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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-25-2009, 06:28 PM
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lild lild is offline
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ethanol gas?l

i know for a while that a lot of gas stations have 10% ethanol mixed in the gas.
the other day i drove by a valvore gas station. big sign etanol free.
so i've been wondering for a while if ethanol gas is any good for our cars. was wondering if this mix has anything to do with some rough idle problems or not?
next fill up i'm gonig to give them a try.
what ya'll think?
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2009, 07:45 PM
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M///Chook M///Chook is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 535i V8 sedan
I can say that here in Australia, we have 10% ethanol blended in one of our fuels. I run it in my E39 with no dramas, and have done for the past 12 months.

What I do know from research, is this- ethanol is corrosive. They limit the concentration to 10% because above 10%, it becomes more corrosive and will begin to eat things made of rubber or plastic (rubber fuel lines, O-rings, etc in the fuel system). Above 10% concentration, the cars fuel system needs to be specifically designed to handle ethanol fuel.
We have a brand of fuel here called E85 or something, which has a higher ethanol concentration over 10%. Only cars with factory fuel systems compatible to run the E85 stuff can handle it. Otherwise it would damage a normal fuel system eventually.

But 10% is not too corrosive, and I've had no issues running it thus far. I even run it in my old Charger, and no problems there.

I did hear rumors that ethanol yields a lower energy output (I'm no physics graduate here) so more must be consumed to make the same power levels, and this may make the engine management system richen the fuel mixtures, which means you use more fuel to make the same power output. This means you visit the gas station more often, and thus spend more $$. (which makes up for the lower price of the fuel) Its a big oil company conspiracy... I expect men in black suits to be along shortly to carry me away for saying that....
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2009, 07:47 PM
nike001 nike001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
i know for a while that a lot of gas stations have 10% ethanol mixed in the gas.
the other day i drove by a valvore gas station. big sign etanol free.
so i've been wondering for a while if ethanol gas is any good for our cars. was wondering if this mix has anything to do with some rough idle problems or not?
next fill up i'm gonig to give them a try.
what ya'll think?
Ethanol cleans out your gas system because it burns hotter, but it gives you less MPG. I use it every now and then, but I ususally go for the places with less ethanol.
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2009, 07:59 PM
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lild lild is offline
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well that's the problem, all of them except one, has the 10% mix. so i don't well didn't until recently have a choice. i know that it gives crapy mpg's, as i rember that some country use's it all the time, one person said that their mpg's went south.
but i was wondering if it throws off the ecu for our cars (fuel/air ratio mix), as like mine is a 98, and ethonal mix wasn't being used then, as far as i know.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:11 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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BMW recommends NOT to use any fuel with an alcohol (ethanol) content greater than 10%.

Subject-Alcohol Fuel Blends in BMW Vehicles


All with gasoline engines

Fuel blends containing a high percentage (above 10%) of alcohol, mainly ethanol, are becoming more commercially available. Customers inquire about the possibility of using alcohol fuels (e.g. E85) in BMW vehicles

INFORMATION


Fuels containing up to and including 10% of ethanol or other oxygenates with up to 2.8% oxygen by weight, that is, 15% MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) or 3% methanol plus an equivalent amount of co-solvent, will not void the applicable warranties with respect to defects in materials or workmanship.
Although, usage of such alcohol fuel blends may result in drivability, starting, and stalling problems due to reduced volatility and lower energy content of the fuel. Those drivability problems may be especially evident under certain environmental conditions, such as: high or low ambient temperatures and high altitude.
Only specially adapted vehicles (FFV - Flexible Fuel Vehicles) can run on high alcohol fuel blends.
BMW, for the various technical and environmental reasons explained below, does not offer FFV models.

Usage of E85, or any other high alcohol content blend (e.g. E30) in BMW vehicles, will cause various drivability complaints (cold start problems, stalling, reduced performance, poor fuel economy, etc.), may cause excessive emissions, and may cause irreversible damage to engine, emission control and fuel delivery systems due to incompatibility of materials with alcohols.


General Notes Regarding E85 Fuel.


E85 fuel contains 85% (by volume) of ethanol and 15% of gasoline. Ethanol can be produced chemically from ethylene or biologically from grains, agricultural wastes, or any organic material containing starch or sugar. In the US, ethanol is mainly produced from corn and is classified as a renewable fuel.
Similar to gasoline, ethanol contains hydrogen and carbon; with additional oxygen molecules build into its chemical chain. This chemical structure makes ethanol's burning process slightly cleaner compared to the gasoline (lower tailpipe emissions).
On the other hand, due to lower carbon content, ethanol provides 27% less energy (for identical volume) then gasoline, resulting in the reduced fuel economy of E85 vehicles (approximately 22% higher consumption). Increased fuel consumption requires the appropriately enlarged fuel tank capacities (usually 30% increase), and the specific DME calibrations for the E85 lower Stoichiometric air/fuel ratio (10 compared to 14.7 for gasoline engines).
E85 fuel volatility is typically lower then gasoline (RVP 6-10 psi, compared to 8-15 psi for gasoline). Lower fuel volatility will reduce vehicle evaporative emissions, but it may cause cold starting problems especially with lower ambient temperatures.

