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Old 12-26-2018, 03:35 PM   #81
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Mercedes forbids the use of any fuel additives except for anti-jel (which is in any event the correct additive for winter no-start issues).

My Sprinter has never failed to start even in reasonably extreme cold.
MB may forbid it, but lots of people use it, including myself with no detrimental effects either on the engine or the warranty. As to your Sprinter not failing to start in extreme cold, it's entirely dependent on your local fuel.

However, if I fuel up in south Florida and drive to Atlanta or even further north in the winter, I have no guarantee that it will start in the morning after a cold night. Ergo, Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement +Cetane Boost goes in my fuel tank; and I, too, have never failed to start.
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Old 12-26-2018, 03:45 PM   #82
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MB may forbid it, but lots of people use it, including myself with no detrimental effects either on the engine or the warranty.
That may be true (although it certainly WOULD affect your warranty if MB were able to prove that it caused a problem). However, why would you use a proscribed additive when ANY anti-gel (which is permitted) will do the same thing?
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Old 12-26-2018, 03:55 PM   #83
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However, why would you use a proscribed additive when ANY anti-gel (which is permitted) will do the same thing?
I use what works and is readily available. Ymmv.
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Old 12-26-2018, 06:19 PM   #84
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We decided go with a gasoline van to convert for a number of reasons.

1) Over the last 20 years gasoline engine efficiency has been steady rising while diesels have lost mileage due to increased emissions standards. I have seen this first hand on my 2002 and 2008 Duramax diesel pickups. New DEF systems have helped but at the cost of increased complexity.

2) Repair costs of diesel engines are exponentially higher than gasoline engines. Some gasoline engines can be entirely replaced for the cost of some repairs on a diesel engine (injectors,injection pump,DPF DEF system).

4) Typically maintenance costs are lower on gasoline vans. Particularity when comparing US domestic manufacturers to Mercedes Benz.

5) Service life is similar.

6) Reduced purchase price, particularly in the used market. Comparable gasoline vans are 15% to 40% of the cost of a diesel van in our area (North East).

#6 I think the higher "used" (aka resale) value is usually considered one of the advantages of a diesel. A high mileage gas RV is going to be worth a lot less than a diesel with similar mileage. For most commercial RV's the majority of the cost/resale value is in the RV amenities but those aren't worth much once the vehicle wears out. That may be less of an issue with your own conversion where most of the resale value is in the vehicle anyway.

#5 As the difference in resale value attests, diesel's are usually considered to have a much longer service life. But if you don't intend to drive it a lot, then the RV components may wear out long before the gas engine does. And if you intend to drive it for a couple years and then sell, the difference in mileage may not make a huge difference. But if you intend to put a lot of miles on the RV over the next decade, the diesel is more likely to hold up.

#2/4 There are mixed reviews on overall maintenance costs, with oil changes defining the difference - diesels use more oil/less often. My understanding is that diesels cost more to fix, but they don't break down as often. But that is for the life of the vehicle. If you are buying new, then you probably will not have problems with either one, but when you do the diesel is likely to cost a lot more to fix. One way to look at this is that for say the first 5 years/100000 miles gas has the advantage, after that diesel does.

