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View Full Version : I've put gasoline in my diesel vehicle. How fucked am I?


MostlyClueless
07-14-2012, 02:31 PM
I now have a mixture of (at most) 20% gasoline and 80% diesel in my tank. I was stupid enough to drive the car (A Skoda Fabia) home.

So... recommendations?

Tad--
07-14-2012, 02:45 PM
I don't think you'll have too many problems given the low ration of gasoline to diesel and the fact you were able to drive it home. Keep the tank filled with diesel and I doubt you'll have too many problems.

Concerning the problems, they are as you would expect with the breaking down of engine components/filters, poor engine power, stalling, etc. etc. Newer cars are sometimes more tolerant, sometimes not--older cars really don't like it. But in your case you're probably fine.

billfish678
07-14-2012, 02:49 PM
I don't think you've screwed it up for sure YET. But I wouldn't drive it anymore until you get that mix out of there. Or until a bonna fide diesel mechanic comes along and says its okay to do so.

Capt Kirk
07-14-2012, 02:59 PM
Since diesel is denser, I would let the car sit and then try to siphon of as much fuel as possible. Other than that you need to drain the tank and start over. I would not drive anywhere, talk to a diesel mechanic. Good luck, sorry

CAPT

Tad--
07-14-2012, 03:04 PM
Depending on how far the car has been driven I don't know that it's necessarily necessary to drain the tank. But that's definitely the safest thing for the engine at this point.

billfish678
07-14-2012, 03:11 PM
Since diesel is denser, I would let the car sit and then try to siphon of as much fuel as possible. Other than that you need to drain the tank and start over. I would not drive anywhere, talk to a diesel mechanic. Good luck, sorry

CAPT

That would make things worse as you would most likely be draining more of the diesel and less of the gas. Unless you can manage to do the siphoning where the end of hose is near the top of liquid. Which you could do but when most people siphon they just end up with the hose at the bottom of the tank.

TriPolar
07-14-2012, 03:42 PM
If you can't drain the tank, completely, by yourself, have it towed somewhere to have it done. Probably no harm has been done so far, but why risk doing further harm. I don't know much about diesels, but for a gasoline engine I'd disconnect the fuel pump inlet and drain it there.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
07-14-2012, 03:51 PM
Earlier thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=480031)

Capt Kirk
07-14-2012, 03:52 PM
That would make things worse as you would most likely be draining more of the diesel and less of the gas. Unless you can manage to do the siphoning where the end of hose is near the top of liquid. Which you could do but when most people siphon they just end up with the hose at the bottom of the tank.

Sorry I wasn't clear, I meant to siphon from the top pulling the gas out until it becomes all diesel. As I have thought on this a bit more, I think a mechanic is the best option. Not because the work is all that difficult but because a shop will have a place to get rid of the fuel. Trying to do this yourself is a good way to start a fire.


CAPT

FairyChatMom
07-14-2012, 03:56 PM
Years ago, my daughter put gasoline in her diesel beetle, then drove it a short way till it stopped running. She ended up having to have the tank drained and cleaned, and her fuel gauge never worked right again, which may or may not have been related. But it was an expensive error for a high school student to make.

aceplace57
07-14-2012, 04:30 PM
I use this battery operated siphon to drain my generator and lawn mower. It's rated for gas, oil, water etc.
http://amazon.com/gp/product/B003VVF9AG/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

Is your tank a 15 or 17 gal? 4 five gal cans will drain it. Then change the fuel filter and add fresh diesel.

MostlyClueless
07-14-2012, 05:28 PM
13 gallons. I don't have anything to drain or siphon it with, and a quick googling suggests that modern cars have measures against tanks being drained.

