All you 87 octaners out there!! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 32 Old Jun 16th, 2008, 8:59 pm Thread Starter
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All you 87 octaners out there!!

I did an experiment on my LT the past 2 tanks of gas. I ran 87 octane for 2 tanks of gas. I was checking to see what the difference in gas milage. My Honda Accord gets 8 - 10% better gas milage running premium gas over 87 octane. The difference in the price of regular and premium is only 5-6 %, therefore I am making out slightly running the high test. I did this on my LT and had the same results. I average low 40s MPG on 87 octane and average high 40's on 93 octane. It was a little better then 10% better gas milage. I tried to keep the riding the same to be able to compare apples to apples.

So if you are running 87 octane you may want to run the experiment to see if it is actually costing more to run the low grade.

Mike
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post #2 of 32 Old Jun 17th, 2008, 10:55 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

The fuel economy on my 2000 LT did not seem to change between premium and low-grade fuel.

About the only difference was an increase of the off-idle stumble with the low-grade when it is hot. Power is probably down a bit, but it still goes as fast as I care to go and no pinging that I can tell.

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post #3 of 32 Old Jun 17th, 2008, 11:08 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Differences in fuel mileage might be due to different Ethanol content between 87 and 93 grade fuel. Same-same with only octane difference should not account for what was observed.

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post #4 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 7:23 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Fuel mileage can vary a good deal even with the same kind of gas. You could be right but you would need to run both kinds for several tanks to get any real accurate information.

I have run mid grade on 2 different occasions in my 99. Both of those tanks saw over 60 mpg with no pinging. I only did run mid grade once because the station I stopped at didn't have premium and once when a gas station had mid grade for the same price as regular, thirty cents less than premiium. I would only try regular if there was nothing else. I figure that for the price I paid for the bike I should try to use premium.
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post #5 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 7:31 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

I have always run with premium. I figure the savings for the lower grade fuel would not offset any potential repair cost.
Not sure if it would translate into lower MPG.

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post #6 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 8:01 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gglove
I have always run with premium. I figure the savings for the lower grade fuel would not offset any potential repair cost.
Not sure if it would translate into lower MPG.
Call me cheap if you like, but I ran regular (87) for 97,000 miles in my '99 and now almost 50,000 in my '05. I average right at about 50 mpg and so far have suffered no adverse mechanical or other problems. Maybe I'm just lucky!

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post #7 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 8:05 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn_Keen
Call me cheap if you like, but I ran regular (87) for 97,000 miles in my '99 and now almost 50,000 in my '05. I average right at about 50 mpg and so far have suffered no adverse mechanical or other problems. Maybe I'm just lucky!
OK your cheap
I would not say your lucky. I have always run the higher octane because it is recommended and there is no knock sensor. I have paid far too much in repairs to date, maybe I am unlucky.

PS I am very cheap.

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post #8 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 8:35 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gglove
...I have always run the higher octane because it is recommended and there is no knock sensor. I have paid far too much in repairs to date, maybe I am unlucky.
The gas access door on my '02 has a sticker attached that sez 89 octane. Where does your '03 tell you to use Premium?? While the relative cost of Premium is at an all time low, why spend it if your LT doesn't need it?

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post #9 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 8:46 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

My 99' has performed the same on the cheap stuff. MPG might be a little higher if anything on the 87 octane. As I have posted before, prior to my LT reaching 40000 miles on the clock, there was very slight pinging under load, but that has gone away as the bike aged.
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post #10 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 8:54 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JATownsend
The gas access door on my '02 has a sticker attached that sez 89 octane. Where does your '03 tell you to use Premium?? While the relative cost of Premium is at an all time low, why spend it if your LT doesn't need it?
Mine has the same sticker. I was told by the dealership to use premium to avoid the ping knock etc. I was also told that in our area the premium has less alcohol then the lower grades.

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post #11 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 9:10 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn_Keen
Call me cheap if you like, but I ran regular (87) for 97,000 miles in my '99 and now almost 50,000 in my '05. I average right at about 50 mpg and so far have suffered no adverse mechanical or other problems. Maybe I'm just lucky!
Plus 1.....90600 miles on the 2000LTC and 75,200 on the 2003LTE. No problems at all!

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post #12 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 9:49 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gglove
Mine has the same sticker. I was told by the dealership to use premium to avoid the ping knock etc. I was also told that in our area the premium has less alcohol then the lower grades.
G-Glove, Dealers are a hoot! They give out information and God knows where they get it from?? Has your bike EVER knocked!! I've traveled coast-to-coast, up and down, and side-to-side, sometimes using sub-par gas I'm sure and I've never experienced any gas / octane related problems, even when towing a loaded trailer.

