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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

I own a 2003 Honda Civic 1.6 diesel (first car). I believe I've found another reason why limp mode can occur.

The problem has been that my car goes into limp mode. It happened a few times last year but was very rare and in general I believe it was because I used to drive the car at very low RPM (below 2000) which caused overboost/underboost etc. I stopped doing this and started shifting at 3000RPM and the issue disappeared.

Recently, it's come back and it happens very regularly - 4,5 times in a 50 mile trip. This time I believe it is a very different reason and has got something to do with the fuel itself - bear with me on this one.

First, here's the story - I always use BP regular diesel because there's a petrol station that's close to work and the price is lower than the other stations in the vicinity. I was in a hurry and put 1/2 tank of texaco so there was a mix of texaco and BP regular diesel in the tank. I've had a mix before and in general this hasn't caused me much trouble. All this happened a few/couple of weeks ago. My limp mode started showing up last week and I believe it has to be connected with the fact that temperatures dropped drastically.

I've got a few theories and worries which maybe somebody more mechanically sound can disprove or confirm. Here are a few theories:

1. Mixing of fuels - my fear here is that the different chemicals in different fuels may cause wax/paraffin (or something else) to precipitate which will then block the fuel filter. I doubt that is a problem, however. Fuel is fuel and I wouldn't be surprised if different fuel stations get pretty much the same diesel even if they are different brands/chains.

2. Diesel is gelling due to the lower temperatures. As a result viscosity increases making the fuel harder to pump to the engine. I suspect the computer will adjust the fuel pump to work harder if it detects fuel is not getting to the engine so that might not be a problem at all (unless the fuel becomes too viscous so even on highest load the pump is failing to delieve fuel to the engine). However, keep in mind that I'm not a mechanic so when I say "suspect" I mean "expect" - it's not based on knowledge of how the fuel system works but on expectation of how the system should work.

3. Diesel is clouding due to the lower temperatures. Below a certain temperature wax in diesel precipitates into small lumps and I fear this residue builds up in the filter blocking it.

4. The diesel fuel is incompatible with my car (e.g. biodiesel). Biodiesel also gells and turns into "lard" at much higher temperatures. As far as I am aware, BP regular diesel and texaco diesel do not have biodiesel in them.

5. Water? A friend of mine vaguely said his pegeout 206 goes into limp mode whenever water gets into the engine. The most common way for water to get into the engine is if the filter is full of water? The previous sentence is a question by the way :).

I watched this video and as you can see the biodiesel gells at higher temperatures ->
.

I believe limp mode can appear due to several factors and I believe one of them is fuel (system) related because for me it started happening 4-5 times in 50 mile journey when the temperatures dropped. I suspect this issue is related to the viscosity of the fuel and the permeability of the fuel through the fuel filter which changes with temperature. If diesel changes viscosity or wax/paraffin precipitates it could block the fuel filter and the fuel will have hard time reaching the engine. For me my car usually goes into limp mode when I try to give it a bit more oomph on an incline or when overtaking which suggests that the engine tries to consume more fuel but cannot (blocked fuel filter? viscous fuel?) and the engine management puts the engine into limp mode. I'm not technical enough to relate this with the airflow but I suspect if the engine cannot get the fuel, the computer will reduce air intake which in itself could be causing the limp mode and thus fuel indirectly causes limp mode.

All the symptoms I've seen support my theories and suggest diesel gelling or clouding etc but AFAIK this happens at low temperatures - certainly much lower than anything in the UK recently. AFAIK diesel starts clouding at around -10 C and I suspect gelling will occur much lower down the temperature scale (around -25). I have relatives who live in a cooler climate (around -15 to -20 at night) and they've seen no problems. They drive a 2013 VW though so...

Another thing I've noticed - my car has an EGR blank and the CEL is always on if I am running on BP diesel (regular or ultimate). If I use texaco the CEL goes off and usually is off more than it's on. This also happens if I mix BP and texaco.

