Below is a list of diesel vehicle manufacturers and their latest warrantee information. All warrantees are based on the biodiesel being ASTM D 6751 certified. Of course, if you want to use a higher blend than your engine manufacturer recommends, feel free to do so... just realize that they won't warrantee your car.
At this point, almost everyone approves at least a b5 (5% bio, 95% diesel) blend.
Cummins - Neither approves nor disapproves biodiesel use in the engine, but like other fuels, will not warrantee an engine that dies because of any bad fuel (be it bio, diesel, gasoline, etc).
Detroit Diesel - Detroit Diesel Corporation highly recommends biodiesel fuels made from soybean or rapeseed oil through the proper transesterification reaction process. Other feedstock source of biodiesel fuels such as animal fat and used cooking oils are not recommended by DDC. Biodiesel fuels meeting ASTM D 6751 specification, prior to blending can be mixed up to 5%maximum by volume in petroleum diesel fuel. The resulting mixture must meet the fuel properties listed in Table 5-1 and ASTM D 975 specification. Failures attributed to the use of biodiesel fuel will not be covered by Detroit Diesel product warranty. Also, any engine performance problem related to the use of biodiesel fuel would not be recognized nor considered DDC's responsibility
Ford - Fuels containing no more than 5% biodiesel may be used in Ford diesel powered vehicles.Consistent with WWFC (World-Wide Fuel Charter) category 1-3, “Fatty Acid Methyl Esters(FAME) used in commercial fuel must meet both the EN 14214 and ASTM D 6751specifications”.
GM - Beginning with the January 2004 production cycle, GM’s Duramax Diesel engines will be approved for B5, a blend of 5% biodiesel fuel, giving fleets another choice for fueling and for complying with state and federal requirements.
International - Warrantees up to 5% biodiesel blend that meet the ASTM D975 standard.
Mercedes-Benz - Mercedes-Benz USA now approves the use of B5 biodiesel (standard diesel with a maximum 5% biodiesel content) in all Common Rail Injection Diesel "CDI-engines.
Nissan Diesel (no passenger vehicles) - Approves up to 5% biodiesel use.
Volkswagen - Approves up to 5% biodiesel use.
Volvo - Approves up to 5% biodiesel use.
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This topic seems incomplete without a link to the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act, which many agree applies to biodiesel usage, but as far as I know, hasn't been tested in court yet.
The gist of it: OEM's cannot "blanket deny" warranty coverage simply for use of a product. They have to be able to prove specific damage as a result of using that product, and because ASTM spec biodiesel, used properly, cannot harm an engine, that would seem to be the loophole to these warranty statements.
I'm convinced that the vehicle manufacturers fear of sanctioning the use of blends greater than B5 of fuel that conforms to the ASTM and EN standards is just severe risk averse behaviour. In South Africa we've pretty much had a copy and paste of the EN standard. Most of the research into fuel performance and engine failure would've been done either by auto manufacturers or large fuel producers. I'd guess that neither of these are particularly interested in establishing what the real risk profile is for biodiesel. In addition the test conditions are generally very controlled using sophisticated engines and test equipment.
I'm quite keen to do a survey on the web to collate the experiences of the users. That way it might be possible to put together a risk profile which includes the blend used, which quality parameters were measured, what type of vehicle was used, what climatic conditions exist, how long it was stored for, etc.
I'm pretty sure that if you're a homebrewer and don't need a long shelf life many of the quality parameters become less relevant. It should then be possible to prescribe an abbreviated list of propeties for the homebrewer to measure and still have a reasonable assurance of quality.
One obvious snag would be the need to reach disgruntled users as well as temper the opinions of zealots in order to get a realistic picture. What do you guys think? Is there anyone who has done this kind of study. Reality is that I'd like to include it as part of my MSc. I look forward to comments.
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