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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > Fuel experts please help!! - Dealer found 18% ethanol in my gas!!!



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      07-10-2008, 10:17 PM   #23
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ethanol will allow more water to be suspended in the gas-- so the gas stations can now double dip
cut the gas with both alcohol and water, both of which are cheaper than straight gas.
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      07-11-2008, 08:01 AM   #24
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What do we do then? Even if I pick up my car tomorrow, the second I have to get gas the same thing will happen again. Following Florida Governor Crist’s green lead, the Legislature this year mandated that all gas sold in Florida have at least 10% ethanol by the end of 2010....that's just crazy!
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      07-14-2008, 08:58 AM   #25
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There is even a backlash in the rest of the world about how our rush to convert to ethanol mix is hurting world food prices.

See
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americ...d.food.crisis/
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      07-15-2008, 07:40 PM   #26
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Chevron with techron, you didn't see those cute cars talking? My car told me to go there. Ask your car where does it want to go, lol.
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      07-15-2008, 08:07 PM   #27
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Damn I've been going with Chevron since 2 yrs ago due to them being the only one with 93 octane. Clueless I was doing my car a favor….
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      07-17-2008, 05:35 PM   #28
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Florida Department of Agriculture

If you are in Florida and have suspicions that a gas station is diluting their gasoline, here is the Department of Agriculture's contact information. They will show up at the station to test the fuel, without any warning, usually within 24 hours. It falls under Chapter 525 of the Florida Statutes.

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Standards
Bureau of Petroleum Inspection
3125 Conner Blvd, Bldg 1
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650
Phone: 850-488-9740
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      07-21-2008, 11:48 AM   #29
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Since my first post, I have switched (after letting the tank run completely dry) to Philips 66 as my dealer recommended, then to speedway. My original problem was with Amoco. I have seen zero change in the starting issue. What I do notice is it seems the car takes much longer to start if it is humid, has been raining, or is cold outside, and I only have the problem when the car has been sitting overnight. Once I drive it, it's fine for the rest of the day even if parked for hours. I just can't believe it's the gas at this point. Like was previously mentioned, if there is something about this car that makes it THAT sensitive to the subtle differences found in different brands of gas, I would consider that a defect. I'm taking it to another dealer this week because I found out my boss's brother in law is the service manager there. Maybe at least he will take more of an interest in this and help find out what's really going on.
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      07-21-2008, 04:46 PM   #30
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Yep, those are exactly the initial symptoms. In the morning you start the car and it takes a while to get going. Sometimes you have to let it roll for about a block or so before the engine kicks in.

I read this posting from another member, and this describes exactly how the symptoms are:
Quote:
Originally Posted by HennarotM3 View Post
e90 335i sometimes won't turn over on cold start:
So I've searched and read a lot about how an extended crank at start-up is a sign of fuel pump failure, but the problem I'm having is slightly different.

I've had my e90 335i (04/08 build) for about 6 weeks, and on about 6-9 cold starts when I've put in my key and pressed the start/stop button, the electronics come on and "click" but the car doesn't even try to turn over. I press start/stop again and the electronics click and shut off again. Simply put, the car acts as if it's been turned on, but the engine doesn't even try to start. Eventually, the car starts but I'd like to know who else has experienced this problem and what they uncovered before I schedule a service appointment.
and this is another one which also describes the symptoms that lead to pump failure due to ethanol:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tmac911 View Post
Exclamation Second Fuel Pump Failure in 2months of Ownership!: Ok so i got my car on April, 13th (waited for 4months for it) and had my first fuel pump replaced on May,18th... and tonight i started the car and it wouldn't OMFG. I really liked my car but now iam starting to lose confidence in it. I mean like two fuel pumps in 2months? thats fking bullshit however, i have like 38km left but then i put in another $10 of gas after the first attempt to start the car and it still wouldnt start, now i wonder if the dealer would take advantage of that and say i didnt have enough gas and fked up the fuel pump and make me pay for it. If so i'll seriously be fking pissed.