It's a NONE issue!

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post #13 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 10:04 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JATownsend
G-Glove, Dealers are a hoot! They give out information and God knows where they get it from?? Has your bike EVER knocked!! I've traveled coast-to-coast, up and down, and side-to-side, sometimes using sub-par gas I'm sure and I've never experienced any gas / octane related problems, even when towing a loaded trailer.

It's a NONE issue!
The simple answer is no!
I am just an ass and listen to them.

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post #14 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 12:10 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

My understanding is that if you have clipped the brown wire the spark curve is more aggressive and you should run premium. Having said that I have run 89 in mine, and it ran OK.

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post #15 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 1:35 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Not lucky, smart! No need to run premiun on any vehicle with oxygen sensors as long as you get no pinging. The system will retard the timing to avoid engine damage. If you do get pinging it has run out of adoptation range and you have no choice but to go back to premium. The retarded timing will cause some reduction in engine power but it generally is so little that most people will not notice it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn_Keen
Call me cheap if you like, but I ran regular (87) for 97,000 miles in my '99 and now almost 50,000 in my '05. I average right at about 50 mpg and so far have suffered no adverse mechanical or other problems. Maybe I'm just lucky!

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post #16 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 4:43 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang
No need to run premiun on any vehicle with oxygen sensors as long as you get no pinging.
I believe I read somewhere on this site that the LT does not have sensors that control ping and knock?

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post #17 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 5:07 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Is this another oil thread?

This has been discussed before and I STILL don't know which grade to use! With the 03 LT the manual says run at least 91 octane, also have an 06 325i and it says to use the higher octane; WHAT'S A MAN TO DO?

If I don't need to run high octane I would like to save that .20-.24/gallon! On the trip to Utah and back the savings would buy the wife and I dinner one night! And you call Lynn cheap!

Oh, and I have always run the higher octane fuel for the 03LT and the 325

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post #18 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 5:12 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

I've run both Super- and Mid-grade in my '99 R1200C with sometimes mixed results as regards performance and MPG. The Owner's Specifications Manual indicates that 95 RON (91 octane in the US: (R+M)/2) is the recommended grade for this bike. Using Super or Premium (91) I get MPG numbers of 47 to 50 with my fairly conservative (though not wussy by any means!) riding style and performance is excellent. Mid-grade (89) actually results in lower MPG numbers of plus or minus 43 and performance falls off a bit with slower throttle response (especially at lower RPMs), noticeable surging and the occasional backfire when backing down (not a good thing). And 87? Fugedaboudit!

The cost difference per fill-up is minimal at less than a buck a tank ... 'til you factor in the difference in fuel usage. I have a range of 190 to 200 miles per tank using Premium grade (91) and only 165 to 175 when running with Mid-grade (89). Go figure! But it's fairly obvious from both usage and performance standpoints that I'll be sticking with Premium grade


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post #19 of 32 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 5:34 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

I've run premium in every tank since I bought my 02 last year. The last time I filled up, about 120 miles ago, I was distracted and had it filled with regular before I noticed. (Long day at work)

I can't speak to mileage, but I haven't noticed any pinging or performance drop at all.

I'll probably keep using premium since that's what the manual says, but I'm tempted to give regular a shot and track mileage for a while. We'll see when it's time to fill up in a few days.

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post #20 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 3:29 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Here in the UK we use the RON numbers for our liquid gold. I run 97 or 98 RON super in the LT and it adds approx 3-4 mpg to the consumption figures, and you can feel the difference from the standard unleaded 93 RON in throttle response and smoothness of pickup. I regularly get 56mpg with the cruise nailed at 75 of the motorway and with a brisk riding style off the slab(once a motorcycle courier, always a motorcycle courier I guess)

The economics are pretty even with a very marginal win on costs per mile going to the 98 RON super. Still when we are paying £5.75 per imperial gallon, I just pull the trigger and smile that I can afford to do so.

