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      03-09-2022, 09:26 PM   #1
toniree93
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Cool Arco vs Shell Gas Quality Myth Debunked With DataLogs

Seems like nobody really has tested Arco vs Shell on their F30s, so I decided to be the lab rat.

A little background: I'm in Southern California and this is my first car (2019 440i GC) so I was motivated to learn about tuning/logging to both increase the performance/sound of my car while minimizing damage to its longevity. I have been using Arco 91 gas since I bought this car at 21K miles. I have put 5K miles on it.

In terms of mods I installed a Remus Axle-back exhaust, had both resonators deleted, and installed a CTS High-flow catted downpipe.
I did my tuning through Bootmod3. The first tune I did with above mods is the B58 MPPK Tune (Verified with Bootmod3 support it indeed is the "Mppsk" tune, just a typo in their app).
At this stage, I was ready to check datalogs to see if my current setup and fuel would indicate it would be safe to go Bootmod3 Stage 2 ACN 91 long term.

Here are 4 datalogs I took with the above setup, MPPK tune, and Arco 91 Fuel:

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6220...90c617fb32b3b8

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6220...729b3cc06191f7

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6223...729b21443f5234

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6223...90c6662817af27


thejeremyman9 was kind enough to review above logs and point out that I should be using Shell 91 octane rather than Arco in California. I then proceeded to empty my gas tank, fill up with Shell 91 octane, drove around all weekend to empty that tank (my superstitious way of "cleaning" the car of Arco's trash) and then took 2 datalogs using the same setup, but with Shell 91 Octane fuel, not Arco.

Here are 2 datalogs I took with the above setup, MPPK tune, and Shell 91 Fuel:

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6228...0b4314a03e8c40

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6228...90c610e440968e


I will sum up the results in case there is too much data to peruse above. Again, shoutout to thejeremyman9 for showing us how to read datalogs:

-Knocks - Same results in terms of #knocks/#datalogs, 2/4 vs Shell's 1/2
-STFT - Arco performed better with some pulls going at only +8%, but still sometimes reaching +15%. The Datalogs using Shell shows a consistent reaching of 20%
-MAF - Arco shows a good mix of somewhat smooth/somewhat erratic MAF. The Shell one does seem like it wins (very slightly) in this category. They reach somewhat similar max values.
-Boost Deviation - Arco consistently shows smaller max values in terms of deviation, by ~1.1PSI. Slight win for Arco
-Cylinder timing - Cyl 1 and 6 consistently show being off in both setups. However it is quite noticeable that there are bigger mis-timings (+12 sometimes) of cylinders on the Shell Gas. One interesting thing however, is that Arco gas was also disrupting timing of Cylinders 4/5 sometimes. However to my newbie eye it does seem like Arco wins in this category due to less extreme deviations.
But according to some on Bimmerpost this could also point to my car needing new spark plugs, although I know nothing about that and how it affects timing.
-Load: Arco's looks better, slightly.
-IAT: seems like two of my Arco datalogs have heatsoak. I ran all four of those within 10 minutes on one road.


In conclusion, my local Arco is $4.69/gal for 91 and Shell is $5.55/gal for 91. Obviously I'd be happy if it turned out I could stick with Arco according to my datalogs, but my priority is keeping my 440i running happily. The above datalogs do show that there isn't much difference between Arco's 91 octane and Shell's 91 octane in Southern California, and if anything Arco does seem to perform very slightly better on these MPPSK tunes, and this leads me to believe that there isn't much difference in the quality of the fuels when it comes to Stock or MPPSK tunes for the 440is. I will hence probably switch back to fueling at Arco from now, unless I'm missing something crucial here.

Also, keep in mind that my Cylinder 1 and 6 are consistently showing slight misfiring, which leads me to believe I might?? need new spark plugs. I'm not sure if that factors into other metrics in the datalogs, or maybe the spark plugs degenerated further after my first 4 Datalogs, leading to slightly worse logs when I switched to Shell.

