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Old 05-23-2013, 11:49 AM   #1
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Bio-diesel content on the rise

Would like as much feedback as possible....AFTER I purchased my diesel powered pickup, I read in the manual that it was compatible with diesel fuel with 5% bio-diesel content. Good enough, since all I had seen was O% or 5% at stations I used. THEN, I'm traveling along and pull up to a pump and, luckily, noticed the fuel had "up to" 10%. I suppose being what an acquaintance once called me...a "fretter", I didn't purchase the fuel and found another station with 5%. I then contacted the vehicle manufacturer who informed me that anything above 5% IS NOT compatible with my vehicle.
THEN on a trip taken shortly thereafter, I ran into two situations that concern me....In a small town along a U.S. NUMBERED Hwy (i.e. not a remote isolated town) I found all three stations had fuel containing 10%. Not good. Then went down the road to another fairly nearby locale and found one with 5%.(Fortunately, because I was in need of fuel) On this same trip, I stopped at a Love's Travel Center and luckily noticed their tanks contained fuel with 10%. (Note: I have since contacted Love's and have been advised their content ranges from 5% to 20% depending on location !!!).
Two major problems with me on this....1) the vehicle manufacturer DID NOT advise me PRIOR to purchasing the vehicle of their developing conflict(not totally surprised) and 2) the fuel suppliers are "creeping" this into their inventories without being upfront with the public.
You might say that I'm being a little presumptuous expecting the vehicle manufacturer or the fuel distributors to "advertise" that something that is potentially damaging to my vehicle....well maybe. But I see this as an increasingly troublesome issue. For example, when and where can I be confident during my travels across the country that I can find a diesel fuel that is compatible with my vehicle. Since my vehicle is only 6 mos. old, I'm sure a warranty issue will come up if I were to develop a fuel system issue arises and I used fuel with a content above 5%. And with continuing pressures from special interest groups, I can see this as a growing problem in the ensuing years.
Sorry for the diatribe, but would appreciate any info which would contradict what I am experiencing or envisioning. Or any info which might help counteract what the added bio-diesel fuel content might do to a diesel engine.


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Old 05-23-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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Biodiesel blends currently available are B2, B5 (or B6), B10 and B20. It seems unusual that we are seeing a proliferation of B10 or higher blends as most diesel vehicles on the road cannot use anything higher than B5 due to manufacturer specifications.

Many states required B10 in 2012, but implementation has been slow. Some vehicles are exempt and all formulas generally revert to B5 for cold weather supplies.

Here is the language for the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, "The only approved processed biodiesel for B5 blending is one that meets ASTM D975 specification to prevent damage to the engine system from deposits and / or corrosion. Diesel fuels containing a higher percentage of biodiesel, (e.g. B6 to B20) according to ASTM D7467 as well as straight biodiesel (B100 / 100%) ASTM D6751 may cause severe damage to your engine/fuel system and are not approved. The Mercedes-Benz Limited Warranty does not cover damages caused by the use of fuels that do not meet Mercedes-Benz approved fuel standards.


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Old 05-23-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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In our recent 7K mile trip I did notice some B10 at pumps, but did not use any for the same concerns expressed above. I do have a question: if you are using standard #2 fuel and then take on, say, a half tank of B10, would that mix be suitable to satisfy the engine manufacturers? (assuming you had a half tank of fuel when you pulled into the station). I usually like to stay on the upper half of the tank, so this strategy may or may not work, but I'm not an expert on this stuff. With my Cat 350 this issue is a concern.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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Federal laws already on the books (since 2007) mandate an ever-increasing amount of "renewable" highway fuels. Up til recently that was mostly ethanol in gasoline, but now we are seeing it in diesel as well. The EPA insists that B10 is fine for all modern engines, but the engine manufacturers are balking, leaving you and me caught in between. The fuel manufacturers have no choice but to go along or face huge fines from the feds. Chances are you won't find much, if any, B5 or less this year and, certainly not any next year.

