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To E85 or Not, Gear Heads Opinion on Making the Switch

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By AJ Huffines
Technical Editor

AUTO CENTRAL - May 26, 2022: I was always on the fence about switching my car to E85, I have heard the performance gains were worth it but was having a tough time pulling the trigger. My car was on the limits of the stock fuel pump now, and with e85 burning 30% more fuel that means some serious upgrades to fuel system to support it which is not exactly cheap. So, was it going to be worth it? You are about to find out.

So let me introduce you to "Bertha" my 2012 ZL1 Camaro that is just your average grocery getting, only drove to church on Sunday's car. She's been outfitted with the following:

  • GP1 SS2 SC cam
  • Smith Bros trunnion upgrade
  • Solid super charger isolator, idler pulley relocation bracket with 100mm idler pulley, Lingenfelter 2.55 upper pulley, ATI Balancer with 10% OD lower blower pulley (right around 14 psi boost)
  • Reinforced supercharger intercooler brick (necessary, even at stock boost levels they collapse)
  • Rotofab cold air intake
  • Kooks 1 7/8 long tube headers, offroad connection pipe, with Billy Boat catback exhaust
  • Afco heat exchanger with dual fans and Rotofab supercharger coolant reservoir
  • NGK TR7IX plugs gapped to .024
  • Elite engineering catch can set up
  • Zeitronix dual wideband and gauge
  • HP tuners

There are several options for fuel delivery, but I opted for the more budget friendly aux fuel pump set up. I went with the DSX aux pump kit with 2 psi activation switch. It is a nice set up and easy to install, you just have to get over the uneasy feeling of drilling and taping fuel tank. I also upgraded injectors to a bigger size and were e85 compatible so I opted for the ID1050x injectors. To top off the upgrade I added the dsx flex fuel sensor kit. GM cars utilize a flex fuel sensor, which detects the ethanol content of your fuel and adjusts your tune accordingly. The benefit of running this is the ability to run either pump gas or E85, so I do not have to worry about not being able to find a gas station that has E85, one of the down sides of E85. So, after a weekend of wrenching and a quick message to my tuner I was about to see if all this was worth it

Dyno day! I do not know if you have ever had your car dyno, but it is the most butt hole clinching feeling in the world lol. As your car is making a full pull, there is a very uneasy feeling that builds up with every rpm wondering if it is all going to hold together or scatter right before your eyes. After a few hours of getting her dialed in I will say I was quite pleased with the results. Just look at the numbers! The blue line is pump gas, and the red line is E85. An overall gain of 100 hp and 100 ft lbs. of torque at the wheels! Not to mention how much smoother the power curve is with E85. So, was it worth it? Does a bear poop in the woods? The simple answer is YES!

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