Thanks for reading, and I'm open to any advice if anything sticks out to you guys in my datalogs that I missed, this is my first car ever after all. I do plan on continuing this thread with more datalogs on different tunes with different fuels so I can figure out the best setup for my baby. Hopefully my journey answers questions some of you have had but haven't gotten to testing.

As a bonus for data geeks out there, I switched to Stage 1 ACN Bootmod3 today from MPPSK and also took two datalogs of that setup (Shell Gas). I haven't analyzed the stage 1 logs yet, but I plan on checking them against the MPPSK logs just to see if Stage 1 ACN would better suit my setup/fuel than MPPSK.
Update - stage 1 acn looked good with shell, no knocks, so will stick with stage 1 ACN for the time being. Will update thread with Stage 1 ACN datalogs using Arco gas in a week or so.

Bootmod3 Stage 1 ACN Logs with Shell 91:
https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6229...729b40e14cf8d0
https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6229...0b4312e3eb4ec5

Last edited by toniree93; 03-09-2022 at 09:49 PM..
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      03-09-2022, 09:41 PM   #2
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I think we can all agree that California has terrible gas. Very interesting thread. Thanks for sharing.
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      03-09-2022, 09:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jyerelek View Post
I think we can all agree that California has terrible gas. Very interesting thread. Thanks for sharing.
Can't wait to retire in texas and mine my own oil
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      03-10-2022, 12:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toniree93 View Post
Seems like nobody really has tested Arco vs Shell on their F30s, so I decided to be the lab rat.

A little background: I'm in Southern California and this is my first car (2019 440i GC) so I was motivated to learn about tuning/logging to both increase the performance/sound of my car while minimizing damage to its longevity. I have been using Arco 91 gas since I bought this car at 21K miles. I have put 5K miles on it.

In terms of mods I installed a Remus Axle-back exhaust, had both resonators deleted, and installed a CTS High-flow catted downpipe.
I did my tuning through Bootmod3. The first tune I did with above mods is the B58 MPPK Tune (Verified with Bootmod3 support it indeed is the "Mppsk" tune, just a typo in their app).
At this stage, I was ready to check datalogs to see if my current setup and fuel would indicate it would be safe to go Bootmod3 Stage 2 ACN 91 long term.

Here are 4 datalogs I took with the above setup, MPPK tune, and Arco 91 Fuel:

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6220...90c617fb32b3b8

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6220...729b3cc06191f7

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6223...729b21443f5234

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6223...90c6662817af27


thejeremyman9 was kind enough to review above logs and point out that I should be using Shell 91 octane rather than Arco in California. I then proceeded to empty my gas tank, fill up with Shell 91 octane, drove around all weekend to empty that tank (my superstitious way of "cleaning" the car of Arco's trash) and then took 2 datalogs using the same setup, but with Shell 91 Octane fuel, not Arco.

Here are 2 datalogs I took with the above setup, MPPK tune, and Shell 91 Fuel:

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6228...0b4314a03e8c40

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6228...90c610e440968e


I will sum up the results in case there is too much data to peruse above. Again, shoutout to thejeremyman9 for showing us how to read datalogs:

-Knocks - Same results in terms of #knocks/#datalogs, 2/4 vs Shell's 1/2
-STFT - Arco performed better with some pulls going at only +8%, but still sometimes reaching +15%. The Datalogs using Shell shows a consistent reaching of 20%
-MAF - Arco shows a good mix of somewhat smooth/somewhat erratic MAF. The Shell one does seem like it wins (very slightly) in this category. They reach somewhat similar max values.
-Boost Deviation - Arco consistently shows smaller max values in terms of deviation, by ~1.1PSI. Slight win for Arco
-Cylinder timing - Cyl 1 and 6 consistently show being off in both setups. However it is quite noticeable that there are bigger mis-timings (+12 sometimes) of cylinders on the Shell Gas. One interesting thing however, is that Arco gas was also disrupting timing of Cylinders 4/5 sometimes. However to my newbie eye it does seem like Arco wins in this category due to less extreme deviations.
But according to some on Bimmerpost this could also point to my car needing new spark plugs, although I know nothing about that and how it affects timing.
-Load: Arco's looks better, slightly.
-IAT: seems like two of my Arco datalogs have heatsoak. I ran all four of those within 10 minutes on one road.