Under certain environmental conditions, mainly lower ambient temperatures, ethanol separates from gasoline/alcohol mixture and absorbs water. The ethanol absorbed water molecules are heavier then gasoline or ethanol, they remain at the bottom of fuel tank and when introduced into combustion process they tend to form an extremely lean mixture resulting in misfire, rough idle and cold starting problems.

Certain materials, commonly used with gasoline are totally incompatible with alcohols. When these materials come in contact with ethanol, they may dissolve in the fuel, which may damage engine components and may result in poor vehicle drivability.
Some metals (e.g. zinc, brass, lead, aluminum) become degraded by long exposure to ethanol fuel blends. Also, some nonmetallic materials used in automotive industry such as: natural rubber, polyurethane, cork gasket material, leather, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyamides, methyl-methacrylate plastics, and certain thermo & thermoset plastics degrade when in contact with fuel ethanol.

In order to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle running on E85, the vehicle must be compatible with alcohol use. Some manufacturers have developed vehicles called FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle) that can operate on any blend of ethanol and gasoline (from 0% ethanol and 100% gasoline, up to 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Ethanol FFVs are similar to gasoline vehicles, with main differences in materials used in fuel management and delivery systems, and DME control module calibrations. In some cases, also E85 vehicles require special lubricating oils.

Aftermarket conversions of gasoline-powered vehicles to ethanol-fueled vehicles, although possible, are not recommended due to internal materials and DME software incompatibility, as well, as the high costs of conversion.

WARRANTY INFORMATION


Components damage/malfunctions, or any drivability problems caused by use of fuels containing more then 10% ethanol (or other oxygenates with more then 2.8% oxygen by weight) will not be covered under BMW warranties with respect to defects in materials or workmanship.
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  #6  
Old 10-25-2009, 09:36 PM
BillP BillP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
and ethonal mix wasn't being used then, as far as i know.
Ethanol/gasoline mixes - most commonly 10/90 mixes - have been commonly available since far before 1998.


Bill
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2009, 09:52 PM
andyffer andyffer is offline
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i just pour in a couple bottles of ethanol in the tank every now and then
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2009, 07:22 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
the other day i drove by a valvore gas station. big sign etanol free.
was wondering if this mix has anything to do with some rough idle problems or not?
next fill up i'm gonig to give them a try.?
Using proper spelling and grammar would go a long way toward making your posts more readable. Firefox has a spell checker built in.

Shell VPower 91 does not contain any ethanol. I believe that other companies have similar if less advertised programs. Ethanol usually lowers the octane rating as I understand it, so the higher the octane, the lower the ethanol.

I use 10% ethanol fuel with no side effects.
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  #9  
Old 10-26-2009, 07:41 AM
wolf888 wolf888 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
Shell VPower 91 does not contain any ethanol. I believe that other companies have similar if less advertised programs. Ethanol usually lowers the octane rating as I understand it, so the higher the octane, the lower the ethanol.

I use 10% ethanol fuel with no side effects.
In Florida ALL Shell VPower 93 [ we don`t have 91 in Shell VPower in Florida] does contain OVER 10% ethanol !!!!!! This is Why I`m always use Mobill where LESS 10% of ethanol !
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  #10  
Old 10-26-2009, 07:52 AM
KTrostel KTrostel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post

Shell VPower 91 does not contain any ethanol. I believe that other companies have similar if less advertised programs. Ethanol usually lowers the octane rating as I understand it, so the higher the octane, the lower the ethanol.
OK, since we are calling posters out... You are wrong. Pure Ethanol has an octane rating of ~115. Gas producers sell E10, 10% ethanol, by mandate of the federal government. A side benefit is it allows them sell a lower grade (octane) gas as a higher value.

Ethanol does have ~15% lower energy density over gasoline. When burned in a gasoline engine E85 or E100 will yield lower MPG. In the purest sense, using E10 will result in ~1.5% lower MPG. In reality your driving style will have a greater effect on your MPG.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:55 AM
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Mohawk and I think Husky have the ethanol blend.
Used a few years back in a F150 with bad results. Way less power, was very hard to pass when driving at the average of 100 Km/hr (+/- 60 mi/hr).

Tried the 93 AKI from Mohawk in my e39, was so-so performance wise, but the fuel economy went in the drain. Also more expensive.
The best results I have with Shell PowerV 91 AKI.
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