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Old 10-26-2007, 09:55 AM
verticalrich verticalrich is offline
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Enviros cry foul at Ford’s warranty policy.

Enviros cry foul at Ford’s pump-perplexing warranty policy.

By Laura Onstot

October 17, 2007

Click the image to open in full size. Laura Onstot

Rob Elam calls Ford’s bio-warranty policy illegal.

With a growing list of biodiesel providers in Seattle selling increasingly purified blends like B20 and B99, drivers might want to get that weird, clanking sound in their engines checked out before they start filling up with alternative fuels. Why? Because Ford Motor Co. spokesperson Said (pronounced sigh-yeed) Deep says Ford will not provide warranties to customers whose vehicles are fueled with a blend purer than B5—meaning 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent regular diesel, not exactly the kind of save-the-world ratio environmentalists are usually looking for.

But local biodiesel proponents are calling foul on auto manufacturers, arguing that a warranty can't be voided because of the fuel you use. "The idea that they can void warranties is illegal," says Rob Elam, president of Propel Biofuels, which started offering biodiesel at stations in Ballard and Kenmore on Oct. 13 (those stations carry blends of B20 and B99).

Elam's reasoning, shared by the National Biodiesel Board, is that car manufacturers warranty the parts, not the fuel one puts in the car. Deep says that while he doesn't know the ins and outs of warranty law, "we specifically state B5. That's in the owner's manual."

Dan Freeman, owner of Dr. Dan's Alternative Fuelwerks in Ballard, serves only B99. Freeman cites the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act to support the branding of Ford's position as "illegal." The 1975 act does not allow companies issuing warranties to require certain brands or parts be used in the operation of the item covered. The Federal Trade Commission explains the act by saying that were you to purchase a Brand X vacuum cleaner, the company cannot void your warranty if you don't use Brand X filters.

Kristin Alexander, a spokesperson for the State Attorney General's Office, says the impact of biodiesel on warranties hasn't been tested in the courts yet "because biodiesel is too new." But city of Seattle spokesperson Katherine Schubert-Knapp says the city has 189 Fords among the 1,000 diesel vehicles in its fleet, most of which are run on B20 biodiesel. She says that if there's a problem, "We push back and work it out with [Ford]." In doing so, the city has been successful in getting warranty work done despite the fuel being more pure than the company's standard allows, she adds.

To this end, Schubert-Knapp notes that she can't give anyone legal advice, but if drivers have warranties denied on the basis of the fuel, she says, "They might want to question the legality of that."


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Old 10-26-2007, 11:51 PM
Herkmafia Herkmafia is offline
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Let me first say I'm not trying to defend ford motor company by any means.

However...

Ford says B5 is highest concentration approved. Thats a type of fuel not a brand. Ford does not make Bio and has no interest who you buy the approved fuels from.

"Freeman cites the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act to support the branding of Ford's position as "illegal." The 1975 act does not allow companies issuing warranties to require certain brands or parts be used in the operation of the item covered."

I don't see the correlation with the vacuum filter and what this person is claiming.

"The Federal Trade Commission explains the act by saying that were you to purchase a Brand X vacuum cleaner, the company cannot void your warranty if you don't use Brand X filters."

I mean you have to buy a filter that fits or in this case an approved fuel. I'm all for biofuels but Ford apparently hasn't developed its engines/pumps for high concentrations of Bio and does not claim to have done so.

No auto dealer can warrant the use of unapproved fuels. Take your hardearned money to a company that does approve higher concentrations of Bio and Ford will be forced to develop new stuff.

Or just tell them you use B5

Last edited by Herkmafia; 10-26-2007 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:31 AM
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try using your warranty on a cat if your not running cat filters oil and air you will need a lawyer.
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Old 10-27-2007, 02:11 AM
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The problem with concentrations greater than B-5 is that they don't meet the ASTM specification for diesel fuel. Ford CAN deny warranty coverage for fuel quality issues, regardless of it's composition.

This will continue to be a problem until ASTM finishes the specification for biodiesel, which is still in the development/voluntary phase.

Part of the problem here, also, is that Fed/State/Local tax subsidies only go down to B-20. Until this problem is addressed at the appropriate agencies, very few stations will opt to sell less than 20% biofuel.

