Biodiesel

Pat123

New member
After careful thought i really like the Unity line i have done lots of research and now have a chance to take the plunge however one issue remains the future of biodiesel <5

Since 2009, the state has required the use of a 2% biodiesel blend in all state-owned diesel-powered cars, and B20 biodiesel has become the rule, not the exception, at pumps around the state.
Illinois, incidentally, is not alone in its use of biodiesel fuel. Other states that require a biodiesel blend include Alabama (5%), Colorado (20%), Florida (not specified), Kansas (2%), Kentucky (2%), Maryland (5%), Massachusetts (15%), Minnesota (B20 to B100), Missouri (B20), Nebraska (not specified), New Mexico (5%), New York (not specified), Ohio (not specified), South Carolina (5%), Virginia (2%), and Washington (not specified).


A statement in a Mercedes-Benz Biodiesel Information publication makes the automaker’s position crystal clear: “Diesel fuels containing a higher percentage of biodiesel, (e.g. B6 to B20) according to ASTM D7467 as well as straight biodiesel (B100/100%) ASTM D6751 may cause severe damage to your engine/fuel system and are not approved.” In case there are any lingering doubts, one need only read the last page: “Any damages caused by the use of such non-approved fuels will not be covered by the Mercedes-Benz Limited Warranty.”
In the case of Mercedes-Benz, their advanced BlueTEC diesel engines inject some fuel on the exhaust stroke, but since biodiesel has a higher flash point than petroleum diesel, the biodiesel does not combust allowing the biodiesel to collect inside the crankcase of the engine itself. This crankcase sludging is irreversible and over time can lead to catastrophic engine failure.

These symptoms are showing up around 100k + - as i live in Canada the biodiesel is not a issue however the states and mexico are. As time goes by is biodiesel <5 getting hard to find in the states or mexico?

Any feedback would be appreciated:idunno:
Thx Pat
 

Eastbayview

2012 Unity MB
I would be interested to hear more information about this as well.
As there are way more Sprinters in service in the US it would be good to hear what, if anything, people are doing with this issue.
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
If you do a search there is probably at least a month's reading on various biodiesel topics.
 

CJPJ

2008 3500 170"ext. 3.0 V6 OM642.993
biodiesel Quality is vital

It is important not to confuse the performance of high-quality biodiesel with the performance of low-quality biodiesel. The dif- ference can be tremendous, and producers that do not pay careful attention to their process are almost guaranteed to end up with poor-quality biodiesel. Proper fuel quality and care are vital for all engine fuels, and this is certainly true for biodiesel.
The most common problems with fuel quality are (1) the biodiesel may contain some “unconverted”vegetable oil (incom- plete processing), (2) traces of chemicals from the making of the biodiesel (e.g., methanol, lye) can remain in the biodiesel, (3) products of the reaction (e.g., glycerin, soaps) may not be com- pletely removed from the biodiesel, (4) excess water that is used to“wash”the fuel may be left in the biodiesel fuel, and (5) the fuel can polymerize/oxidize due to long-term
storage or exposure to moderate to high temperatures.
The impact of poor-quality biodiesel will probably not be immediately noticeable in the operation of your engine, but over time deposits, corrosion, and damage can accumulate until your engine catastrophically fails. It is not easy to detect the difference between good- and poor-quality biodiesel, and the laboratory tests that are required are quite expensive. Some low-cost test kits are commercially available, and while they are not as accurate as a test from a qualified laboratory, they show promise for providing a low-cost alternative.

The primary standard for biodiesel fuel qual- ity in the United States is ASTM standard D6751, which requires that the fuel pass a wide array of tests before it is deemed to be satisfactory. If you purchase biodiesel commercially, you should insist that the fuel be certified to meet the standard.

http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/uc204.pdf

Summary
High-quality biodiesel fuel that is properly cared for should result in a lifetime of excellent performance. In general, it can be used in exactly the same manner as petroleum diesel fuel. The one notable exception is during cold-weather conditions, when bio- diesel tends to“gel up”sooner than traditional diesel fuel. Many additives are available on the market that can help safeguard the quality and improve the cold-weather performance of biodiesel, and their use is one option for improving the performance of the fuel when using biodiesel. However, using a “winter fuel blend” is the recommended approach for the severe winter conditions experienced in Pennsylvania.
The quality of the fuel is extremely important, however, and poor-quality fuel can have many negative effects on an engine. To protect against this, any biodiesel fuel that you use should comply with the appropriate standard for use (i.e., ASTM Standard D6751).
 

