BMW Oilhead Tech

Poor quality and leaded vs unleaded fuel

A VERY frequent question about travelling with oilheads!

From Ramey "Coach" Stroud"

"Regarding ..question about the use of leaded and poor quality fuel in newer GS's. The fuel injection system for a late model GS can be 'remapped' to compensate for fuel type and quality. BMW has adapted this concept in the BMW 1150GS Adventure. It takes regular petrol by use of what they call "a coding plug" for the engine management system. It is available as an optional accessory. When this coding plug is inserted into what BMW calls the 'electro-box,' an ignition grid is activated which means the engine can be safely operated with regular fuel (RON 91) without risk of damage. The engine can still run of premium plus fuel (when available) for normal operation. The cat-converter should probably be removed on (the) bike and some aftermarket pipes (mufflers) installed. However, the stock pipes can still be used by replacing the cat with a blank connector pipe. Finally, in-line, injector quality fuel filters are probably a good idea, as is carrying replacements. A pair of panty hose and a funnel works too! :) "


The bike will run just fine on leaded fuel - but eventually, (estimates range around a "few thousand miles") the catalytic converter will be permanently ruined - from the point of view of doing it's job of reducing pollution. The bike WILL continue to run fine, but you won't be able to pass a pollution test anymore. Best, as noted above, is to replace the cat with a pipe converter before heading off.

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