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CharlieC

Is it possible to use E10 fuel in the Esprit?

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http://www.adac.de/infotestrat/tanken-kraftstoffe-und-antrieb/benzin-und-diesel/e10/default.aspx?tabid=tab2

You've no doubt seen something mentioned on the above topic in Germany. Can we use the more corrosive E10? Has anyone asked Lotus already?

If anyone else would like this question answered I'm happy to contact Lotus directly.

charlie

Edited by CharlieC

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I took a look in the Esprit Owner´s Handbook: page a48

The so called "Gasohol" (" A mixture of 10% ethanol (grain alcohol) and 90% unleaded gasoline may be used in the Lotus Esprit.") is the E10.

But if there are any problems, it´s recommended to use gasoline. Personally, I mix between Super 95 and Super Plus (98).

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Over here, in the States, fuel can contain up to 10% alcohol and still be labelled as gasoline. I don't remember what the limit is in the EEC but I think it's similar. So, even when you think you are running gasoline, you may be running E10.

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I heard, that in the US you also have E25 / E 85 (means, 25% ethanol). Is that right?

Günther has experiences with his Esprit and running on alcohol (E85). He has about 10% more fuel consumption, due to the lower fuel value.

But it works, too!

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Holger , I have to correct you ..what I said was "-it's in the area of 20% under E85"

[aka 12L/100km on constant Autobahn ride.. 14L/100km on city traffic run ..compared with my former 10L/100km on constant Autobahn speeds (140-170km/h) (proved several times on the road)

and university calculations in our actual engine courses, based on the chemical [Mol] mathematics, show up with 4% more consumption under E10 fuel .

(that's already what the ADAC/Shell and other studies say too..)

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I don`t try to use E10 in my Esprit V8. My engine runs fine with the standard Super Plus fuel.

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Recently the RAC advised visitors to France to avoid the E10 fuel as it "may cause your car to break down." As Gunter says it increases fuel consumption. In some cases fuel efficiency can be reduced by over 10%.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/5795480/British-tourists-warned-over-damaging-French-fuel.html

I have been doing a lot of research into E10 fuel (as part of my business.) I am now importing a product (available in France for over 3.5 years) which protects the fuel system against the effects of ethanol (and reduces fuel consumption) which I use in all my vehicles (Elan +2, Sports Racer and Europa S.)

It is only during the last 5-10 years that engine manufacturers have "re-designed" engines to be compatable with E10 fuel.

E10 fuel has a life of 3 months under the ideal environmental conditions. In a petrol tank it can be three weeks and absorbs water because ethanol is hygroscopic. Water separation and phase separation are both detrimental to the engine.

I am writing an article on the subject which I am happy to pass onto fellow Lotus owners.

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I started a topic on this a few months back. Basically in UK they dont label if there is Ethanol or how much (upto a certain percentage is it 10% at the moment?) Its a nightmare as Ethanol is corrosive to all kinds of things that petrol is safe with. Not just plastics and rubbers but cork copper and aluminium IIRC?

What can you do about it? Nothing really other than complain....

Frost sell the additives but I have no idea if they are any good.

Buddsy

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I started a topic on this a few months back. Basically in UK they dont label if there is Ethanol or how much (upto a certain percentage is it 10% at the moment?) Its a nightmare as Ethanol is corrosive to all kinds of things that petrol is safe with. Not just plastics and rubbers but cork copper and aluminium IIRC?

What can you do about it? Nothing really other than complain....

Frost sell the additives but I have no idea if they are any good.

Buddsy

Buddsy, I have an additive which has been used in France (and other european countries for nearly 4 years) which I use in all my cars. I have not tried the Frost additive.

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Oops - forgot about this thread!

Well you'll all be glad to know I've tried it and it didn't do any harm so far. I'm alternating each fill-up tho (as suggested by Holger).

Its strange how the handbook says "if driveability problems are experienced as a result, it is recommended to use gasoline" as I had also heard the terminally corrosive characteristics once E10 comes into contact with Aluminium. Basically it starts and won't stop.

Anyway since the addition and sometimes retraction of E10 from the market the prices of Super Unleaded are even higher. Oh joy... Perhaps its BP/ARAL trying to get there balance sheets in order...?

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Not sure that "trying it" is a good idea. I dont think its a sudden catastophic event as it would be if you fill a diesel car with petrol. It just attacks seals, rubber, fibreglass, etc and is hydroscopic so gets "wet" and rusts petrol tanks from the inside out. Not an overnight disaster, but can inflict some serious damage over say a whole winter of storage/disuse.

