Since my local gasoline dealer has started prominently posting the price of E-85 fuel, and it’s about $1/gallon less than regular unleaded, I started looking at so-called Flex Fuel conversion kits for my gasoline only 2009 Hyundai Sonata. There are a couple of different manufacturers and the advisability of installing one is as varied as there are forums to cover such modifications.
Basically, what these kits purport to do is read the car computer’s emission control data and alter the signal sent to the fuel injectors so the emission data is in keeping with the spec for the car running on the fuel recommended by the auto manufacturer. One brand has a mixture control that has to be adjusted if/when you want to switch from E85 to regular gasoline or from gas to E85. The other automatically senses the gas/ethanol fuel mixture and self-adjusts to prevent damage to emission control components and keep the check-engine light from coming on. It’s the more expensive of the two, but the one that I would opt for were I to decide to buy one of these gizmos.
The cost of the more sophisticated device is around $300. The other one is about $250. The devices are vehicle specific, so when I trade cars I couldn’t just remove the device and install it on another vehicle. There is a small range of vehicles the same device will accommodate, but never more than two or three years between models and usually very specific to models within a make.
I figure at about $1/gallon difference in the cost of fuel, one of these devices, assuming they work as advertised, using my driving history, would pay for itself in less than a year. I plan to keep my car for three more years, so the cost saving could be significant.
My question is, has anyone had any experience with these devices and if so, what are your thoughts on them? Based on what I’ve read, I’m about ready to ante up, but I’m not sure I’m being objective. Any thoughts on whether this modification is advisable, whether it would damage my emission control or other engine components, and would it actually work? I’m optimistically skeptical.