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  #1  
Old 09-20-2003, 05:30 AM
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Ever get a bad batch of gas?

Well I had quite a little scaretoday with my car. I was driving it to work today and I was speeding up to get around a car for my turn and all of a sudden she started studdering. I slammed on my brakes and got in behind to make my turn and then started out on the next road and it was still doing it... kind of sounded like it was missing on 2 cylinders and I thought I could aslmost hear a pinging type sound. Well, I let up off the gas and it seemed to smoothe out but as soon as i pushed it past maybe 20%, it would do it again. At the stoplight it was idling really rough too... almost thoguht she was gonna die, but no engine light or warning lights came on.

On my break I bought some fuel injector cleaner, dumped it in, then went to Chevron and put their best stuff in it. Since then, I haven't had any trouble at all, it seems like it smoothed it out. I'm praying that it was just the gas and that I don't have a costly repair coming up.

On another note, the reason I thought of gas in the first place was because I was on a tank of gas that I bought at a Shell station that I never go to. I always fill at the same place all the time and never had trouble until this one time. It kind of makes me angry that I pay $2.10 per gallon for gas that ruins my car and that my car won't run on. I always put the best stuff in too, no matter what I won't go under 92 octane, and I never go to those crappy stations like Arco or Tesoro, etc. What's the best stations to use? I've been pretty loyal to a Shell station in town and my car's always been happy with it. Sometimes I'll go to a 76 or Chevron but that's it. I don't mind paying good money for my gas, as long as the gas is good.

Any comments? Experiences?
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2003, 11:00 AM
dtf dtf is offline
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Two things:

1. I've recently added fuel injector cleaner (Valvoline) to a very good running car and it caused skipping and a little shuddering. I think I dislodged some crap on the bottom of the tank.

2. My '94 M104 is very fussy about gas brands - it hates Texaco, Exxon and Citgo but loves Sunoco and Mobil. Shell is not its favorite but it works OK.

Maybe some gas line antifreeze or something for water in the lines and tank would help?
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1994 E320 Wagon (Died @ 308,669 miles)
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2006 Toyota Tundra SR5 AC 4X4 (115,000 miles)
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2003, 11:28 AM
I told you so!
 
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Location: Motor City, MI
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In the past I sometimes had episodes of getting water in the gas tank. I could never nail it to a specific gas station since there was no one station that I patronized. In the carburated days it was easier to diagnose. Just disconnect the fuel line, place it in a glass jar, and crank the engine a number of times. If you see water at the bottom of the sample, then you've found your problem. Easiest yet was my old 66 Corvette. Just open the gas cap and shine a light into the tank. I could vacuum the water out of the tank by siphoning.

If you do find water in the gas, it's best to remove the tank, dry it out, and drain the lines. I never had much luck with dry gas product.

All gas stations have water in the bottom of their tanks. The good ones monitor this water level so it won't get slurped into the gas stream. If you patronize just one station all the time and find water in your car's fuel system, you have just cause to request compensation for repair to have it purged from your vehicle.
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2003, 11:36 AM
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I have experienced "bad gas" twice. The easiest cure is to put a bottle of Octane Boost in the gas tank. This will allow your car to perform "normally" again instead of running the car long enough to refill with "good gas".

I use Shell, Mobil, or Speedway gas stations with good success.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2003, 11:41 AM
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bad gas...

I once had to fill up at one of those ghetto gas stations, they only had two choices, either regular or supreme, the supreme octane level was 98 which I was surprised with and wanted to try, so I got that. As I later found out, my car did not like that gas at all, it started doing the same thing it did when I put regular in it once, mainly the valves started tapping, performance fell and I only did 300km on the tank.

Went bakc to my old gas station, tapping was gone, mileage went back up, and all was well.

Morale of the story, don't believe signs on ghetto gas stations.

xp
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2003, 11:48 AM
Bud
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I use Chevron and twice I've had a problem with fuel. I've isolated it to one particular Chevron station so I avoid it. What's funny is this station is on a main thoroughfare in the Phoenix area and does a lot of business.

I use Chevron because it has Techron in it. BMW used to package Techron under their own brand name and Mercedes dealers would add a bottle of this stuff when they serviced my wife's 190D.

When we recently had a gas shortage in the Phoenix area, I discovered that all the gas sold in the Valley comes over two pipe lines. This is the so-called Phoenix gas that's supposed to reduce emissions. I got to wondering how various brands could be different if it all came from the same source.

