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Can Insight be modified to be Flex-fuel (ie., E85 capable)

1935 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Kobushi
Using an ethanol fuel (or mainly biofuel as opposed to fossil fuel) is much greener than gas (or non biofuel substitutes like natural gas or hydrogen). Apparently it is similar enough that some gasoline engines can use it and others can be modified. So, I am interested in this possibility in a high mileage car like an Insight.
However, I have only seen flex-fuel listed for big gas-guzzler pickups etc.
I have read that kits can modify cars to be flex fuel for a modest price. However, I have not seen anything specific about Insights or other hybrids being modified.
It seems a natural thing to use both environmentally friendly ideas: hybrid/electric and biofuel.
Does anyone know of Insights being modified to be flex fuel (ie., able to use E85)?
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i wondered the same thing, i searched and it clearly stated the insight WAS NOT compatible. i think the alcohol attacks the rubber in fuel lines, seals, fuel pump diaphrams, etc. and in Calif. i haven't seen E85 at all. but it is a much 'greener' idea for a renewable source.
I too have woundered this. My family has owned Yukons I know were flexi fuel capable, but the only E85 pump within 300 miles of here is a private government owned one. :(

That said, there would be several issues with running E85. First you need larger injectors because you have to burn through more E85 to get the same power and the fuel map has to be able to work on a broader range of mixtures. I think it may be a tiny bit more solvent, but most modern fuel systems are probably more than capable of workign with E85. So on a manufacturers level it wouldn't be too difficult for them to implement the necessary changes, but to us it would be a lot of reverse engineering, mainly in the computer fuel map.

It's unfortunate too, E85 is much cheaper than gas right now with all the subsidies they give it. And you get a recombant CO2 cycle with growing the corn to make the fuel. You see it a lot more in the mid east states to my understanding.

As far as CNG I think someone here a while back did some experiementing with shooting some CNG in to the intake and it seemed to run. Again, this is a fuel map issue. My family has a Ford F-150 with an aftermarket technocarb kit on it to run on LPG fuel. It's a very nice system, but requires it's own separate computer and also has features implemented to defeat the truck's computer from setting certain check engine codes. I like it though for a big truck because the fuel has been $1.59 a gallon for months and months.
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Rick said:
It's unfortunate too, E85 is much cheaper than gas right now with all the subsidies they give it. And you get a recombant CO2 cycle with growing the corn to make the fuel. You see it a lot more in the mid east states to my understanding.
It won't be that way forever... if it ever 'catches on' those subsidies will dissapear.
I think it is possible it could be converted, however it would take a great deal of care and probably money. You would have to fabricate a special tank, run new fuel lines, and modify all of the seals/etc in the fuel system...

And then injectors may still be a problem occasionally.

However, if it's the manual Insight, the 10.8:1 compression ratio should be high enough to make use of the E85... if yu really wanted to go wild you could have the head milled down to bump the CR to 11.5:1+ but at that point you best not go back to gasoline ^_^

It would be a fun experiment... I don't want to volunteer my car though :D
Consider that the fetilizer for the corn comes from oil, the farm machinery runs on oil, the trucks that transpot the corn run on oil, Oil may be used to heat the corn for fermentation, oil may be used to distill the alcohol, and oil will be used to tranport the alcohol to market.

There is currently some debate as to whether it takes more energy to produce the alcohol than is stored in the alcohol.

If waste products are used to produce the alcohol there is probably a lot of merit in the process. Certainly the end product is clean burning and it can be used to stabilize price fluctuations.

Regardless of what fuel is eventually powering vehicles, improving efficiency is still the best option.
Sure, it's debatable... but the transportation aspect can potentially be solved with Ethanol... and the infrastructure energy is FAR easier to fix than is transportation.

For transportation most of the alternatives fail because of power:weight ... in infrastructure/stationary energy, the weight of equipment is irrelivant other than labor cost for instillation :)

Imo we need to fix transportation first... the rest, by comparison, is easy.
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