don't use bp gas around Chicago/NW Indiana - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 2012, 9:51 pm Thread Starter
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don't use bp gas around Chicago/NW Indiana

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...,4924927.story

By Robert Channick

Tribune reporter

5:12 p.m. CDT, August 21, 2012
A 50,000-barrel batch of gasoline, or 2.1 million gallons, has been recalled by BP's Whiting refinery after hundreds of reports of hard-starting and stalling vehicles from motorists flooded Northwest Indiana repair shops the past few days.

The fouled fuel has made its way into another state. A BP spokesman confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that a small amount of contaminated premium and mid-grade fuel was trucked to the Milwaukee area and sold between Monday evening and Tuesday morning before the company halted sales.
Previously, BP said the contaminated fuel was contained to Northwest Indiana and just across the borders into Illinois and Michigan.

BP issued a statement Tuesday, saying the regular grade gasoline was blended at its Whiting storage terminal between Aug. 13 and 17, and contained a "higher than normal level of polymeric residue." The fuel was distributed at BP stations and other retailers in the last week.

Affected motorists are instructed to call BP's customer hot line at 800-333-3991, but customers have reported difficulty getting through to a representative. Gas claims may also be filed at [email protected].

"The service line did get an extremely high call volume this morning, " said Scott Dean, a Chicago-based BP spokesman. "We're adding additional operators and staff to reduce hold times."

Car dealerships and service shops throughout Northwest Indiana have been fielding hundreds of calls, while service bays are jammed with repairs, which primarily consist of draining the fuel tank and cleaning the fuel system. Costs have ranged from $300 to $1,200.

Bill Vlietstra, service manager at Schepel Buick GMC in Merrillville, said the dealership has received hundreds of calls since Saturday. Those who just topped off their tanks are told to add fuel cleaner and fresh gas. Anyone who filled up with the contaminated gas is advised to bring the car in for fuel flushing.

More than a hundred customers have done that since Monday, according to Vlietstra.

"A few of them, we have towed in," Vlietstra said. "We just line them up outside and get to them as we can."

Dean said customers with approved claims will be reimbursed for their repairs.

Several gas stations have been shut down in Northwest Indiana while their storage tanks are drained and fresh fuel added, Dean said. The problem has also crossed state lines into Illinois and Michigan.

"We definitely now are seeing a handful of customer complaints along the Illinois and Michigan border," Dean said. "It's not unusual for those tankers to cross the border, particularly if it's one of the communities right on the border."

Of the approximately 4,500 calls and 800 emails received by BP as of Tuesday afternoon, Dean said about 95 percent of the gas-related complaints were from Lake County, Ind.

Dean said it is unclear how much of the contaminated fuel made it into gas tanks.

"We're still trying to account for exactly how much has been combusted," he said. "We are getting loads back and we're doing that as quickly as possible."

[email protected] | Twitter @RobertChannick

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2012, 7:14 am
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We had something similar in UK acouple of years back when one 'blending center' was shipping gas out to supermarket gas stations.

The consequences were that many vehicles just stopped and had to be towed to the nearest garage.

The gas had destroyed Lambda sensors and affected CATs. So the bill was HUGE. Tanks had to be drained and bad fuel safely disposed, O2 sensors replaced, sometimes with CATs and then a full diagnostics check.

Those who could prove their vehicle had just stopped and broke down after filling up, got compensated - there were many!

In my case I was in my car on a long trip having gassed up from an empty tank before the journey. I noticed nothing cruising at 70mph for 2 hours. Then I throttled back for the off ramp and the car would only drive at 20 mph and was hard to keep idling. The gas tank was nearly empty and I managed to get an O2 sensor near my stopover. I filled the tank with fresh gas (still running bad) and put in a new O2 sensor which took me about an hour. I could have just had the car towed to a garage and done without it for a day, but did not know then about the bad gas until stories came out later. I got back my costs and a tank full of gas.

If you get in a similar position, let somebody else do the work and keep all your receipts.

From the article posted it looks like they might be keeping quiet about the O2 sensor and CAT. If you are in this situation, have the garage check the O2 sensor and CAT for efficiency. Do not settle for just a fresh tank of gas!



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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2012, 5:55 pm
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Considering BP stations add ethanol to their gas, it shouldn't be used in our Beemer's anyways. At least, not the K12GT! I used it for all of 1,000 miles before the bike started stalling out. After consulting my local dealer and a few others, the ethanol is what seems to have caused my woes. After switching to Top Tier gas, all is well

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2012, 10:25 pm Thread Starter
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top tier gas as far as I know contains ethanol as well.

there are only 47 ethanol-free gas stations in IL according to this website...
none are really close to chicago.

http://pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=IL

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2012, 11:23 pm
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Evidence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhadden
Considering BP stations add ethanol to their gas, it shouldn't be used in our Beemer's anyways. At least, not the K12GT! I used it for all of 1,000 miles before the bike started stalling out. After consulting my local dealer and a few others, the ethanol is what seems to have caused my woes. After switching to Top Tier gas, all is well
I am always curious when I see posts like this in this day and age. Until proven otherwise, based on manufacturer guidance plus the many years of successful use of ethanol in automobiles, I consider blaming ethanol a cop out used by lazy mechanics and uninformed consumers. I have heard the same accusations for 30+ years. If BMW engineers haven't figured out which materials can be safely used with ethanol, they are incompetent, lazy, evil, or some combination of the three. Some components of pre-1980 bikes (or thereabouts) may be susceptible to ethanol-related problems. Ethanol is used worldwide, and car manufacturers solved the problem many years ago.