In researching this issue, I've seen many people get hit with limp mode and I've heard of many garages having piles of cars with limp mode. It seems to be one of the most common problems as far as diesel cars are concerned.
 

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The best advice I can give is to urge you to get the stored ECU Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) read using an OBD code reader (I expect your car has an OBD2 connector, best to check before buying a reader!). This will take away all the guesswork.

I seriously don't think that mixing diesels is causing your problem (but contaminated diesel might?). And unless Reading has developed a much colder climate than when I lived there, then I don't think your problem is diesel gelling either.

Your theory about gelling/diesel waxy solids blocking the fuel filter is sound, and I have suffered this with a fuel filter well past it's replacement date at -12 degrees C. Above zero I can't imagine this happening, but maybe your fuel filter needs replacement (if I must make a wild guess)?

Welcome to the forum, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The best advice I can give is to urge you to get the stored ECU Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) read using an OBD code reader (I expect your car has an OBD2 connector, best to check before buying a reader!). This will take away all the guesswork.

I seriously don't think that mixing diesels is causing your problem (but contaminated diesel might?). And unless Reading has developed a much colder climate than when I lived there, then I don't think your problem is diesel gelling either.

Your theory about gelling/diesel waxy solids blocking the fuel filter is sound, and I have suffered this with a fuel filter well past it's replacement date at -12 degrees C. Above zero I can't imagine this happening, but maybe your fuel filter needs replacement (if I must make a wild guess)?

Welcome to the forum, btw.
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the quick reply. I edited my post a few times to basically say the same - my symptoms suggest diesel is clouding/gelling but AFAIK this phenomenon occurs at temperatures lower than anything in the UK even during the coldest periods. For gelling we are talking -25C and I suspect with the additives in the fuel it will be even lower. Fuel filter was changed 10 months/4k miles ago. When I was looking at replacement parts, I did see a filter (similar to mine) that cost just a few quid and another one that was £30. The garage that did the full service has used the cheap filter (of course) - maybe I need a £30 filter...

I'm not sure if the codes will help - maybe they will. I have a blocked EGR valve so the CEL has been on for the past 10 months even though the car has been running perfectly fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi mate I've suffered from the dreaded limp mode in my 1.7 ctdi ep4 check out my write up in the below link how I fixed it for good! I'd put money on your issue being sticky tubo vanes full of carbon soot. Check this link below

http://www.civinfo.com/forum/previous-civics/122579-honda-civic-1-7-ctdi-limp-mode-fixed.html#post1902876
Thanks. I can't open the image and I fear this procedure will be too complex for me. I know it's a very simple thing but I am not sure which pipe is which. I also initially thought it was vanes sticking but this issue hasn't occurred in almost 1 year and last time it occurred it would appear once and then never again for a few months. This time it's very different - it persists throughout a single journey.

Also, isn't the vanes sticking issue fixed by having a regular drive at high enough rpm (2500 - 3000) so that the turbo can get used and clean itself?
 

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Basically short journeys in the lower rev ranges doesn't give the turbo much chance to open up. Therefore carbon and soot deposits around the actuator and turbo vanes causing them to stick. This then results in limp home mode!

The fix is quite simple. Ideally the turbo, egr valve and inlet manifold want a good clean out. Then as a preventative measure every now and then give her some beans with some nice spirited driving by trying to use all the rev range.

I have now done over 18k since sorting the issue and fingers crossed its all good!
 

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Having read the above I'd be 100% certain it is NOT a diesel fuel or filter issue and pretty much 1-00% certain it'll be EGR blank or sticky vane related...

Diesel fuel is all made to a standard and close tolerance of spec so won;t be causing the issue (my best mate works in a refinery as a production engineer controlling output to spec).
 

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Seriously, just get the code read!

Guesses are great fun, but no substitute for information and knowledge.
 

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It's all well having codes read plus 1 for that JON G. However my limp mode issues did not throw the eml on. Still i hooked up to a snap on and bosch machine and no codes were found at all.

