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Injector "gunk" and E-85

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Old Mar 31, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Injector "gunk" and E-85

There's an ongoing thread on another (private) forum about some people getting a black, almost tar-like buildup around the tips of pintle-style injectors after making the switch to E-85.

The problem appears to be regional or specific to a particular fuel source (possibly related to the fuel mixture, detergents added to the fuel, etc); some are seeing problems, while others have no signs of issues at all. Build-up, if it happens, seems to occur very quickly (with in a month or two).

Plain E-10 gasoline seems to dissolve the gunk very rapidly; soaking the tips of the injectors for 10-20 minutes seems to be enough to be able to wipe the goo off effortlessly, suggesting that the occasional tank of E-10 (or an E85-safe/"flex fuel" injector cleaner) would probably rectify the problem.

I haven't had my own injectors off the car since installing them and switching to E-85, but I also don't know of anyone in my area seeing this problem, and I switch back to E-10 from time to time.

Is anyone here seeing something similar?

(The discussion I referred to above is happening on the ECMLink forums, for anyone here who happens to be a member.)
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Here is something interesting I came across the other day. Might have been here actually...

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Old Mar 31, 2009, 12:01 PM
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Yep, Bryan (razorlab/GST) posted that here quite a while back. That covers the ethanol concentrations based on time of year and "marketing region", but doesn't address any state- or company-specific additives that might exist.

Mainly, I was just trying to see if anyone here was experiencing the same build-up, and warn folks to keep an eye out for it. It would be nice to try and narrow down whether or not the problem is specific to one company, or one state.
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 06:01 PM
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This is the first I've heard of any gunk problem with E85, and I read many E85 threads on a lot of other forums.

In fact, most of what I have read is how much cleaner a fuel system is with E85.

I hope someone can confirm this as an actual problem or as an urban legend.

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Old Mar 31, 2009, 06:29 PM
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They're definitely not making it up, and there's more than a few folks reporting the problem (with pictures ). The main concern right now is figuring out what's causing it.

Here's a few of the pictures posted in that thread that are publically viewable (there's quite a few others, but they're attachments in the thread; they all look basically like this):

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The reports all seem to mostly be regarding pintle-style injectors, not ball-and-seat (although there's one report of a set of ball-and-seat injectors having the problem). Specifically, the Ford-based 1600s and FIC's new BlueMax injectors seem to be having the worst trouble. See here for at least one other report of this kind of thing:
Q: Does ethanol plug fuel injectors?
A: Earlier fuel injectors of the pintle design could form deposits that changed the pattern of the injected fuel. This problem developed from injectors seeping fuel when the vehicle was not running. This formed carbon deposits on the pintle and caused even more leakage. This could happen with any gasoline. Because of this problem, injectors in most vehicles have been re-designed around the popet style and all gasoline is required to carry a detergent component to alleviate the deposit problem.
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 09:47 PM
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I don't suppose a single tank of run of the mill fuel injector cleaner would solve this would you?

http://www.barsproducts.com/4701_4732.htm

For example
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 08:50 AM
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I simply don't understand how this could be from the E85. I could see the cleaning ability of E85 perhaps softening up various old crud and varnish in the fuel system and clogging up the injectors. That makes sense.

But there is so little petroleum product in E85 that I don't see how the E85 itself could form or contain any crud. I don't think that alcohol itself could form, carry or cause crud like that either. Any additives in E85 would be of such small amounts that I don't see how even an improper additive could cause what the photos show.

It would be interesting to know the history of the specific cars involved. It looks like the photos are from a VR-4, so it could be a pretty high mileage motor. Maybe the problem, if there is a problem, results from converting a very high mileage car from gas to E85.

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Old Apr 1, 2009, 08:59 AM
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use some of this stuff https://www.evolutionm.net/forums/ve...m-cleaner.html

very good preventive maintenance.

many customers have had great sucess
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 09:32 AM
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Use 93 or 94 pump gas every 4th or 5th fill and it will clear it up.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Gamble View Post
Use 93 or 94 pump gas every 4th or 5th fill and it will clear it up.
But I just don't see how a 100% petroleum based product (gasoline) could "clean up" after an 85% alcohol based product (E85).

When you go to the doctor for a shot, do they clean your arm (or your ****) with alcohol or with gasoline? I rest my case! j/k

Nurse says: Sir, should I wipe your **** with 87 or 93 octane? And put out that cigarette! hahaha!

Any chemists on this forum that could lend some expert opinion?

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Old Apr 1, 2009, 11:14 AM
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^ i agree! i would assume that the black tar is a deposit in the fuel system before switch to e85.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Has anyone who has experienced this gunk build up also seen a consequential change in engine performance?
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Why does one of those pictures look like a melted black injector cap? E85 hates plastic...

-E
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 01:18 PM
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There are plenty of plastics compatible with E85.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jid2 View Post
There are plenty of plastics compatible with E85.
Okay.... and what about the plastic pintle caps? Are they compatible?

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