I'm not sure we can buy anything as low grade as 87 octane in the UK. If we could the numbers I get at brim to brim fills mean that I would only use it in an emergency, the higher octane pays for itself in better mileage. Just my 2p's worth

David

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post #21 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 4:05 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang
Not lucky, smart! No need to run premiun on any vehicle with oxygen sensors as long as you get no pinging. The system will retard the timing to avoid engine damage. If you do get pinging it has run out of adoptation range and you have no choice but to go back to premium. The retarded timing will cause some reduction in engine power but it generally is so little that most people will not notice it.
Ummm, No, the O2 sensor does nothing to control ping/knock. It measures the O2 content of the expendsd gasses and determines if the engine needs more fuel or less to maintain 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio. You can be at a schizometric 14.7:1 fuel ratio and still have detonation. The O2 sensors have no effect what-so-ever on spark timing, that is a function of a knock sensor in conjunction with the ECM and ESC (electronic spark control). As the sensor detects the beginning of knock the ECM will start pulling timing until there is no knock for a predetermined amount of time, then slowly add it back in until ithe sensor hears knock again.
It is my understanding that the LT has no knock sensor, so you could be running in dangerous territory with the clipped wire (more agressive timing table) and low octane fuel. Being an "Alpha-N" system the Motronic gets no feedback from the engine in regards to air flow. It uses spark & fuel maps that correspond to speed & throttle position to calculate how much fuel & spark. The "best" injection systems use a MAF sensor (mass air flow) for "real time" air flow readings. After that comes MAP (manifold absolute pressure) which uses manifold pressure, engine temp, air inlet temp, throttle position & speed (RPM and road) to "guess" how much air is flowing into the engine. Then it uses look up tables to determine how much fuel & spark to add. After that comes the Alpha-N systems. Very little info is fed to the ECM and it is very unforgiving when it comes to changes in the engine and bad/low grade fuel.
I've programmed PROM chips for 2 of my own vehicles and some for other people, I have a fair knowledge of what does what and why and when.

Last edited by Morley; Jun 21st, 2008 at 4:15 am.
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post #22 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 5:56 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morley
Ummm, No, the O2 sensor does nothing to control ping/knock. It measures the O2 content of the expendsd gasses and determines if the engine needs more fuel or less to maintain 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio. You can be at a schizometric 14.7:1 fuel ratio and still have detonation. The O2 sensors have no effect what-so-ever on spark timing, that is a function of a knock sensor in conjunction with the ECM and ESC (electronic spark control). As the sensor detects the beginning of knock the ECM will start pulling timing until there is no knock for a predetermined amount of time, then slowly add it back in until ithe sensor hears knock again.
It is my understanding that the LT has no knock sensor, so you could be running in dangerous territory with the clipped wire (more agressive timing table) and low octane fuel. Being an "Alpha-N" system the Motronic gets no feedback from the engine in regards to air flow. It uses spark & fuel maps that correspond to speed & throttle position to calculate how much fuel & spark. The "best" injection systems use a MAF sensor (mass air flow) for "real time" air flow readings. After that comes MAP (manifold absolute pressure) which uses manifold pressure, engine temp, air inlet temp, throttle position & speed (RPM and road) to "guess" how much air is flowing into the engine. Then it uses look up tables to determine how much fuel & spark to add. After that comes the Alpha-N systems. Very little info is fed to the ECM and it is very unforgiving when it comes to changes in the engine and bad/low grade fuel.
I've programmed PROM chips for 2 of my own vehicles and some for other people, I have a fair knowledge of what does what and why and when.
Ken very nice explanation! I do not have the obvious knowledge you have so I have just always used premium as recommended by the dealer. The primium is recomeded because of the lack of a knock sensor as I was told.

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post #23 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 6:54 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gglove
I have just always used premium as recommended by the dealer. The primium is recomeded because of the lack of a knock sensor as I was told.
With the compression ratio of this engine you really have to use 91. Even the higher powered car engines today (LT-X, LS-X) are just starting to approach the compression ratio of the LT and you must use premium in them. Some of the more sophisticated engine/ECU's out now have a "low octane" routine for the ECM/ECU to revert to. If it detects knock for a set amount of time, it reverts to a less agressive timing table (which causes a loss of power too) to protect the engine.
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post #24 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 9:54 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Can anyone out there please let us know of any engine damage they have suffered after running 87 octane for a period of time. Like I have said before, after 40,000 miles my bike runs perfect on the cheap stuff. What can I expect if I continue to run it and I assume that audible pinging is the indication that a problem is being created. Am I correct, and if there is little or no audible pinging is my engine's future safe?

In some ways, this reminds me of the oil debate in that most of our discussion deals with the theoretical (which is fun) but what about real day to day results?
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post #25 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 10:10 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

I can usually find premium for around .12-.15$ more than 87 octane around here--I know there may be more mark up elsewhere but for 3-4% more I'll typically run the high test. However, when the weather is cool I will run regular every other fill.
I think any mileage difference is due to ethanol content. The station by our house has a sign on the pump indicating "our fuel does not contain ethanol" and I will consistently get the best mileage when using it. In my motorhome the mileage will soar from 5.4 to almost 6!! using their fuel.