@ ICE.SHARK keep us updated on how you get on pal. i suspect garages will advise on changing various different sensors and then ultimately advise on changing the turbo. As i was told all this which i ignored and cleaned the **** out ftw!!!
 

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2.2 ctdi civic limp mode

i have a civic 2.2 ctdi , which went into limp mode after i had left the car in garage to have a exhaust manifold changed , could not understand why that happened but noticed fuel level was so low when i got car back , so i changed fuel filter got rid of cheap supermarket fuel and replaced it with texaco v power diesel and it went like a dream after that , these cars really need decent fuel a lot to keep them ticking over plus a good high rev drive least once a week to keep egr and inlet clean and free .
 

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Bump - back from the dead...

Having the same permanent limp mode issue. EGR is blocked after the remap I had several years ago...

Getting no boost at all, tried for hours with multiple restarts. Any advice?

Not showing any fault codes, but going to call AA out if it’s not fixed this morning.

Thanks in advance.
Zaheen
 

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Do you mean limp mode with the engine warning light on? In that case there really should be a corresponding stored error code, but maybe you have a dodgy map that simply blanks all error codes (and/or even the warning light)?

Was a blanking plate fitted to your EGR pipework, or was it merely a remap that held the EGR valve shut? Because if there's no blanking plate then the valve itself could have failed and is now allowing excessive EGR.

How are you measuring boost? Is there really nothing?
 

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Do you mean limp mode with the engine warning light on? In that case there really should be a corresponding stored error code, but maybe you have a dodgy map that simply blanks all error codes (and/or even the warning light)?

Was a blanking plate fitted to your EGR pipework, or was it merely a remap that held the EGR valve shut? Because if there's no blanking plate then the valve itself could have failed and is now allowing excessive EGR.

How are you measuring boost? Is there really nothing?
- There is no EML showing this time, no sign to me other than me knowing I have no power.
- A blanking plate was fitted with the remap, Fahad fitted it.

There is literally nothing, 3rd gear goes to 30-35 at best, previously 55...
- Making, or I can hear a very slightly rattling sound when I give it some gas.
- No smoke at all
- Everything else seems fine

I only fill up with Shell, but haven’t used V-Power for a month or two due to a financial jam...

Spoke to a random taxi driver and he said might be Catalytic Converter? Been reading other threads where someone fixed it for £5 with Mr. Muscle...

Called AA, but I trust people here more. I don’t have much money for expensive fixes right now. Sorry for my abrupt post or delayed responses, when things happen to my car I feel like I just lost a limb or something. Pretty sad.

Will ask him to see if there are any hidden codes.

I have had limp mode happen 2-3 times this year, but a simple engine reset usually fixes it. EML always came on those times.

There isn’t any light this time, and no engine reset is fixing it. 10+ attempts, even left it overnight...

——-

Is it safe to drive?
 

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- There is no EML showing this time, no sign to me other than me knowing I have no power.
- A blanking plate was fitted with the remap, Fahad fitted it.
Unfortunately I don't think you are getting limp mode, as the error code(s) would be really useful. But, as I say, to stop an error code from an EGR blanking plate some remappers often stop ALL error codes, which is obviously very unhelpful when a problem arises. Until recently I was a regular on his TypeAccord forum, so I know Fahad does claim that he doesn't do this... however he swiftly deletes posts on his forum from people who have experienced problems with his services, so it's hard to be sure! But at least if he fitted a plate then we can rule out an EGR issue.

I can hear a very slightly rattling sound when I give it some gas.
- No smoke at all
- Everything else seems fine

I only fill up with Shell, but haven’t used V-Power for a month or two due to a financial jam...

Spoke to a random taxi driver and he said might be Catalytic Converter? Been reading other threads where someone fixed it for £5 with Mr. Muscle...
Does it accelerate well up to whatever speed it reaches?

I wouldn't worry about paying for premium fuel, I've put over 100k miles on mine in 10 years using supermarket fuel, or wherever's cheapest locally. I never use premium fuel.

I have heard of blocked cats, but it's so rare that it's very unlikely. How many miles has the car done? Mines on 184k miles and still runs fine.

