Should I use a higher octane in the mountains? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 06-26-2018, 03:36 PM   #1
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Should I use a higher octane in the mountains?

I tow with a Ford E150 van 4.6L a Kodiak 20 ft 3,900# empty using 87 octane gas. The van is rated to tow 6,400#. It tows OK on the interstate and i can do 70 mph. but it slows down going up a steep hill.

I plan on going to the mountains with it,

Would it help if I used a higher octane gas or added a octane boost additive?
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:59 PM   #2
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No... higher octane does not mean more power. It simply prevents the air/fuel mixture from prematurely igniting in high compression engines before the spark plug fires off and does it (called pre-detonation).

Now, define "steep". We all slow down on grades of 6% of higher... even those of us with strong diesels (well, most of us), depending on the amount of weight we're pulling. Of course, if you're significantly slowing on anything less, you may wanna either check your engine's performance, or upgrade to something with more power.
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Old 06-26-2018, 09:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windswepttom View Post
I tow with a Ford E150 van 4.6L a Kodiak 20 ft 3,900# empty using 87 octane gas. The van is rated to tow 6,400#. It tows OK on the interstate and i can do 70 mph. but it slows down going up a steep hill.

I plan on going to the mountains with it,

Would it help if I used a higher octane gas or added a octane boost additive?



An RV newbie here. But going back to my hot rod days. The simple answer is no, higher octane wont help. Unless..........your van is "pinging" and you engine computer is pulling timing to prevent pinging.


If so, you are losing power. And higher octane might help. You might hear the pinging and maybe not. If your vehicle has a lot of miles, may have a lot of carbon build up and be causing ping. Most vehicles will eventually show a CHECK ENGINE LIGHT if it is really bad.



I used to use a programming piece of hardware and software to "play" with my engine computer. Maybe a Auto Performance shop would do a test for you.


Good luck and have fun.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I doesn't ping, so I'll just go up hill a little slow.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:14 AM   #5
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Some vehicles tell you NOT to utilize anything other than regular. The computers are set to run on standard gas and anything else in the tank messes them up. My recommendation is to look in the manual for the vehicle and see if it references using any other octane than the standard stuff.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:50 PM   #6
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Thanks for the question ... and thanks for the answers guys!

I have a higher mileage minivan that I pull my trailer with and I have been putting high octane in when towing with the theory that it would give it that extra "oomph". It doesn't really need the oomph, it tows great, but I want to help my van out any way I can! I guess it's unnecessary and I can save those few extra dollars a tank by returning to 87 octane.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:40 PM   #7
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I had my truck tuned specifically to run on 87 octane, I drive a lot of miles and that
that extra .80 cents a gallon adds up fast. Some mfgs do recommend higher octane gas, but if they don't, it's a giant waste of money.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:20 AM   #8
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Elevation and fuel

One of the advantages of elevation is using lower octane gas.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:51 PM   #9
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The only way to know is to know the engine, timing, and ignition design. Ask an expert on that engine. Dealer, Ford, User Manual.
I had a Toyota Solara a few years ago. It was rated to run on regular or high octane. I used regular for a few years because I thought it was cheaper per mile. When I started towing with it I tried high octane. I got 30% better gas mileage and noticeably better acceleration.
I retried high octane when I was not towing and got 10% better gas mileage.
Now the math gets complicated. Factor the price difference of the gas and the mileage difference and if towing or not. At that time towing with high octane was better value and better performance.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:35 PM   #10
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From My experience when you get into the mountains the higher octane gas is not even hardly available. I believe with the thinner air it is needed evenn less??
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