-blaine
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Old 10-27-2007, 06:57 AM
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The automated facility I get my Bio from only offers B10 and won't say when they might go higher. Maybe it's in my head but I like the way it runs in my truck. It doesn't seem to run the same when I have gotten fuel up the mountains for our return trip home.
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
The problem with concentrations greater than B-5 is that they don't meet the ASTM specification for diesel fuel. Ford CAN deny warranty coverage for fuel quality issues, regardless of it's composition.

This will continue to be a problem until ASTM finishes the specification for biodiesel, which is still in the development/voluntary phase.

Part of the problem here, also, is that Fed/State/Local tax subsidies only go down to B-20. Until this problem is addressed at the appropriate agencies, very few stations will opt to sell less than 20% biofuel.

-blaine
Not Completely true, there are ASTM standards developed for everything up to B100.
In TxLED district only bio allowed to be sold commercially must be licensed through the state using ASTM tests up to concentrations of B20. I think the OEM concerns are because the state regulating agencies across the country have been slow in adopting standards that would ensure consistant supply in every state.
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsldrvr
Not Completely true, there are ASTM standards developed for everything up to B100.
Not quite the way I see it.
The standard, ASTM D6751-07b, is for BD meant to be blended with Petro diesel.
Diesel engines in use today and those still being produced were engineered to work on fuel conforming with long existing standard for Diesel fuel and its current update ASTM D975-07b. B5 Diesel has always met the existing Diesel standard and so it was accepted by the EMA and its' members.

Until sufficient testing has been done to show current engines can run safely on blends over B5 you can expect the waranting parties (that is the auto/truck/equipment makers) to hold the line at B5.

There is hope some have begun to allow B20 at this time
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:35 PM
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Production of bio varies state by state and current regulations allow this to continue, which is why bio-diesel has not been able to be certified with the same ASTM standards as petro-diesel on a national level. Like Frankenbiker said, it's still in the voluntary stage with many states. Until bio-diesel is certified nationally, Ford will not warranty anything above B5.

Claiming that Ford is acting illegally with their warrany practice with bio-fuels is completely false. That's like saying it's illegal for Ford to deny a warranty claim if you fill up a Powerstroke with gasoline. Gasoline is not certified to used in diesel vehicles, and neither is bio (on a national level). Your state may only sell ASTM certified diesel, but it doesn't mean anything to Ford right now, since it's just as easy to hop over to the next state and buy fuel that doesn't meet standards.

Also, there has been more than sufficient testing of bio-diesel with different diesel injection configurations. As long as quality bio is produced and meets the same standards as petro-diesel, your engine won't know the difference. People who have had problems and failures in the past with bio-diesel can contribute that to fuel that is sub-standard. Home-brew bio is most common in this situation, since the source of your fuel can vary wildly. Again, another reason Ford won't warranty bio-fuels above 5%. There's just too much risk involved that is in no way their fault.
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Old 11-06-2007, 08:23 AM
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The problem is that BD wont meet ASTM standards for the most part.

That is why new standards complete with the required saftey and compatibility testing have to be written. Once these are in place you can bet Ford and other manufacturers will still not honor warantees if you show up with a tank full of crappy home brew

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket
People who have had problems and failures in the past with bio-diesel can contribute that to fuel that is sub-standard.
Add the word Most at the beginning of the above sentence and Pocket is 100% correct.

If you want to make home brew learn to do it right and produce a good product. Some argue titration is unnecessary and they may be correct but for the average person it only adds a few minutes per batch and it is one of those quality control issues that helps make better BD. There are those that argue against MeOH recovery because it takes time but it will also increase quality and save $$ as a fringe benefit. Washing is another point of contention. I happen to be in the Magnesol camp; however, my feelings are you must wash one way or another if you want good BD.
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:18 PM
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But the fact is the spec IS written as of March of this year. But the problem is as Pocket has stated,
"Your state may only sell ASTM certified diesel, but it doesn't mean anything to Ford right now, since it's just as easy to hop over to the next state and buy fuel that doesn't meet standards."

Right at the top of ASTM D6751-07b it states, "This specification is for pure (100%) biodiesel prior to use or blending with diesel fuel. "
http://www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/f...ets/BDSpec.PDF
I see "use OR blending" as meaning using at 100% or in a blend.