Edit: It's actually 2 fuel pumps in 2months and 16days of ownership.
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      07-22-2008, 08:15 AM   #31
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Mine (at least for now) moves fine once it's running. It's just the very extended cranking time to get it started. It's really embarrassing when the neighbors sit there and watch me try to get my fifty thousand dollar car to start.

On top of that, after getting my iPod kit installed and having the software updated, the car seems to lag a LOT compared to how it was before. I've heard about all the issues other people have had with that too. Here I thought it would be great having that upgrade because I could FINALLY search by name on my navigation system..

Totally disappointed.
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      07-24-2008, 08:39 PM   #32
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I just saw the most interesting explanation in a different site. I thought I'd post it here so that other people facing this problem may want to have their gasoline tanks cleaned before their fuel system collapses. The explanation makes a lot of sense:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haley's Comet View Post
All,

Just happened to see this thread forwarded from a friend and just wanted to help out. I don't drive a Bimmer, sadly working at a gas station doesn't afford me the resources, but I think I know what's going on with your vehicles here. As I said, I work at a gas station (Chevron off Federal Hwy just south of Ft. Lauderdale airport) and I can tell you all that all of the gasoline terminals in Port Everglades recently switched to carrying ethanol blended gas. The gas has 10% ethanol and it's metered out by devices designed to shut down if there's a problem with injection into the tanker. The point here is YOU ARE NOT GETTING TOO HIGH ETHANOL unless you're accidentally pumping E85, which I don't think there's much around South Florida. I've seen these types of problems, though, and it's not too high ethanol.

Here's a little background on our conversion to ethanol. Chevron required us to remove water from our gasoline tank prior to the first receipt of ethanol gas. Why was water there? It just develops over time as the gas sheds water when it cools. As long as the water doesn't get dispensed, no one's hurt by it and it just builds up. If we left it when we got our first load of E10, it would cause what's called a phase separation. The water would actually pull the ethanol out of the gas and make a much larger water layer that would be dispensed to our customers. Cars won't run on this stuff, just like you all noticed. However, just as station tanks can develop water over time, so can car tanks. It's not a problem until your first fill up with E10. Your car clunks out, but everyone else who pumped at the site is fine. You had water in your tank and no one else did; simple as that. It's a pain in the ass, because you stall, you have to pay to remove it and sometimes pumps need to be replaced as a result, but that's what we get for Congress forcing ethanol down our throats.

Now you may be asking where did the water in my tank come from? Well, gas holds very little water, but it does hold some. This shouldn't be a problem as it'll just sit in the bottom of your tank and do nothing. If you develop too much water in your tank over time, your first load of E10 will cause a phase separation. For must people, the water in their tank doesn't get that bad, so the E10 actually absorbs it, but for the few unlucky souls who have too much water (more than a cup or so), a phase separation occurs.

I'm not saying you're not right to blame the gas station, but remember that hundreds of other people pumped at the same station the same day you did and didn't have a problem. If you pumped premium, I'm fairly certain the station only has 1 tank, just like us. Everyone who bought premium got the same stuff.

Hope this helps you understand what I think happened. I know it's probably too late now, but if the mechanic still has the fuel from the tank, ask them to pour some out to see if there's water and gas. If so, then my theory's correct.
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      07-25-2008, 07:53 PM   #33
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This came out in The New York Times today:

In Gas-Powered World, Ethanol Stirs Complaints

“We have seen an increase of primarily fuel problems, fuel-related problems — carburetion, fuel lines, fuel pumps,” Mr. O’Connor said, calling it “highly coincidental” that such problems are arising at the same time ethanol was introduced.

"Alcohol has three major properties that can lead to problems, according Mr. Foster: it attracts water; it can evaporate; and it acts as a cleaner. Water that gets into fuel can make an engine hard to start."