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post #26 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 10:22 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Just two weeks ago I had a 12K done on my bike. Just under 40K on the clock and the plugs were changed at ~24K (OK,OK I went just a tad over) but my plugs looked good and all I run is the 87 stuff. I have the brown wire cut and live in South Tejas so it's hot in the winter and then it warms up even more for the summer. No pings or pops and no hesitation.
I'm not saying that the 93 goods are not worth it, just that I am OK with the 87 fuel.

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post #27 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 7:20 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibbones
but my plugs looked good and all I run is the 87 stuff. I have the brown wire cut and live in South Tejas so it's hot in the winter and then it warms up even more for the summer. No pings or pops and no hesitation.
I'd be real interested in getting a look at the spark maps used by the Motronic. Either they aren't so "agressive" or these bikes are over-fueled. I've had to do some "creative" work with the spark maps for my car's ECM to be able to run 87, and it had very agressive timing (bordering on insane).
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post #28 of 32 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 10:27 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Possibly it's just the fuel we get here, but if I run anything less than 91 I get considerable pinging under load. I won't use the mid grade (89) as that is 10% ethanol. If I have to choose between 91 with ethanol or 87 without, I'll go with the 87 without. My bike just doesn't like that ethanol for some reason.

Ride safe

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post #29 of 32 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 8:29 am
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Mine says 95 RON on the gas flap.

That is what I run.

For all the sophistication of this bike it really is only following basic timing and fuel curves based on the O2 sensor and the 14.7 stoich setting as was stated in the above posts.

I was not sure on a knock sensor on the LT? So this bike will not pull timing?

One of the reasons I decided to leave the first bike I ever owned in all my years, stock.

If I could get to the fuel maps then I would make this pig run. Power Commander offers for other BMW but not the LT. I would go with a Black Hole kit. The exhaust, fuel rail with bigger injectors, adjustable fuel pump, and Rhine West cams/Gears not sure which are offered, or both.

With no way to mind bump the fuel maps, you are too much at risk of running lean and cooking it, and while rich is bad, at current fuel prices it would just be insane. You also would need a good tuner and dyno to dial it in even with a Power Commander as it has no logging features for you to ride and adjust as needed.

There are very sophisticated EFI tunning devices out there. I am familiar with Dayton Twin Techs TCFI. You replaced your ECU with theirs, installed exhaust bungs for 02 sensors, adjusted IAC voltage, TPS fell in line, and ran it. No matter what cams, exhaust, heads, combustion chamber size, valve size, compression, whatever it will self tune, and will produce a log file of 30 minuets. So when you plug your laptop in you start the bike and can watch all aspects in live time in a Dyno Tune type screen, download the log file and see exactly where you are running fuel wise at what rpm, TPS, and what the timing was.You could change every fuel cell in every RPM?TPS range you wanted. Using that you can build your own timing curve. It was involved but with the radical Woods cams I was running it was the way to have a smooth running high compression, high overlap cam Harley.

The thing that amazed me on all of it was I would have to be set to 10.5 AFR at idle/low TPS for my logs to read 13.5 or so. So just because a AFR range is set to something, don't mean that is what it is running at. And if you don't see true AFR you will never know with out a knock sensor or something pulling the timing.

Lee
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post #30 of 32 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 3:27 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

Using regular fuel in a vehicle designed for high octane fuel will definately result in a loss of power and milage due to the detonation sensor telling the ecu to retard ignition timing. On the other hand there is no advantage to using premium in a vehicle designed for regular.
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post #31 of 32 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 6:06 pm
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

With 110K on my 2005 LT I have been to high elevations (14K+) and below sea level, rode fast and slow (well maybe slower than fast) and have never experienced the slightest knock or ping with 87 fuel. I also do not notice much if any milage change with higher octane. The engine has never given me the slightest problem and seems to outperform many other bikes, it loves the high rpms. Possibly those who have experienced ping or knock are lugging the girl, just my 2 cents.

-Chuck-

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post #32 of 32 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 7:49 pm Thread Starter
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Re: All you 87 octaners out there!!

I did not start this tread to dispute 87 octane ibeing better then 91 or vise versa. I was just letting people know that running the high test may be cheaper then the low test. The low test around here has 10% ethanol and the high test does not, my guess this is the major difference why 91 octane is better on gas, and therefor cheaper for me to run then the 87 octane. Just my .02.

Mike
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