I think we are all mostly in agreement here about the warantee issue and it is because of non-standard fuel that OEM's will not take the risk. As state regulatory agencies start adopting this standard and enforcing across the board then B20 will likely have more of a chance.

On an aside, just found some pictures of junk in a pump from a customer that thought he was getting good B20 from a supplier.
http://forum.mopar1973man.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=117
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:25 PM
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A little more, here is the TX approvals for using B20 blends in TxLED requirements:
http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/implemen...l#Formulations
example, "ORYXE Energy International, Inc. OR-LED 3 diesel fuel additive blended with a B20 comprised of 20 percent ASTM D6751-compliant B100 biodiesel and 80 percent diesel fuel as defined under 30 TAC §114.6".
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:46 PM
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dsldrvr

The opening section of ASTM D6751-07b states
"1. Scope

1.1 This specification covers biodiesel (B100) Grades S15 and S500 for use as a blend component with middle distillate fuels.

1.2 This specification prescribes the required properties of diesel fuels at the time and place of delivery. The specification requirements may be applied at other points in the production and distribution system when provided by agreement between the purchaser and the supplier.

1.3 Nothing in this specification shall preclude observance of federal, state, or local regulations which may be more restrictive."

The standard can be seen in its' entirety at the ASTM web site, direct link to the standard below
http://search.micronexx.com/search?i...DS&q=biodiesel
Select the third document on the list.

It really leaves no ambiguity it is for BD that is to be blended with petro. The version posted on the NBB website is a little misleading if it states for use without blending.

Even if the standard was for BD to use as fuel you must realize that all existing engines, including those being manufactured at this time were designed for fuel meeting the petro standard, ASTM D975-07b. So the manufacturers still have wiggle room. Just because a new standard is developed doesnt mean existing engines are compatible with fuel that meets that standard.

My personal opinion you can probably run B100 with no problem but dont be surprised if Ford refuses to honor the warranty if they can prove you were running fuel with more than 5% BD blended. Of course they will have to prove that the fuel caused the problem if you take them to court but that can cost more than it is worth.

As I said before I agree whole heartedly with anyones stance against using bad home brew, especially when good homebrew can be made for about the same cost.

I
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:58 PM
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Back to the warranty issue, here is a presentation from a gov lab that seems to agree with the plaintiffs and addresses the 5% rule of OEMs.
http://www.eere.energy.gov/cleanciti...ck_webcast.pdf

Biodiesel Warranty Issues
•Manufacturers warrant their products against defects in
materials and workmanship
•In general use of a particular fuel should have no effect on the
materials and workmanship warranty
•Use of biodiesel does not “void the warranty”, this is prohibited
by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
•Manufacturers are concerned that extensive use of biodiesel will
result in increased numbers of warranty claims for what are
actually problems caused by the fuel
Engine and vehicle manufacturers are generally comfortable
with blends up to 5%
Concerns about fuel quality and stability are what is preventing
approval of blending levels above 5% for most manufacturers

Warranty Statements
While manufacturers do not warrant fuel, many have position statements
and recommendations on biodiesel:

Ford Up to 5% biodiesel, must meet both ASTM D6751 and EN 14214.

International Approve up to 20% biodiesel, must meet ASTM D6751.
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:15 PM
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Phydeaux88- OK i see that there is a difference in scope and the two pages are the source of some confusion, and that the ASTM scope clearly states to be used as a blend component.

As to the warranty, I see both sides have some merit. If as a consumer, you have a fuel system failure and take it in to FORD for work, the Ford warranty only covers workmanship and materials. If you have been running bad bio-d, then Ford is off the hook and you have to go after the fuel supplier, much like if you purchased a tank of gas and had half water pumped into your tank instead of gasoline, which has happened.
It may be more difficult to get the supplier to pay up if there are no regulations in the area covering the bio-d that can be sold.
What is implied in that last slide is that failures that occur and are not caused by the fuel Ford cannot deny out of hand and are covered by the MMA, just because you have been running any percentage of bio-d.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:54 PM
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Great job on this thread, guys! Lots of useful information.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:54 PM
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