Biodiesel

alehorton

New member
Hi Everyone:

Im wondering if anyone has any examples of folks converting their ncv3 to run on biodiesel. It seems the main issues have to do with the biodiesel getting into the crankcase and the fumes clogging the dpf. Potential solutions then are a reprogramming of the ECU so that it does not inject on both the up and down strokes (this is programmed in to provide fuel fumes on the exhaust stroke to burn the residue in the DPF.). Reprogramming (reflashing) would eliminate the possibility of biodiesel remaining un-combusted (biodiesel has a higher flash point) in the cylinder on the exhaust stroke. Additionally, removing/bypassing the DPF which would then have no fuel to combust the burnt particles. Any thoughts?

Alex
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Im wondering if anyone has any examples of folks converting their ncv3 to run on biodiesel. It seems the main issues have to do with the biodiesel getting into the crankcase and the fumes clogging the dpf. Potential solutions then are a reprogramming of the ECU so that it does not inject on both the up and down strokes (this is programmed in to provide fuel fumes on the exhaust stroke to burn the residue in the DPF.). Reprogramming (reflashing) would eliminate the possibility of biodiesel remaining un-combusted (biodiesel has a higher flash point) in the cylinder on the exhaust stroke. Additionally, removing/bypassing the DPF which would then have no fuel to combust the burnt particles. Any thoughts?
Beyond the DPF you'd face the typical issues of biodiesel operation such as compatibility with the high pressure fuel system and seals, potential issues at low temperatures, etc. MB also seems to be particularly worried about biodiesel deposits in the fuel system, particularly injectors. I don't think there is a lot of info out there on running the OM642 on 100% biodiesel so you'd probably be a test pilot on some very expensive parts.

Another issue is... why? Are there any savings to be had, or isn't 100% BD even more expensive than petro-diesel these days?
 

alehorton

New member
Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your responses, these are points that I had not considered, and are worth looking into regarding the rewording of Mercedes on their stance on B20 fuel as well as concern with pressurized fuel system deposits and clogging. I agree, remapping the ECU sounds fairly extensive and out of line with the "if it aint broke dont fix it" ethic, though I am always curious about what is possible and inspired by the possibility of making the NVC3 biodiesel ready. I have witnessed the magic of an MBII Star system and I am curious about its full potential in this case.

I am assuming that there are many other diesel drivers with 2007 and newer models of other brands with dpf, egr, etc, and I am curious about what they have done to make their vehicles biodiesel capable or not.

As far as why biodiesel?...I think its the right thing to do on many levels. A professional ASTM certified option is Propel fuels in Northern California has an HPR diesel 100% renewable product that is pricing cheaper than diesel #2 at the moment. I have used it, and feel it run smoother and with more power than standard diesel. https://propelfuels.com/our_fuels?active=diesel
 
Last edited:

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
**************
Added:
Undated information... [Provided by some on the internet for USA bio fuel MB information.]

There were some significant changes to on road vehicle bio fuel regulations in 2012. Perhaps those changes were considered by MB and caused them to change their position.

But. Those who choose to believe that MB and bio diesel is the anti-Christ won't be convinced otherwise. Given that as an owner's beliefs, it makes sense to avoid all bio diesel use at all costs. Approved 20% Blue Labels and recently issued properly dated official MB publications be damned.

Carry on.

:cheers: vic
***************


The Almighty Sprinter Gurus on this forum have previously proclaimed not to worry about using Bio-20. Of course, they never offer any evidence to support their claims. It's just opinion.
...
I believe this would be considered data.

Before worrying about it too much, consider how many Sprinters there are in the above states. Now consider how many of those are experiencing problems with fuel? I'm personally not aware of any reports, or certainly not any meaningful number. Now consider whether MB would be opening themselves up for a nightmare in terms of warranty claims and lawsuits by actively selling vehicles in a state where vehicles were coming back due to biodiesel problems.

Based on all of the above factors it seems that even up to B20 biodiesel is more of a 'problem if you want it to be' issue rather than anything you really need to worry about in the real world.
My counter to your "Gurus provide no support" post would be for someone to provide data and documentation of warranty repairs being declined by MB with biofuel being specifically cited as the reason.

Apparently worrying about biofuel use is fun for some owners. No problem with that because use it or not it really has no affect on how their Sprinter will operate.

Carry on.

:cheers: vic

Added: MY SYNOPSIS.

You must be very patient if you got this far into this thread. It continues for many more pages. I'll try to save you some time here.

When deciding whether B20 is appropriate for your use or not, be careful that the information you use isn't old news. Things changed in 2012.