sailquik

Well-known member
Pat123,
Not sure there is a "solution" to the bio-diesel/bio-mass diesel dilemma for Blue-Tec (2010 and later) equipped Sprinters.
Actually the bio-diesel also affects the early OM-642 3.0 liter V6 Sprinter diesels from 2007, but not to the same degree
as the Blue-Tec SCR equipped engines.
The main issue is plugging/coking of the diesel particulate filter.
How to deal with this issue?
Be aware of what sort of fuel you are purchasing and look around for suppliers that sell petroleum based ULSD diesel.
I only buy ULSD petro-diesel whenever possible.
Every summer I head from Cape Hatteras, NC out to the SW corner of Minnesota for a windsurfing festival, and
in the Midwest you have to look a little harder to find petro-based ULSD.
It's available, but you may have to drive out of quite a few bio--only fuel stops to find it.
I had an interesting conversation with the corporate fuels buyer for a large chain of Midwest convenience stores/
fuel stops...all their stations sell diesel.
The buyer suggested that it's quite paradoxical that the mid western farmers who grow the bio-diesel and bio-mass diesel
base crops are very much in favor of bio fuels, but they all put petro-based for their personal pickup trucks and farm
equipment because the petro diesel runs better and does not have the issues associated with bio fuels.
So, take a hard look at the pump before your start to re-fuel, and be prepared to simply drive away if the only
available fuel is > 5% bio.
Sometimes you are running low on fuel and have no choice, but it seems that a tank full of bio-base ULSD from a
reputable fuels company won't result in any issues if you refuel with petro-base ULSD as soon as you can find it.
Sometimes you have to pay a few cents more per gallon for the premium non-bio diesel (CENEX Road Ranger XL
comes to mind) (www.cenex.com/fuels/cenex-roadmaster-xl) but it's sometimes the only way to avoid the bio-products.
Hope this helps,
Roger
 
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RoadHog

2021 Unity MB (Soon)
Are pumps with >5% biodiesel specifically marked thusly? I have only purchased a couple of tanks, and didn't find any indication on the pumps after a thorough search.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
High-quality biodiesel fuel that is properly cared for should result in a lifetime of excellent performance. In general, it can be used in exactly the same manner as petroleum diesel fuel.
Well, let's be careful here. We can all agree that if biodiesel is being used, then quality is vital. However, it is misleading to suggest that sufficiently high-quality biodiesel is safe to use according to MB specifications.

Interestingly, MB's position on this topic has evolved a bit. The infamous "Mercedes-Benz Biodiesel Brochure" that was available until recently was last revised in July 2010. Here it is:

View attachment biodiesel_Brochure5 6-2010.pdf

The message presented in this version of the document is pretty clear:
Diesel fuels containing a higher percentage of biodiesel, (e.g. B6 to B20) according to ASTM D7467 as well as straight biodiesel (B100 / 100%) ASTM D6751 may cause severe damage to your engine/fuel system and are not approved.
The Mercedes-Benz Limited Warranty does not cover damages caused by the use of fuels that do not meet Mercedes-Benz approved fuel standards.
But, recently a new version appeared, last revised in Jan 2015:

View attachment biodiesel_Brochure5 1-2015.pdf

It's message is significantly more nuanced:
The use of diesel fuels containing a higher percentage of biodiesel, (B6 to B20) according to ASTM D7467 as well as straight biodiesel (B100) according to ASTM D6751 may cause severe damage to your engine and fuel system, and are not approved by Mercedes-Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz New Vehicle Limited Warranty generally does not cover damage caused by the use of fuels that do not meet Mercedes-Benz approved fuel standards.
If customers cannot avoid the use of biodiesel fuel between B6 and B20, it’s critical for them to monitor their engine oil level and engine running performance.
Customers of Mercedes-Benz vehicles must use only qualified commercial brand fuels that meet Mercedes-Benz approved fuel standards. Biodiesel fuel from non-name brand stations must not be used.
Note especially the phrase "...generally does not cover..."

Although this text can fairly be described as artful hedging (some would say self-contradicting), it pretty clearly acknowledges the reality of the current fuel marketplace and in a backhanded way sort-of-kinda suggests that you can use B20 if you have no choice. But, the requirement to check for oil dilution (which appears to be an issue no matter how "pure" the biodiesel) needs to be taken seriously. My guess is that if push came to shove in a warranty-claim situation, the result would hinge on the presence or absence of evidence of such checks.
 

bcislander

'07 Mercedes-badged Dodge
snip.....

