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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 11-25-2009, 09:26 PM
jaldeborgh jaldeborgh is offline
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How Do You End Up With 22% Alcohol In The Gas Tank?

My daughter came to me the other day and told me her car was suddenly feeling rough. I took it for a quick test drive and it seemed OK but just in case I took it into the dealer. They tested the gas and found 22% alcohol in the gas. Wow. They told me they also saw a fault for low octane and misfiring. This is what prompted them to test the gas.

I am amazed - has anyone ever had this happen?

I checked with my daughter and she claims she only buys gas at "name brand" stations and always buys premium.

The fix according to the dealer is run the tank real low then add a can of Techron gas additive and fill with premium from a trusted (different) station.

BTW - while the X3 was in the shop they did the passengers seat air bag sensor replacement (recall) - this took them more than a day - I don't think they had the part in stock - wow again.
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2007 X3 3.0si - Wife's Car
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2009, 10:03 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaldeborgh View Post
... BTW - while the X3 was in the shop they did the passengers seat air bag sensor replacement (recall) - this took them more than a day - I don't think they had the part in stock - wow again.
I think that is the nature of the recall - the dealer is required to first to "rework" the position of the existing sensor, and then test its operation.

If it doesn't pass the test, they are then authorised to replace the sensor.

Things then get fuzzy - some owners have reported that they received a new leather/ette seat base covering with a pre-installed sensor.

If that is the case - you could see that the dealers would not be likely to keep all trim colors on hand,
especially as recall work is not a profit center.

In my case, it appears just the sensor was replaced, and still seemed to require ordering in.

So, not the usual remove and replace operation, and maybe not the most popular assignment for technicians,
who would rather be exercising their talents on more demanding mechanical challenges.

I can visualize it as a low priority, background task - with other (better paying) rush jobs taking precedence.
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2009, 02:22 PM
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sna77 sna77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaldeborgh View Post

I checked with my daughter and she claims she only buys gas at "name brand" stations and always buys premium.
That sounds phishy... Your daughter a hs or college student? Beer is expensive!

Isn't the ethanol percentage in Mass higher than most states?
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2009, 02:54 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Originally Posted by sna77 View Post
Beer is expensive!
Yeah, so I don't think she would have bought beer and put it in gas tank Seriously, 22% Alcohol??!! We just need some soda and ice.
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  #5  
Old 11-27-2009, 06:08 AM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
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Gasoline here is supposed to be "UP TO" 10% ethanol. But I am told it is routinely a bit higher than that.

Signs on the gas pumps used to say "up to 10% ethanol content". However, I have recently noticed the pumps no longer make reference to the 10% limit.

Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, so.............

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  #6  
Old 11-27-2009, 06:29 AM
todd92 todd92 is offline
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The only state the currently allows more than 10% ethanol is MN, which allows 20%. There is federal legislation being debated right now that will raise the limit to between 11% and 15%. Your car would have run OK on 22%, though the only way to get that much in there would have been to put some E85 in by mistake. You would not get a low octane warning from more ethanol, since ethanol is 110 octane. Sounds more like some water to me.
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2009, 10:22 PM
jaldeborgh jaldeborgh is offline
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She has since filled the car with fresh fuel and it seems to be running fine. Is there any way that alcohol can accumulate or is it possible the dealer somehow measured the content incorrectly. How do they make the measurement?
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2007 X3 3.0si - Wife's Car
2004 X3 2.5i - Daughter's Car
2003 K1200RS - Dad's Toy
2001 750 iL - Retired by me in 2005 - Great Car but wanted AWD
1995 750 iL - Retired by me in 2002 - Great Car
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2009, 10:40 PM
Ryan M Ryan M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaldeborgh View Post
She has since filled the car with fresh fuel and it seems to be running fine. Is there any way that alcohol can accumulate or is it possible the dealer somehow measured the content incorrectly. How do they make the measurement?
They make the measurement in a graduated cylinder and shake. Then let it sit for a specified time and check the separation against a chart.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2009, 04:42 AM
todd92 todd92 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
They make the measurement in a graduated cylinder and shake. Then let it sit for a specified time and check the separation against a chart.
No.

Ethanol and gasoline don't separate when you let the mixture sit. If they did there would be a big problem at gas stations. There are a few different lab tests to to determine the ethanol percentage, a dealer would not be equipped to perform any of them. I would stay away from that dealers service department, if possible, they are clueless.

Again, it seems to me you got a bit of water in there. Water can cause the ethanol to separate out from the gasoline. Since you refilled and all is fine, don't worry about it.
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