Will ask him to see if there are any hidden codes.

I have had limp mode happen 2-3 times this year, but a simple engine reset usually fixes it. EML always came on those times.

There isn’t any light this time, and no engine reset is fixing it. 10+ attempts, even left it overnight...
If the codes have been hidden, then the AA guy won't be able to read them either. But he would be able to read pending codes, which not all cheap readers can.

Are you simply disconnecting the battery to reset the warning light whenever it's come on? That should still leave a stored code, so finding out what those were might be useful. At least that shows that the codes aren't being hidden!

Is it safe to drive?
Probably, in the sense that nobody will be injured. And I doubt that the car will suffer any damage, but obviously it could break down. Hard to be sure without knowing what the problem is!

As well as looking for stored error codes, you need to check real-time sensor data using a suitable OBD2 scanner to see if there is any turbo boost (a reasonable MAP sensor reading), reasonable MAF sensor data, etc. if you know someone with a Honda Diagnostic System (HDS) then that can run target-setting system trials that will pinpoint any weaknesses.
 

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Unfortunately I don't think you are getting limp mode, as the error code(s) would be really useful. But, as I say, to stop an error code from an EGR blanking plate some remappers often stop ALL error codes, which is obviously very unhelpful when a problem arises. Until recently I was a regular on his TypeAccord forum, so I know Fahad does claim that he doesn't do this... however he swiftly deletes posts on his forum from people who have experienced problems with his services, so it's hard to be sure! But at least if he fitted a plate then we can rule out an EGR issue.


Does it accelerate well up to whatever speed it reaches?

I wouldn't worry about paying for premium fuel, I've put over 100k miles on mine in 10 years using supermarket fuel, or wherever's cheapest locally. I never use premium fuel.

I have heard of blocked cats, but it's so rare that it's very unlikely. How many miles has the car done? Mines on 184k miles and still runs fine.


If the codes have been hidden, then the AA guy won't be able to read them either. But he would be able to read pending codes, which not all cheap readers can.

Are you simply disconnecting the battery to reset the warning light whenever it's come on? That should still leave a stored code, so finding out what those were might be useful. At least that shows that the codes aren't being hidden!


Probably, in the sense that nobody will be injured. And I doubt that the car will suffer any damage, but obviously it could break down. Hard to be sure without knowing what the problem is!

As well as looking for stored error codes, you need to check real-time sensor data using a suitable OBD2 scanner to see if there is any turbo boost (a reasonable MAP sensor reading), reasonable MAF sensor data, etc. if you know someone with a Honda Diagnostic System (HDS) then that can run target-setting system trials that will pinpoint any weaknesses.
Lots to reply to, the AA guy found some codes but it was maybe from previous when the light would come on and go by itself.

P1236 - Turbo Boost Pressure Sensor (Overboost)

Something along them lines, the car will accelerate the same whether my foot is hovering the pedal or foot on the floor, as if the turbo has been removed from the car completely.

I am not disconnecting anything to remove the codes, previously I would leave it on and ignore it - this time no light came on at all.

As for fuels, there is many benefits to using Shell over supermarket.

£20 of Shell fuel gives more mileage than £20 of supermarket fuel. Not to mention it is better for your car - according to most mechanics. But in terms of cost/mileage, buying cheap fuel doesn’t mean you save any money at all!

I have had two quite expensive readers on the car, and the place I took it too suggested replacing the Boost Pressure Sensor first, costing £50 and he is charging £30 labour.

There is no boost at all. I’ve done almost 90k miles on the car since I bought it, it has 144k on the clock.

As for Fahad saying he doesn’t block codes, I have had this code come previously and had it removed by AA, so I’m sure he wouldn’t blatantly lie about it, I’ve had codes regarding the issue.

I’ll let you know what the sensor does, if anything. Thanks for your help and replies so far man.

