What's a "federal" vehicle?

The maintenance manual for my 1985 380SE says spark plugs should be changed every 30k miles, except for federal vehicles. On federal vehicles it says
you should change them every 15k miles. So...what's a federal vehicle? Richard
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Look on the id plate on your radiator support. See all the 3 digit numbers? Look for 491 or 494, you will have one of them. 491 is Fed version, 494 is Cal version. Spark plugs last a lot longer when you use 100% unleaded gas.

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Ie, they're all Federal versions now as leaded gas is no ore.
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snipped-for-privacy@vrx.news (Richard Sexton) wrote:
Richard Marlin wrote: every 30k miles, except for federal vehicles, [where] you should change them every 15k miles */

Isn't that backwards? Federal vehicles use leaded gas?
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<William P.N. Smith> wrote in message wrote:

No, it is correct. Fed cars did use leaded gas, leaded gas make spark plugs wear out quicker, so Fed cars require spark plugs every 15K. Didn't the UK recently, i.e.within 2 years ago, finally switch over to pure unleaded gas?

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But here in the US we've used unleaded gas for a while. In fact my 380 says unleaded gas only...so if it's federal (I know it's not californian) why should the spark plugs only have half the life of a non federal? Richard
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What makes the spark plugs wear faster in a leaded gas car is the fact that the car has a high compression engine and this is the exact reason you need leaded gas. Because of the higher compression ration you need leaded gas to keep the combustion mixture from pre-detonation which can damage an engine and cause power loss. And the higher compression of the engine causes the plugs to wear much quicker. 10K miles was about tops for plugs in cars in the 50s and 60s. And if you had a really high performance racing engine the could go thru a set of plugs in just a few thousand miles. ___________________________________________

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Lead just happened to be the cheapest crap they could find to boost the octane of the fuel. Higher octane unleaded fuel will burn much cleaner than leaded fuel.
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Rockman59 wrote:

In the case of 1985 MB 380SE I doubt if there are two different engines with different compression rates. I suppose they have the same compression (Fed and non-Fed versions).
Lead was replased with MTBE some 10 years ago. MTBE raises gasoline octane value as lead did before.
Reg: Harri
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The european 380 was 10:1 compression and the US is 9:1...or is it the european is 9:1 and the us is 8:1...either was the us is one lower. Richard

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So is "Federal" something european (FRG?) or is it a US thing? Now I'm really confused!
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On 2005-02-27 11:20:44 -0800, William P.N. Smith said:

I thought federal was the US version not for california.
Not sure though. Marty
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Federal means "49 state version". California had stricter standards for emissions.
Some MB's were "50 state" cars and did not have a Ca. version; they all met Ca specs.
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Right on target....My 1992 190E 2.6 is a "FEDERAL" originally sold in the Midwest. It does however meet Cal. emission standards. The only difference that I am aware of is that it does not have the Check Engine light diagnostic feature. Peter

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Most federal versions had flags attached to the upper part of each front fender.
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MTBE is an oxygenate and does not raise the octane. It is also poisonous crap that does more harm than good. It also displaces the fuel giving you less miles per gallon. A colossal fraud.
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Roger Shoaf

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Which will cost billions in future when trying to clean it up out of ground where it has leaked just about everywhere. Man we are megastupid sometimes...
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<William P.N. Smith> wrote:

Uh, yeah.
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The manual specifies 15k intervals for federal versions though. So is that just a typo or what? Richard
wrote:

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