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Thread: Which fuel is best Premium or Regular unleaded to run in my Honda 350X ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    North Little Rock, Arkansas

    Which fuel is best Premium or Regular unleaded to run in my Honda 350X ?

    I just bought this 85 Honda 350X and want to know what fuel is best.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    South Florida
    Air cooled motor from the 1980s = premium fuel
    78 atc 90/180cc Dickson Full Suspension
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    84 atc 200x Powroll My race bike from 80's
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
    Not too sure about the quality of fuels in the US, but up here you have a better chance of having less of an ethanol blend with Premium. IMO, for the added cost it's woth it to run it in all your small engines that may sit for awhile.
    1970/71 US 90 (Aquarius Blue)
    1970/71 US 90 (Future Resto Project)
    1972/73 US 90 Camo Project (110 Big Bore)
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    1977 ATC 90 w/83 110 motor (Fugly)
    1984 Big Red 200es w/85 250 front end
    1982 ATC 70
    1983 ATC 70 (Ladybug)
    1973 ATC 70

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Fresh fuel is more important that the octane rating. Premium left to sit a few weeks in a plastic container, or a vented tank will be no better than fresh regular fuel. I always use premium except in my truck when I'm not towing, then I use the cheap stuff, it seems to give me better mileage.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Leander TX
    My X pings on regular so it gets 93.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    S.E. Michigan
    When all else fails, read the owners manual:

    "Any automotive gasoline with a pump octane number of 86 or higher, or research octane number of 91 or higher may be used. If "knocking" or "pinging" occurrs, try a different brand of gasoline or a higher octane grade."

    NOTE: the pump octane is in fact the sticker label on the pump

    I run 87 octane on my 350x with stock compression. As long as your motor doesn't ping, there is no reason to run the higher octane except for the consideration of ethanol in fuel. I've heard (but not confirmed) that some of the premium fuels have less or no ethanol in them. Also note that if your motor runs without pinging on 87 octane, you will not make any more power (in fact less) if you run the higher octane fuels.
    - Frank

    1984 200ES Big Red
    1985 350X (x2)
    1986 250SX
    1984 Auto-X
    1984 ATC70
    1985 ATC70

  7. #7
    Marty is offline Just Too Addicted Arm chair racerJust too addicted
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Mesa, Az
    Listen to El Camexican he is right in his statement and i also agree with him!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    North Little Rock, Arkansas
    Thanks guys for all your info, it will go to good use.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Massachusetts USA
    I just tried the VP Racing "Small Engine Fuel" that is sold around here in the power equipment shops. I only bought a quart (for $8!!!) to break in the IT425 I just rebuilt. I swore I wasn't going to start it until I could ride it, but I decided that the cold weather would be good for a couple of heat cycles, and then when the perfect day in spring comes I would know that it was ready to run.

    I like fuel, it seems to be very clean, almost clear. A little that spilled evaporated right away so I figured that was also a good sign. It feels very "dry" to the touch, and smells just like race gas! Considering the price, I probably won't run it regularly, but I would consider buying the 5 gallon can for $80 to use in my machines that get used very infrequently.
    1985 Tri-Z 250
    1984 ATC200X

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    New York
    most of the fuel is garbage so buy the cheapest crap you can find. chuck 87 in there and add marvel mystery oil to fuel
    what are ya looking for high octane corn ?
    ♠ 58 ♠

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Surprise, AZ
    This article is from a guy named Bruce Fulper, his credentials are impeccable in the Hot Rod-Racing Pontiac engine world to the point were he often gets slammed by the competition. I have met him many times and like his work, maybe this will help folks on this forum.

    In some parts of the article replace "Pontiac" with "ATC" some parts don't pertain to trike, but I didn't want to hack it up.

    Hope you enjoy!

    Test for octane requirement.

    By Bruce M. Fulper
    (The Tim Conway of Pontiac Performance)

    Inaudible detonation. A term I've introduced to our community in 1996 in an attempt to warn my Pontiac friends of a very serious condition. Unfortunately there isn't a "litmus paper" test, yet. That would be a terrific item if invented.

