30% in MPG with E85. It also says that you will require more maintenance because the Ethanol eats up the seals and parts. Talk to a real mechanic and see what they tell you about maintenance. Believe me I now drive a Diesel truck and even at $1.25 more per gallon than Gas, my price per mile is still less than when I had a gas truck The reason is I get 33% better MPG with my diesel... Yes I spend more to fillup, but it cost me less per mile...
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Old 05-09-2022, 06:30 PM   #7
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I've no idea why anyone would buy fake gas for their vehicles.

You will NEVER get decent mileage running fake gas. Run real gasoline and your mileage will go up and your engine will be far happier.

:-)
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Old 05-09-2022, 06:37 PM   #8
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There's a reason why it's only $3.29/gallon. You will notice more than a "slight" loss of power, especially pulling any sort of grade. Your engine will have to work harder. False economy.
Maybe so during normal times but in the days of $5.50/gallon, the math swings the needle.
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Moved thread from the Forest River Lifestyle sub-forum to the Tow Vehicles sub-forum since topic is specific to Tow Vehicles.
Copy. Thank you!
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Check out the article that I posted the link. It says that you will lose up to 30% in MPG with E85. It also says that you will require more maintenance because the Ethanol eats up the seals and parts. Talk to a real mechanic and see what they tell you about maintenance. Believe me I now drive a Diesel truck and even at $1.25 more per gallon than Gas, my price per mile is still less than when I had a gas truck The reason is I get 33% better MPG with my diesel... Yes I spend more to fillup, but it cost me less per mile...
I did. That article was written assuming a 27%/gallon delta between the two fuels. So a 1000 mile road trip with 20% loss in fuel economy would be pointless. But with a $2/gallon delta (45%), the savings become significant. When I swapped from 91 octane to E85 in my Mazda, I lost about 8% MPG (not 20%).
If I use my RV's numbers (I m getting about 9.5mpg on 87 octane) a 1000 mile road trip at $5.50/gallon would cost ~$575 in fuel. if I lose 20% MPG on E85 that's 7.6 MPG. That same road trip on ethanol at $3.29 would be about $435. That's $140 to put up with a slight loss of power. If my MPG losses are similar to my Mazda's and are say, 15% or I get 8MPG, that's $411 for that same trip.

In the grand scheme of things, if someone is going to hand me $150+ to do with a slight loss of power, I'll take it. On my Mazda, I have to clean my high pressure fuel pump at each oil change now, due to the E85 conversion. That takes about an hour. Again, totally worth the effort for the savings when comparing 91 octane vs. E85.
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Old 05-09-2022, 06:51 PM   #9
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Maybe so during normal times but in the days of $5.50/gallon, the math swings the needle.

Copy. Thank you!

I did. That article was written assuming a 27%/gallon delta between the two fuels. So a 1000 mile road trip with 20% loss in fuel economy would be pointless. But with a $2/gallon delta (45%), the savings become significant. When I swapped from 91 octane to E85 in my Mazda, I lost about 8% MPG (not 20%).
If I use my RV's numbers (I m getting about 9.5mpg on 87 octane) a 1000 mile road trip at $5.50/gallon would cost ~$575 in fuel. if I lose 20% MPG on E85 that's 7.6 MPG. That same road trip on ethanol at $3.29 would be about $435. That's $140 to put up with a slight loss of power. If my MPG losses are similar to my Mazda's and are say, 15% or I get 8MPG, that's $411 for that same trip.