——-

Update, before fitting the sensor he’s having doubts it would be the sensor, and is swaying more towards a new turbo. I don’t think he liked the idea of doing a cleanup like other users suggest prior to any major work. I don’t think garages like that sort of thing because of the time involved but no guarantee.

It leaves me back to square one, or buy a turbo basically. I haven’t been down yet as he said he has a few jobs to do first. I am really stressing out.
 

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Like you say, the over-boost DTC probably happened before and has got stored. Other than that, I'm not sure why you are fixated on this problem being boost-related? Has someone actually monitored the MAP sensor reading with a suitable OBD2 scanner and seen that there is no boost? I'm not saying that you're wrong, merely that there is apparently no evidence for this... as with the (unrelated?) over-boost condition that caused you to have a stored P1236, if there was a turbo fault, or leaking pipework, or blown intercooler, or faulty boost actuator that was causing you to have no boost, then the ECU should detect this (via the MAP sensor) and then usually raise the under-boost DTC (P1237)

If you are really sure you have no boost, then maybe try searching this forum, TypeAccord and Honda Karma on P1237, to get more suggestion on how others have dealt with a confirmed lack of boost. And check that the boost pipework isn't leaking? Or that the intercooler hasn't burst/split?

LOL I'll happily argue with you all day about how premium fuel is a waste of money, but it isn't at all relevant to your problem here. And anyway, it's your hard-earned money...
 

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Like you say, the over-boost DTC probably happened before and has got stored. Other than that, I'm not sure why you are fixated on this problem being boost-related? Has someone actually monitored the MAP sensor reading with a suitable OBD2 scanner and seen that there is no boost? I'm not saying that you're wrong, merely that there is apparently no evidence for this... as with the (unrelated?) over-boost condition that caused you to have a stored P1236, if there was a turbo fault, or leaking pipework, or blown intercooler, or faulty boost actuator that was causing you to have no boost, then the ECU should detect this (via the MAP sensor) and then usually raise the under-boost DTC (P1237)

If you are really sure you have no boost, then maybe try searching this forum, TypeAccord and Honda Karma on P1237, to get more suggestion on how others have dealt with a confirmed lack of boost. And check that the boost pipework isn't leaking? Or that the intercooler hasn't burst/split?

LOL I'll happily argue with you all day about how premium fuel is a waste of money, but it isn't at all relevant to your problem here. And anyway, it's your hard-earned money...
I’ll look on them forums Jon, thank you - but I can’t do any of the stuff myself I have no tools and never done anything like it before. That’s a problem also, it’s difficult to sometimes go to a garage and tell a mechanic how to do their job, what to do. All they want is £.

Now the fuel debate is simple...

If you spend £20 of Sainsbury fuel and it gives 80 miles.
But spend £20 of Shell fuel and it gives 100 miles.

Which one is better value for money, regardless of how much the price per litre says?

Don’t be fooled at the price, I see people with Porsche and Merc pull into Sainsbury fuel all the time filling up and I sit in my car shaking my head. However they won’t listen to a taxi driver when they’re driving a Merc. They won’t even care if they damage the car, they’ll just buy another one with their “hard earned cash”.

Point is, my uncle has done taxi driving for 30+ years and he has tested every fuel from supermarkets to premium and since most of our profit margin is based on fuel really, we need to buy the best one in terms of economy.

Now if the expensive fuel gives more mileage, which it does and is proven. Whether it causes harm to the engine is irrelevant. However, since it does cause problems to certain cars, that’s an added bonus and a no brainier to use better fuel.

No to mention the better performance you get out of it, that’s why F1 cars use Shell.

——-

On topic now, could be relay in the turbo or even fuel filter, the mechanic gave the boost sensor a clean and put it back in and I still don’t have any boost. Imagine driving the car without a turbo in it, just a diesel with no turbo. That’s how it’s driving.

Someone has put an expensive reader in and measured some sort of boost from it, not sure what I was looking for but he even got me to rev the engine lots with his hands on the turbo pipes and they didn’t give any vibration or anything. So he’s sort of ruled out the possibility of it being a sensor, and said it might be the turbo as it’s mechanical. He said if it was the fuel filter it would have given a code for that instead?

