Top Lube for E85?

by Mike Kojima


We had just switched to race E98 fuel in Dai Yoshihara's Turn 14/Falken Tire BRZ at the start of the 2016 Formula Drift Season. Of course, we enjoyed the befits of the Ethanol's high latent heat of vaporization right off the bat in the big 7-liter turbo RHS-Chevy that powers the car.  

For the first time, we could advance the ignition timing until the power fell off, with no signs of detonation, and our coolant and oil temps immediately fell by 15 degrees. The engine was also wonderfully insensitive to minor changes in AFR, and we gained over 80 whp with no increase in boost pressure and very conservative tuning. 

Admittedly, none of us had much experience with alcohol before. We all knew methanol was a superior fuel but highly corrosive, and it would require a lot of post event maintenance which would include pickling the engine and fuel system by draining the methanol and running gas through the system to remove the methanol. 

With the heavy maintenance schedule a Pro Drift car needs, we figured it was not worth the advantages, due to it adding to our work load and annoying our hard working road crew who would be eager to pack up the pits and start traveling to the next venue or back to HQ.

Because of this, we decided to run a fuel that is 98% ethanol as a compromise. All was good until the fourth event of the FD season- a season that that was plagued with high humidity for those events. 

At the New Jersey round, our car, which had been running beautifully, suddenly started to miss. Looking at the data, it was a lean miss even though the other parameters were ok. We changed out the injector of the missing cylinder and all was well for a few rounds but the miss re-occurred during qualifying even worse. Dai somehow qualified a car that had half its normal power and poor throttle response. 

We replaced more injectors, but during top 32 eliminations, the miss came back with a vengeance. With no power, we lost and got cut early, a loss that was to cost us dearly at the end of the season in points. 


Sorry, Paul Yaw. I stole this picture from Injector Dynamics' website; I don't think you will mind.

When we got back to HQ and did some trouble shooting, we found that our injectors were stuck. The ethanol had absorbed water from the humid east coast air, which in turn had rusted the iron rich steel alloy armature of our injector pintles.

To prevent this from happening again, we switched to all stainless core injectors, but we would still occasionally lose an injector and a random fuel pump even though they had been reliable before on gasoline. 


Power Plus Lubricants makes a top lube that is popular with the Alcohol drag racing crowd.

Currently, in Formula Drift, E98 is one of the most popular fuels with teams that are running forced induction, and in talking to other crew chiefs about our issues, we found that many of them were adding some sort of lubricant to their ethanol to prevent similar problems that they were experiencing. 

Unlike gasoline, alcohol has little lubricity and is a powerful solvent. This means that alcohol can be very hard on injectors, pumps, rings, cylinder walls, valve guides, and seats. Anything the alcohol contacts, it can potentially strip of lubricant.

Some crew chiefs were adding two stroke oil and mixing as much as one ounce per gallon and even 3 ounces per gallon on rotaries. Some were complaining of lube separation when using two stroke oil. All said that adding some lube ended their injector and pump issues with ethanol for good. We decided we needed to run some lube as well and researched the best lube to use. 



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Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, August 11, 2017 5:29 AM
Do you think there are any benefits to using this on a direct injection motor running E10 (standard "pump" gas)?
Friday, August 11, 2017 6:03 AM
It's amazing how Formula D is turning into sideways drag racing.
Friday, August 11, 2017 7:32 AM
Any noticable smoke? Do you know how O2 sensor and catalytic converter safe this stuff is?

Dai's car was smoking pretty good at Evergreen, but i doubt it was from a 440:1 ratio with this.
Friday, August 11, 2017 7:36 AM
Their website:


Goddamn I am good at research.
Friday, August 11, 2017 8:16 AM
I have been using e85 for like 10 years in my ~300ish hp euro S13. injectors never failed. The pump failed twice (first time the pickup was clogged with grime, second time the fuel filter was clogged and the pump ended up forcing a lot).

Injectors are 1000cc ev14, same as the injector dynamics the subaru has i guess.

The car is used as an enthusiast street and track car. I never had any other e85 related problem, but it is not an e98 eating monster. Friend of mine with his 700hp-ish ca18det does not either, and we started using e85 at a similar time.

No sure the lube is that much needed unless going with a very high ethanol %age. I'll be very interested in your findings if you get data on wear on your STI though.

I will check the injectors if there is a way to dismantle them without breaking them next time the engine is out.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 11, 2017 9:20 AM
Dai's car occasionally smokes for a few minutes after a hot restart due to oil getting past the turbine seal when the car sits. It clears out after a pass. Or it could have been when the power steering got hot and spit out of the reservoir getting on the turbine housing in practice, that was pretty smokey.
Friday, August 11, 2017 9:24 AM
For the alchohol bikes they just purge the carbs with 87 octane, if there's no load it won't detonate.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 11, 2017 10:54 AM
I don't think this stuff is needed for E10.
Friday, August 11, 2017 2:30 PM
this is great, the high HP rotary engine on e85 users have been looking or a reliable lube for years ! one that will not separate and not leave any gummy deposits.

have you noticed if this leaves any gummy deposits in the cylinder?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 11, 2017 3:46 PM
Randy, Able Ibarra uses Redline for Methanol two stroke oil
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 11, 2017 3:47 PM
Croustl, is E85 easy to get in Europe?
Friday, August 11, 2017 4:31 PM
since you bring up Dai, he got screwed on his runs against Deane at Seattle, and so did his team mate (forget his name), and so did Aasbo

I don't really follow FD, but the Seattle event they judges were really biased towards Deane, makes me question his whole season. Not saying hes a bad driver or anything, he's a great driver, but a lot of the calls involving him are flat out BS (in Seattle)

/off topic rant
The Monkey in El Monte
The Monkey in El Montelink
Friday, August 11, 2017 5:37 PM
"Admittedly, none of us had much experience with alcohol before." <- Lies!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 11, 2017 8:29 PM
He is a really good driver, he used to drive my car when he was 16.
Scott Helmer
Scott Helmerlink
Friday, August 11, 2017 10:08 PM
I wonder how that stuff would affect apex seals and such as an alternative to two stroke oil. Although that being said, I imagine it'd probably be prohibitively expensive in comparison, right?
Scott Helmer
Scott Helmerlink
Friday, August 11, 2017 10:09 PM
^ Forgot to note: on a purely street driven, basically stock vehicle.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 11, 2017 10:31 PM
I don't think it's meant as a primary lube for a rotary. Redline Alcohol premix is the way to go.
Saturday, August 12, 2017 7:14 AM
I wonder what the difference between the Power Pluses and Redline product. Redline states not to use their product with catalytic converters but Power Pluses states theirs is safe for catalytic converters. Anyone know?

The Redline alcohol lube is the cheapest and readily available in Australia ($30AUD/bottle). VP's M2 is available here too but is quite expensive ($50 AUD/bottle) and the Power Pluses well is very expensive due to having to ship from North America.
Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:15 AM
@mike i cannot say about Europe in general, but at least in France i never had a problem finding some for years. 10 years ago was not that easy though.

this website makes a google map of all known e85 pumps in France ( ~450 pumps for ~250.000 square miles, that is smaller than Texas but with 3 times the population). You can see it is quite available, except in place where nearly no people live.
Saturday, August 12, 2017 1:16 PM
But how does it smell!?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, August 12, 2017 11:40 PM
Like Grapes!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, August 12, 2017 11:42 PM
Crousti, I used to think E85 was an American thing to get rid of our government purchased wheat surplus but maybe not.
Funkzilluh link
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 10:31 PM
Would you recommend using this with E90?
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