I have sent a letter to Motorcycle Consumer News requesting an objective analysis, since MCN repeats the same old wives' tales about the evils of ethanol. For the record, I have used ethanol-containing gasolines for 30+ years in cars, trucks and 2 K-bikes (1988 and 2003). No fuel related issues after hundreds of thousands of miles.

I may be entirely wrong, but the truth is that ethanol is a political and not a technical issue. There must be objective data somewhere. If you have it, share it.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 10:02 am
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I stand corrected - as mentioned by JCW, Top Tier gas can contain ethanol (up to 10%). It was my previous understanding that they did not contain ANY ethanol.

I'm well aware of BMW's notice back in 1984 about ethanol in fuels and that up to a 10% mixture (i.e. E10) is okay. But again, as I found out recently, using these ethanol-containing fuels, mostly purchased from BP and Marathon, seemed to have caused my stalling issues I was having (see my thread. After consulting with my selling dealer, it was stated that the K bikes, in particular, seem to have a lower tolerance for ethanol fuel, and that using strictly Top Tier gas (in addition to a adding fuel system cleaner for a few tanks) would likely solve my issue. If not, something else was to blame. So I followed their advice - low and behold, switching to TT gas (using the few Mobil or Shell stations we have in NW IN) and the cleaner helped. I have not had a stalling/reduced power issue since.

But after the recall of BP fuel, it made the gears in my head start turning and wondered if it was very possible that it was more than 50k gallons and had been occurring for several weeks prior (since I mostly fueled up at BP's, since several are alongside my daily commute) and may have contributed to my problem.

Regarding hi-viz gear: "It's better to be seen and laughed at than not to be seen and cried over."

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 12:45 pm Thread Starter
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as performance of these bikes increases and the "safety margin" of the engine narrows, small changes are having bigger effects.

sky high compression ratios, returnless fuel systems, knock sensors, etc are likely more sensitive to changes in fuel quality.

imo, it's not just an issue with seals compatibility.

personally, if there was an ethanol free gas station near me i would definitely try it out.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 10:24 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCW
as performance of these bikes increases and the "safety margin" of the engine narrows, small changes are having bigger effects.

sky high compression ratios, returnless fuel systems, knock sensors, etc are likely more sensitive to changes in fuel quality.

imo, it's not just an issue with seals compatibility.

personally, if there was an ethanol free gas station near me i would definitely try it out.
I respect your opinion, but what is the safety margin breach? What damage has been caused? It is my understand that the Indy 500 was run with ethanol fuel this year (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...r-motorsports). Are K-bikes more highly tuned and sensitive than Indy cars? If so, I submit that it is bad engineering to sell a street bike that won't run without damage on common "street" fuel. I will concede that MPG may be less, and possibly performance, but I have seen people with empty tanks ride away from ethanol-containing gas. We need a more realistic perspective.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 30th, 2012, 12:11 am Thread Starter
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I understand the skepticism from both sides. I, too, like to see the proof.
I read somewhere something to the effect that too many people put too much emotional energy into disliking it.



off the top of my head, I recall that...

ethanol, while higher in octane, has a much lower specific output- hence the lower mpg

also ethanol is much more hygroscopic than fuel. absorbing water can cause corrosion over time.

ethanol is also not as good a lubricant and is tough on valves and valve seats

ethanol falsely increases the O2 sensor readings making the engine run leaner leading to drivability problems.


Here's an article outlining an experiment of ethanol blends and engine durability.
http://www.crcao.org/reports/recents...l%20Report.pdf


Do I think ethanol problems are blown out of proportion? Probably yes.

Would I run non ethanol gas if I had the choice? Most likely yes (depending on the price)


All that said, I am not an engineer nor a mechanic.
And this thread wasn't started about ethanol.

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'77 Yamaha XS 750 triple- kinda

Last edited by JCW; Aug 30th, 2012 at 12:18 am.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 30th, 2012, 12:33 am Thread Starter
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I submit that the problem isn't E10 or the inability to make a vehicle run on E10. It's the switching from ethanol blend to regular fuel and back again.

in some ways you can say indycars are tuned and built to the fuel specs. This year they will be built and tuned for ethanol.

in some ways you can say most cars and motorcycles are tuned and built for regular fuel. and tolerate ethanol blends.

if they were built specifically for ethanol fuel, they might run different fuel maps, more durable valves and valve seats, maybe some type of water separator in the fuel system like boats. Maybe that's what the E85 cars are.

I'm just rambling now, so good night.

'06 K1200R- in pieces
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