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E85 instead of regular gas

So a lady at work filled up her car with E85, For a 2016 non flex fuel jeep of some sort. Our old school mechanic and I talk a lot. His first question was are the gas pump nozzles different size? I said I would not think so since flex fuel vehicles can use either.

Question 2, is it going to damage the car? He called another mechanic he knows and the guy said no problem. I mentioned my CNG and regular gas work truck suggests not using cng 2 tanks in a row, intersperse with regular gas. Of course we talked about the old leaded gas to protect the valves etc. My first thought, every 1/4 tank down put regular gas in, and that was what he had recommended, but then It is maybe $30 worth of gas, drain it and be done with it.

Now she does not want to take it to the dealer, in case it voids a warranty, and it may cost a couple hundred for a shop to drain and dispose of the gas.

I said take it to the bad neighborhood leave the gas cap open, it will probably get siphoned out in no time, but we agreed the tires and wheels may be missing along with the gas.

Knowledge and insight appreciated.

She can get away with doing this once if the vehicle isn’t Flex-Fuel.

I knew a co-worker who started using E85 in their non-Flex-Fuel Ranger, and after about a month the pistons had holes burnt into them.


@Tester any estimate as to how many fill ups that was?

Maybe 4-5?


Here’s my take on the situation . . .

Many car manufacturers equip their flex-fuel vehicles with prominent yellow fuel filler caps. Or if they’re black, the fuel filler cap prominently says E85 on it

And on non-flex fuel vehicles, the filler cap is always black for gasoline. And the fuel filler door will very prominently warn you to NOT use E85

I think the E85 filling nozzles might have a yellow rubberized covering on the handle, but I’m not sure

But the E85 filling nozzles are not a different size

That lady’s entire fuel system is NOT robust enough for E85 . . . technically speaking

There is a fair chance she will have problems

I would drain it and be done with it. Better to spend a moderate sum of money now, versus ignoring it, and possibly spending a large sum of money later, to perform repairs


I agree with db emphatically on this.

The problem is, SHE didn’t ask us. If it were me, I’d go very easy on suggesting that she check this out further. You might find yourself thanked, but you might also find yourself subject to reputation-busting in the workplace. :sunglasses:

But, then, you never said whether she’s having a problem or not. Or if she came to you seeking advice. If she’s not having a problem, it’s possible that she had enough 10% in the tank to dilute the E85 fuel sufficiently to get by for this one event.

Sincere best.

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So to sum it up . . .

No good deed goes unpunished . . . ?!

If barkydog gives advice, that lady might go ballistic, and he’ll wish he never opened his mouth in first place :rolling_eyes:

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Giving advice to co - worker hardly ever has a good result. Leave the E85 in and no problem You were wrong to be concerned. Leave in and has problem you will be vilified for not pressing the co-worker to do something. Convince co-worker to drain the stuff out and 3 weeks later someone will convince her that she did not need to do that. You can’t win.

This level of light banter suggests that she came to the OP and they have a friendly relationship.
I hope that’s the case.

I’d say "If it was mine, I’d change it. "

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But that friendship could quickly evaporate into thin air, if that lady think barkydog gave her a bum steer

I know. That’s why I suggested the OP approach this carefully.

Just keep adding E10 gas to the gas tank as the vehicle is driven.

This will dilute the E85 down to E10 before engine damage occurs.

No need to drop the tank.


Luckily I was not a middlemen, just talking with the old school mechanic when dear lady asked his advice., On our site 1 mechanic, another site has 4 full time mechanics, but not an E85 vehicle in the fleet. We were both cautiously guarded optimistic there would probably not be a problem, but being as how you can’t work on modern vehicles these days without a computer to look up repairs with expensive pdf purchases for support, cummings etc., we are both like how many years before we retire. Even in the computer world, what I knew ten years ago is obsolete, so I have to learn new things every day. Bitchfest now, firefox wants to upgrade, crap 4 programs already allowed to run, updater etc. tempted to take off access protection for firefox, or as wifey says foxfire, but got 900 alerts today, vs months of happy sailing.

Thanks for listening.

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Here you go . . .

“happy saling”


Well all I know is it cost us a couple thousand at work when the guy put E85 in a non-flex (Ford I think) car. Don’t know what they did but the guys in the shop were not happy. Then a few weeks later the same guy did the same thing again for another couple thou. A couple hundred would be like pocket change. Then again I don’t know what the shop had to do to it and it was ten years ago.

If this were my car, I’d rather pay a little for draining the gas than take a chance on spending a lot to replace some damaged fuel system parts.

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+1 to @tester’s suggestion. I would top off at 2/3 tank and keep it up. After the first E10 fill the average is E60 and after six refills at 2/3 tank, the mix will be down to E15.

Friend made mistake of trying e15 and his car did not like it. He found a local station with e0 and put some in. Car was ok after a week or so. He does not drive a lot. My car is flex fuel and I never buy it. It’s never 30% less than e10 and besides, I prefer to eat corn, not burn it.

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Or drink it…