Using E85 in a kart?

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  • #42746

    Becoming quite popular in turbocharged cars since it’s cheap and 105 octane.

    You do have to run almost 30% more fuel on A/R ratios….which means big injectors, etc.

    Do you think this could work for karting applications if you jetting up another 30% of fuel?
    Ethanol runs extremely cool…..and at $2.39 a gallon near my house its a pretty darn good deal, even if it has less BTU’s than gasoline.

    Just a thought, as I know if you convert your car to E85 you can get a tax break. 8)

    Greg Welch

    From what I have heard, Ethanol can cause corrosion with aluminum and as all of our karting engines are aluminum if that is true it does not seem wise. i know the reason we run race fuel in the first place is not only because of the octane, but also because of the consistency of the fuel. For tech purposes a fuel has to be exactly the same with no additives or it depends on what day you bought the fuel if you got a good batch or not. I know 91 octane pump gas will actually make a Rotax run faster, but it has lots of additives that make it illegal for kart racing purposes. Hopefully they will keep a tight eye on fuel this year, as they started to do last year. Any one else with comments?

    Rodney Ebersole

    My choice of race fuel has been 99.99% methanol about 120 octane. It is also just as corrosive, yet has been the standard race fuel for 1000’s of aluminum Briggs racers for decades. We flush ,with gas, the alky out of the fuel system at the end of every race day and drain the crank case oil as it can be easier to contaminate the oil when running the even larger ratio’s of fuel air. Methanol is easy for tech as it is clear, a simple mix with distilled water will show if any additives are in the mix where as E85 is contaminated with 15% gas. The corrosion occurs mainly in float bowls or in the crank case when the fuel is left there exposed to outside air. It will also swell rubber carb parts and venton tipped needles are used in tillies.
    Methanol is power in the can, runs very cool, clean and is still cheaper than any race fuel yet it does take twice the amount of methanol as it does gas.
    Gas 1/14
    100% Ethanol 1/9
    100% Methanol 1/6
    The dirt trackers like the unlimited all stars use methanol in stroked and open 2 cycle motors but they do have to maintain a large fuel supply for the duration of their races, I would imagine a 125cc motor could use more fuel than our tanks hold for a 20 lap long coarse race.


    There is alot of inconsistency with E85 as well, the 85%ethanol is supposed to be the minimum, but we get vehicles in the dealership with anywhere from 60% to 90+% ethanol content in the fuel, and these are customers who consistently use E85 and don’t mix regular fuel with E85. Not having 02 sensors, etc.. to compensate for the changes in the content would be frustrating to tune(if not damaging) on a carbuerated engine.

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