These symptoms are showing up around 100k + - as i live in Canada the biodiesel is not a issue however the states and mexico are. As time goes by is biodiesel <5 getting hard to find in the states or mexico?

Any feedback would be appreciated:idunno:
Thx Pat
Pat,

A few months ago I saw a Biodiesel 'warning' sticker on a pump at a Petro-Can station in Courtenay. I cannot remember what max. % 'Bio' content was on the sticker. Whether the fuel contained some 'Bio', or not, it's worth looking more carefully at the pumps here in Canada. Of course, no one at the station knows whether or not there really is a 'Bio' component in the fuel, much less what the actual % would be.
 

bcislander

'07 Mercedes-badged Dodge
snip....

Although this text can fairly be described as artful hedging (some would say self-contradicting), it pretty clearly acknowledges the reality of the current fuel marketplace and in a backhanded way sort-of-kinda suggests that you can use B20 if you have no choice. But, the requirement to check for oil dilution (which appears to be an issue no matter how "pure" the biodiesel) needs to be taken seriously. My guess is that if push came to shove in a warranty-claim situation, the result would hinge on the presence or absence of evidence of such checks.
Given the well-known litigious nature of the residents of the USA :smilewink: , I'm a little surprised that MB has not been 'served' with some sort of legal action for selling a product that is 'not suited for the purpose intended', at least in States where Biodiesel is mandated, especially in view of MB's warning about the possible warranty situation.
 

Kozad

New member
Petro Canada site refers below: http://retail.petro-canada.ca/en/fuelsavings/143.aspx

Some of the renewable diesel is biodiesel made with up to 5% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) that may be available at Petro-Canada stations in the summer months to meet the provincial and the Federal requirements. To find out if biodiesel fuel is sold at a station, look for blue labels in the pump area indicating that diesel fuel may contain up to 5% biodiesel.
 

TwoClinks

2016 Unity TB
This is a very good topic of conversation. Thanks Pat123 Now that I've put money down, I learn of another troubling issue of MB ownership...It worries this "free ranging bird" to travel across the US in parts unknown only to need diesel fuel and not finding <B5 or petroleum based ULSD . Spending time and more fuel to find the fuel that meets MB high standards and requirements. Would this mean that I could not visit a state that requires B6 to B20 diesel? The small MB Sprinter fuel tank isn't going to get you across some of these mentioned US states.
 

Pat123

New member
This is my concern exactly but the U.S. is one one thing what about Mexico?
Also that symptoms are not showing up until so many kilometres about 100k plus minus no one knows until too late
 

Old Crows

Calypso 2014 View Profile
This is a very good topic of conversation. Thanks Pat123 Now that I've put money down, I learn of another troubling issue of MB ownership...It worries this "free ranging bird" to travel across the US in parts unknown only to need diesel fuel and not finding <B5 or petroleum based ULSD . Spending time and more fuel to find the fuel that meets MB high standards and requirements. Would this mean that I could not visit a state that requires B6 to B20 diesel? The small MB Sprinter fuel tank isn't going to get you across some of these mentioned US states.
Too much angst here..... Too much worry about a possible issue than may never happen..... To be sure, use less than 5%Bio ULSD as much as you can. A tank of greater than 5% (within reason) or several in a row isn't going to turn you Sprinter into a pumpkin. Just fill up with the recommended fuel when ever you can and as often as you can.
 

OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
Too much angst here..... Too much worry about a possible issue than may never happen..... To be sure, use less than 5%Bio ULSD as much as you can. A tank of greater than 5% (within reason) or several in a row isn't going to turn you Sprinter into a pumpkin. Just fill up with the recommended fuel when ever you can and as often as you can.
It's been a 'slow' week for ISIS... :rolleyes:




.
 

TwoClinks

2016 Unity TB
Thanks for dispelling my concern. Pardon my lack of knowledge and angst. I am a future MB Sprinter owner on a fast learning curve. A gearhead that has always maintained his own vehicles.
I do not want to void my MB warranty or create costly repair bills. We've had 10 years of trouble free RVing with a Cummins diesel tow and I hope my new MB Sprinter performs as well.
 