The current limit of Ethanol in UK petrol, without labelling it, is 5%. This will rise to 10% in 2013. There have been many issues identified with ethanol in fuel for older cars. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has published some stuff on it and seems to be lobbying for a bit more consideration. They describe much of it here. http://fbhvc.co.uk/bio-fuels/ but you'll need to get down beyond the diesel section!

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A company called United Petroleum over here in Oz is running a thing tomorrow to 'take on the 3 major oil companies' BP, Caltex and Shell by selling E10 tomorrow for 10c a litre under the price of standard unleaded. The RACV (motoring organisation) claims this is an enormous saving to motorists as the economy is 4% less but you are saving nearly 8% on cost. Not sure who another guy was, but he was stating that your car will run better and that the fuel causes no problem to your car.

I hate 'spin'

I don't know enough about it to have an opinion. I am not interested in a fuel that may cause damage by being more corrosive. With an esprit you could easily outweigh the saving by spending on repairs due to damage from fuel.

Is there anyone that really has an independent opinion?

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I finally met Günter yesterday at the Lotus Club Deutschland summerfest. As you may know he has quite an intimate knowledge of Esprit and is a on his way to his MSc in Engineering so knows what he's talking about.

  • In a nutshell we (1996 on Esprit) don't need to worry about parts corrosion as there are no susceptible parts in the fuel system.
  • The key issue is that due to the extra consumption the cost benefits are lost.
  • Only running issues will be the ECU and the injector settings may not be so compatible resulting in less smooth running (Günter explained in German which is not my mother tongue so I may have missed something in translation). Anyway, Ramjet, from this conversation the conclusion was the car certainly wouldn't run better. :/

Not too sure about the "holding water" tendency of E10 so best not to leave it over winter with a full tank.

Also the handbook information was confirmed by Colin Brown at Lotus Cars.

I have seen a story in this weeks (31.08) issue of MCN where the panic is starting about E10 introduction in the UK so I'd expect the same kind of panic back home there as here in Germany where, for a short time they started hiding E10 as no one was buying it.

Edited by CharlieC

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Thanks Charlie.

So that's for 1996 on. Mine's a 1994 so I will go drag the handbook out and have a read as I have never come across that section before so may be time.

Michael

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I met a guy on Saturday who works in Ford's vehicle development centre on their Vans. They are under some pressure to use more Bioethanol fuels in that sector for emmisions and environmental reasons. Unfortunately that is yet another case of spin winning out over reality. They have found that the bioethanol grows horrible gungy stuff quite quickly which can easily gum up the works. The only currently solution is an aggresive additive which needs to go into 1 in 4 tankfulls. The additive is horrible and toxic - kills off the nasties, but has wicked emmisions. Additives dont get tested as part of the emmisions process so they can claim to be clean and green whereas in practice it is very far from that. I agree it would be great to hear the facts, but I fear they are all in the hands of vested interests (on either side) so I doubt we will be able to get a clear picture.

One thing that does make me very wary of stuff like "there's no susceptible parts in the fuel system". That clearly suggests that some parts (albeit not in the '96 fuel system) may be susceptible. Also if there was a no downside to it, there wouldn't be a limit on it - either at 5 or 10 %. Certainly the classic car world is mighty concerned about their cars in this context... But it could just be a rerun of the leaded to unleaded change which we all manage to live with despite the initial outcry when leaded was phased out.

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I finally met Günter yesterday at the Lotus Club Deutschland summerfest. As you may know he has quite an intimate knowledge of Esprit and is a on his way to his MSc in Engineering so knows what he's talking about.

  • In a nutshell we (1996 on Esprit) don't need to worry about parts corrosion as there are no susceptible parts in the fuel system.
  • The key issue is that due to the extra consumption the cost benefits are lost.
  • Only running issues will be the ECU and the injector settings may not be so compatible resulting in less smooth running (Günter explained in German which is not my mother tongue so I may have missed something in translation). Anyway, Ramjet, from this conversation the conclusion was the car certainly wouldn't run better. :/

Not too sure about the "holding water" tendency of E10 so best not to leave it over winter with a full tank.

Also the handbook information was confirmed by Colin Brown at Lotus Cars.

I have seen a story in this weeks (31.08) issue of MCN where the panic is starting about E10 introduction in the UK so I'd expect the same kind of panic back home there as here in Germany where, for a short time they started hiding E10 as no one was buying it.

I have to say that I am surprised that every part in the Esprit fuel system will not be affected by ethanol.

The Bardahl E10 Fuel Improver negates the reduced fuel consumption ( so you get a net saving by using it) and restores performance. It also protects against corrosion and the hygroscopic properties of ethanol fuel.