#1 Give the current difference in cost of fuel, I don't think it matters much. But the range of most diesels is a lot greater. If you are driving across Montana in the middle of the night, that can be a real comfort.
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Old 12-28-2018, 08:33 PM   #85
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As for diesel destroying the environment, do a little research on bio-diesel and the palm oil plantations deforesting the rain forests. Not to mention what orangutans think of it. Thanks, nancy.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:12 PM   #86
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Not necessarily a bad business decision at all. Sprinters are wonderful vehicles in many ways. In the right situations, they are a great choice. (For example, fleet owners have repair options that are not available to typical RV'ers). It is just that the diesel DEF issues present a huge challenge for recreational use that many find nearly fatal.
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As for diesel destroying the environment, do a little research on bio-diesel and the palm oil plantations deforesting the rain forests. Not to mention what orangutans think of it. Thanks, nancy.
I read about the palm oil plantations. Another example of an unintended adverse consequence of what had been intended to be a policy helpful to the environment.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:56 PM   #87
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My understanding is that using b20 very often probably means you will need to change the oil more often. One main problem apparently is water and it can collect in the oil. I live in Minnesota, so I have no alternative to using b20.
My 2011 Mercedes-Benz manual says only to use greater than B5 only for "Emergency".
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:47 PM   #88
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I read about the palm oil plantations. Another example of an unintended adverse consequence of what had been intended to be a policy helpful to the environment.
Not to be cynical or anything, but I don't think that the biodiesel mandate has ever had anything to with the environment. It appears to be a pure subsidy to Big Agra.
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:00 AM   #89
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Not to be cynical or anything, but I don't think that the biodiesel mandate has ever had anything to with the environment. It appears to be a pure subsidy to Big Agra.
Agreed, along with the Ethanol Mandate in gasoline.
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:37 PM   #90
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http://www.pbase.com/flydutch/image/168604583/large.jpg
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:09 PM   #91
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If that cartoon is supposed to suggest that we need to clean up our power plants, than count me in.

But, if (as I suspect) it is intended as some kind of jab on EVs, I think it is ridiculous. Nobody thinks that EVs alone are "green". But they are a necessary part of the recipe. If we don't get burning hydrocarbons out of the mobile part of the system, we are screwed forever. Are we supposed to not work on one part of the problem until all of the other parts are fixed? This is just cheap rhetoric.

And let's not go off on the environmental impact of mining lithium and rare earth elements. Those are one-time costs--the materials will be recycled forever.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:50 PM   #92
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Love the cartoon. Picture is worth a thousand words.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:13 AM   #93
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The recipe to get to significant carbon reductions is to move the electric grid to renewables and cleaner sources or natural gas in the shorter term. Then to move as much of the transportation sector where it makes sense like for many commuters. The keep the Dino fuels for really important uses like RVing...
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:20 AM   #94
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Then keep the Dino fuels for really important uses like RVing...

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Old 01-07-2019, 01:41 AM   #95
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The problem with electric cars, as the cartoon indicates, is that in thse short run they are simply shifting the carbon emissions to coal and natural gas. The inefficiencies in the electric grid actually increase carbon emissions. What the early adopters may be doing is keeping aging coal plants operating longer to provide the power needed for their electric cars. I am not sure that contributes to the solution. Especially, when those same people could invest their money in hybrids and other high efficiency vehicles or reduce the miles they drive by using transit, riding a bike or walking.

Tesla, in particular, is selling high performance sports cars that are being driven as much for recreation as transportation. To the extent people think they are helping the environment or fighting global warming they are mostly deluding themselves.

As for RV's, autonomous driving technology is going to revolutionize the RV community. My guess is that will be paired with a shift to electric power, but lets hope we aren't still burning coal to provide that power.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:10 AM   #96
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The problem with electric cars, as the cartoon indicates, is that in thse short run they are simply shifting the carbon emissions to coal and natural gas. The inefficiencies in the electric grid actually increase carbon emissions. What the early adopters may be doing is keeping aging coal plants operating longer to provide the power needed for their electric cars. I am not sure that contributes to the solution. Especially, when those same people could invest their money in hybrids and other high efficiency vehicles or reduce the miles they drive by using transit, riding a bike or walking.
If it weren't for your inclusion of the phrase "in the short run", all of the above would be nonsense. It isn't that your facts are wrong, but the conclusion makes no sense at all. Under the best of circumstances, it is going to take years and years to get people weaned from fossil fuels in their vehicles and to build out the requisite alternative infrastructure. OF COURSE if you charge your EV with coal, you are not cutting your carbon footprint. No-one ever says otherwise. But, the point is a complete red herring. You are contributing to the solution by helping to fill in necessary (but not sufficient) parts of the picture of a sustainable future.