Mein Sprinter

2010 Roadtrek SS Agile
Thanks for dispelling my concern. Pardon my lack of knowledge and angst. I am a future MB Sprinter owner on a fast learning curve. A gearhead that has always maintained his own vehicles.
I do not want to void my MB warranty or create costly repair bills. We've had 10 years of trouble free RVing with a Cummins diesel tow and I hope my new MB Sprinter performs as well.
How about here... "pick your cocktail"...:lol:



cheers...
 

Old Crows

Calypso 2014 View Profile
Thanks for dispelling my concern. Pardon my lack of knowledge and angst. I am a future MB Sprinter owner on a fast learning curve. A gearhead that has always maintained his own vehicles.
I do not want to void my MB warranty or create costly repair bills. We've had 10 years of trouble free RVing with a Cummins diesel tow and I hope my new MB Sprinter performs as well.
Understand... You are entitled to be nervous! We've clocked over 20K between two Sprinter RVs using fuel available between two trips to the East cost and one to New Mexico from Texas. If you be aware to alternate fuels to you should be OK.

Probably more important in protecting the DPF and emission system is to avoid proloooooooged idling and keeping the exhaust system hot by keeping the revs up periodically.

Enjoy your new Sprinter! :cheers:
 

Russ61

Member
I found this at the US Dept of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center website (my bolding):
Low-Level Blends

ASTM International develops specifications for a wide variety of products, including conventional diesel fuel (ASTM D975). This specification allows for biodiesel concentrations of up to 5% (B5) to be called diesel fuel, with no separate labeling required at the pump. Low-level biodiesel blends, such as B5 are ASTM approved for safe operation in any compression-ignition engine designed to be operated on petroleum diesel. This can include light-duty and heavy-duty diesel cars and trucks, tractors, boats, and electrical generators.​
I interpret this to mean that a fueling pump MAY legally have 100% petrodiesel OR anything up to and including B5 as unlabeled (re biodiesel). It must only be label re biodiesel content if GREATER than B5 (5%). I don't understand why diesel shouldn't be considered 100% petrodiesel (allowing for "incidental" amounts, ie <1%, bio). Anything purposefully blended should be labeled as such. Unlabeled SHOULD = 0%, B5=5%....not unlabeled=0-5%.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
I interpret this to mean that a fueling pump MAY legally have 100% petrodiesel OR anything up to and including B5 as unlabeled (re biodiesel). It must only be label re biodiesel content if GREATER than B5 (5%).
Your interpretation is correct.

The relevant FTC regulation is:

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
16 CFR Part 306
RIN #3084-AA45
Automotive Fuel Ratings, Certification and Posting


Basically, it defines three categories of biodiesel fuel blends:
1) <5%
2) 5-20%
3) >20%

Category 1 need not be labelled.

Category 2 shall be labelled:
contains biomass-based diesel or biodiesel in quantities between 5 percent and 20 percent.
Category 3 shall be labelled:
contains more than 20 percent biomass-based diesel or biodiesel.
These things are a balance between providing relevant information to consumers and causing their eyes to glaze over. It is a subtle balance.
 

Chip D

Chip D, 2013 Serenity
Well, let's be careful here. We can all agree that if biodiesel is being used, then quality is vital. However, it is misleading to suggest that sufficiently high-quality biodiesel is safe to use according to MB specifications.

Interestingly, MB's position on this topic has evolved a bit. The infamous "Mercedes-Benz Biodiesel Brochure" that was available until recently was last revised in July 2010. Here it is:

View attachment 66899

The message presented in this version of the document is pretty clear:


But, recently a new version appeared, last revised in Jan 2015:

View attachment 66900

It's message is significantly more nuanced:


Note especially the phrase "...generally does not cover..."

Although this text can fairly be described as artful hedging (some would say self-contradicting), it pretty clearly acknowledges the reality of the current fuel marketplace and in a backhanded way sort-of-kinda suggests that you can use B20 if you have no choice. But, the requirement to check for oil dilution (which appears to be an issue no matter how "pure" the biodiesel) needs to be taken seriously. My guess is that if push came to shove in a warranty-claim situation, the result would hinge on the presence or absence of evidence of such checks.
Just for grins, I went to the Love's website for fuel and locations and looked up the diesel. It seems that they are selling diesel with anywhere from a B10 to a B20 rating. I didn't see any B5, but I could be wrong.
As I live in the 3rd largest corn producing state, I find the Irony of farmers producing corn for biodiesel but not using it themselves pretty hypocritical. However, since I don't want any arrows in my back, I probably won't bring that up next time I'm in a coffee shop in rural Nebraska or Iowa!!!

Chip D
 

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