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Saturday, August 20, 2011

TRAVEL: Is Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) available on Baja?


Generally speaking ULSD is only available in Northern Mexico and that includes Northern Baja. Some RV Caravan Tour companies tell clients that it is universally available on Baja, this is incorrect, PEMEX in Baja Sur (Southern Baja) imports only LSD diesel fuel from the mainland ! Please note it has been widely reported that LSD is still found at many fuel stations in the US.  Also see: http://www.bajaquest.com/fuel/


What the consequences are of using Low Sulphur Diesel (LSD) in a Canadian or American engine built after 2006 is likely the most controversial topic amongst diesel RVers. We have spent endless hours discussing this with experts, manufactures and owners. In summary, this is a warranty issue and really not a performance or operational issue. The difference between diesel vehicles sold in Mexico and the US & Canada are the exhaust systems, the engines are identical.


We have encountered many 2007 diesel vehicles, including brand new RVs and trucks on Baja, who happily report no problems whatsoever with the fuel. We are told by Diesel Techs running 3000 or 4000 km of LSD is of little consequence for a ULSD engine (however 35,000 km straight may be) and many operators simply change their oil and filters when they return to the U.S. We know first hand that some manufactures will take the first opportunity to void a warranty if they are made aware of the use of LSD in a ULSD engine (although this seems specific to Mexico not the US). We have also learned that using LSD in a GM may only void the warranty on components in the exhaust system, like the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), not the drive train or other items under warranty. Many RVers we have spoken to still under warranty on Baja have simply chosen not to inform the manufacturer of their travels in Mexico. At the end of the day an RVer must make an informed decision regarding this issue. We suggest you contact those you know in the industry and check out the various forums regarding this subject such as The Diesel Garage, also look at this article written by Ted White.


Jason “NitroMan”, Industry Performance Lubricant Guru, from NITROLUBE, has also kindly offered to respond to any inquiries you may have on this issue. Jason can be contacted at info@nitrolube.com