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I recently read an item in an article stating that Ford claims the Ecoboost gets an increase of 20 horsepower and a 10 lb.-ft. gain in torque, along with an increase in MPG, when using premium fuel. I haven't tried this yet, but I think I'll give it a shot and see what happens. Has anyone tried this and/or know it to be true?
 

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I tried one fill up with premium and saw no difference in performance or MPG...
 

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I agree with the guys above ... unless you are experiencing knocking (towing uphill in hot weather is when it is most prone) OR if you have reprogrammed the PCM to take advantage of the increased octane ... you are wasting your money. I reprogrammed older OBD1 ECMs over 10 years ago, and I got a great insight what the automotive computer does ... even on an older OBD1 system.

When you reprogram your PCM to use the extra octane, there is a definite power advantage. Typcially, the tuners increase the ignition timing, add extra boost (with turbo vehicles) and get the fuel mixture closer to the optimum AF Ratio for WOT.

Also, if you are experiencing detonation (without any reprogramming), the PCM retards the timing to eliminate the detonation which will cause you to lose power over your stock programming. Then the extra octane will "maintain" your stock power ... but it want increase your power above stock. One interesting fact, most engines have a knock sensor which the PCM picks up way before you ever here it. So, even if you don't hear any detonation, the PCM could be retarding your timing and stealing power. So on heavy loads (like towing in hills and during high ambient air temperature) you may wish to go up a grade and see if your throttle response improves.

Unfortunatley, "seat of the pants dyno testing" is highly inaccurate and subjective. You really need some form of a scanner (like the Edge) or a Tuner like SCT Livewire so you can monitor your various sensors ... especially the knock sensor ... or timing (if the scan tool doesn't show the knock sensor).


Hope this helps.
 

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I agree 100% with Grim. Unless you specifically tune the truck to run on the added octane fuel there is absolutely zero net gain. Because this truck comes tuned from the factory to run on 87 octane. The truck doesn't know and cannot sense what octane fuel you put in the tank. When you get into tuning at WOT with air fuel ratios etc.

I was running 18 lbs of boost on my Dayton's on 87 octane gas with no knocking and detonation. That is 6 lbs higher than their stock 12 lbs.
 

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Thanks for the good information! Here's a link to the article I read – check out the seventh paragraph. I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks about this. Ford vs. GM: Twin-Turbo Showdown - PickupTrucks.com News
If you re-read it again, it says "Cadillac says premium is required" ... this tells me that it is an engine designed to use premium but can use regular (due it's knock-sensor algorythms in it's PCM). Instead of an engine designed for regular and using premium (which is a waste of money as the PCM is not setup to use the premium). There is a difference.

AND, if the engine/programming is designed specifically to run ONLY premium, then it will have an even higher output.

Your BIGGEST performance gain will always be by having the computer re-programmed to specifically take advantages of the higher octane of premium. That is why many of the after-market tuners for the Ecoboost, give you a number of canned programs, designed for 87, 91 or 93 octane...and higher HP output for each program. BUT, you must SELECT the program for the grade of gas you are using ... NOT "one program and put the grade you feel like". Doesn't work that way.

As said above, the engine cannot detect octane ... it can only tell if the engine has detonation occuring. AND, the manufacturers do NOT want detonation to occur, as it only leads to warranty claims. They would rather the engine put out 5-10% HP less and be warranty claim free ... than give the consumer an extra 5-10% HP and have a bunch of warranty claims.

The people that get the "custom tunes" are either deciding to use a higher grade of gasoline (and willing to pay the price) or accept a "tighter program" for 87 Octane. BUT, in all cases, are aware there is always a risk of detonation which may mean they could be paying to fix their engine out of their own pocket should the re-programming be the cause of the problem ... and detonation on a reprogrammed PCM, the manufacgture can probably make a good argument, even with their greenest lawyer they just hired.
 
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I'm going to play the devil's advocate here. Many modern vehicle ECM's can adjust ignition timing to provide optimum performance and can provide slightly more power with premium fuel. Some manufactures provide diferent HP ratings based on fuel used, including 87 or 91 octane.
 