Mr. Me
07-14-2012, 06:54 PM
If the gasoline is floating on top of the diesel, get the end of the siphon hose below the level of the gas. As the fuel mixture is drained, what comes out will at first be diesel, then most of the gas should follow. After that I would fill it with fresh diesel fuel to dilute any remaining gas as much as possible.
If the fuels have mixed, which wouldn't surprise me, I'd siphon out as much as I can, and in either case talk to a mechanic experienced with your particular make of car. IANADM

california jobcase
07-14-2012, 07:11 PM
Cpt. Kirk and others, diesel and gasoline mix like vinegar and water or rum and Coke. If the OP drove the car home, it's mixed for good. It was mixed as the tank was filling, for that matter.

spotthegerbil
07-14-2012, 07:44 PM
The top of the fuel tank is located under the rear passenger seat. You may be able to go in through there to drain off the bad fuel.

From what I hear, Skoda (VW) motors are a bit more forgiving, but you really want to get the bad fuel out of there. Diesel lubricates the fuel pump, so having petrol in there may cause you issues.

I don't have access to my Fabia Haynes manual at the moment, however briskoda.net may have some advice.

Good luck.

GreasyJack
07-14-2012, 07:58 PM
This is a very different beast, but the manual from my old early 80's Mercedes 240D said you could run a 20% gasoline mix in an emergency situation. What emergency situation this would be, I do not know, but apparently you could do it. I'm thinking it probably won't cause any problems with such a low concentration, but I would agree with the others that you might want to check with the manufacturer or a mechanic with experience with these.

Capt Kirk
07-14-2012, 09:40 PM
Cpt. Kirk and others, diesel and gasoline mix like vinegar and water or rum and Coke. If the OP drove the car home, it's mixed for good. It was mixed as the tank was filling, for that matter.

Really. I figured they would separate because of the difference in densities. Is this because of the solvent qualities of gasoline? Sounds like it is mechanic time.

CAPT

california jobcase
07-14-2012, 10:00 PM
Density differences do not keep liquids from mixing. Oils won't mix with water because water is a polar molecule and oil is non-polar. Ethanol is less dense than water but mixes just fine since they're both polar.

Rick
07-14-2012, 10:16 PM
They will mix.
Back in the 80s miss fueling was fairly common. I delt with lots of cases, often where the vehicle was driven till it quit. I never saw engine damage from this, but and this is a huge but that was before today's newer diesel engines and controls.
My gut feeling is if in fact it has just 20% and no more it would probably OK. This is a semi educated guess based on experience and technical knowledge, and is not a guarantee.
If on the other hand the 20% is a WAG and in reality might be 30% or more then I would have the tank drained and a new fuel filter installed.
If you decide to not drain the tank a quart or so of ATF in the fuel tank would not be a bad idea. (Diesels love ATF)
Hope this helps, let us know how it turns out.

squeegee
07-14-2012, 11:07 PM
Maybe you can you split the difference? Siphon out half the tank. Top off with diesel. Viola, it's now 90% diesel, 10% gasoline. Drive normally.

Muffin
07-14-2012, 11:57 PM
If you decide to not drain the tank a quart or so of ATF in the fuel tank would not be a bad idea. (Diesels love ATF)Why?

Rick
07-15-2012, 12:15 AM
Diesels are oil burners. ATF is oil. Highly refinedoil, but oil. It is (or at least was) a common practice to fill a new fuel filter with ATF when installing it on a diesel. did not seem to make the car smoke either.
If you are worried about the gasoline not lubing the pump, a little ATF will add back in and help lube the pump.

billfish678
07-15-2012, 12:22 AM
Diesels like Alchohol, Tabacco, and Firearms? Who knew?!

Muffin
07-15-2012, 12:37 AM
Diesels are oil burners. ATF is oil. Highly refinedoil, but oil. It is (or at least was) a common practice to fill a new fuel filter with ATF when installing it on a diesel. did not seem to make the car smoke either.
If you are worried about the gasoline not lubing the pump, a little ATF will add back in and help lube the pump.Thanks.

Bullitt
07-15-2012, 01:53 AM
Drain the whole tank, either do it yourself or have a mechanic do it. Dispose of it all.

Don't drive the car at all until you do.

From this cite (https://academicpursuits.us/columns/read/2179/can-i-use-diesel-fuel-instead-of-regular-gas): "What happens when you use gasoline in a diesel engine? Either something expensive or something very expensive."