    Octane by definition is a detonation resisting chemical. I'll get into it further in my book, but for now let's do a test to see if you're cheating yourself out of power, and possibly hurting parts. There are two ways you can approach this. Is there a chassis dyno in your area? or can you go to a race track to test? You'll need to do one or the other. You may have heard that you can twist the distributor advanced until the engine audibly "pings," but this is absolute foolishness. This is not an opinion, it's a fact. All you learn is; at the point it pings, it's too far advanced. So? It does not tell you if that you move the timing back 2 or 3 degrees, as the proponents of this test would have you believe, that you've achieved "optimum" timing. That this is the spot that's the engine will make the most power. We need to find the engines sweet spot, while under a load.

    OK. We're going to capsulize this guys, so don't be pickin' me apart. Get to the track or a chassis dyno. Bring along five gallons of 108 or 110 race gas. Make sure you have less than five gallons of your regular fuel in the tank at the start of the test. Check your timing at 2500 to 3000 rpm without Vac. Adv. hooked up. (Capsule#1; dist. is assumed to be working right.) Make a dyno pull or a run as-is. Record the mph. We're not concerned with e.t. as the mph reflects your h.p. Advance the timing three degrees. Make another run or pull. Did it slow down, run the same, go faster? If it slowed down, pour in five gallons of race gas. (Do not use 112 or 115 octane.)

    If it ran the same, or went quicker, advance the timing another three degrees and make another pass. Keep advancing the timing three degrees until you find the spot that the car slows down. At that point retard the timing three degrees, then add the race gas. Make two more passes. Did the mph come up? Yes? Then advance the timing three more degrees. Make another pass and? what happened? More mph? This tells you that you are not meeting the octane requirement on 93. Did the car slow down? Make another pass just to make sure the mix of fuel has gotten completely into the carb. If it slows down it would tell you that it doesn't need the extra octane. Also, if the car went quicker on the last pass, add two more degrees of timing and make another pass. Quicker or slower? Quicker tells you it really needs the mix of fuel.

    First article-
    Also, understand this. Too much octane will also slow the car down. That's why there's three basic levels at most gas pumps. You already know that if you put too little octane you will lose power, but did you know that you will also lose power if you put in too high an octane. The burn rate is incorrect, and while you will not detonate, you will not burn the fuel as efficiently. You'll get less mileage and have less power. So that's why I said not to use 112 or 115 unless you mix it two gallons to four of 92/93 octane. 108 mix 4 gallons to 5 gallons of 92/93.

    Second article-
    Have you noticed at most gas stations there are three different octanes available?

    87, 89, and depending on what area of the country you're in, 91 to 94 premium.

    You might think - can numbers that close be necessary?

    Yes. Engine designs are that sensitive. Most of you know that if you use 87 octane in an engine designed

    for premium - it will detonate. There are not enough detontaion resisting chemicals (octane) present

    for the cylinder pressure being created. Conversely, what happens if you use premium fuel

    in an engine designed for 87 octane? (Most people don't know, so don't feel bad.)

    The engine will not detonate - but because the burn rate is wrong the engines efficiency is hindered.

    Performance and mileage will suffer. Here's your first tip in diagnosing efficiency -

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
    I see fuel ratings are up for discussion again...

    I will give you some info, it's up to you to do as you like.

    First off, we have been led to believe over time that high octane fuels make your vehicle run better, faster and stronger.
    If you believe this, please feel free to give me your disposable income. Because you are doing the same thing,
    but giving it to your brand company of choice. Yes... yes you are.

    ***Any fuel is better used fresh, the less it is exposed to the air the better.

    So here are a few things explained in a simple and easy to remember fashion;

    1. Choose your fuel according to the factory specs. - Check your manual, look on your vehicle dash or fuel inlet and you will see a recommended fuel grade and type.

