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Honda Accord Fuel and Fuel System Questions

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  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    This is no doubt NOT the ideal place for the following diatribe, but since it relates to the above Wikipedia article, I'll risk the wrath of moderators and forumners... :blush: An interesting(?), but non-fuel related, point about hydrocracking and paraffins for those who plowed into the Wikipedia articles is that the "sweetest" crudes once avilable on the North American continent were the high paraffin content variety associated with the Pennsylvania region oil fields. These crudes were very low in naphthene content. Naphthenes are great solvents, but poor lubes because they're easily oxidized to form sludge, acids, and varnish, thus, generally undesirable in motor oils. Pennzoil, Quaker State, Wolf's Head, and a few other motor oil brands were blended exclusively from Pennsylavania Grade crude oils. But, paraffins out of a distillate tower have various molecular weight molecules in the viscosity range typically used in motor oils; and at low temps, the heavier paraffins will precipitate out as wax crystals which undesirably thicken the fluid. Pennzoil still has a repuation (undeserved) for being "full of wax" simply because the word "paraffin" seems to be synonymous with "wax" for too many people. All current API spec'd "SM" oils use base oils that have undergone hydrocracking - a form of synthesis in which heavier paraffins are cracked down to a specific molecular weight range under the influence of carefully chosen catalysts and very high heat and pressure. Just as importantly, most of the undesirable naphthenes that are present in crudes brought up from the offshore drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico will undergo isomerization, too - cyclical ringed structures are broken and re-arranged as desirable molecular weight paraffin alkanes. (Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania fields are largely played out. Equally unfortunately, the fields with the lowest heavy paraffins and naphthene content in current production are located in the middle east.) These severely hydrotreated base oils are designated by the API as "Group II" and "Group III" stocks. Group IIIs are highest quality severely hydrotrated base oils - the difference being the amount of heat, the type of catalyst, and the time in the hydrocracker. Virtually all current conventional finished motor oils are predominently, if not totally, Group II based - some with varying amounts of Group III added for higher quality. (Those with added Group III content may or may not be labled "Synthetic Blend".) The Group III base stocks are so good that they're qualified as synthetic base oils, even though derived from crude oil. As good as they are, Group IIIs still retain extremely low, but, nevertheless, measurable quantities of waxes and naphthenes. Mobil 1 is the lone, widely available holdout in allegedly* using only Group IV base stocks - those derived from natural gas through multiple polymerization steps to achieve the desired molecular weight. Since Group IV base oils start as a pure gas, there are NO waxes or solvents present in them - unless introduced as comtaminants from an improperly purged storage tank. The rest - Castrol Syntec, Pennzoil Platinum Plus, Quaker State Full Synthetic, et al use Group III base stocks exclusively or some combination of Group III and Group IV base stocks in their full synthetic lines - always along with various additives (there's more to finished motor oils than their base stocks).

    *Mobil used to adverise that their Mobil 1 line was blended exclusively from PAOs (Group IV) with select esters (Group V) added as lube quality enhancers (esters have a natural affinity for metals and will retain a lube film after the oil has drained back into the sump) and engine seal conditioners (esters will swell seals - a job previously carried out by the solvent-like naphthenes present in lower quality base oils - the lone desirable quality of naphthenes in motor oil). Mobil's no longer claiming that PAO exclusivity. I have no idea whether their back-pedaling wording change is significant or not. Some (not myself) on BITOG have tentavely explored the heresy that the "standard" Mobil 1 full synthetic line (vs. Mobil 1 EP) may now carry some Group III content. Their reasoning is that PAOs are very expensive to polymerically synthesize because of the multiple steps involved.
  • I use regular as recommended, most of the time. There is a consideration though, when gas PRICES are up. If you know when gas is delivered at a particular station and the tanks (in the ground) are filled, no problem. If not you might run the risk of putting deposits into your tank that can clog your injectors bad. It happened to me with a car I had. My tank was low, I got gas from a slow filling pump, (gas in the station tank was no doubt low) and within minutes my car was running badly. People tend to put regular in their cars before premium (even if premium is recommended) when prices run up. Just a thought.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    This is how I (and Consumer Reports) view using premium gas when it is not necessary. Using premium gas when your car is designed to run on regular is like buying size 13 shoes when size 10 shoes will fit perfectly. You are getting more shoe for the money, but it's not doing you any good.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hahaha - great analogy!
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    )) "...you might run the risk of putting deposits into your tank that can clog your injectors bad. It happened to me with a car I had. My tank was low, I got gas from a slow filling pump, (gas in the station tank was no doubt low) and within minutes my car was running badly." ((

    Your experience was justifiably unsettling, but several points you may not have considered:
    1) An inground tank with a low fuel level is more likely to have pumped WATER into your car's fuel tank. (Since water is heavier than gasoline, it settles to the bottom of the tank.) Both the station's pumps and your fuel system have very effective fuel filters to trap solid contaminants, but limited ability to trap water. Station personnel are responsible for servicing the equipment, but not all are equally attentive. Car owners can be notoriously lax in regular fuel system maintenance.
    2) If the station personnel were lax enough to allow their regular-grade tank to run low enough to cause problems, what assurance do you have that the same might not have been true of their high octane tank?
    3) How can you be sure that your car didn't have an anomoly that was about to become apparent regardless where or what grade of gasoline you purchased?

    I've learned the hard way to seek out national brands* of gasoline and trade where there're cars lined up to purchase fuel. Generally, those stations have a high turnover rate and consistently acceptable quality fuel. Unless I'm in dire straits, I steer clear of unbranded mom-'n-pop convenience store gasoline.