I sent a note to Chevron and they told me they put the additives in at the tank farm when they fill their delivery trucks. I'm not sure I buy that but that's their story and they're sticking to it
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2003, 12:18 PM
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Funny thing happened last night.
It was raining very hard here most of the day ( tail-end of Isabel, I guess ).
When I stopped at a local gas station/coffee shop, I noticed the kid working there was in the process of reading the dip on the underground tanks.
At the same time, he was the only one working at the station.
So, every time somebody pulled in for gas, he would proceed to serve them, and walk away from the OPEN covers of the fuel tanks, in pouring rain.
Hmmm, I wan't be getting gas there anytime soon.

P.S. This station is known to serve watery gas.
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2003, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by manny

So, every time somebody pulled in for gas, he would proceed to serve them, and walk away from the OPEN covers of the fuel tanks, in pouring rain.
Hmmm, I wan't be getting gas there anytime soon.

P.S. This station is known to serve watery gas.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2003, 06:07 PM
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I was at a fuel trim conference in Indianapolis last weekend. We had a brief talk from a fuel engineer. He spent a few minutes telling stories about how useless most fuel tank additives were, especially octane boosters.

He also made a point that the feds have legislated minimum levels of additives and as they are expensive, everyone is using the minimum amounts.

A discussion came about on the distribution system is Indy. Seems all their gas comes out of Texas on the same pipeline. All the gas IS the same, EXCEPT that each tanker puts in his password into the filling computer and the appropriate additive packages are added and billed for. One other interesting tidbit; I was talking with one of the sponsers on break and he said that he was at the bulk plant one day where 45,000 gallons of gas were preceeded by 45,000 gallons of diesel down the same pipe. They are separated by a hydraulic feature dubbed a "pig". The pig has to be heavier than the preceeding fluid. One time the "Pig" got lost and was mixed.

The fuel next to the pigs is sold for less.
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2003, 12:09 AM
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The fuel next to the pigs is sold for less. [/B][/QUOTE]

And I suspect this type of fuel ends up at Sams, Costco; Mom-n-Pops.
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  #11  
Old 09-21-2003, 05:00 AM
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Yeah I can see how a majority might be the same but there HAS to be a difference in some. I mean for instance, Arco obviously isn't the same as say 76. I tried Arco once in my truck and it pinged like hell. I hear all kinds of stories about Arco.... sure it's cheap but it's cheap for a reason.

Actually last week I saw a guy filling up his brand new IS300 with 87 at Arco while doing a beer run and all I could do is shake my head at him. What a shame
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Old 09-21-2003, 11:26 AM
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I think I got some in Flagstaff

Yesterday I was driving from Las Vegas to Albuquerque for a class. My 260E was running like a champ. I stopped to fill-up at a Chevon. About a half hour later the engine started to sound rough and the economy needle went into the red and the Tachometer rpms also went higher. Gas mileage went form about 24mpg to around 10-15mpg !! Just starting the car the economy is in the red.
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Old 09-21-2003, 12:07 PM
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Re: I think I got some in Flagstaff

"Actually last week I saw a guy filling up his brand new IS300 with 87
at Arco while doing a beer run and all I could do is shake my head
at him. What a shame"

Not a problem. Since about the mid-nineties all high compression engines have knock sensors and multiple spark maps at least one for premium grade octane level and one for regular grade octane level. High compression cars will run fine on regular grade fuel. Sensitive drivers might notice a small drop in performance due to the less aggresive advance curve, especially low end torque, but most drivers can't tell the difference.


Quote:
Originally posted by tigeroscar1
Yesterday I was driving from Las Vegas to Albuquerque for a class. My 260E was running like a champ. I stopped to fill-up at a Chevon. About a half hour later the engine started to sound rough and the economy needle went into the red and the Tachometer rpms also went higher. Gas mileage went form about 24mpg to around 10-15mpg !! Just starting the car the economy is in the red.
Your engine appears to have developed a problem, but it's very unlikely it has anything to do with the fuel. Most markets have fuel blends that are regulated, and the difference between brands is very slight - usually just the additive package, but the base stock is the same.

The additive packages are not regulated, but there are tests such as gum and varnish formation and deposit buildup that each additive package must pass.

Duke
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  #14  
Old 09-21-2003, 12:41 PM
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I am an engineer in the refining industry. Here's the deal on gasoline. All gasoline purchased from a major supplier is created the same. Gasolines are blended to an ASTM standard and are subject to QAQC review by IDOT and EPA (for different reasons obviously). What MAY differ from brand to brand is the after-manufacture additive that is added to the fuel AND the cleanliness of the fuel. These additive "packages" usually contain some form of detergent, but in reality, are all roughly similar and equal in performance. Some of us believe that all the rhetoric about gasoline additives is more marketing hype than reality, but that is a subjective observation of mine.