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ECU's are programmed to mrun on all octanes. That being said there is only very small changes that are made and other than towing you should really see no difference. It may burn just a touch cleaner but that would be about all. I read on some web site about a year ago an automotive engineer stated almost 85% of all vehicles made in america would run just fine on the lower octane gas. The biggest issue to current engines is the 10% eth that is todays gas. This can cause more damage then anything else with gas. I try to treat every fifth fill up.
 

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Per owner manual:
3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine
Your vehicle is designed to run on regular fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher. For best overall performance, premium fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended. The performance gained by using premium fuel will be most noticeable in hot weather or in severe duty applications such as towing a trailer.
 

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Per owner manual:
3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine
Your vehicle is designed to run on regular fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher. For best overall performance, premium fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended. The performance gained by using premium fuel will be most noticeable in hot weather or in severe duty applications such as towing a trailer.

In otherwords, using a higher grade will reduce tendencies to detonation under extreme situations; such as towing heavy loads and/or high air temperatures and uphill driving - that is when detonation is most likely to occur. Once detonation occurs, you are LOSING POWER. The higher octane only stops the detonation and restores power to it's normal level ... not increase it.

There is no extra energy in higher octane gas. A higher octane gas burns slower and is less prone to detonation. Nothing else. It contains no extra BTUs.

Your engine MUST be setup to take advantage of the extra octane (more boost or extra timing) and it is the extra boost and extra timing that is giving more power. Without that, you will not get any extra power by using a higher grade of gas (unless you are already experiencing detonation ... and the PCM is pulling timing out).

If anyone doubts this, there is a simple and effective test. Take your bone stock Ecoboost and do a dyno run when your tank is almost empty, and a little 87 and do a dyno run. Then fill up with 93 (better yet, ask for Race Gas 110 Octane) and do another dyno run. And then compare the two runs corrected for air temp and humidity.
 

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The big thing to worry about is poor quality fuel. I go to either a Shell or Chevron station that stays busy so you know new fuel is being pumped into the station tanks often. My 2 cents
 

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Of course I am only talking about big, name National oil companies...and I prefer Chevron.

I will say this, when a PCM pulls timing out due to detonation (or pending detonation as most PCMs will begin pulling it out before we ever hear it), the loss of power is extremely noticeable. The PCM overreacts and is attempting to stop your engine from blowing a hole in your piston. So the timing pulled (and probably loss in boost pressure) will cause a dramatic drop in performance.

I have thought the people who complained they experienced a sudden loss power were probably experiencing the start of detonation, (a poorly functioning Intercooler could be the instigator) and to save the motor, the PCM cut the timing and boost ... probably causing a sudden loss of 25-50 HP.

And THAT is why Ford is recommending in heavy towing, high temperature and severe mountainous driving, that it is probably a good idea to use a higher grade of gas...to avoid a sudden loss in power due to detonation, probably when you are passing someone (and the PCM trying to save your motor).
 
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Tier three gas is one of the best ways to be safe. You can see which gas is rated as tier three. I agree if you put the engine under stress higher octane is a little better but under normal driving lower octane will be just fine.
 

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The 3.5L ecoboost is a 91 octane engine that can retard timing enough to run 87. Is is set up for it.
Actually any modern day engine is able to run on the various octanes offered. However, some engines (Hemi for example) will not perform at it's peak unless you run premium fuel as Dodge tells you in the manual. Now there is absolutely no reason to run premium fuel in the eco boost engine unless you want (improved? what even that may mean) performance or you are towing a heavy load. If your not putting the motor under stress there is no reason to run premium. So saying it is a premium octane motor is a misnomer. This engine can run any octane just fine as long as it is not E85. The real worry is running 10%ETH and not ever treating the motor for excess mosture.
 

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Octane ratings: Difference Engine: Who needs premium? | The Economist

On the face of it, then, a motorist would seem ill-advised to use regular petrol in a car with a high-compression engine. That was certainly the case in the past. But cars today have sensors that listen carefully for the knocking sound, and instantly retard the ignition system when they detect that detonation is about to happen.