    2. Only fill as much as you plan to use. - Don't fill a tank to the top for a short run. Get use to measuring your fuel and see how long it takes to use it up. Drain your tank and carb when planning to store for a while. Use a gas stabilizer to keep the left overs from turning into varnish.

    3. Buy the fuel shortly before using. - This will keep the fuel from breaking down, giving you the best results.

    So going back to #1. As stated above, we (as in the general public) have this brainwash urge that more is better.
    The thing is, it is all about aspect ratios. Again ASPECT RATIOS. All together now... ASPECT RATIOS!
    Every engine has an aspect ratio... the aspect ratio I am talking about it that of the compression of the volume of
    the fuel mix in the cylinder.
    For stock machines, the recommended fuel should be used.
    Because, silly willy, the engine is designed to run at certain temperatures.
    K, wait, what? Fuel grades cause my engine to run at different temperatures?
    No really, the higher the octane, the more it need to compress to ignite, the faster it burns and the cooler it runs.
    So remember this: high octane = NEEDS high compression, fast burn, cooler running.
    For lower octane = Low compression, slower burn and hotter running.

    So you might be asking... ok what is octane... well to be honest, it is a deterrent.
    A deterrent?
    Yep, some to stop fuel from igniting.
    WTF, I want my fuel to make me go faster not slower.
    Yeeeaaa... see, if you have a regular gas engine truck and you put high octane fuel in it, it will in fact
    destroy your engine over time. Such results range from engine seizing, smoking, build up on carbon (That
    good old blackening in your cylinder) to the eventual piston rings wear.
    You will actually experience something we call bogging. This is when you hit the accelerator and nothing
    really happens, a slight slowing of the engine then all of a sudden things pick up.
    If you are running a Corvette, putting high octane fuel works just fine and will keep your engine running
    great for year and year to come. The reason for this is that the Corvette has a high compression ratio because
    the engine is built for speed and performance, while the truck is built for hauling and torque power.
    If you put low octane fuel in a Corvette, you WILL blow up your engine.
    Because the low octane will cause the fuel to spontaneously ignite before the piston reaches the peak of it's
    compressing travel in the cylinder. Which will cause either the piston to blow up, bend the shaft, blow out the valves,
    heads or pretty much anything else. AKA knocking. Knocking is a sure sign that you need higher octane fuel.

    So back to heat. The lower the octane the more heat is created on ignition. Your run of the mill truck engine
    is designed to handle the heat. But why run a fuel that causes an engine to heat up?
    It comes down to torque.
    A truck engine is designed to haul, so it runs at low RPMs and gives out high torque.
    The low compression ratio and low octane allows a fuel to burn slow and exert a
    large expanding force on a piston for long periods of time.

    But a sports car needs torque to go fast!
    No, well yes and no.
    That's what gears are for.
    Sports cars need RPMs, the higher the RPMs the more power is transferred to the transmission
    which spin the wheels.
    Because a sports engine doesn't need huge amounts of torque, the compression ratio
    is smaller so that the piston doesn't need to travel so much to create the compression of the volume,
    which leads to smaller more compact engine, which make the car lighter, which helps to make it
    go faster. Annnnd... you can create a really high compression ratio if you push more air and fuel
    into the high compression zone by adding a turbo.

    So I am sure I have lost some of you now, if not, good for you and keep on reading.
    If I did loose you, just keep reading... it might still sink in.

    So why do some lawn mowers need high octane fuel? It's a small single piston engine.
    If you have been paying attention you should already know.
    A lawn mower engine need a little torque and lots of speed.
    So small engine like that of the push mower will have a _________ compression
    ratio to have quick burns and fast RPMs in a small compact space, thus needing _______ octane fuel.
    Answer: High, High
    A ridding mower engine is moving around a lot of weight and needs to cut grass.
    It will use ______ compression ratio engine, thus needing _______ octane fuel.
    Answer: Low, Low

    Ok, well that's nice and all, but what do I use for my trike?

