Jun 27, 2019 update to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car

Project Z06: Plug, Play, Power

Having been raised on a steady diet of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” a product claiming that we could install it in minutes and it would allow us to add magic juice to our car and instantly make more horsepower seemed to carry a bold claim.

A couple dyno runs later, and we’re ready to buy stock in Amalgamated Unicorn.

The Advanced Fuel Dynamic Proflex Commander is an $899 (frequently on sale cheaper) doohickey that plumbs and wires into you fuel and electrical system on select model automobiles allowing for the use of high-ethanol E85 fuel. E85 is a blend of gas made from ethanol refined from bio products—mostly corn or sugarcane—and since it is produced from products that grow through photosynthesis, it’s actually considered a renewable energy source.

It’s also highly oxygenated and fantastic for making power.

The AFD system includes a flex fuel sensor, a wiring harness that connects between each of your injectors and your car’s stock harness, a brain box, and some fuel plumbing to route fuel through the flex sensor. On our C5 Z06 Corvette it installed in about 40 minutes, and that’s only because we stopped to take pictures a few times.

On the dyno, the results were unambiguous, though. We saw gains of 15hp and 18ft./lbs. of torque, simply by switching fuel with the unit in place. That’s with no additional tuning, just plugging and playing. More power is likely available to be unlocked with a dedicated E85 tune.

Look for a full analysis of the AFD system in an upcoming issue, and on the Juy 3rd, 2019 edition of Grassroots Motorsports Live!

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te72
te72 Reader
6/27/19 10:35 p.m.

Filling a gas can in the bed of a pickup? I'm all for 'splosions myself, but I prefer not to be the source of them...

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
6/28/19 8:55 a.m.
te72 said:

Filling a gas can in the bed of a pickup? I'm all for 'splosions myself, but I prefer not to be the source of them...

 

I thought you were just supposed to keep the nozzle in contact with the surface of the can? The pump is grounded, so that completes the circuit, right?

tyronejk
tyronejk New Reader
6/28/19 9:42 a.m.

Even if the pump is grounded, it's not the same "ground" as the truck, since the truck is insulated from the ground-ground with rubber tires.  So it's not a complete circuit.

That's just my guess though.  I'm no electrical engineer.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
6/28/19 9:49 a.m.
tyronejk said:

Even if the pump is grounded, it's not the same "ground" as the truck, since the truck is insulated from the ground-ground with rubber tires.  So it's not a complete circuit.

That's just my guess though.  I'm no electrical engineer.

You know that makes perfect sense. Glad I've avoided immolation to this point. Habit changed.

goingnowherefast
goingnowherefast Reader
6/28/19 10:11 a.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
On the dyno, the results were unambiguous, though. We saw gains of 15hp and 18ft./lbs. of torque, simply by switching fuel with the unit in place. That’s with no additional tuning, just plugging and playing. More power is likely available to be unlocked with a dedicated E85 tune.

This is expected. You are suppling a more oxygen per mole of E85 vs. gasoline. 

 

Science: 

E85 chemical makeup: C2H6O

Gasoline chemical makeup: C8H18

 

I.E. You are adding oxygen via a slight form of shall we call it "chemical supercharging". While pure gasoline only composes of carbon and hydrogen, ethanol includes an oxygen atom in it's chemical composition. This is generally why, when all other factors of a tune are kept the same (even timing) and the only thing that is adjusted is the fueling, E85 will gain HP/TQ because of science. Anyone who says otherwise needs to hit the books again. 

 

Donatello
Donatello New Reader
6/28/19 10:11 a.m.

OK, so what is the correct way? Fill the cans when they are sitting on the ground? Please let us know.

I always assumed it didn't matter where you filled a plastic fuel jug because the jug itself is non-conductive. But I have been wrong before...

I fill my plastic fuel jugs often and always put them on the ground because I don't want to spill anything in my vehicles.

Thanks!

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/28/19 10:31 a.m.

Filling jugs in the bed of the truck can result in a spark and fire. Always place them on the ground. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/28/19 10:34 a.m.
z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/28/19 10:55 a.m.

GRM:

Where the members don't talk about how cool it is to get a power bump from changing fuel, instead, argue about the proper way to fill a fuel jug. 

 

Gents, in reality, it's not a big risk, or even a small one. I worked at QT for years in high school and college, watched hundreds of people smoke cigarettes AS THEY WERE FILLING UP THEIR TANK...............you know how many pump fires I saw in 4 years of workin at a gas station with 20 pumps. 

 

If you said, ZERO, you'd be exactly correct. 

 

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
6/28/19 11:21 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

But obviously it has happened, or there wouldn't be warning signs AT EVERY SINGLE PUMP.

 

E85 Story: Does this cause issues with fuel system components? Don't you need stainless lines and special hoses to run E85?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
6/28/19 11:59 a.m.
llysgennad said:

 

E85 Story: Does this cause issues with fuel system components? Don't you need stainless lines and special hoses to run E85?

