Is ethanol blend OK for 1 generation CRV?

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Thread: Is ethanol blend OK for 1 generation CRV?

  1. #1
    crv|oc Rank: Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Is ethanol blend OK for 1 generation CRV?

    I own 1999 CRV, engine code B20B8. According to my knowledge B20B8 is the B20 type sold in Australia. I'm not rue how it relates to the engines B20Z3 sold in US at the same time. One difference I'm aware of is that my B20B8 has ODB-1 diagnotics only (i.e. a single upstream oxygen sensor only), because ODB-2 compliance requirements were introduced in AU from 2003 only. However, I think most of other emmission controls in my B20B8 should be the same as in other B20 engines.
    I used to run my CRV on regular unleaded fuel (sold here at 91 octane rating) until recently when they introduced 10% ethanol blend (called E10), and they are phasing out regular 91 which is harder to find nowadays, so I started filling with E10 more and more often.
    Recently I've read that not all cars (esp older) are suitable for etahnol blend. In which case fuel injectors and/or emmission controls may be damaged. So I rang my local dealer asking if my B20B8 is suitable. He told me they didn't test it yet and recommended switching to premium fuel (95 octane) if regular is not available but avoid E10.
    My question is: having run my car on E10 against dealer recommendation for about half a year and 10,000km right now, what kind of damage could I have done to the engine? Have anyone experience type of trouble ethanol blend can bring to B20 type of engine? If so, can I still rectify mine by putting some fuel injector cleaners or such into the next tank?

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  3. #2
    crv|oc Rank: Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SE Michigan
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    I have a U.S. spec of '01 vintage. Can't speak to Aussie specs, but I've never had any problem relating to use of E10 or ethanol as its sometimes called here.

    Much of our winter blend fuel is laced with ethanol (a chemical Australians are familiar with in VB and other similar forms, I'm quite sure), too. So for many it is unavoidable. Some national brands routinely mix it with gasoline (petrol to you) as it has substantial tax breaks which they don't pass on to us even though we pay for them. And most non-national brands use it, too. A huge discount chain, Costco, sells lots of motor fuel that's ethanol blend of E10 in both regular and premium grades. Smells more like a distillery than a fuel station, but if damage were occurring, I'm sure they'd change their ways in our litigious "class action" society.

    If you have a really old car with carb and old style seals, alcohol can sink the float when the seal rots in alcohol blend. And, alcohol has less energy per liter (litre to you) so your fuel economy will dip slightly. On the other hand, the octane rating of ethanol is something like 115, so engine knock isn't a problem with E10.

    Don't use any blend other than 10% max ethanol, however. And don't use any methanol (wood alcohol) blend. These are made clear in my owner's manual.

    Whether the composition of your seals and plastic parts in the fuel system are different, I don't know. But I think your dealer is giving you the "safe" advice rather than the "scientific" advice.

  4. #3
    crv|oc Rank: Junior
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Keokuk, Iowa
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    10% is a pretty low percentage. I wouldn't worry about it. Besides... what are you going to do. Many places in the US don;t even sell gas a3without ethanol.

    If you do see a gas pump where for example only midgrade and premium had ethanol and 87 doesn't... buy the 87 octane.

    Another way to tell if one has ethanol and another doesnt' (for now are least until the subsidies run out) E10 will be $0.10 -0.20 cheaper than regualr gas. So if you buy the more expensive regular unleaded, you're better off. the fuel economy gains mostly offset the incresed price anyway.
    2009 Honda CR-V EX 4WD (Royal Blue)
    2008 Nissan Altima 2.5SL CVT (Silver)
    2007 BMW R1200RT (Blue)

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