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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-27-2011, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Gas Type

Hey guys,
i am wondering about gas type and if different octanes make a difference in engine performance, keeping the engine clean and mpg.
in MI, all the gasses have 10% ethanol and i usually put in 87 because it is the cheapest there... in NE, the 87 has no ethanol and the 89 has 10% but is cheaper than the 87...
my car was made in michigan so im wondering if the car runs best off of the 87 with 10% ethanol, or would the higher octane 89 10% eth make it run best?
or does putting 87 without ethanol make any difference at all?

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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 04:27 AM
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Re: Gas Type

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Originally Posted by Misuraca26 View Post
Hey guys,
i am wondering about gas type and if different octanes make a difference in engine performance, keeping the engine clean and mpg.
in MI, all the gasses have 10% ethanol and i usually put in 87 because it is the cheapest there... in NE, the 87 has no ethanol and the 89 has 10% but is cheaper than the 87...
my car was made in michigan so im wondering if the car runs best off of the 87 with 10% ethanol, or would the higher octane 89 10% eth make it run best?
or does putting 87 without ethanol make any difference at all?
The only way to tell for sure is to run about 10 tanks sequentially of each time through the car, keeping a track of the total gas and mileage over the ten tanks.

HOWEVER - as a general rule, 10% ethanol drops your gas mileage by about 8 to 9% because, strangely enough, ethanol is NOT a fuel, but an oxidizer. On both my Malibu and the Cougar, it's good for 10% extra to go No-Ethanol in my cars.

The OTHER thing is, how well the car runs on 87 octane. Both of mine are happy on it, but technically the Cougar is supposed to require 89 octane (I might have to shift to 89 octane this summer - now that the O2s are replaced and it's running closer to no-longer-rich.)

RwP

335K miles on original motor and tranny (only motor work 2 x LIM replacement), Monroe SensaTrac struts front and back (new at approx. 300K miles), and Alero discs in back. LS fogs added with custom wiring. HID high beams, HIR low and halogen fogs. Raybestos Pro Grade front rotors and Bendix D747 ceramic pads on front.

Addendum: Rest in peace. Surge tank blew, motor overheated, I think she's lived a long and useful life.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 03:32 PM
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Re: Gas Type

You have a 3.6 according to your sig. You should be running mid grade as per the owners manual. Regular will pull timing and you will lose some power. The timing is octane, not ethanol based.

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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 06:31 PM
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Re: Gas Type

I run 86 octane and don't seem to notice any performance difference when I use mid or premium grades. I might get an extra mile or two per gallon increase in economy from the Premium. All the gas out here now has 10% ETOH so that does hurt the economy a little more. I am getting on average 25-28 mpg depending on mix of city to hwy driving.


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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 07:45 PM
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Re: Gas Type

I have the 3.6L V6.. I always use octane 89 or 93.

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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 08:35 PM
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Re: Gas Type

I try to stay away from ethanol in the fuel. It gets worse mileage and is corrosive.

I found on both my V6's that 87 runs worse (performance and mileage) than 89, and 91 or higher doesn't seem to yield better mileage or extra horsies under the hood.

I almost always use top-tier gasolines instead of Thornton or Kroger or Mom-n-Pop. Costs a little more now but I get slightly better mileage and a cleaner engine, so it pays down the road.


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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 11:00 PM
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Re: Gas Type

I've always ran 87 octane with no issues. I'll give the higher octane a try sometime and see if I can tell a difference with my V6?


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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 01:08 AM
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Re: Gas Type

I've run four different octanes in my car. I've run 87, 89, 91, and 93. I noticed a big difference between 87 and 89. The difference between 89 and 91 was not very big. I do notice a big difference in the use of 93, which is what I use in my car from Shell. My previous I used the octane of gas that gave the best overall performance and efficiency. This time around my LE5 seems to like 93 so she gets what she wants. No clue what previous owner put in her before me.

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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 04:27 AM
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Re: Gas Type

I haven't found 93 yet. If I do I'll see about going through a few tanks of that to see how it goes. Great idea! Thanks.


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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 06:33 AM
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Re: Gas Type

What I'm about to type may have absolutely zero relevance to the Malibu ECM programming, but it's something worth considering.

Back when the emissions stuff was just getting started good. Chrysler did something called "LeanBurn" (and GM did also, but I forget what they called it - the '82 Skylark we drove for a while with the V6 did this also!) where it would keep leaning out the motor and advancing the spark until it started to ping or knock, then it would enrich the mix and retard the spark.

With that, the higher the octane, the better the gas mileage.

My 2000 has a knock sensor - don't know what all it does for the car in programming the ECM, however, so take this with a LARGE bag of salt

But that would explain how a higher octane gas gives better gas mileage. Since the octane has NO effect on gas mileage past the knock resistance - and with higher octane, you can run leaner and with more spark advance, both of which help gas mileage.

It'd be nice if someone who knows how the ECM is programmed (i.e., a tuner) could say if I'm right, or if I'm just blowing smoke up here ...

Again, I have NO idea if this is applicable to the current Malibus or not. This used to be done by GM and Chrysler, though, so ...

RwP

335K miles on original motor and tranny (only motor work 2 x LIM replacement), Monroe SensaTrac struts front and back (new at approx. 300K miles), and Alero discs in back. LS fogs added with custom wiring. HID high beams, HIR low and halogen fogs. Raybestos Pro Grade front rotors and Bendix D747 ceramic pads on front.

Addendum: Rest in peace. Surge tank blew, motor overheated, I think she's lived a long and useful life.
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