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Discussion Starter #1
I knowingly put over 15 gallons of E85 fuel in my new 2011 Honda Odyssey a couple days back. I realized as soon as I filled it that something was amiss. Checking up the owner's manual confirmed it :(.

I have driven around 20 miles after that and today the 'Engine Malfunction' indicator lamp light up. I am currently parked in a train parking lot and my house is 3 miles from there. What should i do next?

Should I go to the dealer or get the fuel siphoned out? Please help folks. I don't want to ruin my new van.

Thanks,
Amol
 

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I couldn't find anything offiicial on the internet, but it appears you should be OK to drive it. Most recommendations say to drain it out ASAP. If it were me, I would either drive it home and drain the tank, then fill it up with unleaded and take it for a long drive to flush out the E85 that was in the lines. Also, every time you use up a few gallons, I would top off the tank, thus further diluting any E85 that remained. Remember, the Ody has a long flat tank, so it will be nearly impossible to remove all of the E85.

Or if you don't have a way to dispose of the E85, you could take it to a dealer to have them drain it.
 

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not saying that this is the best idea, but i'd drive it all out as soon as possible. you will get an overly lean mixture when you step on the gas too hard, so take it nice and easy.

the SAFEST thing to do would be to have the dealer drain it. if the dealer will drain it for not-too-much, i would do that. If you drain it yourself, disposing all that fuel will be a hassle.
 

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You should drain the tank and fill it back up with normal gas. that said, you MIGHT be ok to drive it home, if you take it slow and easy


E85 Conversion Kits Change2E85.com



3. If I put E85 ethanol in my non-Flex Fuel vehicle, it will ruin it.

One tank won’t hurt. Some dealers are spreading rumors and charging $300-$3000 for one tank of accidental E85 use. This use may cause misfiring and a rough ride. Your check engine light will come on. If you should accidentally or on purpose put E85 in your vehicle, drain the tank, put in regular gas and all will be well. If you use E85 without a conversion kit or non-Flex Fuel capable vehicle for an extended period, you can damage your engine.

4. Ethanol will burn up my engine.

Ethanol has a lower ignition point than gas. Ethanol has about 115 octane and E85 has 105 octane. It burns cooler and will extend engine life by preventing the burning of engine valves and prevent the build-up of olefins in fuel injectors, keeping the fuel system cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dealer response

Thanks for your responses, friends.

My Honda dealer has quoted $475 for the flush. :nothappy: I called up another reputable and reliable repair shop and they don't have the equipment to do it, so they are recommending to go back to the dealer as well. I am having it towed to the dealership tonight.

Will putting E85 void my Honda warranty? How tough is it to siphon out the E85 myself?
 

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I wouldn't go to the dealer.

Buy (2) 10 gallon gas cans and a siphon from Walmart

Siphon out 10 gallons of E85 - store it or burn it ;)

Put in 10 gallons fresh normal gas - this should dilute the alcohol enough

run it and it will be fine.

I found several web sites that state running 1 tank of E85 in a newer vehicle won't hurt it.


If you go to the dealer, you now have it on record that you put E85 in the tank and Honda can now void all future warranty claims :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am a fairly decent DIYer e.g. I change my own oil etc. but can I drive the 2 miles to my home like this? Will it cause further damage?

Also, how DIY-friendly is this task to siphon out gas? Any ideas?
 

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I wish I could answer you for 100% certain, but I really don't know.

I am just going off what a few various web sites have to say (found 4 in agreement) and they say it's ok to drive one tank of E85, but the engine light will be on and the car may miss or run rough.

They all seem to state that damage only comes from long term use of E85 or problems are related to using E85 an older car (the alcohol dissolves sludge in the gas tank and that sludge messes up your engine) Since your car is new, you don't have that issue.

I would assume siphoning gas would be easy enough, stick a tube down the fill neck and siphon it out, that won't hurt anything.

I would be more inclined to do it where you are if possible. Have a friend or family member come get you and take you to buy some gas cans and a siphon (and some fresh gas). Beats a tow and $500 at the dealer anyway :)
 

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Siphon out 10 gallons of E85 - store it or burn it
Yeah, you could burn it one gallon at a time, or half a gallon at a time...

If you go to the dealer, you now have it on record that you put E85 in the tank and Honda can now void all future warranty claims
Yup. Even if it's not related to the E85. Getting ANYTHING fixed under warranty will be a struggle, I bet. :(
 

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+1 to siphon it out without driving it. In addition to the problems mentioned above, E85 will damage your fuel system, especially the fuel pump.

