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2002 Lexus ES300 using 87 Octane Gas?

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Old 02-13-13, 12:26 AM   #1
youngim87
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Exclamation 2002 Lexus ES300 using 87 Octane Gas?

Before I get flamed for posting an already discussed topic on here I want to let you know I did about 2 hours of researching on CL and still cannot make a conclusion on what I was trying to figure out.

So, I proceed with my question: Background info - I recently bought a used, but excellent condition, 2002 ES300 with 73K miles which was driven very lightly by the 1st owner mostly for a work commute. It was driven by a woman in her 60's so I highly doubt it was driven hard and long on a daily basis. I was informed that only 87 (regular) octane gas was used as well as regular motor oil (non-synthetic). The driver's manual calls for the use of 91 octane and I have read on here that the use of lower octane, more specifically 87, would most likely cause some type of knock/pinging due to the faster burning lower octane gas which retards the engine response to the fuel quite a bit. This particular car doesn't seem to have any type of noticeable engine problems, pings, or knocks and drives very smoothly, however, I have only had the car for 3 days so far so who knows what I'll encounter *knock on wood*

My question is: Should I continue to use 87 octane gas or should I switch over to 91 octane gas for the first time in the car's life? I'd much rather put 87 to save a couple bucks at the pump and remain consistent with the previous owner. Any suggestions or experiences would be appreciated (Sorry if that was a long post )
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Old 02-13-13, 03:36 AM   #2
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The 2002 manual states
Quote:
Select premium unleaded gasoline with an Octane Rating
of 91 (Research Octane Number 96) or higher for optimum
engine performance. However, if such premium type
cannot be obtained, you may temporarily use unleaded
gasoline with an Octane Rating as low as 87
(Research
Octane Number 91)..
Link to 02' ES300 manual:http://drivers.lexus.com/t3Portal/do...pdf/sec6-2.pdf

The 1MZ-FE motor is high compression coming in at 10.5:1, meaning it will take advantage of high octane fuel.

You bought a Lexus! Don't try to save a few cents now.
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Old 02-13-13, 11:56 AM   #3
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I had a similar situation to you, I bought my 2003 ES300 off my grandmother. She had always filled it up with 87. However, when I got the car I noticed nothing and the car ran smoothly. I decided after reading a few listings on CL that I would make the change to 91 and upon the first fill up, my milage dropped significantly. It went from being ~330mi to 280mi per tank (just using the cars milage estimator). It took a few tanks to finally get my car back up to around 330 but I have noticed the car preforming better on the highway.

But unfortunately I live in San Francisco, so there is very little improvement on city driving and it pains me to fill up 91 when it does no better than 87. With all this said, I don't regret making the switch as I drive to 1 hour highway to work. But just adding some details about when I made the switch.

The topic has been heavily discussed on here and you'll get people saying things for both sides of the argument.
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Old 02-13-13, 12:04 PM   #4
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There are too many variables:
- condition of the engine
- the climate
- acceleration / load driver exert on the engine
- the ability of knock sensor to retard the ignition timing
- traffic condition
- etc.

What works for one vehicle/driver might not work for other vehicle/driver.

Therefore, if you are knowledgeable driver and can take some small calculated risk then use 87 octane.

If you are not a knowledgeable driver, stick with 91 octane. Don't be a hero.
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Old 02-13-13, 02:40 PM   #5
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GREAT RESPONSES! Thanks for the feed back!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuReChaos View Post
I had a similar situation to you, I bought my 2003 ES300 off my grandmother...
How many miles did the car have when you bought it? I know you said you got better performance on the HWY with 91, but did you notice any changes in your city MPG, or noticeable HP gains overall from 91? Also, did you happen to ever get over the 330 threshold with 91 octane? Thanks for your informative story, this was the type of response I was hoping for
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Old 02-13-13, 02:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDSL View Post
There are too many variables:
- condition of the engine
- the climate
- acceleration / load driver exert on the engine
- the ability of knock sensor to retard the ignition timing
- traffic condition
- etc.

What works for one vehicle/driver might not work for other vehicle/driver.

Therefore, if you are knowledgeable driver and can take some small calculated risk then use 87 octane.

