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Travel Tips - Fuel Prices Everyone has travel tips. Share and discuss yours here with the rest of the group.

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  #1  
Old 10-05-2018
Debugjaws Debugjaws is offline
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Default Fuel Quality

I'm pretty sure this topic rivals religion and politics, but I've got to post my observations regarding fuel quality.


We are wrapping up the back end of a ~3,500 mile, 3 week road trip. I fueled up prior to leaving at the local Fred Meyer (Kroegers for you mid-western and easterners) fuel station. That tank took us in the neighborhood of 1,300 miles before I got nervous and filled her up. It took 221 gallons at a station in Moorecroft Wyoming. We got a very respectable 5.99 MPG. I was happy as a clam.


The next portion of the trip however had us in a federal camp ground in Theodore Roosevelt national park where we had to run generator. We also had several very cold days requiring to heat with the Webasto. I'm guessing we used 20 - 30 gallons of diesel between the two. As well, I had noticed a ton of debris and junk in the Racor. After a week at my daughters in Grand Forks North Dakota (where I rebuilt the Racor and replaced both primary and secondary filters) we started our journey back. I filled up again yesterday in Beach Montana. This time however, we only went ~ 1100 miles. It took 255 gallons. We took a severe beating of heavy rain and very difficult wind for ~400 miles in North Dakota between Grand Forks and Dickinson. With a generous number of 30 gallons to the generator and furnace - we netted near 5 mpg. Not so happy with that one.


However, our fill-up in Beach was at a Cenex station with fuel marked at 48 Cetane rating. Temps were in the 20's, and I was concerned about gelling. I've got to say that our WB has never performed so "efficiently". There is a noticeable difference in power, and fuel performance seems to be noticeably better. I won't be able to fully tell until the final fill-up when we get home, but I want to know if others have experience better performance with higher cetane?


Looking forward to your responses!
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Old 10-06-2018
mpierce mpierce is offline
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You have a TON of variables. Wind, rain, cold.
I drive semi. Cold affects performance more than one would think.
I think impossible to compare one tank of fuel to another with so many big variables.
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2018
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birds_first birds_first is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpierce View Post
You have a TON of variables. Wind, rain, cold.
I drive semi. Cold affects performance more than one would think.
I think impossible to compare one tank of fuel to another with so many big variables.
Ditto, I also believe there is no way to fill the coach up completely. Also road condition change, unless you're driving the same road back & forth I think your mileage will always be different. No two legs of the trip will be the same.
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Old 10-06-2018
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I can't speak to the cetane, but I've always heard you should "buy your fuel where everyone else does". Could the last station have a quicker turnaround on fuel making it more "fresh"?
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Old 10-07-2018
rshrimp rshrimp is offline
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Lots more "hills" out west too. If you want fuel mileage, trade it for one of those Sprinter things.
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2018
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Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
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"But I've got to post my observations regarding fuel quality."

I believe in clean fuel at high turn over fuel stations for debris filtering.
Mileage is more about your foot pedal, hills, weather especially wind,pushing a 15 to 25 ton square rectangular load down the road. Mileage can only be calculated over many thousands of miles, allowing for generator time.
Each fill up in a 200 to 300 gallon tank is not an accurate measurement.
Diesel fuel many years old will still burn.
Bill's 2 cents option of an unscientific study.

Try searching tire, batteries, chargers for more scientific option information.
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Old 10-07-2018
mahansm mahansm is offline
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Diesel fuel has a shelf life of at least 10 years if it's not contaminated with water. The problem with stations with low sales volume is that there will be a lot of air space in the storage tank that can accumulate condensation. The water runs to the bottom of the tank and then is host to the growth of algae. This stuff is nasty, as it is acidic and will clog filters/injectors. A station with high turnover doesn't let the fuel sit long enough to be subject to this growth.


That's why I fill my tank upon return home from each excursion; minimize the air volume and possible condensation.
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  #8  
Old 10-08-2018
Debugjaws Debugjaws is offline
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Apparently my question was not clear. I'm not looking to get better mileage. I understand the machine I'm driving and expect 5-6 mpg. I understand that condition variabilities play a significant role in mileage. I'm looking to understand what role if any Cetane at higher numbers plays in higher performance and if any of you have experienced such therefore causing you to seek out and procure diesel with a stated higher level of Cetane. OR - is diesel diesel?
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Old 10-08-2018
mahansm mahansm is offline
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Your engine is designed (injection timing, combustion chamber volume/shape, injector spray pattern, etc..) for a minimum cetane level. Cetane simply measures how easily the fuel ignites under certain conditions of heat and pressure. It's almost the opposite of the gasoline octane rating, which measures how hard it is to spontaneously ignite under heat and pressure.

Higher cetane (above minimum) will give better cold starting performance and will reduce knocking with a cold engine. However, the most important factor for cold weather performance is the cloud point and jell points, temperatures below which the paraffins in the fuel will solidify.
Summer blend #2 Diesel fuel has a cloud point of about 32 F. #1 winter blend may cloud well below 0 F. Various additives will help prevent clouding; kerosine or gasoline may be added to the tank in small proportions (10% or less for gasoline) for very cold weather operations.

These reduced cloud point fuels have lower heat values and reduced cetane ratings, so your performance and mileage will be less.
However, in general #2 Diesel fuel is #2 Diesel fuel and will perform as designed in your engine.
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