The answer is: Depends.

On our Z06, no hardware changes were required to be E85 compliant. On other cars, there may be more substantial hardware or hose requirements. That's definitely something we'll be talking about on the July 3rd show, because I'm curious, too.

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/28/19 12:20 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
llysgennad said:

 

E85 Story: Does this cause issues with fuel system components? Don't you need stainless lines and special hoses to run E85?

The answer is: Depends.

On our Z06, no hardware changes were required to be E85 compliant. On other cars, there may be more substantial hardware or hose requirements. That's definitely something we'll be talking about on the July 3rd show, because I'm curious, too.

 

Yep. The fuel lines are fine with E85. There has been ethanol in fuel for what, 30+ years now?

The big issue is does your stock fuel system have the extra capacity for E85, or do you have to upgrade. E85 takes about 30% more fuel than normal 91/93, some cars, like the BRZ/FR-S can support nearly double the stock HP on the stock fuel system. Other cars can barely handle a gentle tune.

goingnowherefast
goingnowherefast Reader
6/28/19 12:50 p.m.
z31maniac said:
JG Pasterjak said:
llysgennad said:

 

E85 Story: Does this cause issues with fuel system components? Don't you need stainless lines and special hoses to run E85?

The answer is: Depends.

On our Z06, no hardware changes were required to be E85 compliant. On other cars, there may be more substantial hardware or hose requirements. That's definitely something we'll be talking about on the July 3rd show, because I'm curious, too.

 

Yep. The fuel lines are fine with E85. There has been ethanol in fuel for what, 30+ years now?

The big issue is does your stock fuel system have the extra capacity for E85, or do you have to upgrade. E85 takes about 30% more fuel than normal 91/93, some cars, like the BRZ/FR-S can support nearly double the stock HP on the stock fuel system. Other cars can barely handle a gentle tune.

Yes, but in the US it has only been federally mandated that fuel system components need to be capable of holding up to some amounts of ethanol since 2004/2006. 

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose SuperDork
6/28/19 1:13 p.m.

Need one for a Honda Grom or a side-by-side? They gotchu.  
Import car? berkeley off!  

 

And as someone who dabbles in being gas-station trained, yeah, not the best move (and possibly illegal, IDK how they roll down there)

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
6/28/19 1:37 p.m.
goingnowherefast said:
z31maniac said:
JG Pasterjak said:
llysgennad said:

 

E85 Story: Does this cause issues with fuel system components? Don't you need stainless lines and special hoses to run E85?

The answer is: Depends.

On our Z06, no hardware changes were required to be E85 compliant. On other cars, there may be more substantial hardware or hose requirements. That's definitely something we'll be talking about on the July 3rd show, because I'm curious, too.

 

Yep. The fuel lines are fine with E85. There has been ethanol in fuel for what, 30+ years now?

The big issue is does your stock fuel system have the extra capacity for E85, or do you have to upgrade. E85 takes about 30% more fuel than normal 91/93, some cars, like the BRZ/FR-S can support nearly double the stock HP on the stock fuel system. Other cars can barely handle a gentle tune.

Yes, but in the US it has only been federally mandated that fuel system components need to be capable of holding up to some amounts of ethanol since 2004/2006. 

It's still not automatically able to handle E85. Our newish 2016 car is only rated for E15 or less.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/28/19 1:43 p.m.
z31maniac said:Gents, in reality, it's not a big risk, or even a small one. I worked at QT for years in high school and college, watched hundreds of people smoke cigarettes AS THEY WERE FILLING UP THEIR TANK...............you know how many pump fires I saw in 4 years of workin at a gas station with 20 pumps. 

 

If you said, ZERO, you'd be exactly correct. 

 

I've seen zero of many things that I am still careful not to cause.

Here's an example of it happening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wiUBCMdO7Y

It goes from "no fire" to "man and truck engulfed in flames" in seconds. I would really like to avoid that happening to me or anyone I know or anyone at all, really.

edmagoo
edmagoo New Reader
6/28/19 3:40 p.m.

In reply to goingnowherefast :

Not really. Your goal is to combine the fuel's hydrogen and carbon with oxygen. However some of the chemical bonds in E85 are already combined with oxygen. So you don't get that energy. That's a net energy loss compared to gasoline.

The gains are based on flame speed and knock resistance not power content.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/28/19 3:44 p.m.
dculberson said:
z31maniac said:Gents, in reality, it's not a big risk, or even a small one. I worked at QT for years in high school and college, watched hundreds of people smoke cigarettes AS THEY WERE FILLING UP THEIR TANK...............you know how many pump fires I saw in 4 years of workin at a gas station with 20 pumps. 

 

If you said, ZERO, you'd be exactly correct. 