In conclusion, my local Arco is $4.69/gal for 91 and Shell is $5.55/gal for 91. Obviously I'd be happy if it turned out I could stick with Arco according to my datalogs, but my priority is keeping my 440i running happily. The above datalogs do show that there isn't much difference between Arco's 91 octane and Shell's 91 octane in Southern California, and if anything Arco does seem to perform very slightly better on these MPPSK tunes, and this leads me to believe that there isn't much difference in the quality of the fuels when it comes to Stock or MPPSK tunes for the 440is. I will hence probably switch back to fueling at Arco from now, unless I'm missing something crucial here.

Also, keep in mind that my Cylinder 1 and 6 are consistently showing slight misfiring, which leads me to believe I might?? need new spark plugs. I'm not sure if that factors into other metrics in the datalogs, or maybe the spark plugs degenerated further after my first 4 Datalogs, leading to slightly worse logs when I switched to Shell.

Thanks for reading, and I'm open to any advice if anything sticks out to you guys in my datalogs that I missed, this is my first car ever after all. I do plan on continuing this thread with more datalogs on different tunes with different fuels so I can figure out the best setup for my baby. Hopefully my journey answers questions some of you have had but haven't gotten to testing.

As a bonus for data geeks out there, I switched to Stage 1 ACN Bootmod3 today from MPPSK and also took two datalogs of that setup (Shell Gas). I haven't analyzed the stage 1 logs yet, but I plan on checking them against the MPPSK logs just to see if Stage 1 ACN would better suit my setup/fuel than MPPSK.
Update - stage 1 acn looked good with shell, no knocks, so will stick with stage 1 ACN for the time being. Will update thread with Stage 1 ACN datalogs using Arco gas in a week or so.

Bootmod3 Stage 1 ACN Logs with Shell 91:
https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6229...729b40e14cf8d0
https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6229...0b4312e3eb4ec5
for me i would use shell due to the additives but i think it is due to the fact that shell is the only one who refines the gasoline in cali and they are the ones who distribute the gasoline and the gas companies do their own additives
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      03-10-2022, 02:48 AM   #5
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Great info but you need ethanol. It's just too expensive to buy regular fuel right now so you need ethanol. That's what I tell the spouse :-)
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      03-10-2022, 09:19 AM   #6
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Thank you for sharing
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      03-10-2022, 10:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by toniree93 View Post
Can't wait to retire in texas and mine my own oil
Love it!
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      03-10-2022, 01:16 PM   #8
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Great info but you need ethanol. It's just too expensive to buy regular fuel right now so you need ethanol. That's what I tell the spouse :-)
Absolutely. E85 is also more environmentally friendly!
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      03-10-2022, 02:27 PM   #9
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Absolutely. E85 is also more environmentally friendly!
ive been thinking of running the new e50 map due to gas prices and also too my turbo can support the extra boost so no harm there.
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      03-11-2022, 12:20 AM   #10
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How is gas so cheap where you're at??
What part of Southern California are you at if you don't mind me asking.

Here in northern CA, 91 octane is $6.50 at shell, $6.40 something at arco, and arcos ethanol is at $4.30 something
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      03-11-2022, 02:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinweiss340 View Post
How is gas to cheap where you're at??
What part of Southern California are you at if you don't mind me asking.