I believe, however, that all biodiesel being sold for on-highway use does in fact meet ASTMD975-8a, which is what the engine manufacturers are requiring. As I understand it, the current 8a version of D975 does not specify a percentage of bio vs dino fuel stock in the blend. Instead it gives a performance specification and any diesel that can meet that spec is "approved". Maybe somebody who really digs into those specs can shed some more light.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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im surprised that your truck is not rated for B20. I thought all the newer diesel trucks (light duty) were rated for B20.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jamesrxx951 View Post
im surprised that your truck is not rated for B20. I thought all the newer diesel trucks (light duty) were rated for B20.
It must not be a Ford- I think their LT diesels have been compatible with up to B20 since model year 2011. link.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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Actually this is a good thing. Bio-diesel is the top-rated lubricity increasing factor for today's ULSD. (and BTW, also the lowest cost per unit) I burn whatever level of bio-diesel the station sells. MY 2002 Duramax runs better than the day it was new, and now has 134,xxx miles on the odometer.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:19 AM   #8
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Cummins view on Bio-diesel.. Cummins Engines
(Provides details on ASTM standards)
What Cummins engines can be used with B20 biodiesel?

The current approved engine models are as follows:
On-Highway: ISX, ISM, ISL and ISB engines certified to EPA ’02 and later emissions standards, ISL, and ISB engines certified to Euro 3.

Biodiesel must conform to the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) specifications. B100 must conform to ASTM D6751 prior to blending, and the finished B20 blend must conform to ASTM D7467.

The long version of Cummins Fuel Requirements is here:http://www.granlydiesel.com/fileadmi...1__14feb13.pdf
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:15 AM   #9
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The basic problem is not with the "engine" (i.e. cummins), but the vehicle fuel system components..e.g. fuel tank, fuel lines, etc. due to the higher solvent characteristics of the bio-fuels which could cause degradation to the rubber, etc. (specific references can be found in the literature/articles on the internet). My vehicle is a RAM with the Cummins 6.7L. Chrysler has confirmed to me directly that anything over B5 is NOT compatible with the vehicle. Basically, what they are telling me is don't expect any warranty coverage for fuel system problems caused by use of the higher bio-fuel content.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:17 AM   #10
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Ray....would be interested to know if you changed your maintenance intervals, e.g. fuel filter changes since using the higher content?

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Old 05-27-2013, 06:35 AM   #11
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I noticed this with Loves and have stopped using them for either my Motorhome or diesel pickup truck. I find most Pilot/Flying J's here on the east coast are selling Dino diesel, so they have gotten my business. Much like ethanol in gasoline, we don't yet understand all the unintended consequences of running biodiesel in modern engines. For instances, how biodiesel affects DPF performance.

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Old 05-27-2013, 07:19 AM   #12
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Most new diesel pickups are approved for B20. We have been burning B20 in pickups, semis, & farm tractors for years. Our first experience was that our tanks were "cleaned out" by the detergent qualities of the product. Also we had some problems in cold weather, as bio has a slightly higher gel point temp. But as time has went along, and with better blending techniques and better additives we run through 10,000's of bio every year with very few problems. Just everyone remember that there are problems with the fossil fuel product as well, so it would not be surprising to see the same in rare circumstances with bio. We raise corn and soybeans right here in the United States and bio fuels are produced right here with American jobs. There is a lot of negative talk about bio fuel, as it is in direct competition with big oil, but we think the positives of this USA produced, USA manufactured out weigh any negatives that big oil can lob our way. Just my rant for the day.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #13
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We also have a Dodge 2012 Dually that is only warrantied for 5% bio diesel. As full timers, we are avoiding some places that only have greater than 5% bio diesel. To help get through those areas, we installed an after market 62 gallon fuel tank to replace the original one. Illinois is an example of a state that sells 11% bio diesel or above since it offers tax incentives to gas stations that sell it. We have considered trading for a 2013 Dodge that will use 20% bio diesel but will also have to use DEF. Our 2012 does not use DEF.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:48 AM   #14
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I had a 2011 Ram 2500 Cummins and to comply with emissions the regen cycle was increased substantially from the 09 Ram that I had. The fuel consumption especially when no-load, light-load suffered.i think the down side of having DEF is offset by much better fuel economy. I have a 13 Duramax that uses DEF but I am experiencing much better fuel economy.

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