By on September 14, 2011



Sajeev writes:

I received a brief but telling email from Mr. Hussam Adeni about a previous Piston Slap. The attachments he sent were an eye opener for someone as chemically challenged (so to speak) as yours truly. As you can see from the man’s resume, this won’t be a discussion for the faint of heart.  But let me try anyway, it is a great read if you can channel your inner geek long enough in this age of twitter and rapid fire auto-tuned pop sensations.

The attached PowerPoint deck shows 5 major changes that influenced our environment.  And while not all of them changed our gasoline-powered world, this shows how Euro standards and Kyoto Protocols changed our global landscape.  I honestly don’t have the time (nor the sociopolitical background) to properly comment to their relevance to us Yankees. So, on to the next attachment.

Check out the PDF.  For our International readership, the reduction in sulfur is a valid concern for your fuel system, and maybe the portion of an engine’s valve train that’s kissed by fuel on a regular basis.  I know this is a problem for stateside motorists with older diesel-powered machinery: the low sulfur fuel does require an additive for older oil-burners to properly function over the course of years. While I am not certain how this impacts gasoline vehicles in the USA, the conclusion looks valid for the world in general:

“Unlike before, it has now become necessary to dose ‘after treatment additives’ to engines.”

So the implications of low sulfur fuels is real.  They have less of the desirable properties seen in older, sulfur rich, fuels.  Which begs the question, should you use a fuel additive?  My guess is twofold: if you have a “keeper” of a vehicle for the next decade or more, yes. Not at every fill up and not if you use a gasoline that’s guaranteed to replenish what was lost from the sulfur. How’s that for an answer that doesn’t answer your concerns?

If this is a short term love, then no way.  Which makes this much easier for a large number of our readership. Off to you, best and brightest.

Implications of ULSD or low sulphur regime [PDF]

Environment: Major changes in Fuel Lubes [PPS]


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19 Comments on “Super Piston Slap: Fuelish Thought on Additives, Part II...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Thanks for the info, Mr. Mehta. I’ll have to save this info somewhere and start using the advice in my F150 that I plan to use as long as they’ll sell me fuel for it.

  • avatar

    No one ever considered changes to fuel when cars were designed and built. I’ll tell my grandchildren what it was like to drive a car powered by gasoline someday.

  • avatar

    Some of this is a bit FUDish. Yeah, the Kyoto Protocols want this and that but Bush never signed them, the world has been very slow to implement most of them and it looks like the science has drifted away from their original conclusions.

    Even though the harsh standards will get incorporated eventually, it won’t be by fiat (not FIAT) or by force. All auto manufacturers will have to sign off it and they’ll never allow anything that will put them on the hook for engine failures. Look at the ethanol fiasco. Nothing was allowed until the domestics had converted their fleet to Flex Fuel and even then had the spec watered down to the point where it wouldn’t make a difference for the current generation fleet. They still put up blocks to prevent the more aggressive standard from being implemented.

    The current “low sulphur” diesel in N/A is 500 ppm. There are a few 30 ppm sites but most of the fleets are not able to take advantage of that yet. It’s one reason VW’s TDI series is so far back of the Eurospec versions. It’s also why, to meet the Bin IV standard set out in CA the euro makers went with the pissy additive for the Bluetec tech instead of forcing 15 ppm at all diesel pumps with the attendant reduction in emissions.

    • 0 avatar

      As of 2007 all on road diesel sold in the US is of ultra low sulfur which must have less than 15 ppm – this is required because sulfur contaminates many after-treatment systems

  • avatar

    It doesn’t beg the question, it raises the question.


  • avatar

    I suppose we can always revert to charcoal-burning engines! Lots of sulfur, that.

  • avatar
    Anonymous Coward

    Those of us with Nikasil lined engines are very, very happy with low sulfur gas.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    This does not look like peer-reviewed analysis or even to be from any recognized credible source.

    Welcome to the internet age, where anyone can be an expert, or at least sound like one.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you Google this guy? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because I have been using Marvel’s Mystery Oil forever, and it works for me. Others use Seafoam.

      Maybe ‘dosing’ my gas and engine oil was the right thing to do long before this guy published his work on ttac. In any case, common sense would dictate that if you make the oil slipperier the parts will slide better past one another.

      And if you dose the fuel with a detergent or light oil you should enjoy less build-up of crud on all the parts that the fuel comes in contact with.

      I think I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing for decades.

  • avatar

    NOTE: I presented this person’s work for a few reasons:

    1. To give a well presented analysis and a conclusion (that differs from my previous Piston Slap) the benefit of the doubt.

    2. To give said conclusion the oxygen of publicity.

    3. To let the B&B have something to talk about other than the usual stuff we discuss.

  • avatar

    Sajeev – thanks for posing an interesting topic. As discomforting as it might be to those of us who have grown up with the aroma of burned (or unburned) gasoline as a pervasive agent, it’s apparent that change is in the wind. Whether we’ve hit “peak oil” or not, the exploration methods are becoming more expensive and will change the way that the IC engine is used. As we try the application of new and more stringent standards, the nature of using personal vehicles, even mass-transit vehicles, is changing significantly. Sometimes this is for the better, as modern direct injection engines are capable of far greater efficiency than the carbuereted engines of yore, and sometimes we’ll end up with undesirable side effects which may include more rapid wear of specific components.

    It’s worth remembering that the London of the late 19th century was so polluted by the use of coal that there were days that people were warned to stay inside. Changes arose out of the public health concerns and London’s air is far cleaner today than it was a century ago; Los Angeles has undergone a similar change over the last 50 years. Even if Mr. Adeni is trying to sell fuel additives, the information you’ve presented is representative of the problems we’re facing in attempting to promote a more healthy environment.

  • avatar

    One thing he doesn’t mention is the reason for sulphur reduction: it poisons precious-metal catalysts. If you want to reduce NOx and tailpipe hydrocarbons, you need lower sulphur fuel. There is a lot of work going into improved surface finishes and treatments for friction components to compensate the lower lubricity, e.g. ceramic coatings, micropolishing, etc.

    So yeah, reduced sulphur does present some problems, but there are virtues that this doesn’t mention and novel concepts to offset the negatives. Sometimes excessive regulation begets great innovation. For me, that’s what makes this business fun.

  • avatar


    I don’t think you would be quite as sanguine if your engine was damaged due to lower lubricity. You probably couldn’t prove it but you’d still be out the repair bill. I’d be comfortable with a car whose manufacturer states that the engine is designed for fuels meeting these standards. But with current cars’ longevity, it seems there will be a period of years where owners of older cars might want to review the arguments for and against additives. Unfortunately, the back and forth are enough to cross a rabbi’s eyes.

  • avatar

    So here’s a real question for the B&B. If there is a need for such additives, which additives will provide both the cleaning (I’m guessing: all) and the greater lubrication properties? I’m pretty sure the base STP injector cleaner for $1 does the first job, but have doubts about the second.

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