There is very good reason that Mercedes Benz has modified their previous hard line stance on biofuel use in the USA. The following information also shows why digging up MB warnings published prior to 2013 regarding biofuel use, or older info from any manufacturer may have no value, and can actually be misleading.

Since 2012 B100 used to blend needs to meet an updated ATSM D6751 specification.

https://www.dieselnet.com/tech/fuel_biodiesel_std.php

"Two major specifications establishing the quality requirements for alkyl ester-based biodiesel fuels are the ASTM D6751 in the USA and the EN 14214 in Europe.
...
Approaches to US and EU standards for biodiesel differ. In the USA, ASTM D6751 establishes specifications for a biodiesel blend stock for middle distillate fuels. While the specification was written for B100, it is not intended for neat biodiesel used as automotive fuel. Rather, it is for the biodiesel component that is to be blended to produce biodiesel/diesel fuel blends. Since 2012, the ASTM D6751 standard defines two grades of biodiesel: grade 2-B (identical to biodiesel defined by earlier versions of the standard) and grade 1-B with tighter controls on monoglycerides and cold soak filterability. Two automotive standards for biodiesel/diesel fuel blends have been published by ASTM:

The ASTM Standard Specification for Diesel Oil, ASTM D975 [commercial on road diesel], was modified in 2008 to allow up to 5% biodiesel to be blended into the fuel.
ASTM D7467 is a specification for biodiesel blends from B6 to B20."

:cheers: vic
9 pages of theoretical discussion, name-calling, personal preferences, references to MB requirements, etc. All of which has no realistic practical application.

We are within 4 days of completing a two month, seventeen state, 8,000+ mile trip (Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois), at elevations from 600 to 10,000 feet.

To date, traveling 6,808 miles, we have purchased 408.5 gallons of diesel fuel, for an average of 16.7 mpg. Average cost has been $2.95. This fuel has been purchased from twenty different vendors (J&H Oil, Petro, Shell, Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron, Raceway, Bucees, Circle K, Valero, Sunoco, Loves, Arco, Quik Trip, Maverik, Milepost, Sinclair, Phillips 66, Xpress 24) in ten different states. On several occasions, the vendor was the "only game in town" when we needed fuel. Three of the outlets were completely automated; i.e., no attendant.

All of the fuel was clearly marked Ultra Low Sulphur. There was either (1) no ethanol biodiesel information on the pump, (2) B<5%, or (3) B5% - B20% (rare). Where there was no information on the pump, I asked an attendant (if there was one) about the ethanol biodiesel concentration in their diesel fuel. Not one knew the answer.

So, in real life:

1. We bought and used the fuel available at the location we needed it.

2. On a couple of occasions, where there were multiple outlets in close proximity, we checked and found that everyone was selling diesel with the same posted ethanol biodiesel concentration.

3. We had neither the time nor the inclination to drive around searching for something that probably was not available in any event.

4. If you only use your Unity close to home or confine your camping outings to a single state where you can fill up at personally researched and selected stations, you may be able to precisely control the amount of ethanol biodiesel in your fuel. However, if you use your Unity as intended, you can't.

In short, theoretical talk is interesting, but in practice pretty useless.
aarpskier, maybe that's why the dealers couldn't tell you what the ethanol concentration was since there is no ethanol added to #2 diesel. Yes, Federal rules require that Road use diesel pumps must be labelled Ultra Low Sulfur and also bio content. 0-5 - no labelling required. 5-20 is labelled as 20, and anything above 20 must be labelled. This is the latest Mercedes Bio-Diesel Brochure: https://lookaside.fbsbx.com/file/Me...Dll3avHcB780UPUT1K5RR25FBNEqdMI1kVvF2T6-D9xLC.
Follow the guidance. If routinely using bio above 5%, more frequent oil changes are recommended - 10K, vice 20k. Also, limit idling to 5 minutes or less. We had Mercedes Engineers at the Skinny-Winnie Rally at Winnebago, at Paso Robles View/Navion Rally, and are going to be at our next rally in Virginia. They repeated this info - also recommended checking oil level. Also, don't use biomass diesel - that Mercedes does not approve in any percentage. Last, don't sweat it. A tank or two of bio content at 20% is not going to make a difference. If in Minnesota or most of Illinois and can't avoid routine fill up with B20, just follow the guidance.
... Also, don't use biomass diesel - that Mercedes does not approve in any percentage. ...
:thumbup: That isn't in conflict with earlier information posted here.

...

If you follow the Mercedes guidelines for blue label B20 (not at all difficult), use blue label B20 or not, it ain't gonna matter.

:2cents: vic
Biomass fuel is easily identified by the required orange label.

