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Old 05-28-2014, 04:09 PM   #1
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B20 Bio Diesel

I have a Journey '01 and stopped for diesel at Flying J in Barstow, CA. I saw that the pump said the diesel was a B20 diesel. Not knowing whether my older Cummins could use that fuel, I called Cummins and they said that B20 was OK for '02 and newer.

My question is what do those of us with older rigs do if stations convert to B20? I was able to find a Travel America with diesel but I am concerned about the future. Suggestions appreciated.

BTW, according to the Mgr at Fly J, this was a test station.

Journey '01
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Old 05-28-2014, 04:49 PM   #2
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You may have to find someone that will replace the parts that do not like the bio, you will not want to fill up before winter as bio likes moisture.
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Old 05-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #3
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I'm seeing the same thing (B20 at FJ) in the southeast. Mercedes firmly says no higher then 5% for Sprinter-based vehicles so even though I'm not a Flying J hater it seems like I will not be able to buy from them anymore. So far I haven't had any difficulty finding non-biodiesel fuel at name-brand stations.
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:40 PM   #4
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One can hope that Congress acts on behalf of the little people for a change and cuts back on the mandated purchase of biofuels on behalf of the big ag corporations. The law stipulated a fixed volume and as people drive more fuel efficient cars and trucks and buy less gas and less diesel the percentage of bio sourced fuels at the pumps has increased dramatically over the past 5 years. This is affecting cars with ethanol and it is even worse for boat engines. In 2011 GM made modifications to the Duramax engine to allow it to safely burn B20 diesel. So by way of inference pre-2011 diesel should not be burning it. The problems are the worst when you switch back and forth between different fuels or use it in cold weather. The end result can be a plugged fuel filter and damage to the engine and at least with GM, this is not covered under warranty. This is straight from the GM Duramax owners manual: However, biodiesel has unique properties and needs to be handled differently than diesel fuel. Its use presents additional risks and may not be appropriate in all situations. Certain vehicle operating modes increase these risks and should be avoided. Read further to determine if your driving habits are compatible with the use of biodiesel. Biodiesel fuel quality degrades with time and exposure to high temperature much more quickly than conventional diesel fuel. More frequent refueling provides the best opportunity to have a supply of fresh fuel. Owners who have very low fuel usage or who have vehicles stored for extended periods of time should avoid the use of biodiesel. Storage at hot ambient temperatures will accelerate biodiesel degradation. When vehicles will be stored for extended periods of time (greater than one month), they should be run out of biodiesel to below 1/4 tank, refueled with conventional Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel, and driven several miles before storage. Biodiesel gels sooner than conventional diesel fuel at cold temperature, and biodiesel fuel requires proper blending for winter time operation. Fuels improperly blended for cold temperature operation may result in restricted fuel filters and degraded vehicle performance. Your vehicle is equipped with a fuel heating system to provide a level of protection against filter plugging from gelling (waxing) of conventional diesel fuel and biodiesel blends. However, the system will not prevent all cases of plugged filters if the operating temperature is far below the temperature at which gelling or waxing of the fuel occurs (cloud point). Use of biodiesel blends greater than B5 (5% blend) should be avoided in cold temperatures. Vehicles operated for extended periods of time on conventional diesel fuel and then switched to biodiesel blends may experience premature fuel filter clogging and require more frequent fuel filter service. With long term use of conventional diesel fuel, gum and varnish may be deposited within the tank and fuel system. These deposits, while not problematic with the use of conventional diesel fuel, may become loosened with a sudden switch to biodiesel blends and cause fuel filter plugging. This vehicle is equipped with a fuel filter restriction monitoring system that will alert you if the fuel filter requires service, but it will not prevent damage caused by poor quality biodiesel. ------------- Needless to say but if I see B20 at the pump I will go somewhere else to buy diesel.
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:39 PM   #5
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elkhornsun, your post is spot on. I retired from the auto industry last year. I was employed by a major European auto manufacturer. I don't need to add anyhthing to what you've said. Thanks.
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:41 PM   #6
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B20 Bio Diesel

Originally Posted by elkhornsun View Post
.... ------------- Needless to say but if I see B20 at the pump I will go somewhere else to buy diesel.
Excellent summary. Now I won't have to write my own epiphany on this subject. I'm sure I would cross the line and be banned for mentioning what I know about the politics behind the push for bio-diesel use.

