E85 and Fuel Cell Compatibility

All Affiliated Clubs are reminded that submissions on the Leaded Fuel Alternatives for Pre-1986 Historic & Classic Vehicles Discussion Document close on 17 April. No submissions or requests for additional information have been received thus far.

The Discussion Document can be viewed and submissions made at: http://www.motorsport.org.nz/LeadedFuel/

With the phase-out date for leaded fuel getting closer, more and more competitors are expressing interest in the E85 fuel option, though some are hesitant to make the change from Avgas to E85 due to a perceived significant cost. One major area of concern is fuel cell compatibility. As a result, the Technical Department has started to compile a list of fuel cells suited for use with E85 as well as low-cost options for ethanol-proofing those fabricated aluminium tanks. We will continue to update this list for you as more information becomes available.

 

Manufacturer

Products Suited to E85 Fuel

Advanced Fuel Systems Ltd

 

Aero Sekur

 

Aero Tec Labs (ATL)

TL 565 ( Sports Cells, Racells and Saver Cells ) ATL 893-B  ( FluoroCells )

Australian Fuel Cells

 

CARL

 

Continental AG

 

ETS J. RICHE

 

Fuel Safe Systems

All Pro Cells

All Enduro’s moulded plastic cells

GIPI CARS

 

Jazz Products

All moulded plastic tanks

MERIN

 

MUSTIT

 

Premier Fuel Systems Ltd

 

PRONAL

 

RCI

 

Societe Lyonnaise Des Resorvoirs Souples

 

In all cases it is recommended that you contact your fuel cell manufacturer to confirm compatibility. Competitors are also reminded that bladder tanks are not mandatory but if used must be replaced every five years from the date of manufacture regardless of use or condition.

 Ethanol-proofing your fabricated tank

If you are not in the market for a new bladder tank or you already have a fabricated tank fitted to your vehicle, you still have some very cheap options. As not all aluminium alloys are created equal, try to find out the actual material used. 5005, 5052, 5083, 5086, 6061 & 6063 type aluminum alloys are naturally better at resisting corrosion. If you are having a new tank fabricated, you should insist it be made from one of these alloys using 5356 welding. This will ensure best protection and a long service life.

A cheap (under $200 in many cases) and effective method of protecting aluminum components is anodizing; the controlled oxidization of aluminum, which leaves a thin layer of aluminum oxide on the outer layer of the material. This oxide layer provides excellent protection against corrosion. Marcel Meerkerk from Advanced Anodising Ltd in Tokoroa has provided us with some tips on anodizing:

• Type 2 anodizing, also known as Marine Grade Anodizing, is used for decorative purposes as well as wear and corrosion resistance. This is suitable for fuel tanks, swirl pots, fuel rails, carburetors, etc. when using E85. It also provides the greatest range in color options.

• Type 3 anodizing is commonly called hard anodizing and is similar to Type 2 but provides the greatest protection against corrosion. The color range is very limited and usually black is used.

• Fabricated components should be made from 5005, 5052, 5083, 5086, 6061 & 6063 alloys. Machined components should be made out of 6061 alloy. Avoid any 2000 series alloys such as 2011 or 2024. These alloys machine very well but due to their high copper content do not perform as well with regards to corrosion resistance even if anodized.

• Avoid where possible mixing too many alloys when constructing a fuel tank or similar. Different alloys anodize differently. If the alloys are too dissimilar then one alloy may anodize in preference to the other, resulting in a variation in coating thickness.

• Avoid the use of non-aluminum alloys, as these are quite often damaged during anodizing and again adversely affect the current flow in the part to be anodized. Some times we receive parts that have steel inserts, which rust if anodized. Steel parts must either be removed, masked or not anodized.

• Price depends in part on the number of items to be anodized, the size/surface, whether masking is required, whether extra cleaning is required, whether or not color is required, whether or not any extra surface preparation is required prior to anodizing.

• If parts are already anodized they can be re-anodized if damaged or showing early stages of corrosion.

• If parts are already corroded with pitting corrosion, it may be best to replace the part rather than anodizing. It all depends on the degree.

 

Standard (Type 2) anodising companies:

Advanced Anodising Ltd (Tokoroa)

Alert Anodising Ltd (Auckland)

Anodising Industries (Auckland)

Bay Anodising (Tauranga)

Christchurch Metal Finishers (Christchurch)

 

Hard (Type 3) Anodising companies:

Anodising Industries

Advanced Anodising Ltd (From June 2010)

 

The other option for existing fuel tanks is DIY epoxy coating. These fuel tank sealer kits can be applied to all metals, plastics and fiberglass. They provide good protection and are easy to apply. Prices range from around $50 to $200, depending on the size of your tank/swirl pot. It’s always recommended that you check to make sure the fuel tank sealer is suitable for use with Ethanol (alcohol/gasohol) fuel.

 

Some listed as okay for use with E85 are:

KBS Coatings Australia – Gold Standard Fuel Tank Sealer

Caswell Inc – Epoxy Fuel Tank Sealer

Stampede™ – Fuel Tank Liner

Kreem – Fuel Tank Liner

 
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