To give you a feel for the impact of the additive package......the cost of adding an additive to gasoline is right at 2 to 5 cents per gallon, which means that very little additive goes into each gallon.

What complicates gasolines is that, according to regional environmental regulations, characteristics such as vapor pressure, octane, sulfur content, and other parameters ends up forcing the production of"designer cocktail" gasolines. If you live or purchase gasoline in an "ozone non-attainment area (i.e. large citiies), then most areas are required to add an oxygenate to their blend. The coastal areas of the country typically select MTBE as their oxygenate, while the "corn belt" states selected Ethanol (which is produced from corn).

There are two things outside the control of the gasoline manufacturer, that can result in problems. The first (and least likely) is the use of "old" gasoline. Gasoline reacts with air, forming compounds that are not burned cleanly in today's engines. So, you should buy gasoline from a dealer who does a high volume business. With high volume, he is constantly replenishing his stock with fresh product. "Old" gas used to be an issue when there were so many mom and pop gas stations all over America. Gasoline might remain in their tanks for months before being sold. Environmental regulations are cost prohibitive; which is why most of the smaller stations are being driven out of business. So, old gas from a station is becoming less of a problem. Another source of old gas is gasoine that you have stored for your lawn mower or other home engines.

The biggest culprit is, as one poster noted: WATER. All storage tanks will collect water, if the product does NOT contain Ethanol. If Ethanol is used as the regional oxygenate, free water in underground storage tanks is less of an issue, since Ethanol is hydroscopic.......meaning that Ethanol absorbs water that it comes in contact with. A real issue with Ethanol is that it will absorb only so much water. When the water content reaches the saturation point for the ethanonl/gasoline mixture, a phenominon called "phase separation" can occur and all the water will suddenly separate from the solution. When you hear the horror stories of a car filling up with fresh gas only to stall immediately.......the culprit is usually phase separation related.

If you purchase gasoline from a high volume dealer, the issues listed above should not be an issue.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 09-21-2003, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by earossi
I am an engineer in the refining industry. Here's the deal on gasoline. All gasoline purchased from a major supplier is created the same. Gasolines are blended to an ASTM standard and are subject to QAQC review by IDOT and EPA (for different reasons obviously). What MAY differ from brand to brand is the after-manufacture additive that is added to the fuel AND the cleanliness of the fuel. These additive "packages" usually contain some form of detergent, but in reality, are all roughly similar and equal in performance. Some of us believe that all the rhetoric about gasoline additives is more marketing hype than reality, but that is a subjective observation of mine.

To give you a feel for the impact of the additive package......the cost of adding an additive to gasoline is right at 2 to 5 cents per gallon, which means that very little additive goes into each gallon.

What complicates gasolines is that, according to regional environmental regulations, characteristics such as vapor pressure, octane, sulfur content, and other parameters ends up forcing the production of"designer cocktail" gasolines. If you live or purchase gasoline in an "ozone non-attainment area (i.e. large citiies), then most areas are required to add an oxygenate to their blend. The coastal areas of the country typically select MTBE as their oxygenate, while the "corn belt" states selected Ethanol (which is produced from corn).

There are two things outside the control of the gasoline manufacturer, that can result in problems. The first (and least likely) is the use of "old" gasoline. Gasoline reacts with air, forming compounds that are not burned cleanly in today's engines. So, you should buy gasoline from a dealer who does a high volume business. With high volume, he is constantly replenishing his stock with fresh product. "Old" gas used to be an issue when there were so many mom and pop gas stations all over America. Gasoline might remain in their tanks for months before being sold. Environmental regulations are cost prohibitive; which is why most of the smaller stations are being driven out of business. So, old gas from a station is becoming less of a problem. Another source of old gas is gasoine that you have stored for your lawn mower or other home engines.

The biggest culprit is, as one poster noted: WATER. All storage tanks will collect water, if the product does NOT contain Ethanol. If Ethanol is used as the regional oxygenate, free water in underground storage tanks is less of an issue, since Ethanol is hydroscopic.......meaning that Ethanol absorbs water that it comes in contact with. A real issue with Ethanol is that it will absorb only so much water. When the water content reaches the saturation point for the ethanonl/gasoline mixture, a phenominon called "phase separation" can occur and all the water will suddenly separate from the solution. When you hear the horror stories of a car filling up with fresh gas only to stall immediately.......the culprit is usually phase separation related.

If you purchase gasoline from a high volume dealer, the issues listed above should not be an issue.

Sorry for the long post.
Wow, very informative. Thanks
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