Check Engine Light With E85

I have 2003 Dodge Caravan SE, which takes E85 (has the E85 sticker on the gas cap door), but I've never used it before. The other day my tank was half
full, and I filled it up with E85. A couple dozen miles later my check engine light went on. It stayed on for a couple of days. Today the check engine light didn't go on; but it's also much colder today than it's been the past couple of days, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it.
So I was wondering if anyone has heard of any problems using E85, such as might cause the check engine light to come on, or otherwise. (The car actually seems to ride a little smoother; but that could just be my imagination.) I need to get my state inspection sticker next month, and I certainly don't want any problems with the check engine light right when I have to do my inspection.
Thanks!
Neil
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Get the code retrieved (OBD11) and report back here. This has got me very curious. Just because the lites off, the code will still be stored.
Pete
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I can also help:
Most likely the fuel sensor in the fuel line. But that's just a guess. The computer sends a richer mix on E-85, because Ethanol does not have the BTU's nor the flame propagation of gasoline.
RK

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I know the owner's manual says that the check engine light might come on when you use cheaper gasoline. So that might be the same thing. However, the check engine light's going to come on whenever I use E85, then the car's not really made for using E85, is it?
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The
the
not
Why not find out what the fault code is before you do anything!! A loose gas cap fault code has nothing to do with E85.
Glenn Beasley Chrysler Tech
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I wonder if the alochol in the E85 cleaned something (like a sensor) and the change triggered the light. Then as things... settled down the light went off.
In any case no doubt you noticed a significant drop in your gas mileage...
Jeff DeWitt
maxpower wrote:

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Here's an interesting thing re. this. I didn't get the fault code yet because, as noted, the check engine light was off.
The last time I had put half a tank of E85 in, so it was 50% E85. Tonight I got gas again, and filled up with E85. The tank was 1/3 full, so it now is about 85% E85.
Though, as noted, the check engine light has been off, about 5 miles after filling up again on E85, the check engine light went on again.
So that's twice in a row that it went on after filling up on E85.
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I think I found the solution to this. There's an article at http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/10/12/your-flex-fuel-ford-may-be-addicted-to-gasoline/ which says in part:
"Dee Rithman, the owner of a 2000 Ford Taurus, was happy to learn that her car was designed to accept E85 even though there are currently no ethanol filling stations in her area. On a recent trip to Austin, she came by an E85 station and decided fill up with the gas alternative. 'About three or four days later, I'm getting the check engine light on my car,' she says. For $70, a mechanic told her 'because you've been putting regular gas in it for six years, the engine's not going to take it because it's not used to it.'
"WOAI contacted the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition who said that, unfortunately, a lot of drivers experience this, but the problem is neither serious nor permanent. They said that the check engine light should turn off after the first few E85 fill-ups. They also suggest that you may be able to avoid the problem altogether by slowly introducing ethanol to your engine a few gallons at a time."
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The engine wasn't used to it?
Sounds like a Ford problem, but mechanical things don't get used to things.
LOL
Newer vehicles have a sensor that actually determines the ethanol content. But, the few tanks of E-85 usually cleans off the sensor.
RK

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/10/12/your-flex-fuel-ford-may-be-addicted-to-gasoline/

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So you're saying that the sensor isn't working right until the first few tankfuls? And then, once it gets cleaned off, it works properly?
I wonder about my situation where the light went on when I was using 50% E85, then turned itself off after a couple of days, and then went back on right after I increased the E85 in the tank to 85%.
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content.
Find a place that will tell you what the stored fault code is!!
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I'm not worried about it, after reading that article. I was just replying to Refinish King and asking for clarity about what he was saying. Thanks, though.
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few
50%
on
to
But just because you read an article does not mean it pertains to your vehicle until you find out what the fault code is.
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That's true, and good point. I guess it was the article, combined with the fact that the light went off by itself (and then only went on again when I increased the concentration of E85) that makes me feel comfortable about it. But, I need to get my state inspection this month, and am hoping the light goes off before that. So, whether the light goes off or stays on, I'll have to bring it in and I'll get the code read. Or would I need to bring it to the dealer to get the code read?
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it.
have
If there is a fault code , it may have disabled an IM monitor. The vehicle will not pass if all monitors have not been run. That's why I say to have the fault code checked and make sure the problem is fixed. Some monitors could take days to run and pass
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I would have to agree.
What fails on one vehicle, isn't necessarily the same failure on another.
RK

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O

Said maxpower.

Said the same thing said me a while ago. Just because the lite went out, doen't mean the fault code isn't there. Instead of relying on an article and thinking you know, get the fault code read and then know for sure.
Pete
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Ethanol has more water than anything else:
There's always garbage on the bottom of the tank, so increasing the alcohol content, tends to loosen up the water soluble; i.e.: Rust, sand, metal filings that haven't stratified to the bottom of the tank yet.
So, usually the sensor will clean it self, with the fuel flow. But, on the other hand. Sometimes the garbage solidifies on the sensor, or renders it's ability to measure the conductance of either fuel in the mix, and can be removed and with a little luck, cleaned off.
Otherwise, you'll need a new one. I helped a friend at a dealer diagnose one, and the sensor was about $87.00 plus tax.
I hope this helps.
RK
PS I think in your case, the sensor might be covered under the federal emissions warranty, which I believe is 7/70 or 8/80.

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