    1. Refer to your manual.
    2. Ask yourself what type of machine is it? Utility, racer or mixed?
    Utility should be Regular.
    Mixed, depends... 250sx for example, I would use regular. Higher grade if built for racing.
    Racer, depends on ratio and engine design.

    Something I should get to as well is what happens if you run high octane in an air cooled engine.
    The engine is designed to expand when it warms up to operating temperatures.
    If you are running high octane fuel in an engine designed for high temps, you might cause the
    pistons and other parts to ware out. Why? Because the fuel won't generate enough heat fast enough
    to get the engine to operating temperatures. Signs of this is scratch marks on the cylinder walls.

    I hope this helps ya'll.

    Man, that was waaaay longer than I expected to write. :P

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  13. #13
    pcs's Avatar
    pcs is offline Just Too Addicted Arm chair racerJust too addicted
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    yuma, az
    since we are on the topic and im bored hahaha
    octane is not the same as octane rating
    octane is a saturated 8 carbon chain molecule, C8H18, hence the prefix oct, ane means that the molecule has all single bonds.
    octane rating is a rating at the pump that is usually research octane number (RON)+ motor octane number (MON)/2 RON and MON mean is used in the united states. they are just 2 different anti knock test that are averaged.
    FYI: higher octane rated fuels burn slower than lower octane rated fuels, I always hear people tell me that the think the higher octane fuels burn "better" "cleaner" "faster." they don't, the reason is a longer chain molecule requires more energy input to break its bonds. the greater amount of energy can come from higher compression ratio, stronger spark, pre heating (force induction by product.) some of these additives that are used to raise the octane rating include toluene, MMT, xylene, triptane to name a few.
    as far as ethanol, 4 strokes are less sensitive to it than 2 smokes. ethanol has a high affinity to water that is present in the atmosphere so it can gum up the longer you store it.
    the concentration of ethanol varies, if you read the labels at the pump, this fuel is oxygenated and may contain up to 10 % ethanol but the exact amount varies from season to season and location.
    so as far as your air cooled engine is concern, you tend to want to run the higher octane fuel if you ride hard and or in high ambient temps because as your heats up its more susceptible to pinging. water cooled engines can maintain a more constant temp so they aren't as sensitive. also, the closer your engine is to stock the less you have to worry about vs a built engine. is your engine stock or built?
    the high torque at lower rpm power characteristic of most truck engines is not necessarily due to low compression ratio but more so the cam timing, bore stoke ratio, and port velocity of the cylinder heads. older truck engines in the untied states had lower compression ratio bc that was a way to have a longer service life, most modern light duty trucks, in sold in the untied states have high compression ratio engines today for example many of general motors high output truck engines require 91 octane minimum
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Hoffman Minnesota
    Use premium. Your carb will thank you! At some stations on the 91 sticker it says its not oxygenated.
    Last edited by thcowboy; 03-01-2017 at 06:59 PM.
    1982 big red
    1974 atc 90
    Life is hard, but its harder if you're stupid - John Wayne

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    southern oregon
    87 vs 91 is splitting hairs on a stock low performance engine. I find premium to be more consistent and the price difference is negligible... I use regular in my wife's mini van and it seems like we get a bad batch very often.

    For my dirtbike (245psi) I blend pump 91 with 110 race gas, av100ll, or toluene for the 98-100 octane it likes. I use non-ethanol when it's available, but I don't feel it matters if you use the right pre-mix. At the pump I fill my gas can after I fill my truck so that the pump and hose has been cleared of any residual 87 fuel from previous customers. I feel this is important because I mix small batches. Small batches help me keep it fresh. Unless I am riding the following day I drain the bike into a metal can. For example if I have 1.5 gallons leftover I will mix 2 or 2.5 gallons of fresh fuel for my next ride.. Most of my friends will mix 5 everytime, then add maybe one gallon to top off the old junk in their bike... Then let the other 3 or 4 sit in their garage venting until they use it who knows when... No thanks
    Last edited by cr480r; 02-16-2015 at 01:44 PM.
    2-stroke lover

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