E85 is one of the hottest fuel types in the high-performance world.

It is a mixture of 85 percent denatured ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, delivering an octane rating between 100-105, which is a significant increase from traditional gasoline. With a higher octane content, the engine can run safely with high pressure and ignition timing without the risk of detonation.

E85 also provides a cooling effect not found in gasoline, which means lower combustion chamber temperatures during the ignition process, creating a better environment in high-performance engines that run high boost pressures or ignition timing.

For these reasons E85 can be a great option for fueling your build, but not all fuel pumps are high-pressure-capable, or compatible with E85. To get the most out of your system when running E85, you must ensure that your fuel pump is compatible with this fuel type.

There are four major design elements that make a fuel pump E85 compatible:

  1. Sealed external electrical connections
  2. Cartridge style brushes
  3. E85-compatible O-ring seals
  4. Over molded armatures with carbon commutators

You can see a trend here – high-pressure, E85-compatible fuel pumps are specifically designed to ensure maximum longevity.  Pumps must be designed and manufactured with the right metals, electrical componentry and housing materials, to safeguard against pre-mature failure or degradation of the components when exposed to E85.

This makes brushless pumps (like the new BKS1001 brushless fuel pump kit) a great option when running E85, because there are no exposed electrical connection running through the pump, that can make contact with the fuel. Brushless fuel pumps also produce more fuel flow with a lower amp draw than traditional brushed motors. Although they must be run with a controller, they are very fine-tunable for each unique application.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your fuel pump to a high-pressure, E85-compatible model, check out TI Automotive’s high pressure flex fuel pumps, such as the F90000267 / F90000274 informerly known as the Walbro 450. They support boosted applications with high horsepower and feature true ethanol-safe, stainless componentry, ideal for both the daily driver and the drag racer.

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