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as I dont know in detail what is used in the S4/S4s and other four-pot Esprit fuel ystems I have to specify that with *Esprit* it was meant in our discussion with CharlyC: "the V8 at least",

..as in the 918 powered cars there are outside of the fuel tanks only ordinary plastic fuel lines in the engine bay, the typical steel tube 'cross pipe' in the chassis, together with rubber elbows each side, an fuel filter and a twin-intank fuel pump system (this one does have some mechanical stressed plastic and steel parts in it, of course).

On the positive side: the pressurised fuel-rails on top of each engine side are not made of aluminum, it's more like a stainless steel type of material. The two *boost* fuel injectors in the plenum chamber mean there is steady contact between aluminium and E10 fuel, but I do not fear this so far, as there was no leak in the last years wile I've tested those fuels ..if someone wants to get an trial-mixture of my fuel already out of the car, to analyse it in chemical ways ( what means "to analyse the level of aluminium, steel and other substances washed out by the corrosive effects" -just give me a note ..would be interesting to know and compare the status of the fuel in the tank with the Lotus factory information in the handbook, and with other official laboratory results from fuel industry and car manufacturers, even if you mention that I have used various mixtures over the years)

So all in all the main part to worry about if you go from 95 ROZ/98 Roz E5-fuel (European standard nowadays) to the optional available E10, with its already named 'tendency to act hygroscopic and electrolytic-aggressive', would be the big fueltanks made of ordinary mild steel with blank surfaces inside. Especially if you car is stored in winter season.. .

There are different options already used in the Esprit scene nowadays, as far as I know it .. different tank material (even knowing that the available aluminium tanks would not mean a step forward on this special problem), or simply to refurbish the standard (steel)fuel tanks, and cover them up inside with some of the known universal covering paints (POR15 for example). Other possible step is to run much higher concentrations of Ethanol, such as E85 fuel or higher (E100 as in Brazil or Scandinavia available..), as those are often seen and told to be more 'chemical stable'

***

from user’s point of view:

If the peaks and limits in the engine calibration setup ("Kennfeld" ..don't know the English expression) are set to close to the physical limits, you will get a CEL under use of E85 or even with some mixtures in a little lower concentration.

If you run a standard Esprit V8-car with those Ethanol fuels the ECM has to calculate the change in characteristic of fuel, within its factory setup, and even with that the physics of pulse width mean there will be a slide effect of limit on throttle-response, compared to the original 98ROZ fuel. The Lotus factory setting of the ECM in the V8 was good enough to interpret that there is more amount of fuel necessary to be within the calibration setup, and with this I also noticed some slower throttle response in some circumstances on the motorway. In addition, I have got a lower level read all in all out on the rich/lean curves of the O2-sensors in town traffic, together with an lower constant level on the 'open loop run' in WOT situations, where the Lambda-factor is not part of the engine control. That was the reason why I first tried the 'black-box manipulation'-way of lifting up the injection pulse width. With this on the other hand you end up with even more 'delay' on the throttle in some situations, but you will be save on constant cruise on the motorway.

The way to fit injectors with let’s say 300ccm/min flow on standard fuel pressure [3,5bar] , instead of black boxes 'in the loop' means in my opinion that the ECM can always reduce pulse width, if there is not so much fuel necessary, but the engine does have enough of it every time it is needed.

Those 300/315ccm injectors who fit into the esprit fuel rail are named to be for example used in Opel "20Xe something" engines, it means you get them mostly used, out of old engines on e-bay. Therefore, I tried to get other, available as 'new' injectors. Those are unfortunately now 380ccm, what is way too much for the 8+2 injector setup as in the 918 engine. My plan for the next years is to blank of the plenum injectors and wiring contacts, and run the car to try what the ECM can do with this setup.

To repeat what I said in the past -I do this not for 'tuning' interest or power aims, it's just to get experience of the characteristics in daily use ( in stock power condition !) what I am after.. so if you have interest to tune your car for higher power output, ask some of the known Esprit track drivers already here in the forum. Think some of them can offer experiences in aftermarket ECM and boost-controllers, together with stronger pistons and drivetrain in general.

****

the earlier on mentioned 'not competitive' and 'cost effective' point means:

If you go to the fuel station -watch out for the advertised fuel prices on the board, multiply the price written there for E10 fuel if it is available with 1.04 and compare the result with the price for super unleaded (95ROZ, or even super-plus 98ROZ) and in case of E85 multiply with 1.2 and make the same comparision with the ordinary fuel. In most times you will see that the 'real physical' price per Litre is way to high for the E10 fuel, compared with the standard fuel. My advice is so far, if available use ordinary fuel ..you car behaves as it was meant to do, and you safe money. With E85 it is a little different, but this fuel is not widely available so far.

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