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Fuel in older cars

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Years ago we've tried running our smiley Transit 2.5 TD on bioester fuel. Almost killed the injection pump within two tanks. It also ended up jamming the fuel cutoff valve or something, which made turning the engine off a right pain. To  shut it off you had to turn the key all the way back to off, and then again to the RUN position, which sounds easy, but the worn out ignition switch made it a bit of a gamble as it was super easy to turn a bit too far and engage the starter. Definitely not a pleasant noise that.

It taught me not to experiment with fuel too much.

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I think the problem with supermarket fuel is not the fuel which probably is pretty much the same as anywhere else, it is the way it is handled.

There was a local supermarket that several years ago had problems with water ingress in the tanks. Cars were conking out and kangarooing everywhere. Every garage was overwhelmed with sick cars and the factors sold out of fuel filters.

Years later,  most workshops will tell their customers to avoid the place. Take them a poorly running car and the first question will be "where do you fill it up? , when did you last fill it up?"

There might be something in the type of person who gets the cheapest fuel being the same type of person who thinks an mot is a service and also the type to run the tank to the dregs every time?

I have no inside knowledge of petrol stations but I guarantee that the supermarkets will have had the cheapest possible set up, afterall... every little helps.

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Have to admit that back when I was commuting to Aberdeen that I noticed a huge drop in the amount of crud in my fuel filters when they were changed at service time when I switched to filling up at a Shell station in town rather than the Tesco nearer to home.

It's a sample size of one...but I do tend to - reasonably or not - trust an organisation whose sole business is selling fuel to look after their kit better than a supermarket who are determined to get their fingers into as many pies as possible.

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I've always found that the specific fuel station has far more effect than the brand of fuel being purchased.  Having worked in many different fuel stations as a student, I can see why too:

The pipes that are used to deposit the fuel from the tanker to the ground tanks are not sealed up while they're on the lorry.  Take a close look next time you see one and you'll notice they're just sat on the side of the truck open to wind, rain, road spray and so on.  There's no filtering between the tanker and the tank.. it all just gets washed in.  Also, they do not use different pipes for different grades of fuel.  The theory being that a litre left in the pipe on 5000 being delivered is meaningless, but the effect can be cumulative. 

Also, some fuel stations still use dipsticks to check their fuel level (particularly older ones) which means the tanks are opened up to the weather on a regular basis.  Combine that with tanks that have split and let groundwater in, tanks that have been re-purposed from one fuel to another and tanks that have been installed for 40 years, and you have a recipe  for grotty fuel.  There are certain fuel stations I won't buy fuel from now, as they either have noticeable water content, or block filters up far quicker than others.  Some fuel stations I worked in, we just "knew" that certain pumps, fed from certain tanks were better than others, that some tanks we couldn't use immediately after a delivery, as the sudden inrush of fuel would stir up sediment in the tank. etc. etc.

It's probably no-where near the same problem as it was 25+ years ago, as many of the worst fuel stations have probably closed now, but having good-quality fine filters on your fuel lines is a very good idea.   And change them often.  Not because they filter better when new (actually they filter better when partially blocked) but because when they do block, they block very quickly.

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6 hours ago, TheXUDfiles said:

There was some EU paper produced detailing which older cars could and couldn't be run on E10 -but I've had a look and I can't find it.

Woz it this chap?

https://www.acea.be/publications/article/e10-petrol-fuel-vehicle-compatibility-list

PDF list: https://www.acea.be/uploads/publications/ACEA_E10_compatibility.pdf

I think the Mondeo is ok, but the Mazda might need to be run on super.

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6 hours ago, Tamworthbay said:

It was a ‘special’ mix they developed and launched to a massive fanfare. No idea what was in it but they spent a fortune repainting the whole place with it’s logo. It was called Shell advanced I think. It started causing problems really quickly and was withdrawn after a short time but when the story broke we were sat with an empty forecourt and the BP on the other side of the A52 was rammed. On the plus side I got a load of free shell T shirts and didn’t buy a pen for years!

As the pump sticker says, Formula Shell... the date in the corner is  1986

EDF96C78-80D7-46C4-829C-A52107613A36.jpeg

1131EDF7-E713-4797-BD6D-72BFA3EEDA55.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Reluctant Adult said:

As the pump sticker says, Formula Shell... the date in the corner is  1986

EDF96C78-80D7-46C4-829C-A52107613A36.jpeg

1131EDF7-E713-4797-BD6D-72BFA3EEDA55.jpeg

That’s the stuff!!!! And would explain why shell advanced brought up no hits. Quick search found this -

Here we are again in the midst of a major Shell advertising campaign with huge colour adverts in the UK national press for a new Shell wonder fuel, this time invented by “Shell Fuel Scientists”: Its called Shell FuelSave

Its like a walk down memory lane for those of us who remember the launch of another wonder fuel by Shell in 1986, Formula Shell, based on new technology and with a scientific image deliberately conjured up by Shell.

There was only one small problem. The new wonder fuel ruined many car engines and it did so on an international basis.

Here is a video clip from the Formula Shell advertising blitz when everything looked promising.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=6pqHU-rwR5k&feature=related

I have been unable to find any media reports of the subsequent debacle. Shell news management team must have been working overtime.

However, we have an account by Shell historians.

Extracts from pages 204 & 207 from ‘A History of Royal Dutch Shell, volume 3.’

To create brand distinctiveness, Shell launched two new brands on the basis of new technology and supported by heavy advertising. Helix motor oil in 1985 and Formula Shell in 1986.  The word Formula in the new brand for gasoline was chosen for its scientific connotations. Also, it appeared unchanged in many languages, which was important for international advertising. 

In the UK, Formula Shell was launched with the punchline: 

‘From today not all petrol is the same.’

The launch of Formula Shell in Europe resulted in higher sales. This early commercial success, however, became qualified when it appeared that in a small number of cars the new gasoline caused inlet values to burn. Negative publicity was inevitable, though the damage occurred in only four countries, Denmark, Norway, Malaysia, and the UK. 

It took Shell technical experts in collaboration with the motor manufacturers more than a year to establish the cause of the problem. In the meantime, the Formula Shell brand was withdrawn from a number of markets, including the UK.  Once the problem had been identified, the product was reformulated and relaunched, in some markets under a new brand name. 

The degree of spin is self-evident – damage in ONLY four countries…

Lets hope for the sake of the motoring public that Shell boffins have got it right this time. 

 

 

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The "FuelSave Unleaded" (I never understood the difference) seemed to disappear a year or go ago - when they introduced the new E5/B7 labelling.

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