The few buck$$ you save in trying to keep a few gallons from your tank isn't worth the risk of damage to the engine.

So, even after you drain the tank you may still need a mechanic to do other things to ensure the fuel feed system is clear.

gaffa
07-15-2012, 03:40 AM
A friend of mine accidentally filled the tank on his MB Sprinter with gasoline due to BP's idiotic "We're Green!" branding by making all their gas handles green, the color usually associated with diesel.

It caused $1000 worth of damage, although that might have had a lot to do with the logo on the grill.

Cervin
02-25-2013, 09:48 PM
I am going to shatter a few dreams here and ask about something that I have recently run into about operating a diesel on petrol.

First: Way back when I was in college (NC State) I owned a 1940 Buick that I ran on a mixture of about half petrol and half kerosene. Yep, it ran. Gasoline was all of thirty cents a gallon and kerosene, at the time, was about fifteen cents. I guess those were truly the good old days.

Second: Diesels do not necessarily use more fuel at higher speeds. To wit: I once owned a Peugeot 504 diesel that would deliver about 34 mpg at a steady 60 mph and 38 mpg at a steady 80 mph. Can't totally explain that, but did it too many times for it to be a fluke.

Third: This one is a little confusing. I own a 1988 Ford F350 Dually Diesel and have, more than once, run it on pure petrol. Never for very long as it was usually to get me out of a bind one way or another. I do not like to run it on gasoline nor kerosene because of the lack of lubrication, but sometimes you do what you gotta do. Now for the next part of this story:

My daughter is in charge of an Isuzu diesel box truck at Habitat for Humanity and once one of the drivers filled it with gasoline. She, of course, called Dear Old Dad to ask what to do. As it wasn't totally empty when filled I just told her to make a few runs with it and then top it up with diesel. Didn't work. It would not run on even a partial tank of gasoline. I wrote to Popular Mechanics, or Science, I don't remember which, but never received a response. Does anyone out there in diesel land have an answer? I suspected that it had something to do with the Isuzu having an electronically controlled injection system, but do not know why. I am not that familiar with the new diesels.

I also owned, for a period of seven years, a Ford 4000HD backhoe with a Perkins diesel (nothing is better) that the previous owner had consistently run on kerosene. I never ran anything but diesel in it, but evidently the kerosene did not harm it. It would also start all the way down to well below freezing without using the glow plugs.......get Cummins or International to do that. In fact, in the seven years that I owned it I never knew if the glow plugs (they were in the intake manifold) worked as I never needed them.

Hence, what I am saying here is that there is nothing definite you can say about an internal combustion engine. Where would we be without them?

Ambivalid
02-25-2013, 09:55 PM
I can't believe I'm the first to say something about the comedic username/OP combo...:D

dougie_monty
02-26-2013, 02:15 AM
I have a cousin who used to work at the fuel dock on the pier at Redondo Beach, CA. One day someone else mistakenly filled a boat's diesel tank with gasoline--and my cousin told him they'd have to drain the gasoline out. They did. It took several hours. Better than the alternative.

Rack-a-Bones
02-26-2013, 05:12 AM
I can't believe I'm the first to say something about the comedic username/OP combo...:D

Well, it took you long enough... :)

smee goan
02-26-2013, 07:50 AM
We had a lady fill a diesel tank with a couple hundred bucks of gas, a couple years later she shot her boyfriend and got eight years in prison.

A mechanic drained the gas out, I wouldda voted not guilty on her trial, but she never brought up DV in her 45 minute Ohio Highway Patrol initial interview...

Bullitt
02-28-2013, 12:14 AM
Drain the whole tank, either do it yourself or have a mechanic do it. Dispose of it all.

Don't drive the car at all until you do.

From this cite (https://academicpursuits.us/columns/read/2179/can-i-use-diesel-fuel-instead-of-regular-gas): "What happens when you use gasoline in a diesel engine? Either something expensive or something very expensive."

The few buck$$ you save in trying to keep a few gallons from your tank isn't worth the risk of damage to the engine.

So, even after you drain the tank you may still need a mechanic to do other things to ensure the fuel feed system is clear.


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