BiodieselMB.jpg

It appears that suppliers can benefit buying (producing?) B100 and blending their own fuel.

A 2013 Overview.
When your customers pull up to the diesel pump, they want to know exactly what they are getting. Clearly posting your price and the diesel grade are part of your every day operation. Biodiesel pump label requirements give travel centers an opportunity to easily integrate biodiesel blends.

First, 48 states require B100 (pure biodiesel) meets quality specifications before blending, just like diesel fuel. All truck stops or travel centers purchasing B100 in order to take advantage of the federal blenders tax credit for $1.00 per gallon must purchase fuel that meets the ASTM D 6751 specification. You can ask your biodiesel provider for a copy of a recent certificate of analysis to prove your fuel quality at the initial blend was on spec.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates pump labeling within four categories; B1-B5, B6-B20, B20+ and B100. FTC biodiesel pump labels are blue in color. Orange labels denote the broader category of biomass-based diesel which could also include renewable diesel.
https://www.natso.com/blog/truckstop-biodiesel-pump-labeling-requirements-unraveled-
List of States.
https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/matrix?sort_by=tech

:cheers: vic
Some info from Chevron about bio-mass fuels (orange label = prohibited by MB) vs biodiesel (blue label = accepted by MB to B20).
There is so much confusion about bio/biomass diesel. I saw this post on the Minnie Winnie’s forum. I think Chevron’s reply should clear up some of this.
...
The wording on the orange label you are referring to “contains biomass-based diesel or biodiesel in quantities between 5 percent and 20 percent” is required by the FTC, and serves to notify the customer that the diesel fuel contains biomass-based diesel (in addition to petroleum-based), but does not necessarily mean it is a biodiesel product.
...
Biomass-based diesel [orange label] does not necessarily mean biodiesel, although it is also bio-derived. Biodiesel is produced from similar renewable feedstocks, but its chemical composition is distinctly different, and it is produced using entirely different chemical processes than those used in making renewable diesel.
...
Regards,

Chevron Fuels Technical Service
fueltek@...
tel: +1 510 242 5357 option#3
office hours: Mon-Fri 9-11am; 1-3pm (Pacific)

And finally, some info is in this video. (Don't let the creepy man in the preview capture scare you off.)
Watch starting at 13:00 min in, Mercedes rep talking about Biodiesel and Sprinter-Based RV:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfW27mnRH5U
 
Last edited:

Bobnoxious

Deplorable and adorable.
Time will tell I suppose. I'll try to avoid it. Local Petrolock claims to sell only B5. Earlier model years, such as yours, may tolerate B5-20 without any problems, and even later models as well??? I guess certainly going to find out.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

alehorton

New member
Just called mb in minnesota. The tech said mb is planning on stopping diesel sprinter sales in mn. He said they have already stopped in illinois. Looks like mb wants to avoid the problem of having is pay their customers back for products that dont work w the fuel. I asked about ford and chevy diesel trucks and he said the same thing. He said the main issue is lubricosity in the cylinder and that they have been running tighter oil change intervals.

I thought biodiesel was supposed to provide better lubricosity. Also, i assume the tighter oil changes would be to avoid crank case sludge, not cylinder lubricosity.

He may have been just trying to get me off the phone. I find it hard to believe that these major companies would stop selling their products. Seems like they could just reprogram their engines so they dont get clogged by the biodiesel, but then they would fail emissions as soon as they went over the border.

All this seems suspiciously too convenient for big oil companies and the oilgarchy

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
MB (and Ford and Chevy) are terminating sales of all diesel vehicles in Minnesota and Illinois... yeah, right. And better tell all those dealers in Illinois to change their websites because there sure are a lot of diesel Sprinters for sale.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Time will tell I suppose. I'll try to avoid it. Local Petrolock claims to sell only B5. Earlier model years, such as yours, may tolerate B5-20 without any problems, and even later models as well??? I guess certainly going to find out.
:idunno:

Red arrows pointing to "cover my a$$" MB publications doesn't provide data about MB denying warranty claims based upon biofuel damage.

I put this in the same category as "Never jack up a Sprinter using the differential".

Many post official documents here and run like Chicken Little, but nobody has provided any hard evidence of damage. Sprinters are not new to North America. Not to mention all of the other MB diesel engine models. There are many MB diesels on the road and many operators using whatever diesel comes out of the nozzle. If biofuel were a problem don't you think that posts and threads here and elsewhere would reveal that?

I personally don't care what extremes people go to in avoiding the use of biofuel. As a practical matter it seems like a waste of attention to avoid biofuel. That particularly applies while traveling. Look at the scenery and enjoy the trip instead of obsessing over where the next "proper" fuel stop will come along.

