Pop goes the Diesel

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Thanked: 48

    Post Pop goes the Diesel

    Greetings Everyone,

    As my “new” 2004 Pajero 3.2 DI-D is my first diesel vehicle, I am naturally fascinated about all aspects of it, especially its engine, diesel fuel, etc. I have always been very wary of turbo diesel engines, because they have received incredibly bad press due to apparently frequent engine and turbo failures. “Experts” from Car Magazine and 702’s Friday night “Car Talk” (or whatever it’s called) unanimously agree; don’t buy a turbo diesel unless it’s under a comprehensive maintenance agreement, or unless you are prepared for the very real chance of having to fork out for some very expensive repairs at some stage of your life! The fact that second hand diesel cars (typically BM’s and VW’s) shed their resale values significantly faster than their petrol equivalents seems to bear this out to some degree, and let’s not forget Toyota’s refusal to introduce a turbo diesel car until only very recently (they were worried about compromising their reputation for quality and reliability)… It’s for this reason that I only bought the Pajero after making sure that I could afford to extend its maintenance plan…

    Anyway, on to diesel fuel; I’ve attached some spec sheets from Engen on their 0.05 (500ppm) and 0.005 (50ppm) diesel.
    Well done, Engen, you are the only local company that makes such info available :-), but this does NOT make up for your idiot decision to increase your investment in the “hell hole of the north”, Zimbabwe :-(

    It’s interesting to see that the 0.05 diesel has not only a higher calorific value, but is also denser than 0.005 diesel. The values do not differ hugely, but this may explain why people may get slightly better power (due to the higher calorific value) and slightly better consumption (due to the higher density) when using 0.05 diesel compared to 0.005.

    I’ve also attached another article that I found very interesting. It seems to apply mainly to trucks, but it may have identified why turbo diesel engine failure seems to be so prevalent in SA.

    If you don’t want to read the article, the short and sweet of it is that SA diesel, while complying with international sulphur levels (only just), does not seem to have to comply with any lubricity standards, and as a result falls far behind some EU diesel in this regard. Add to this the practice of “watering down” local diesel, which may be a lot more common that you’d think (see atricle), and it’s easy to conclude that inadequately lubricated diesel engines are obviously more likely to fail … but read the article for yourself.

    It reminds me of another article I read some time ago that claimed that as sulphur plays a role in lubrication, it is not necessarily better to reduce it too much, and that it may actually be better to use 0.05 diesel, and to stick to reasonable length oil changes. The article pointed out that many older diesel engines on the market were designed to use the 0.3 diesel, so it may be a mistake to assume that 0.005 diesel is better, (and often as a result, to significantly extend service intervals). It concluded by postulating that unless you have a very high-tech engine (usually the newer common-rail designs) where the manufacturer actually specifies ultra-low (0.005) sulphur diesel, it may be better to use a higher sulphur diesel (for improved lubrication) and to stick to shorter interval oil changes. (e.g. use 0.05 diesel with 7500km oil changes rather than using 0.005 diesel and extending the oil changes to 10,000 or 15,000 intervals).

    Of course, a comment on the article by one of the fuel companies was that they add lubricating additives to the 0.005 diesel, so the above is irrelevant (I see Engen’s spec sheets list the lubricity as the same for both fuels, so this is probably true).

    Personally I’ll stick to the lowest sulphur diesel whenever possible, and adhere to the recommended 7500km oil changes for the Pajero, but I thought the above was pretty interesting…

    BTW, after going through my first tank-full of Sasol ULS (0.005) diesel, my Pajero returned a consumption of 12.4 l/100, consisting of mainly suburban driving, and 2 short highway stretches. (Another BTW, did you know that “l/100” is the SI (metric) standard for specifying fuel consumption?). I must admit I’m a bit disappointed – I had expected a better consumption, especially as I intentionally “drove with a light foot”. I’ve read (elsewhere on this forum) of other people routinely getting less than 10l/100 from their Pajero’s … so I suppose I’m wondering: is my Pajero's consumption reasonable, or is it worthwhile having asking Mitsubishi to check things at the next service (for what that is worth; I have very little faith in dealers actually doing anything you ask them!)… ?
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Dalet; 2008/08/03 at 12:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Thanked: 1


    I've been using ordinary co-op diesel for years and thank goodness haven't had any problems with my diesel engines. That could partly be because I'm a sticking to service schedules for oil changes and sometimes even change it an extra time between scheduled changes. Case in mind is the Viano which I change every 15000kms against recommended intervals of 30000kms.

    It's probably more important to stick to the correct oils specified by manufacturers, than the type of diesel used. Some time ago the oil specified by VW for their turbo diesels could only be purchased from them. People went and bought generic turbo diesel oil and quite a few probably suffered expensive engine failure as a result.
    No Land Rover - Soon to change though

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Thanked: 246


    Hi Dalet.

    On your fuel consumption on the Pajero: My consumption on my 2006 GLX is about 12/100km in town and just over 10,5l/100km with mild open road driving.

    However. I forgot to deflate tyres after a heavy load trip. (2.2 front and 2.5 back). It really seems to me that the current tank just drops so much slower! Ride comfort not at all bad. So this might be a way to save some fuel (taking in consideration uneven wear and safety) Maybe someone have something on this.

    BTW - I think the hoo ha about turbodiesels being unreliable are unfounded. Had quite a few of them and some with one up to 300 000kms on the clock with no turbo problems!

    Enjoy your Pajero!


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