"Still, the backlash seems likely to continue. In April, a boater in California filed a class-action suit against nine oil companies, claiming that they had failed to provide warnings about the pitfalls of ethanol. An ethanol blend, the complaint stated, ruined the fiberglass tank on his sport-fishing boat. The suit is pending."

"Many consumers complain that ethanol, which constitutes as much as 10 percent of the fuel they buy in most states, hurts gas mileage and chokes the engines of their boats and motorcycles."

Here is the entire article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/26/bu...yor+FIEbt3gQAw
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      08-26-2008, 08:53 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txnorman View Post
My car is an 08 335 coupe with 4k miles. two weeks ago while driving, it simply kicked over into a limp mode. it was missing and was barely drivable. I took it to the dealer. They told me that I had gotten a bad tank of gas with water in it. They gave me an additive, a list of "top tier" gas stations in the area, and told me to wait until tank was bone dry and then fill up with the top tier gas, including the additive. I did as I was told and the next day, the car did it again. I took it to the dealer again. They kept the car for a week, "stressing" the fuel pump, trying to get it to fail. they were convinced it was not a fuel pump issue. they tested my gas and said it was 20% alcohol. They recommended draining the tank and flushing the fuel system for a cost of $500. I said, "Let me get this straight: you tell me how to fill up, where to fill up, what to add to my gasoline, and now you want to charge me $500 to drain the gas because it was bad????" They quickly changed their tune and said to simply drive the car and refill at a different gas station. This is bullsh!t. I've now gone to two different gas stations with the same problem. If the car won't run on the majority of commercial gas stations available, then it would seem the car is defective. Has anyone had the problem resolve by changing fuel??
I realize I have a 5 series but this forum was recommended to me. I have had the EXACT same issue as you mentioned and the exact same same solution dictated to me. I have contacted the BBB and Attorney General's office as well as spoken to BMW Client relations and the GM of the dealership. BMW NA and my dealer all give me the same regurgitated story and answer. Essentially telling me that I must find a better source of fuel with the appropriate amount of ethanol. I have been in the shop 9 times for this issue. I have done everything in my power to resolve the problem by only using TOP Tier fuel. I even followed the dealers recommendation to use 89 octane to reduce the possibility of higher concentrations of ethanol. I travel through many states only using Shell and Chevron. I even used a non-top tier station near the dealer to fill up and then took it in 5 minutes later. It still ran over 15% ethanol. The misfires and shakes are so bad when driving I feel like the car's engine is going to fall out. It is so frustrating when you do everything you are told from BMW and it doesn't work. It can't just be the fuel due to the fact that I have gotten the fuel from Shell stations in 4 different states and then had the fuel checked with the same result. What to do?
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      08-29-2008, 12:42 PM   #35
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This article came out in the Tampa Bay News I wonder if this is going to create a new set of problems: Ethanol plan scrapped, but biodiesel may replace it.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/busines...icle788854.ece
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      08-30-2008, 10:51 AM   #36
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UPDATE:

So I brought my car back last week and talked to another SA. Not only for the starting issue but also that my sunroof stopped working, while it was open of course.. I explained to him the starting issue Ive had and that Ive heard of many other people with the same problem. I also told him about all the different brands of gas Ive tried since they said this was an ethanol problem last time, but that from what I hear its really a design issue with the high pressure fuel pump, and it seems BMW tends to avoid approving its replacement (maybe due to expense?). Well, he acknowledged that these cars have starting issues, and that outside of an ethanol issue they have found it to be either fuel pumps or actual ignition system problems. He also acknowledged the turbo lag everyone is experiencing due to the latest progman update. I told him I had this done when they installed my ipod kit and it was pretty disappointing to see my "instant power" they advertised was gone. He said there is no word on another software update that will fix this problem, but he did note my file that they will update it for me at no charge if/when a new version is released that addresses this.

