How can I tell E85 from regular gasoline? - Saab General Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com
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How can I tell E85 from regular gasoline?
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Posted by Gene N [Email] (#1094) [Profile/Gallery] (more from Gene N) on Sat, 25 Sep 2021 09:44:55 Share Post by Email
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Yea, I know, look at the pump before filling up.

My daughter borrowed my 2002 9-5 Aero and took a trip that probably left the tank with less than a quarter full. Right before she parked it in the front of my house she graciously filled the tank for me. I didn't use the car for a week or two, and when l tried to use it, it wouldn't start. When that happened, I just went to the next car and put off looking into the problem. A few weeks later I started the diagnosis.

- Fuel pressure? 40 PSI, which is normal.
- DIC? Swapped in a known good one, still no start.
- CPS? 80 Ohms, which is in specification. 12 volts on the supply lead. Noticed a very slight wiggle in the tach when cranking.
- Plugs? Medium tan, slightly wet when I removed them. I replaced them with new NGK platinum plugs. Nothing.
- Air Leaks? Inspected all the hoses and connections. Nothing obvious.
- ODB-II Codes? None showing.

I review what I know so far and think it could be bad gas. I ask my daughter where she filled up at, and she couldn't remember since a month has gone by. My next step is to get a gas sample. The 9-5 has a Schrader valve right on the fuel rail which makes it incredibly easy to measure the fuel pressure, or in my case get a sample of the fuel. I put the fuel into a Ball Mason jar, then I put some gasoline from the can I use for the lawn mower in another Ball Mason jar. Here is what I see and smell:

- Fuel from the car is clear with a tan cast.
- Fuel from the gas can is clear with a slight greenish cast.
- Smell from both jars is overpowering when making a comparison, but it seems like the gas can fuel has more of a "gasoline" smell.

The smell test might not be so useful as E85 does have 15% gasoline.

Any way to get a definitive answer before I needlessly drain the tank? I'm tempted to put my car sample in my lawn mower and see if it runs, but the mower is a 30 year old Honda and I don't want to disturb its Chi right now.

Thanks for reading this to its end!

->Posting last edited on Sat, 25 Sep 2021 10:08:30.
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