Added:
Stick with Exxon Mobil. Their normal fuel was so bad they needed to provide a better option.
https://www.exxon.com/en/diesel-fuel

Carry on.

:cheers: vic

P.S. - Your Red Arrow document includes the T1N Sprinter models. Please provide even one post of T1N engine problems attributed to commercially distributed ATSM 20% biofuel blend.
 
Last edited:

woundedpig

2018 Unity MB
Talking about going to extremes and obsessing sounds like some psychological projection to me. A reasonable person can go on the internet and find technical papers/studies from the US and Europe that show engine problems from the use of biodiesel. Go look. These are not articles from the fossil fuel industry or fuel additive companies. Of course the biofuels lobby sees/hears no evil - politics/policy has trumped science here.
European countries have tended to limit biodiesel % and have placed tight controls on the consistency and chemistry of biodiesel, vs the more haphazard US situation.
It is not extreme or obsessive to prefer to fill up at Tier 1 fuel stations with lower biodiesel % when the stations are across the road from each other. Neither it is extreme or obsessive to keep an eye on engine oil levels or replacing fuel filters and changing engine oil earlier than the minimum interval.
Biodiesel is one of those topics that have become very tribal, like RV floorplans and Chevy vs Ford vs Ram trucks, etc. Opinions/views differ. Let it be.

Biodiesel does improve the lubricity of the fuel mixture as well as increase the cetane level, but this effect is achieved fully at only 2-3%.
 

Bobnoxious

Deplorable and adorable.
Not intending to cause alarm, so everyone remain calm and leak check da Depends. Just sharing manufacturer's info, perhaps the derivative of hard data from years of extensive research and development? I'll call my buddy Gunther in Düsseldorf, Germany and see what he says. BTW, I am by no means losing sleep over Bio Fuel.
 
Last edited:

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
... Go look. ...
I have looked. Most of what I found related to performance is biodiesel not behaving well in low temperatures (20% is discontinued in winter), not allowing longer term storage, or not being properly produced. Avoid long term storage with B20.

Since 2012 B100 used to blend needs to meet an updated ATSM D6751 specification.

"Two major specifications establishing the quality requirements for alkyl ester-based biodiesel fuels are the ASTM D6751 in the USA and the EN 14214 in Europe.
...
Approaches to US and EU standards for biodiesel differ. In the USA, ASTM D6751 establishes specifications for a biodiesel blend stock for middle distillate fuels. While the specification was written for B100, it is not intended for neat biodiesel used as automotive fuel. Rather, it is for the biodiesel component that is to be blended to produce biodiesel/diesel fuel blends. Since 2012, the ASTM D6751 standard defines two grades of biodiesel: grade 2-B (identical to biodiesel defined by earlier versions of the standard) and grade 1-B with tighter controls on monoglycerides and cold soak filterability. Two automotive standards for biodiesel/diesel fuel blends have been published by ASTM:

The ASTM Standard Specification for Diesel Oil, ASTM D975, was modified in 2008 to allow up to 5% biodiesel to be blended into the fuel.
ASTM D7467 is a specification for biodiesel blends from B6 to B20."
https://www.dieselnet.com/tech/fuel_biodiesel_std.php

USA vs Euro markets. Politics plays more into higher percentages of biofuel in the USA vs the science of environmental improvement. That said, biodiesel will not grenade your engine. Again. Many diesels in the USA are running on it. Not everyone reads posts on Sprinter-source.

I'll go away now.

:cheers: vic
 
Last edited:

woundedpig

2018 Unity MB
Politics/policy vs science of biofuels and net environmental impact of biofuels. A case of leaping before looking.

https://www.catf.us/2018/07/epa-report-environmental-impacts-biofuels/

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=environmental+impact+of+biofuels&bext=msl&atb=v1-1&ia=web

"In some parts of the world, large areas of natural vegetation and forests have been cleared and burned to grow soybeans and palm oil trees to make biodiesel. The negative environmental effects of this land clearing and burning may be greater than the potential benefits of using biodiesel produced from soybeans and palm oil trees."

https://www.nap.edu/read/13105/chapter/7#248

"Although using biofuels holds promise to provide net environmental benefits compared to using petroleum-based fuels, the environmental outcome of biofuel production cannot be guaranteed without a landscape and life-cycle vision of where and how the bioenergy feedstocks will be grown to meet the RFS2 consumption mandate. Such landscape and life-cycle vision would contribute to minimizing the potential of negative direct and indirect land-use and land-cover changes, encouraging placement of cellulosic feedstock production in areas that can enhance soil quality or help reduce agricultural nutrient runoffs, anticipating and reducing the potential of groundwater overdraft, and enhancing wildlife habitats. A piecemeal effort to expanding the biofuel industry does not necessarily consider how bioenergy feedstocks could be best integrated into an agricultural landscape to optimize environmental benefits. Without a strategic vision of how RFS2 would be achieved, the overall environmental effects of displacing petroleum-based fuels with 35 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent biofuels and 1 billion gallons of biodiesel can be positive or negative."
 