If you are not a knowledgeable driver, stick with 91 octane. Don't be a hero.
1MZ knock sensors are known for being terrible. for that reason NO ONE can talk me out of running 93 octane in my Avalon. I have actually Ran a 1/4 tank of E-85 with 3/4 tank of 93 octane a few times, and it was eye opening.
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Old 02-13-13, 04:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdub215 View Post
1MZ knock sensors are known for being terrible. for that reason NO ONE can talk me out of running 93 octane in my Avalon. I have actually Ran a 1/4 tank of E-85 with 3/4 tank of 93 octane a few times, and it was eye opening.
wish we had 93 octane where I live in California.. Everywhere I been we only have 87/89/91 octane and usually 91 is 20-30 cents per gallon more expensive than 87. That said would the knock sensor being terrible in my 1MZ engine make it more susceptible to engine damage from using 87 octane?
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Old 02-13-13, 06:42 PM   #8
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There are good reasons to use the 91, but you don't likely have any issues from the car having used 87, as long as you don't have any outward problems now you are probably just fine, no need to freak out.
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Old 02-13-13, 07:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngim87 View Post
wish we had 93 octane where I live in California.. Everywhere I been we only have 87/89/91 octane and usually 91 is 20-30 cents per gallon more expensive than 87. That said would the knock sensor being terrible in my 1MZ engine make it more susceptible to engine damage from using 87 octane?
Same goes for 93 Here in PA. E-85 is about the same as premium 93 and to make you feel kinda good i get 91 here too but its only at sunoco

Quote:
Originally Posted by Power6 View Post
There are good reasons to use the 91, but you don't likely have any issues from the car having used 87, as long as you don't have any outward problems now you are probably just fine, no need to freak out.
agreed.
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Old 02-13-13, 11:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngim87 View Post
GREAT RESPONSES! Thanks for the feed back!!!



How many miles did the car have when you bought it? I know you said you got better performance on the HWY with 91, but did you notice any changes in your city MPG, or noticeable HP gains overall from 91? Also, did you happen to ever get over the 330 threshold with 91 octane? Thanks for your informative story, this was the type of response I was hoping for
I got lucky and when I bought mine it only had 38k on it And she literally took it to the dealership for everything, from oil changes, to new tires, to even replacing the key battery.

Unfortunately, I didn't notice any increase in actual city MPG. I don't quite understand your question about getting over the 330 threshold, they both have about the same mpg estimates don't they? I'm still a little unsure how to even describe the changes I felt since it was a while ago, however, there was a much more noticeable difference in the higher gears.
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Old 02-14-13, 01:18 AM   #11
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My 04 ES runs on a mix of 89 and 93. Mobil or BP. Does not run good on 87. Stay with good gas.
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Old 02-14-13, 03:37 AM   #12
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BTW: The TSB regarding transmission shift enhancement (TC004-03R) also recommends running premium fuel.
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Old 02-14-13, 06:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypervish View Post
BTW: The TSB regarding transmission shift enhancement (TC004-03R) also recommends running premium fuel.
Not sure what you mean here. Can you elaborate?

Also, thanks for all the feedback
Im thinking of weaning my ES300 to premium fuel to help the engine adjust to the higher octane due to 73k miles of regular gas being used (So the knock sensors will adjust as well). Probably fuel up with 87 for 3 full tanks and seeing what the avg. mpg I get with regular fuel and then 3 tanks of 89, and then finally move to 91. Hopefully the gas prices will drop back down by the time I start filling up with 91
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Old 02-14-13, 11:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngim87 View Post
Not sure what you mean here. Can you elaborate?

Also, thanks for all the feedback
Im thinking of weaning my ES300 to premium fuel to help the engine adjust to the higher octane due to 73k miles of regular gas being used (So the knock sensors will adjust as well). Probably fuel up with 87 for 3 full tanks and seeing what the avg. mpg I get with regular fuel and then 3 tanks of 89, and then finally move to 91. Hopefully the gas prices will drop back down by the time I start filling up with 91
Take a look at the attached servie bulletin, on the last page.

Compare MPG and see which works best for you.

This thread has some more opinions and info: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/rx-f...xperience.html (it is from the RX section, but still relevant here)
Attached Images
File Type: pdf TC004-03R.pdf (46.2 KB, 254 views)
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Old 02-14-13, 03:39 PM   #15
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Wow. You guys have JungleJuice in America.... We have 91, 95 and ... 98 Octane @ the pumps here. 98 octane in my car is awesome!
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Old 02-14-13, 03:39 PM
 
 
 
 
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