In the grand scheme of things, if someone is going to hand me $150+ to do with a slight loss of power, I'll take it. On my Mazda, I have to clean my high pressure fuel pump at each oil change now, due to the E85 conversion. That takes about an hour. Again, totally worth the effort for the savings when comparing 91 octane vs. E85.
Rang, before going whole hog on a trip using corn, you may want to load up, hook up and do a short test drive mimicking your trip terrain if possible, just so you get an accurate feel for how it will perform. I don't use E85 and never have, but the mechanics I've spoken with say stay away. I don't think you are going to get away with anything close to a 15% loss, and the premature wear needs to be taken into account, as well.
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Old 05-09-2022, 07:34 PM   #10
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I tried a tank full in wife's 10 yr old Mercury. Went from 23 mpg to 14.5. Maybe newer tech improved things..
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Old 05-09-2022, 10:27 PM   #11
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A customer put E85 in their 2013 Toyota Corolla by mistake. They drove it a day, had misfires, CEL, and no power. We drained the tank and did an injector cleaning.

If the vehicle doesnít say FlexFuel it wonít run on E85.
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Old 05-10-2022, 07:40 AM   #12
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Neighbor did a test running E85 in his 2020 Chevy 1/2. He drove as normal, both highway and city driving for slightly over 1,000 miles.

His average MPG was 12.3.

He has gone back to real gas as the lower price per gallon from E85 cost him more than buying real gas given the loss in MPG.
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Old 05-10-2022, 12:14 PM   #13
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Rang, before going whole hog on a trip using corn, you may want to load up, hook up and do a short test drive mimicking your trip terrain if possible, just so you get an accurate feel for how it will perform. I don't use E85 and never have, but the mechanics I've spoken with say stay away. I don't think you are going to get away with anything close to a 15% loss, and the premature wear needs to be taken into account, as well.
Good idea. I am not ready to dump corn in my tank yet, just trying to get a feel for whether I could or not. I use GasBuddy's MPG log for every drop of fuel I have put into my tank since I bought it. That includes about 1200 miles of towing our dingy, 3000 miles of dry driving (all empty tanks, almost no cargo), and 1800 miles of full driving (full tank of water, luggage, etc.). IF (and that is a big "IF") I could run corn, I would probably start with a 50/50 mix of corn/87octane, see how it does for a couple tanks, then, depending on how that goes, shift to all corn or stick with 87 octane.
My Mazda is direct injection so about every 15K miles I have to pull the intake manifold off and clean the back side of the intake valves. I am not due for that cleaning for an other 5K miles but it will be interesting to see if there is a difference after switching to Corn. I will tell you my plugs are much cleaner after switching to corn and my car idles and cruises significantly smoother.
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I tried a tank full in wife's 10 yr old Mercury. Went from 23 mpg to 14.5. Maybe newer tech improved things..
Yeah, I think every car is different. So in your wife's car, that is a ~35% reduction in MPG. If E85 is half the cost, you would be saving 15% per mile driven (assuming all other costs are equal). Again, I think the reason the math works out right now is because 87 is sooooo high. I am also using CA fuel costs and we are generally at least $1/gallon more than the rest of the country.
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A customer put E85 in their 2013 Toyota Corolla by mistake. They drove it a day, had misfires, CEL, and no power. We drained the tank and did an injector cleaning.

If the vehicle doesnít say FlexFuel it wonít run on E85.
Totally agree with your last sentence and that is why I post the question here; I have seen some literature say the 2022 7.3s CAN run straight E85, some literature says SOME 7.3s can run E85, and some say none of them can. Honestly, this is also why I have not tried any in my rig yet.
I know that if I pour straight corn in my tank and am not flex fuel, it IS going to run lean. That WILL happen. I also know that some flex fuel vehicles use different seals and O-Rings that may not be E85 safe (keep in mind, even non-flex fuel vehicles are almost all E10 safe so most fuel systems can handle E85). When I converted my Mazda it was just O-Rings and a tune.
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Neighbor did a test running E85 in his 2020 Chevy 1/2. He drove as normal, both highway and city driving for slightly over 1,000 miles.

His average MPG was 12.3.