    *which can be as cheaply priced as the no-name brands. I use BP "ARCO" and Total "Valero", though I draw the line on Citgo gasoline and lubes for political reasons.

    (curious observation: British Petroleum owns the "ARCO" and "Castrol" brands - cheap gasoline, expensive motor oil. Chevron Oil Co. owns the "Chevron Supreme" motor oil brand - relatively pricey gasoline, cheap motor oil [and a very good one]. Go figure.)
  • 1) An inground tank with a low fuel level is more likely to have pumped WATER into your car's fuel tank. (Since water is heavier than gasoline, it settles to the bottom of the tank.)

    Why would the level of the tank change the chance of getting water? Full or empty, wouldn't the water still be at the bottom?

    Mrbill
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Honda, Chevrolet, and some other car makers recommend using Texaco/Chevron gasoline, for their detergent additives (Techron). I use Texaco because they are easy to find when we are out of town.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Don't you know about the ingenious 'floating pickup' that keeps the water out of the gasoline?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Please give me a page number, or even a section name, in my Honda or Chevrolet owner's manual where they 'recommend Texaco/Chevron gasoline'.

    I've currently got one of each of these brands, and I've never personally seen this in either of their manuals.....
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,737
    Actually many manufacturers (including Honda) recommend the use of gasoline that meets "Top Tier" specifications:

    www.toptiergas.com
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    It's not in the manual. I heard this on the news a few times.

    Thanks for the toptier.com site. I thought Chevron/Texaco were the only brands. :) I will probably still stick with Texaco (easy to find anywhere).
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Ok, I've been to that site.

    Under the 'Deposit Control' submenu it says:

    1.2 Deposit Control Additive Requirements. The deposit control additive used to meet the performance Standards described in 1.3 shall meet the substantially similar definition under Section 211(f) of the Clean Air Act. Also, the additive shall be certified to have met the minimum deposit control requirements established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 40 CFR Part 80. Lastly, the additive shall be registered with the EPA in accordance with 40 CFR Part 79.

    Seems to me like this is saying 'Top Tier' meets the minimum requirements already in place by the EPA, and what gasolines SHOULD already be meeting to conform with the EPA regulations.

    I think 'Top Tier' is mostly marketing guys' hype.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    The toptier gasolines are those rated above government regulations.

    Quote:
    TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline is a recently established new standard for gasoline performance. Four of the world's top automakers, BMW, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota recognize that the current EPA minimum detergent requirements do not go far enough to ensure optimal engine performance.

    I don't think you are getting the same quality gas from say Walmart, as you would from Chevron. It's the detergent additives that make the difference to me. It's not just about the environment, it's also about keeping the inside of my engine cleaner.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Marketing, marketing, marketing.

    Walmart stations are Murphy Oil Company stations in many locations.

    From my reading, all gasolines are supposed to meet the EPA requirements. Top Tier 'additive shall be certified to have met'. Met, not exceed. Just reading from the site.

    Marketing, marketing, marketing.

    P.S. I am not saying that some gasoline might not be below the standards. To make more money, people will do anything, and using an additive package that does not meet specs is something that is probably being done.

    P.P.S. I don't have time to tell how most all gasoline in one area comes from the same refinery. Additive packages are the only difference. Most stations are not corporate owned either. They are owned by a local owner (or a big company) that might own one or hundreds of stations. They rent the signs from corporate....
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Your posts make it apparent that blenders who've signed on (payed the "entrance fee") to be included as "Top Tier" certified gasoline providers only have to meet gub'mnt standards to stay in that elitist club. I wouldn't, doubt, though, that most or all who've done so squirt a little more additive in the mix than minimally required to assure that spot checks won't uncover a "miscalculation". But, even the companies that aren't licensed as "Top Tier" providers also have to at least meet minimal gub'mnt standards - and may also surpass them by a small margin for the same reason. Conclusion?

    Marketing, marketing, marketing - aka, "psychology"...

    If drivers stick with national brands from stations with high turnover, they probably have nothing to worry about regarding gasoline quality, "Top Tier" certification notwithstanding.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 853
    ...If drivers stick with national brands from stations with high turnover, they probably have nothing to worry about regarding gasoline quality, "Top Tier" certification notwithstanding.......

    ...this premise perseveres when tanking up my AV6 6M coupe with RON 87..............and at 22.5k with fresh oil and a new filter...........I still marvel how well she pulls on good old 'regular' gas..........

    ...great car...

    ..ez..
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Sure about "RON" (Research Octane Number) 87? What's posted on the pumps is the Pump Octane Number - 4 pts. lower than RON. In other words Pump Octane Number 87 (unleaded regular) is equal to Research Octane Number 91. (RON 87 would be virtually U.S. non-existent pump octane 83.) I used Pump Octane Number 91 unleaded premium ONCE as an experiment and noticed no difference in startability, tractability, or fuel economy. For all the good the extra $3.44 spent did, I might just as well have tossed the money down a storm drain. Nothin' but unleaded regular since.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 853
    ....that's why I tune in here

    ........you never know what's going to come up. Appreciate the info, Ray...........

    ..best,ez..
  • "There was an old wive's tale, which has never bee substanitated, that a Honda design engineer said that you could gain 10 more horsepower by burning premium instead of regular. But it is just that and has never been substantiated or proven for Honda Accord V6 engines."

    I realize I'm a little late to this discussion, but here is the substantiation: http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/reviews/2002-08-01-accord_x.htm

    "The Accord V-6 ratings assume regular-grade fuel, and Honda will market it as a regular-fuel engine. But — pssst — it's good for another 10 hp and 10-plus lbs.-ft. on premium, acknowledges V-6 engineer Asaki."
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