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Mercedes-Benz's AdBlue diesel additive is EXPENSIVE!!!

AdBlue is the urea-based additive that is needed in MB diesels in order to emission standards—and it's expensive according to this CR report.

http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2010/01/mercedesbenz-gl320-bluetecfeeling-- a-bit-adblue-over-spending-a-lot-of-green.html

$316.99 for seven gallons plus labor (filling the tank). YIKES!

Bob

Comments

  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Can't AdBlue be bought at an auto parts store? or ordered on-line? and you can add it yourself, just like windshield washer fluid? what does that cost?

    What happens if you don't add AdBlue? does the vehicle stop running? incur damage to the catalytic converter or sensors? or just put out regular diesel emissions?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,967
    By law the car STOPS when you run out of AdBlue. Making the vehicle inoperable until the Urea is added. That to me is a deal breaker. I am sure it was the intent of the EPA/CARB/oil Companies, to discourage diesel vehicle sales.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,686
    Yeah you can buy the stuff from a number of independent sources for way less than the dealer charges, and anyone can add it. I don't see the point of that article. It's not like customers are being tricked, I would expect this maintenance would be detailed before purchase.
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    Urea based additive, also known as SCR (selective catalytic reduction) additive.

    According to an article in Automotive News, GM stated, "If the urea tank runs dry, the driver will notice no difference in performance. But the vehicle won't meet emissions standards for smog-producing oxides of nitrogen, or NOx. "

    Then there is the criteria.......

    Vehicle compliance. There are five different categories for vehicle compliance, and manufacturers must satisfy all five:
    1. Driver warning system
    2. Driver inducement
    3. Identification of incorrect reducing agent
    4. Tamper resistant design
    5. Durable design
    Reducing agent availability. EPA will review each manufacturer’s plan for reducing agent availability and accessibility, with particular emphasis on the following procedures:
    1. Reducing Agent Available at Dealerships
    2. Reducing Agent Available at Truckstops
    3. Back-Up Plan

    There is currently no EPA regulation that I have been able to locate that says the vehicle must stop should it run out of Urea. Some manufacturers have provisions for a "limp mode" or "power reduction mode", should the vehicle run out of Urea in the middle of the desert at 80 mph. Having the vehicle shut down in that type of situation would cause a liability problem that no manufacturer wants to deal with.

    Right now, SCR additive (Urea) is available in most areas for $12-$14/gallon.
    We run it in some of our heavy trucks. Should they run out of SCR, then the truck defaults to a slight power reduction and the truck keeps moving.

    From Light & Medium Truck Magazine, "The dosing rate will be based on engine size and activity, but the general consensus from several SCR engine representatives is that the rate of DEF use will be about 1½% to 2% of diesel fuel use."
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,967
    There is probably a lot of misinformation on AdBlue going around. According to this UK site the average price for AdBlue is 39 pence per liter. If I got my calculation right that is about $2.36 per gallon. Of course we are not as far along as they are so hopefully the price comes down. At that price AdBlue is an insignificant factor in driving a vehicle that requires the stuff. Consumer Reports as they many times do, skewed the facts to promote their agenda.

    I don't like the limp mode or the urea tank where a spare tire should be. Hopefully that all gets ironed out before they offer many more diesel vehicles.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Consumer Reports as they many times do, skewed the facts to promote their agenda.

    Yep, it sure sounds like this information was put out to misinform people who take their word on Consumer Reports intelligence. Maybe this is their Consumer Reports for Dummies edition? They're assuming that only a trained MB mechanic can get the right jug, open it, and pour it in the tank in the car.

    CR might as well report on how a change of wiper blades at a Lexus dealer is $100, so don't buy a Lexus.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,349
    I have a question on this. Can an owner handle the refill/reset the AdBlue supply? I mean, obviously they can put the fluid into the receptacle, but can they reset the sensor that says that the level is low? Will it automatically reset with the refill (like the fuel gauge) or does it need to be reset by a "qualified technician"?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,967
    I am sure it has a sensor that tells how much is in the reservoir. It is not a mileage thing. It is determined by how you drive. The better fuel mileage the less Urea is used. 16,000 miles for CR before it needed to be refilled. For me that would be every other year. By then it will probably be down to a couple bucks a gallon. It is not some exotic chemical.

    Urea prices have fluctuated between $80 to $200/ton (12 to 30 cents/gallon) in the last three years, the ADL study shows.

    AdBlue is one third urea and two thirds water. That means the stuff is REAL cheap to produce. They could sell it at a buck a gallon and make a fortune.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,668
    i wonder if that blue windshield washer fluid will work? that stuff is really cheap. :P
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,349
    AdBlue is one third urea and two thirds water. That means the stuff is REAL cheap to produce. They could sell it at a buck a gallon and make a fortune.

    Well, that sort of thing is the genesis of my question. That is, if the low level indicator trips, and you fill the reservoir, will the low level sensor reset? It strikes me that EPA/CARB may not allow that, because it could be gamed by putting in a non-approved (and likely cheaper) substitute. Being basically paranoid, especially about EPA/CARB, I suspect that refilling the reservoir alone will not reset the indicator and instead it has to be reset by a 'qualified' person using special equipment to ensure that the approved fluid is used.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,967
    Adding Adblue to an AUDI, BMW, MB or VW is simple as removing a cap and pouring in the liquid. If you let the MB run dry you get 20 starts before it will not start. It then takes 2 gallons to reset the sensor. Buying Adblue will become as simple as getting oil very soon. You can order it from Impex. A 2.5 gallon container is $14.87. If CR really wanted to provide an honest assessment of the AdBlue systems being sold by the 4 different automakers they would have done a little research. They leave a lot to be desired as a research company. That $300+ AdBlue visit should have cost $45. That is less than 3/10ths of a cent per mile.

    I too was concerned about Adblue. After a little research I am perfectly comfortable owning one. BMW keeps it full the first 50,000 miles.

    http://www.worldimpex.com/parts/genuine-part-urea_934647.html
  • CR puts out misleading information.... :surprise:

    I am shocked, shocked I say.

    :P
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I suspect that refilling the reservoir alone will not reset the indicator and instead it has to be reset by a 'qualified' person using special equipment to ensure that the approved fluid is used.

    A solution to that would be to add AdBlue before the sensor is tripped. If the sensor is simply working on level and does not have a "mileage input signal" then one could simply add Ad-Blue when it was 2/3 depleted, and never set the sensor off. :D I don't think the sensor needs to be reset by a technician anymore than your low-fuel level alarm has to be reset, if you run your tank low. There's nothing stopping you from putting some non-EPA/CARB fluid in your fuel right?
This discussion has been closed.