The delay in delivering the retarded spark allows the piston to start moving downward on its expansion stroke before the ignition actually occurs. That provides additional room in the cylinder head for the gases to expand and thereby reduce their damaging peak pressure—and so burn in a more controlled manner.

To sum up, if the car’s handbook says that premium petrol is “recommended” (rather than insisting it is “required”), then the engine will automatically adjust itself to run smoothly on a lower octane fuel. Because of the retarded ignition, the engine will, of course, produce less power, and have slightly higher fuel consumption. But the poorer fuel economy is likely to be outweighed by the savings at the pump.



They said it better than me.
 
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Octane ratings: Difference Engine: Who needs premium? | The Economist

On the face of it, then, a motorist would seem ill-advised to use regular petrol in a car with a high-compression engine. That was certainly the case in the past. But cars today have sensors that listen carefully for the knocking sound, and instantly retard the ignition system when they detect that detonation is about to happen.

The delay in delivering the retarded spark allows the piston to start moving downward on its expansion stroke before the ignition actually occurs. That provides additional room in the cylinder head for the gases to expand and thereby reduce their damaging peak pressure—and so burn in a more controlled manner.

To sum up, if the car’s handbook says that premium petrol is “recommended” (rather than insisting it is “required”), then the engine will automatically adjust itself to run smoothly on a lower octane fuel. Because of the retarded ignition, the engine will, of course, produce less power, and have slightly higher fuel consumption. But the poorer fuel economy is likely to be outweighed by the savings at the pump.



They said it better than me.


Well there ya go! I have run premium and low octane (87) and have found at the very most an improvement of about .3 MPG with Premium. That does not out weight the cost differential. So, I try to mix a little premium every three or four tankfulls. Does that do any good.............who knows but it makes me feel better.:)
 

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Octane ratings: Difference Engine: Who needs premium? | The Economist

On the face of it, then, a motorist would seem ill-advised to use regular petrol in a car with a high-compression engine. That was certainly the case in the past. But cars today have sensors that listen carefully for the knocking sound, and instantly retard the ignition system when they detect that detonation is about to happen.

The delay in delivering the retarded spark allows the piston to start moving downward on its expansion stroke before the ignition actually occurs. That provides additional room in the cylinder head for the gases to expand and thereby reduce their damaging peak pressure—and so burn in a more controlled manner.

To sum up, if the car’s handbook says that premium petrol is “recommended” (rather than insisting it is “required”), then the engine will automatically adjust itself to run smoothly on a lower octane fuel. Because of the retarded ignition, the engine will, of course, produce less power, and have slightly higher fuel consumption. But the poorer fuel economy is likely to be outweighed by the savings at the pump.



They said it better than me.

You are misinterpreting Ford's recommendation during extreme operation to imply "everyday use". That is NOT the case. The knock sensor is designed to save your engine from blowing a hole in your piston if you get a bad batch of gas ... or experience extreme driving conditions ... not to give "extra power" if you decide to put in a higher octane.

I have done my fair share of dyno testing in the past, and the "spark curves" is both the key and art to maximum power.

The smoother the curve and quicker you can bring it to "max spark advance", the more HP and TQ you have at any given RPM. BUT, the moment you have ANY detonation (especially with a PCM and a knock sensor) the PCM pulls out the timing so fast (to save your engine) it screws up the "spark curve" so badly you suffer a MAJOR POWER. The ultimate tuner strives to "live on the edge" where the bring on the spark curve as smoothly and closely as possible BUT avoid detonation. The smoother the spark curve, you can actually get a little more timing (and a little more power). And this means NOT triggering the Knock Sensor in any way. Once detonation is even slightly detected, your timing is shot and if you are racing, you lose.


Think about this, if what your are implying was true, then all these Tuners would not have an 87, 91 or 93 Octane Tune. They would have have just "One Tune Does Everything". But all of them give you a number of different tunes, for various grades of gasoline to get you the best spark curve.

If it's setup for 87 Octane, the PCM cannot (and the tuner wouldn't want it) magically add more timing to get more power. The spark curve would

If you doubt what I am saying, then again, there is only one way to definitively prove this, go do the "Dyno Test" as I stated earlier with the various grades on a bone stock Ecoboost.
 
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