I don't have the car back yet, so I'll post again next week.. but they did confirm yesterday that they actually replaced the high pressure fuel pump! I really think this is the issue. I have tried every kind of gas out there, and I don't believe its the ethanol.
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      09-05-2008, 10:32 AM   #37
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No Turbo Lag!!!!!!

Well first of all the new fuel pump fixed the morning starting issue (ridiculously long cranking time). The car turns right over perfectly. But maybe even more exciting than that, as I said in my last post I told my service adviser about the turbo lag problem I had been experiencing since my last progman update. He said they ran a software update, some kind of patch I guess that specifically addresses the turbo lag issue. I thought yea right we'll see.. but I have tested this car out in first gear, rolling start in second, and in third, etc.. its very obvious now that the power kicks in right about at 1400/1500 RPM instead of just over 3k where it was. The turbo lag is GONE!! (well not gone but what it's supposed to be).

I have to go back in today because somehow they didn't put the microphone back in for my bluetooth when they changed my sunroof switch, and now I'm getting a radiator warning light.. go figure. Anyway, I'll find out exactly what the software change was that they made and post it later.

This proves as far as I'm concerned that starting issues we've seen are not an issue with the gas, but rather a known fuel pump fault. It also proves that the turbo lag problem many of us have dealt with can be fixed by your dealer. About time BMW stopped denying it.
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      09-05-2008, 06:41 PM   #38
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Interesting posting KingCobra. Right after I picked up my car from the dealer -- remember it took me over 2 months to get it back because of the ethanol problems-- it started with the morning lag problems again. The dealer told it may just need re-programming to bring it back in. Said and done, it now works like a charm.
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      09-12-2008, 03:28 PM   #39
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this might be a noob asss question but what do u mean ethanol how can u put too much? or is it using regular instead or premium?
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      09-13-2008, 06:59 PM   #40
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All gas stations now have to comply with the 10% ethanol law. If you go to a gas station (at least in Florida it's the law) you will see a sticker that says "Contains up to 10% ethanol".

Some gas stations, have been diluting the gasoline -- by increasing the ethanol content -- in order to make a higher profit margin. The main culprit seems to be BP Amoco.

BMW suggests we use Top Tier Gasoline, you can find the list of gasoline retailers in this link http://www.toptiergas.com/retailers.html. I wish BMW had been more proactive in informing BMW owners about the top tier gas and/or the problems with ethanol (it cost me over $4,000 and 2 months without a car).

Hope this answers your question
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      09-14-2008, 11:58 PM   #41
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Since having my HPFP replaced I have had no starting issues. The car even feels like it runs much better. I also have used BP now without a problem. Just too bad I had to do a two month experiment going to all different gas stations so I could prove to BMW it wasn't just the gas.
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      09-18-2008, 11:09 PM   #42
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BMW and Ethanol

All, the ethanol content is a red herring. The problem is that the 3 and 5 series bmw's with dual fuel injectors can't handle even 10% ethanol. Anyone buying fuel from a name brand station is getting no more than 10% ethanol, for sure. Its tested carefully and regularly. The bmw's have a problem with their fuel system and they're just using the alcohol level fuel test kit as a ruse to disallow warranty protection. Its a defect they're trying to hide!

My 535xi dropped stone cold dead at 8000 after filling up at ExxonMobil. The dealer said "bad gas" after the test, but ExxonMobil carefully tested their fuel and its not more than 10% ethanol - a required additive in NY. If bmw can't make a car that can handle that blend, they shouldn't be selling it in NY - certainly not without a very, very clear warning, like: caution, your car will die if you fill it up with gas in this state!

If your dealer has disallowed warranty coverage of a fuel system problem and told you its because you've got bad gas, drop me an email at jvsmagic@optonline.net. I'm going to contact an attorney who will look into a class action to force bmw to address this defect.
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      09-25-2008, 08:50 PM   #43
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jvsmagic...did you get any feedback regarding the warranty coverage?
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