Here in northern CA, 91 octane is $6.50 at shell, $6.40 something at arco, and arcos ethanol is at $4.30 something
Orange county. But keep in mind these are the lowest prices youíll find around me ither than the santa ana/orange ghettos as I did my research on the doezen or so Shellís in my 10 mile vicinity. Arco happens to be close to me and has (had) I think arco went up since Iíve been fueling shell.
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      03-11-2022, 08:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toniree93 View Post
unless I'm missing something crucial here.
Like post #4 suggests you could be missing the impact of detergent blends used in these fuels, which really drive the difference in fuel "quality" and cost.

Octane seems like it's straightforward to test/regulate and it's what drives performance in terms of knock control / timing. But the so-called detergent content is what sets Top Tier fuel apart, including Shell, and over the long term helps to maintain clean fuel systems.

Granted in a DI engine this isn't as critical because the valves don't see much fuel, but some extent of lower valve cleanliness, injector fouling, and the buildup of cylinder deposits are each going to be a function of fuel detergent content. Food for thought.
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      03-11-2022, 11:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4NoMore View Post
Like post #4 suggests you could be missing the impact of detergent blends used in these fuels, which really drive the difference in fuel "quality" and cost.

Octane seems like it's straightforward to test/regulate and it's what drives performance in terms of knock control / timing. But the so-called detergent content is what sets Top Tier fuel apart, including Shell, and over the long term helps to maintain clean fuel systems.

Granted in a DI engine this isn't as critical because the valves don't see much fuel, but some extent of lower valve cleanliness, injector fouling, and the buildup of cylinder deposits are each going to be a function of fuel detergent content. Food for thought.
But Arco is Top Tier tooÖ are you just confirming that Arco shouldnít be too different from Shell?
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      03-11-2022, 12:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toniree93 View Post
But Arco is Top Tier too… are you just confirming that Arco shouldn’t be too different from Shell?
Didn't realize that, I'm an east coaster and not familiar with Arco. So the answer is yes, if I had access to Arco and Shell I'd have no reason to not fill up with Arco, they're both quality fuel if Top Tier has anything to say about it.

Last edited by S4NoMore; 03-16-2022 at 12:56 PM..
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      03-12-2022, 08:43 PM   #15
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MPPK is not a typo. The missing S is for sound, and that requires the exhaust.
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      03-16-2022, 10:45 AM   #16
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I've always used chevron due to the additives
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      03-16-2022, 03:56 PM   #17
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MPPK is not a typo. The missing S is for sound, and that requires the exhaust.
:mind blown:
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      03-19-2022, 02:02 PM   #18
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Fyi, for the 8speed you should be logging in 5th gear (1:1 ratio).
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      04-20-2022, 01:27 PM   #19
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UPDATE
Iíve replaced my spark plugs by hand, regapping to .022Ē. Still running ACN 91 octane. I took some datalogs w/o WOT pulls (wanted to let the plugs get acclimated), but Iím already seeing timing improvements, considering timing was shit as lower RPMs with the old plugs anyway.

Logs here:

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6239...90c60926881d4d

https://www.bootmod3.net/log?id=6239...0b436f7d6a64e2

As for driving, some differences Iím noticing is with the auto engine shutoff/on, I notice a significantly shorter time for the ignition to start up. Like 1 second with the old plugs, 0.3 seconds with the new, smaller gapped plugs. Throttle response has improved as well.
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      04-20-2022, 02:56 PM   #20
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You can always drop in octane booster and see if your timing corrections clean up more. It's usually fuel related issue. I live in CA myself and the 91 octane from every brand station is piss fuel. I been running the MHD stage 1 tune and some times stage 2 with 91 octane only and I get corrections up to -5 on certain cylinders so I just stick to the Stage 1 at most times just for safety until I get my MHD flex fuel installed some time this week and comfortably run ethanol whenever I want.
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      04-20-2022, 05:03 PM   #21
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very intresting read, safe to say our California gas is just terrible and that if you want smoothness out of your tune switch to a ethanol blend
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