You and others know a lot more about this stuff than I do, I’m not fixated on anything and I’m hoping that it isn’t the turbo. The trouble I have is finding someone to do all the checks and eliminating all the possibilities of everything, and most garages aren’t prepared to do that.

Each day my car isn’t working I’m losing £50-100 so this weekend I’ve already lost a good £200, and it won’t be fixed Monday if the turbo is sent off. If that makes sense?

I really don’t have much money right now, but if I don’t get it sorted fast then I’ll lose even more.
 

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regarding the above post
last 3 weeks ive filled up at local independent texaco staion and mpg read out has been low i just put it down to cold weather and diesel
yesterday i was really low on fuel and filled up at low cost applegreen station in town and the mpg from last night and today all short journeys has rissen by 4 to 5 mpg
i guess ill be avoiding the teaxaco station for a while
 

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I’ll look on them forums Jon, thank you - but I can’t do any of the stuff myself I have no tools and never done anything like it before. That’s a problem also, it’s difficult to sometimes go to a garage and tell a mechanic how to do their job, what to do. All they want is £.

Now the fuel debate is simple...

If you spend £20 of Sainsbury fuel and it gives 80 miles.
But spend £20 of Shell fuel and it gives 100 miles.

Which one is better value for money, regardless of how much the price per litre says?

Don’t be fooled at the price, I see people with Porsche and Merc pull into Sainsbury fuel all the time filling up and I sit in my car shaking my head. However they won’t listen to a taxi driver when they’re driving a Merc. They won’t even care if they damage the car, they’ll just buy another one with their “hard earned cash”.

Point is, my uncle has done taxi driving for 30+ years and he has tested every fuel from supermarkets to premium and since most of our profit margin is based on fuel really, we need to buy the best one in terms of economy.

Now if the expensive fuel gives more mileage, which it does and is proven. Whether it causes harm to the engine is irrelevant. However, since it does cause problems to certain cars, that’s an added bonus and a no brainier to use better fuel.

No to mention the better performance you get out of it, that’s why F1 cars use Shell.

——-

On topic now, could be relay in the turbo or even fuel filter, the mechanic gave the boost sensor a clean and put it back in and I still don’t have any boost. Imagine driving the car without a turbo in it, just a diesel with no turbo. That’s how it’s driving.

Someone has put an expensive reader in and measured some sort of boost from it, not sure what I was looking for but he even got me to rev the engine lots with his hands on the turbo pipes and they didn’t give any vibration or anything. So he’s sort of ruled out the possibility of it being a sensor, and said it might be the turbo as it’s mechanical. He said if it was the fuel filter it would have given a code for that instead?

You and others know a lot more about this stuff than I do, I’m not fixated on anything and I’m hoping that it isn’t the turbo. The trouble I have is finding someone to do all the checks and eliminating all the possibilities of everything, and most garages aren’t prepared to do that.

Each day my car isn’t working I’m losing £50-100 so this weekend I’ve already lost a good £200, and it won’t be fixed Monday if the turbo is sent off. If that makes sense?

I really don’t have much money right now, but if I don’t get it sorted fast then I’ll lose even more.
I'm still unsure why you think there's no boost? You would get a P1237 if there wasn't. I recommend you get it connected up to an HDS and have all the sub-systems tested. You may need to find a Honda specialist for that, or maybe start a new thread asking if anyone here has an HDS and could run the tests for you? Several people here do own there own clone versions. Fahad at Premier Tuning has his own HDS and does know how to use it properly, and I know he's in your area... he may be your best bet, to be honest, and I wouldn't advise you to get a new turbo without having the problem properly diagnosed.

There is no way premium fuel would give you a 25% increase in mileage for the same cost, sorry... You'd actually be lucky to get the same amount of mileage for the same cost! But I do agree that a fuel with a higher cetane content would increase performance, and there's the real point of premium fuels. Although adding your own cetane booster would be more cost effective.
 
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