Here are the "non-political" highlights, however:
Biodiesel does present problems of gelling. Anywhere from 14F to 61F depending on the base feedstock. We currently have no assurance what feedstock is being used.

Biodiesel has better lubricity compared to ultra-low sulfur petro diesel. But the downside is fuel filter clogging. Under the banner of a good lubricity is a hidden caveat ... which is degradation of natural rubber seals. Synthetic seals are considered unaffected. Biodiesel interacts with copper, brass and bronze, but appears to have no effect on stainless steel and aluminum.

Testing with surprisingly small percentages of water shows that bio-diesel will induce the dreaded pitting of engine internal components. We have little to no control on how bio-diesel is handled with respect to moisture avoidance. Think ... storage tank condensation.

Less BTU per unit compared to petro diesel. Meaning ... lower MPG.

At present bio-diesel is 15 cents more costly than petro diesel. This is wildly variable however, due to feedstock material, and oh yes ... politics.

I'm joining the crowd that will look for fuel stations that do not "test" bio-diesel on the customers. Today it is B-20, and how soon before they "test" B-100?
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:54 PM   #7
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Is there a move to eliminate number 2 diesel? Looks like Flying J is a thing of the past for me.

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Old 05-28-2014, 07:22 PM   #8
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Cummins Engines =Link to Cummins FAQ on BioDiesel use.

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 ’2002 and later emissions standards, ISL, and ISB engines certified to Euro 3.

Cummins: Engines prior to 2002 are not compatible with B20. All used engines switching from petrodiesel to B20 will need to replace fuel filters at 1/2 the normal interval. (next 2 filter changes)

Cummims: Biodiesel is less stable, Use biodiesel fuel within six months of its manufacture date. Avoid storing vehicles with biodiesel blends in the fuel system for more than three months.

Engine damage from using unapproved Biodiesel blends is not covered by the Cummins warranty.
Long Fuel Service Bulletin is here:

The Concern is not resistance to biodiesel but mandating blends not recommended by the engine manufacturers. It could put a lot of engines in jeopardy. If it follows usual government practice at some date the acceptable fuels will be eliminated. Problems may be encountered well before that from not knowning what blend fuel is being dispensed..
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Old 05-28-2014, 07:44 PM   #9
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When are we going to collectively tell the govt to leave us alone!

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Old 05-29-2014, 04:52 PM   #10
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Cummins engines can use 20% biodiesel but Dodge only warrantees their 2012 or older trucks for 5% biodiesel. It is almost impossible to buy non biodiesel fuel in Illinois. We do not buy diesel in Illinois for that reason.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:54 AM   #11
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Insight as to why dealers are peddling bio-diesel. Better profit margin as long as the government continues to offer them tax incentives.

I'm using this map to see where NOT to buy my diesel. I will resist putting that crap in my tank as long as I can locate petro diesel. Note: this map does not cover truck stops.
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:41 PM   #12
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I have 02 Chevy Duramax and a 99 Cummins ISC, both burn whatever is convenient. When my injectors failed in the Duramax the GM dealer also changed the high-pressure rail seals. They were leaking because of the biodiesel (copper). Other than that, I have had no issues whatsoever using biodiesel of any percentage. It sits in my farm tractor all winter, with never a problem. Don't run scared, it is the future nothing we can do will change the fuel we burn unless we stop burning fuel completely..
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG 11B5MX,Infantry retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA." My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
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Old 05-31-2014, 05:55 AM   #13
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I have gotten in the habit of calling ahead to truck stops to find out what type of diesel they have. Now you might have to ask for the clerk, who is excellent at checking out pizza and cokes but doesn't have a clue about fuel, to get someone on the line who does but it has paid off for me. I don't even call Love's anymore because it appears in the South they are all bio-diesel. With my old mechanical 8.3 cummins I am going to stay away from bio-diesel as long as I can.
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:52 AM   #14
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Very easy to see how much of Intended Bio blend each Flying J stations use.
At far right on Their fuel prices for the day. Gives that info for each station.

Flying J says:
Biodiesel and/or Renewable Diesel Blend Percentages - Pilot Flying J will use commercially reasonable efforts to meet these posted percentages. However, Pilot Flying J cannot guarantee blend percentages for all locations 100% of the time due to pre-blended diesel in the supply chain, store blending systems, supply availability, measurement calculations, temperature, etc.
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