Are we supposed to wait until all energy is "clean" before we start working on the problem of getting it from the grid to the vehicle? That is crazy talk.

Note, BTW, that Tesla is a solar energy company as well as an electric power company.

I am sorry for being snarky, but I hear these claims over and over, and they really are just nonsense, as far as I can see. I see that cartoon over and over again. It is completely specious.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:15 AM   #97
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"Under the best of circumstances, it is going to take years and years to get people weaned from fossil fuels in their vehicles"

And current electric cars will lengthen that process if their demand for electricity keeps coal plants operating that otherwise would have been shut down. Solar and wind are already cheaper than a new coal plant and close to the same price as natural gas. But new renewables aren't necessarily going to replace any of those if they are needed just to meet growing demand.

Which brings up the real issue. We aren't going to "wean" people off fossil fuels simply by replacing them with something else. People are going to have to change their behavior.

"Are we supposed to wait until all energy is "clean" before we start working on the problem of getting it from the grid to the vehicle? That is crazy talk."

I don't think getting it from the grid to the vehicle is even an issue. Its an issue now only because electric vehicles are exotic. I don't buy the idea that current electric vehicles will have much of a role at all in how that ultimately occurs.

" OF COURSE if you charge your EV with coal, you are not cutting your carbon footprint. No-one ever says otherwise."

And OF COURSE, no one denies that if you charge your EV using solar panels you would be cutting your carbon footprint.

The problem is that there is almost no one who isn't charging their EV with coal and almost no one who is charging their EV exclusively with solar panels. I have an all electric Etrek with solar panels on the roof. But lets face it, most of my power is coming from burning diesel. And if I switched my diesel heat and hot water to electricity, it would just be a lot less efficient diesel. That's the current state of electric cars.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:22 AM   #98
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Here in the Pacific northwest, about 40% of our electricity comes from hydro. The rest is a combination of coal, nuclear, natural gas, and wind (wind is only about 10 percent).
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:51 PM   #99
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@Bill -

That is sort of the point. If everyone drove electric cars, where would the power come from? It wouldn't be from more hydro - at least not if you want to preserve wild salmon. And Boardman and the other coal plants would have to stay in production for a lot longer even as solar and wind are built out.

I think its foolish and self-defeating to start shifting our entire transportation system to electricity while we are still using fossil fuels to produce electricity. If you are talking about long term mass transit investments that is a different issue. But electric cars assume we will be able to sustain the current level of dependence on personal automobiles for transportation while stopping global warming. I am not sure that is realistic.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:30 PM   #100
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I think its foolish and self-defeating to start shifting our entire transportation system to electricity while we are still using fossil fuels to produce electricity.

If you are talking about long term mass transit investments that is a different issue. But electric cars assume we will be able to sustain the current level of dependence on personal automobiles for transportation while stopping global warming. I am not sure that is realistic.
So, you aren't really anti-EV, you are anti-car. That is not an unreasonable position--promoting mass-transit is a fine cause.

But it doesn't help your cause to make illogical arguments concerning the competition. Saying that it is foolish to build out an EV infrastructure until we can power it cleanly is simply disingenuous. It is exactly like arguing that we shouldn't build out mass-transit systems because they would be powered by coal (which is equally true "in the short run"). Yes, I know that mass transit is more efficient than individual transit, but if we stipulate the eventual goal of 100% renewables, energy efficiency simply doesn't matter. So, the choice between EVs and mass-transit will be decided on other grounds. You may be right that zero-carbon is somehow technologically incompatible with personal vehicles, but you have so far offered no evidence to support this claim.

I repeat: Being anti-personal transportation is an intellectually-honest position. A discussion that directly addresses this choice would be an interesting one. But just saying "I am not sure that is realistic" isn't going to persuade anyone. Neither are non-sensical arguments about not working on EVs until they are end-to-end green.
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