He has gone back to real gas as the lower price per gallon from E85 cost him more than buying real gas given the loss in MPG.
Copy that. I assume normally he would be getting ~18MPG average? If so, again, the math works out E85 still saves him 15% in fuels costs (if this he was in CA and E85 was half the cost of 87 octane). This is not to say a 15% savings is worth the loss in power, it may not be. In my Mazda's case, I gained significant power with E85 because I can run slightly higher boost AND timing.
***********************************************
I really appreciate all you folks responding! This is great conversation! Maybe my next fuel tank, I'll throw a few gallons in, then top off with 87 octane. I'll take it easy and watch for CELs, monitor my MPG, engine temp, and power losses. Then again... I am still under warranty and if I torch something, that's my fault. HHhmmmmm.... maybe I won't.
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Old 05-10-2022, 12:33 PM   #14
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I can honestly say that I have never seen a gasser with HD emissions set up to run on E85.
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Old 05-10-2022, 01:03 PM   #15
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I can honestly say that I have never seen a gasser with HD emissions set up to run on E85.
Itís probably because the manufactures found no benefit to using E85 in a HD chassis. Their CAFE numbers didnít increase so no need to manufacture E85 HD vehicles.
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Old 05-10-2022, 01:11 PM   #16
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I can honestly say that I have never seen a gasser with HD emissions set up to run on E85.

The fuel tank cap on my 2022 F-350 with 7.3L "Godzilla" gasoline V8 says "E0-E15".

It does not appear to be E85 / Flexfuel capable.
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Old 05-10-2022, 03:27 PM   #17
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I tried a tank full in wife's 10 yr old Mercury. Went from 23 mpg to 14.5. Maybe newer tech improved things..
Unless your vehicle is rated for E85 you could do more damage. I do not believe a 10 year old Mercury is flex fuel rated. My dodge Caravan is flex fuel rated. In canada there is only a 25 percent savings in price I lost about 10 percent in milage and found an increase in acceleration.
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Old 05-10-2022, 04:04 PM   #18
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I'm going to be the contrarian here, from a point of 'theory'.

If a vehicle is set up / modified properly, it will *gain* power from using E85, vs 87 regular octane. The reason is increased octane, as E85 is in the neighborhood of 100-105.

Note that best fuel economy is with 100% gasoline (E0). I'm talking only HP / TQ, here.

In addition to hard parts components (including properly rated injectors and fuel pump output), the PCM must be able to accommodate E85 (by increasing fuel flow and engine timing when running it). This is usually detected by a fuel composition sensor.

While I have no idea about the specific Ford engine in question being able to run E85 'out of the box' (I'm a GM man, myself), it should be able to be modified to accommodate it.

Would I do this with a in-warranty vehicle? I wouldn't - or, at least I wouldn't want to try and engineer it myself.

My own GM pickup wasn't flex-fuel from the factory, but there are plenty of people who have converted my particular engine to FF (usually for racing). I'm in the middle of doing it, myself. But my truck is long out of warranty.
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Old 05-10-2022, 04:31 PM   #19
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Are all these "anecdotes" on poor economy/power/performance with E-85 from attempting to use E-85 in vehicles that were designed to use E-85? Or with vehicles that specified E-0 - E-15? Definitely different fuels and not unexpected to have bad results if you are not following the mfr's recommendations.

That said, we don't many, if any at all, E-85 outlets around this part of the country.


FWIW, NASCAR Cup Series cars run E-85 in their engines and are setting speed records with it. The key is how compression ratios and timing can be optimized to pull more HP out of the same size engine.
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Old 05-10-2022, 04:42 PM   #20
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Unless your vehicle is rated for E85 you could do more damage. I do not believe a 10 year old Mercury is flex fuel rated. My dodge Caravan is flex fuel rated. In canada there is only a 25 percent savings in price I lost about 10 percent in milage and found an increase in acceleration.
Yes, it's a 2010 and flex fuel rated for E85. And E85 here in NE Indiana is only about 10 to 15 % cheaper then E10 regular. Definitely not worth the price..
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