I fly a 601XL with a Jabiru 3300 engine. The other day I ran into an old-time pilot who has been using automotive gas in his airplane for many years. He reports no problems, in fact he had only good things to say – like longer engine life since he switched. Jabiru does permit the use of premium auto gas in the 3300. I am contemplating the switch for the following reasons:
1) Longer sparkplug life. I have gotten 170 hours out of my last two sets of spark plugs which is hours 70 more then Jabiru calls for. Last time I changed them I installed iridium plugs which I expect to last the life of the engine – unless they get too fouled up with lead to work that is. The last plugs I pulled had very significant lead deposits on them.
2) Reduced air pollution. The engine does not need the lead. Why spew it into the air then?
3) Less muck on the bottom of the plane? Even though I have exhaust pipe extenders, the underside of the airplane is impossible to keep clean. I suspect most of this is not lead but still, when I am under there on my creeper scrubbing the stuff off I wonder what is in the goo that runs down my arms.
4) Reduced cost. My plane has about 430 hours on it. If I had been burning auto gas instead of 100LL I would have saved about $4,000 dollars on fuel over the past 2 years – wow that’s not small change.
On the down side hauling up to 30 gallons of auto fuel to the airport in my car seems like a pain and possible safety issue. I have been contemplating using existing gas tank in my car for transport and use a purpose-built 12 volt electric fuel transfer pump to move the fuel – I see them on-line for about $140. I don’t tend to land my plane with the tanks completely empty – I hear it’s a bad idea – so chances are my car’s tank would almost have the fuel I need to fill the plane.
On cross countries I would revert to using 100 LL since automotive gas at airports is hard to find.
I would love to hear from those who use auto gas in their planes to learn your experiences and tricks to make this as painless as possible.