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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 23 Jul 2011
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 73
Petrol Quality?

I am preparing to leave South America and head for Africa, Cape Town to Cairo. It was suggested that I install a low octane "relay" that changes the timing/advance for low octane petrol throughout Africa. I have a 2002 1150 GSA, which typically does very good with low quality gas, in S. America anyway.

Do I need this? How bad is fuel quality in some of the eastern countries?

Thanks for the help!

Left Seattle March '09 for RTW trip.
'02 BMW 1150 GSA
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Old 25 Jul 2011
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Brasil
Posts: 75

I have a 1150 adv, same model, same year. Once I went to argentina and I started to search for it. I saw something about this gadget for low octane.

But I never found it for sale. In Sao Paulo/Brasil, the bmw's dealer - where I make the maintenence and shopping - never heard about it.

In Brasil there are three kinds of octanes for sale in Brasil:
1) "C" - "comum" with 25% of alcohol (87 octanes);

2) the "Premium" (91 octanes - all gasolines, named "super", "especial", etc. with 25% of alcohol) and

3) 95 oct (ONLY the named "podium" by Petrobras, with 25% of alcohol)

For a comparison:

MON RON IAD = (M + R) / 2
EUA regular 82 92 87
EUA premium - 96 91

Europa premium 85 95 90
Europa super 88 98 93

Japan regular - 89 -
Japan premium - 96 -

Brasil comum 82 92 87
Brasil premium - 96 91

Podium Petrobrás - - 95

Markus Sawyer, a HUBB registered user, driving a KLR 650, made a detailed journal in his trip from cape town to cairo one year ago (see "Sawyer" - Flibber T Gibbet). I don't remember that he faced any major trouble with low octane.

So, I believe that it will not be an issue.

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Old 25 Jul 2011
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 88
no problem

We are currently riding with an Transalp 600, AT 750 and 2 old Ténere's from Cape Town to Cairo. We didn't have problems with the fuel quality, although we sometimes add some octanebooster in our tanks. You can buy them in several countries.
Biggest problem for us was the fuel shortage in Malawi and trying to cover the Lake Turkana route in Kenia, which is about 800 km without petrol.

Happy travels,

Dream it, do it!
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Old 29 Jul 2011
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Thanks for the help, looks like I should be fine without the gizmo.
Left Seattle March '09 for RTW trip.
'02 BMW 1150 GSA
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Old 30 Jul 2011
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Location: Meise Belgium
Posts: 41
hi Doubledown,
have a gsa2003 in Belgium and it features a switchable ignition for lower octane fuel. With some luck you can do the same.
pls look at 1150GS Adventure "Switchable" Ignition? - ADVrider

Even without the codeplug, by connecting he correct pins, you can drive
hope this helps-------------geert
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