 

I've seen zero of many things that I am still careful not to cause.

Here's an example of it happening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wiUBCMdO7Y

It goes from "no fire" to "man and truck engulfed in flames" in seconds. I would really like to avoid that happening to me or anyone I know or anyone at all, really.

Possible and probable are two words that are often misunderstood.

It's possible that Russia could launch a nuclear strike in the 27 minutes, but it's not probable that it will happen. 

 

As well all complain about people buying trucks and SUVs instead of something fun, it's a similar logic, "I will buy a truck on the off-chance I need it 3 times a year, instead of saving money and renting a truck from Home/Lowe's for $20 for the day to do truck things when I need it."

But using extremes online is more fun. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/28/19 4:04 p.m.
goingnowherefast said:
z31maniac said:
JG Pasterjak said:
llysgennad said:

 

E85 Story: Does this cause issues with fuel system components? Don't you need stainless lines and special hoses to run E85?

The answer is: Depends.

On our Z06, no hardware changes were required to be E85 compliant. On other cars, there may be more substantial hardware or hose requirements. That's definitely something we'll be talking about on the July 3rd show, because I'm curious, too.

 

Yep. The fuel lines are fine with E85. There has been ethanol in fuel for what, 30+ years now?

The big issue is does your stock fuel system have the extra capacity for E85, or do you have to upgrade. E85 takes about 30% more fuel than normal 91/93, some cars, like the BRZ/FR-S can support nearly double the stock HP on the stock fuel system. Other cars can barely handle a gentle tune.

Yes, but in the US it has only been federally mandated that fuel system components need to be capable of holding up to some amounts of ethanol since 2004/2006. 

Ethanol cut fuel has been here since the late 70s, I don't remember any of the cars I owned from the 80s, that were already decades old, having fuel line failures. 

 

RJStanford
RJStanford New Reader
6/28/19 4:29 p.m.
llysgennad said:

In reply to z31maniac :

But obviously it has happened, or there wouldn't be warning signs AT EVERY SINGLE PUMP.

You mean like all of those horrifying incidents where people talked on their celphones and perished during refueling?  Because, yeah.

As for E85, for me it wasn't so much the relatively minor power bump I saw when I switched, it was the cooling. 450->475 whp, but 285->260 degree oil temperatures in midsummer.

te72
te72 Reader
6/28/19 9:14 p.m.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I tend to read warning signs once or twice. Could just be my nature, or it could be the frequent safety training at work.

 

Figure I've known enough people who learned the hard way to learn from their mistakes. Fortunately nobody's 'sploded themselves yet, but again, there's a reason for every sign, per How I Met Your Mother. =)

 

Love that about GRM, how easily sidetracked we can get sometimes. Some of us are special *raises hand* but this whole place is special. =P

livinon2wheels
livinon2wheels New Reader
7/1/19 3:22 p.m.

Take a lesson from the General Aviation Arena. Standard Operating Procedure when refueling a plane is to connect a ground wire from the pump frame to the frame of the airplane before you do ANYTHING else. Then proceed with the usual bit of uncapping the wing tanks (or where ever they might be on the  aircraft in question ), sticking the nozzle in and starting the pumping fuel process. There is a reason they do it that way. Aside from the fact that the FAA has always erred on the side of extreme caution, an aircraft moving through the air at relatively high speeds can build up a serious static charge and having that discharge itself into an open almost empty fuel tank with lots of vaporized fuel makes for really spectacular fireworks. Helicopters generate a ton of static electricity with their rotors so when the coast guard does rescue at sea they lower a grounding lead to discharge the static and avoid killing the people they are rescuing.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/1/19 3:50 p.m.
livinon2wheels said:

Helicopters generate a ton of static electricity with their rotors so when the coast guard does rescue at sea they lower a grounding lead to discharge the static and avoid killing the people they are rescuing.

I'm really glad I wasn't lied to by "Hunt for Red October"

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
7/1/19 4:00 p.m.
z31maniac said:

Possible and probable are two words that are often misunderstood.

It's possible that Russia could launch a nuclear strike in the 27 minutes, but it's not probable that it will happen. 

 

As well all complain about people buying trucks and SUVs instead of something fun, it's a similar logic, "I will buy a truck on the off-chance I need it 3 times a year, instead of saving money and renting a truck from Home/Lowe's for $20 for the day to do truck things when I need it."

But using extremes online is more fun. 

It's possible - but perhaps not probable - you can be immolated in an enormous and massively painful fire. You can avoid it by setting the gas cans on the pavement while filling them. Your response is "too much work, that's not likely?" OK - but I'm going to continue setting my gas cans on the pavement before filling them. The cost is nonexistent and the danger it's avoiding is pretty massive.

Note sure why you feel this relates to SUVs and nuclear strikes. Kind of a stretch, dude.

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