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Jim Peterson

Continental fuel quality sensor

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Time was GM and Ford FFVs used a fuel composition sensor sourced from Siemens. These sensors too often didn't last the life of the vehicle and were expensive to replace, and thus went away in favor of a virtual sensor by the mid-2000s. Far as I know this solution works well. Now there is a new fuel quality sensor by Continental which can among other things measure the ethanol concentration in a gasoline/ethanol blend - does anyone know which if any FFVs use it? I'm trying to substantiate reports that some GM vehicles use it. And why the switch from the virtual sensor?

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No sorry I had read that thread it is not of any help. The Replicator is for those folks who have to deal with an original sensor gone bad and are willing to sacrifice the capabiliity of using E85 in order to save some money. The post by kidsonly1 with the ebay link is for the Siemens part. What I am after is whether a new part made by Continental has found its way into use. For more info run a search for Continental fuel quality sensor or email me and I can send you some links.

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No help here on the Continental sensor. Still have a 2001 S10 with the original sensor and in my mind it was superior to the algorithim method (virtual) that followed- at least the early ones. The real sensor allowed the mix to be determined and dial in immediately- not wait for about 5 miles to figure it out while hoping the vehicle remained in closed loop. It also eliminated the chance that a consumer who lived a few blocks from the station and just switched fuels from empty on gas to full tank E85 would get a great start due to the right cold start map being readied before shutdown. It could see immediately if the consumer left the car run while filling and did not require programming that needed key off filling so that key on saw the change in fuel volume to force the algorithm recalculation. Furthermore- It would see M85 (methanol) as even higher level of alcohol and by default set the initial A/F higher. The S10's owners (like myself) generally saw an 88-86% of range on E85 vs gas which was far better than the V6's and V8's that were algorithm. Part of that was likely fast warmup and departure from cold start enrichment but I feel GM had the thing dialed in much tighter with the assurance of knowing the exact alcohol (and required A/F). It NEVER had a hard start hot or cold and I documented 1/3 the shifts on cruise over small hills (same course/same weather)--better power/torque.

 

The real issue for deletion of these i believe was to keep vehicle purchase price lower.

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Your observations are spot on. I've since learned that at least some GM product (those with direct injected 4 and 6 cylinder engines) are now using a sensor again. Seems the virtual sensor had its share of drawbacks. The new sensor is not likely to be interchangeable with the old Siemens part.

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Jim- both Ford and GM had their share of problems with "Virtual", though it sure got better to the point I stopped hearing of problems (other than MPG). I am guessing that the direct injection coupled with higher compression is less tolerant to miscalculations when gas is introduced and timing is still advanced for E85 the prior tank?  OR- emissions ratings on cold start?

 

In the beginning of virtual I found myself repeatedly having to educate dealers and customers about the service bulletins (and quiet warranties)- there were errors in algorithms and errors in the start maps and as a fuel retailer I got blamed first. Dealers learned to not do this to me because I would involve the state fuel inspector and the customer if they passed the buck on a known ECU problem. Most dealers were great though.

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Hi!

It is the same Siemens fuel composition sensor based on fluid capacitance. Continental bought about 5 years ago Siemens automotive division. If I have right information this sensor is now manufactured in Continental Mexico factory. This sensor also registrates fuel temperature.

I think the only reason why car manufacturers switched to software implemented fuel composition recognition was cost of this sensor - 300 USD/pc at wholesale.

I am absolutly agree no algorythm could beat physical sensor.

At the moment here in Europa few companies have started manufacturing of conductivity based fuel composition sensors. The cost is 1/3 compare to Continental FFV sensor but any water in fuel screws up reading (shows higher ethanol content than it really is).

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