Also, about burning it - I don't know about in the US, but here most of our fuel is already at its maximum safe ethanol blend of 10%. However, there may be an ethanol-free brand available. Here, that would be PetroCan 91.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Unable to siphon out gas

So, i drove the van home and got all ready - bought the gas cans and a hand pump siphon pump but the damn tube is not going down enough in the neck of the fuel tank to even get wet. I tried putting a thinner more flexible tube, but it just doesn't reach the fuel. :huh:

I looked under and there is a drain cock connecting the hose from the fuel filler to the gas tank and there is a sharp bend at one point. Given that I have over 17 gallons in the tank and i measured the tank (it is 103 cms X 15 cms X 50 cms ~ 80L) so the fuel level must be pretty high, I don't want to risk taking off the hose and having 16 gallons of fuel spill in my garage.

Plus the fuel tank is so low that it will be a major challenge getting it to siphon out. I am at my wits' end now. I am thinking I am going to call a few repair shops in my neighborhood and ask if anyone can just drain my gas tank.

If you have any better ideas, please chime in.

Thanks,
Amol
 

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drive to a dealership that sells flex fuel cars and offer to give them the gas for free that they siphon out for you...
 

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Crap, sorry man, I did a little more research and it seems that Honda has been using anti siphon plates in the filler neck of the tank for a few years in all models. Something like a strainer with a bunch of small holes that allow gas in, but no tubes will fit.

Best alternate advice I have seen is to disconnect the fuel line coming out of the tank, but I have no idea where that actually is on a 2011 Ody.

or yeah, if you can find a local shop that can manage to catch the gas from the drain plug and dispose of it properly.
 

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Against what all other posts say, I have experimented with each of my Hondas on purpose and I can tell you that you wont do long term damage or any damage at all by running it on one tank.

The light is on for a lean condition, but you still have more than 15% gas in the tank so you arent dangerously lean.

Drive it down to a half tank or more if you feel ok about doing so, fill up with E10 or straight gas if possible, drive the long way home and remove the battery cable to reset the ECU. This will turn off the light and reset anything learned.

If it comes on again for the same condition it shouldnt take more than one more 1/2 tank of E10 to get you back in acceptable range.

Our Honda's will tolerate approximatly 40% ethanol before the light will turn on for a lean condition. And the entire system is ethanol resistant to a fairly high percentage. So even at a higher percent, for a short period of time no damage will occur.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Engine light went off and on

Thanks Kenny and others for sharing your thoughts.

I have still not been able to get the E85 out. I took the van to the nearby AdvanceAutoParts and he diagnosed the code to be the upper oxygen sensor and that the engine is running lean. He called up his master technician friend and he advised against removing the hose from the fuel neck to the gas tank there is pink ring around the joint and the suspicion is that it could be the fule filter and it would be difficult/impossible putting it back.

Anyhow, i drive around and the engine check light goes off. This was last night. This morning, my wife drove the van 20 miles away, still the light was not on. On her way back a few hours back, the light came on and is still on.

Another Honda dealer offered to empty the tank for $200 but I don't want to go to a Honda dealer. No other repair shop is willing to do the job citing difficulty and I am in Chicago!!!!

Anyhow, I am writing to ask you guys if I should run the tank to empty or keep diluting the mixture with regular fuel. Please advise.

Thanks,
Amol
 

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Discussion Starter #18
RinconVTR,

How much E85 did you have in your tank at any time? I had 5 gallons of E10 (so 4.5 pure gas) and I added 16 gallons of E85(so 2.4 gallons of pure gas more). Thus, my ethanol concentration is 66%=(4.5+2.4)/21

I ran into an expert technician at the Auto Store and he scared me completely that by driving it I have made the problem from bad to worse. So, I called up 3 Honda dealers and they have scared the **** out of me.

Can you share whether you had this high a concentration or much lower?
 

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RinconVTR,

How much E85 did you have in your tank at any time? I had 5 gallons of E10 (so 4.5 pure gas) and I added 16 gallons of E85(so 2.4 gallons of pure gas more). Thus, my ethanol concentration is 66%=(4.5+2.4)/21

I ran into an expert technician at the Auto Store and he scared me completely that by driving it I have made the problem from bad to worse. So, I called up 3 Honda dealers and they have scared the **** out of me.

Can you share whether you had this high a concentration or much lower?
I approached 70% using basic calculations like you just did. Below 40% the light should go off, but under some conditions it could stay on at 40%. What I'm saying is 40% is the border line when you get the light to go on/off at random depending on conditions.

Again, I would run it down to 1/2 tank or more and refill with E10 or straight gas if you can find it. Just do this sooner than later, time is your only enemy here.

And ask the dealers to give you examples of what they are stating! They wont have any actual examples of damage when someone does what you (or I) have done...BECAUSE THERE ARENT ANY! The system is already tolerant to ethanol, the problem is at higher concentrations you can accelerate "time" i.e. corrosion and seal degradation. This is a short term problem with a quick fix, just hang in there. The sky isnt falling.
 
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