Klipstr

2018 Wonder FTB
Amen Wounded...

Unintended consequences are rarely considered and often catastrophic. One would think that humans would learn. And I'm thinking that burning biodiesel produces CO2 and thus does not address the global warming whereas cutting down half of south America's rain forest most certainly will.

And not to beat my drum but the Transit cares less about what kind of diesel it drinks.
 

alehorton

New member
While there ought to be environmental oversight for the production of biodiesel, this does not negate the importance of determining if the ncv3 can be made to run on biodiesel. Simply put, its possible to do a good thing badly; just because politics in the us encourages destructive ag practices doesnt mean we should abandon investigation into a technology that can eliminate the incentive for war. It is possible to produce locally, on ones own, or even using waste products. Or even as part of an integrated farm system. While it may not scale to include all vehicles, i think its still worthwhile to continue investigating. I have never heard of such life cycle analysis mandates, are they in place in other countries or specific organizations?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
 

Gamma1966

2013 Chassis /14 Unity MB
Politics/policy vs science of biofuels and net environmental impact of biofuels. A case of leaping before looking.

https://www.catf.us/2018/07/epa-report-environmental-impacts-biofuels/

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=environmental+impact+of+biofuels&bext=msl&atb=v1-1&ia=web

"In some parts of the world, large areas of natural vegetation and forests have been cleared and burned to grow soybeans and palm oil trees to make biodiesel. The negative environmental effects of this land clearing and burning may be greater than the potential benefits of using biodiesel produced from soybeans and palm oil trees."

https://www.nap.edu/read/13105/chapter/7#248

"Although using biofuels holds promise to provide net environmental benefits compared to using petroleum-based fuels, the environmental outcome of biofuel production cannot be guaranteed without a landscape and life-cycle vision of where and how the bioenergy feedstocks will be grown to meet the RFS2 consumption mandate. Such landscape and life-cycle vision would contribute to minimizing the potential of negative direct and indirect land-use and land-cover changes, encouraging placement of cellulosic feedstock production in areas that can enhance soil quality or help reduce agricultural nutrient runoffs, anticipating and reducing the potential of groundwater overdraft, and enhancing wildlife habitats. A piecemeal effort to expanding the biofuel industry does not necessarily consider how bioenergy feedstocks could be best integrated into an agricultural landscape to optimize environmental benefits. Without a strategic vision of how RFS2 would be achieved, the overall environmental effects of displacing petroleum-based fuels with 35 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent biofuels and 1 billion gallons of biodiesel can be positive or negative."
Wow is this in your own words, or do want to cite a reference. I am not disparaging your thoughts, just amazed at the statements breadth and depth !
 
Not intending to cause alarm, so everyone remain calm and leak check da Depends. Just sharing manufacturer's info, perhaps the derivative of hard data from years of extensive research and development? I'll call my buddy Gunther in Düsseldorf, Germany and see what he says. BTW, I am by no means losing sleep over Bio Fuel.
Being full timers we run coast to coast and really haven't had a tough time finding B5 or less. I do try to run on the top half of the tank but if I really need fuel and can only find >B5 I just take a splash and move on until I can find B5 or under.
 

BobLLL

Member
I usually refuel at travel centers. In the last couple of years, B10 to B20 has become more common at some of these places. The last two vacation trips, I stopped wherever was convenient, took whatever diesel they had, and kept track of what the B content was of each refueling. The first trip was 3700 miles, and averaged 10% biodiesel for the trip. The second trip was 2200 miles and averaged 11% biodiesel. After each trip, I sent oil samples to Blackstone. There was no dilution of the oil with diesel, and no drop in oil viscosity, which are my primary concerns with biodiesel. I made sure I arrived home with a nearly empty tank, and refilled with pure dino juice from a local station that I know does not use biodiesel, so I don't have to worry about long term storage, which would be a concern because this rv does not get driven much during the winter.

My data is only two trips and only one vehicle, so take it with however many grains of salt you want. Your mileage may vary. But I think it is probably safe to use B10 or B20 occasionally, at least on trips where it will get used promptly in highway driving.
 

Top Bottom