5250 High Performance Dyno Shop Blog

E85 | more Turbo Power after you bolted on all those mods

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 13, 2017 10:30:00 AM / by Mike Wiener

E 85 Colorado locationsBuilding Turbo Power in Colorado | Now that you have bolted on as many go-fast parts as you can find online, what’s next?

You read many forums, and the real issue is that you are still cautious because this is your daily driver.
You've modified your intake and exhaust and done all the bolt-on mods you can find. You've maxed out the stock turbo, but you want more power. Yet, you don't want to go to a larger turbo because the cost is too high or you just don't want to modify the car that far.

  • So how do you get more out of it?

Colorado Turbo Shop | E85 is a great way to answer this question, here’s why;

A turbocharged engine is severely limited by the octane of the fuel it uses. The highest octane available in this area is 91 octane. Sure, you can find a few stations that claim to have 93, but these are so few and far between, that I wouldn't trust them to be quality fuel.

There's always race gas. All the racing facilities and a few scattered stations carry unleaded race gas ranging from 98 to 110 octane. (Do NOT use leaded gasoline in a modern fuel injected engine.) Using 110 octane fuel can get you an additional 30 hp and 60 lb ft over your 91 octane tune.

But race gas costs $9.80 / gallon or more. It's simply not feasible to use on the street. Well, there is another fuel out there that is also about 110 octane and is actually cheaper than premium gasoline.

E85 is 105-110 octane and is currently under $2 per gallon. It does require about 30% more fuel per volume of air than gasoline, but the low cost mostly offsets that. There is a lot of variance in E85 fuel from station to station and season to season. The ethanol content is allowed to vary between 70% and 90%.

Building more Power | I have seen many posts on forums looking for the gas station with the highest content ethanol. This is actually a futile search as it simply does not matter for a street car.

  • Once the ethanol content has reached about 60%, you are getting the majority of the benefits.

There is actually very little power difference between E60 and E90. In fact, it may be beneficial to run closer to E60 because there is more gasoline content.

The higher gas content means you'll need less fuel per volume of air, putting less stress on the fuel system. In a direct injection engine this can be the difference between going lean and staying safe, as many of these motors do not have aftermarket support for larger injectors.

E 85 coloradoAnother benefit to higher gasoline content is that gasoline has much better lubrication properties than ethanol. This will extend the life of your fuel pump and especially the higher pressure fuel pumps of direct injection systems.

Use the forums as a general guide, the next step for any auto enthusiast is to connect directly with shops and people that back up their words with measurable actions.

Our cars are driven hard, many go to the track for road racing and / or drag racing. E85 is a good alternative for a select group who takes performance seriously. Be in the know.

Keep it safe & fast


Topics: Building Horsepower, Turbo Upgrades, E85

Mike Wiener

Written by Mike Wiener