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A mistake I hope I never have to make again (petrol in a diesel engine)

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Johan, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    After four days back in my home town with my wife and two kids visiting friends and family we were all ready to go home last night. The kids (10 months and 2,5 years old) and the adults were all fed, the car was filled with luggage and baby strollers, the boys were strapped in and we were ready to go. Just one quick stop at the gas station to fill up the tank before we take off. Standing there pumping gas I was pretty happy with the way we had made the day come together, timing the kids sleep time perfectly with our departure. I was also thinking about the fact that the 330 km (205 miles) trip that lay ahead of us is the longest single drive we have taken in the last three years and that this trip should be totally doable in my upcoming P85, even without supercharging and at any temperature. As I saw the numbers on the display of the gas pump ticking away at a frantic pace I also thought to myself how good I would feel never having to buy expensive fluid hydrocarbons in order to inefficiently burn them in a small and noisy combustion engine.

    And as these thoughts were wandering through my mind I suddenly became aware of the fact that I had just pumped 35 liters of 95-octane petrol in my 2011 Volvo V70 5-cylinder 2.5 liter DIESEL car! Trying to maintain composure I quietly said all the cusswords I know to myself, took a deep breath, opened the passenger door and said: ”Honey, I know you’re gonna be mad but hear me out…”. The rest you can imagine.

    For those of you that doesn’t know; putting petrol in a diesel engine will most likely ruin it completely. Fortunately I realized what I had done before getting back in the car and starting the engine. Now the “only” problem I had was a nice mixture of about 50/50 diesel and petrol in the tank.

    Now, this was Easter Thursday and the time was 6 P.M. I had to be back in Norway today for work and my wife and kids had plans. Luckily we had stop at a gas station located together with some restaurants and several car washes, a tire shop and some car mechanics. Like a crazy person I grabbed my jacket and started running around checking all the windows and doors of the different mechanic places that were there. In all of them the lights were off and the doors and garage doors locked. At the far end of the site I saw a light from a small window and to my surprise, and delight, the adjacent door was not locked but even had a sign on it that said “We’re open”. As I opened up I saw that I had entered the messiest and most crowded mechanic shop I had ever seen. In this tiny space there were two cars, one Harley Davidson and about one thousand tools laying around, hanging on the walls and from the roof. I was approached by one of the owners, a very friendly Bolivian named Miguel. He was working late finishing up a car together with the other owner, his brother Pedro. They heard my story and obviously took pity, since they agreed to fix my car.

    Long story short: We pushed the fully loaded car (minus wife and kids who took refuge at McDonald’s) in to their shop, they elevated the car, located and loosened the rubber hose that goes from the filling hole to the tank, inserted at plastic tube, made a siphon system, sucked on the hose (I felt sorry for the one guy who must have gotten a mouthful of my nice diesel/petrol mixture) and emptied 65 liters (17 gallons) of the smelly fluid into whatever barrels and containers they could find. When we were content the tank was as empty as possible we lowered the car and proceeded to fill it up again with 30 liters of diesel that I had filled in cans and brought from the pump. After that came the moment of truth: starting the engine. Having been influenced by my time with the South Americans and did the sign of the cross and pushed the ignition. I was afraid I would hear the sound of cylinders failing and the engine coughing and sputtering. Instead I heard the familiar rhythmic thumps and humming of the diesel engine. It was music to my ears, a sound bringing me messages of a rescued evening, a salvaged car and possibly a narrowly escaped divorce?

    Two and a half hours after the whole adventure had started the now over-tired but even better fed kids were again strapped in, the wife acted a bit grumpy and morose but I knew inside she was happy I had pulled it off after all. Even though I was now 1000 Swedish crowns ($150) and two nice bottles of Argentine Malbec wine poorer (luckily I had some of this in the car) I was happy as a clam.

    The kids slept after 30 seconds and soon after my wife fell asleep. I spent some time thinking about electrons, how they are all the same no matter if they come out of a US or European outlet, at 110 or 400 volts, at 10 amps or 100 amps, in one phase or three phases, in the form of AC or DC current. Also, it makes no difference if the electrons have been set free by a solar array, nuclear power plant, hydroelectric plant or by the burning of one or the other hydrocarbon. A liberating though that: the battery will take any electron as long as it’s moving – the same goes for the electric motor.

    A related side note: Even though the car mechanics I had come across were great and seemed very skilled, for the first part of our trip I just couldn’t lose the thought of the hose clamp not having been properly retightened and diesel leaking from under the car. For this reason I kept a close eye on the fuel gauge and set the cars info system to constantly show me remaining range. When we took off I had (again) filled the tank fully (this time with only diesel mind you) which means almost 70 liters. After having cruised at highway speeds for a couple of minutes the car displayed “Remaining range 1200 km” (750 miles) which I believe was a realistic calculation had I continued at a steady pace. It will be some time (probably less time than we think) before we can buy an electric car with that kind of range.
     
  2. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    I had the reverse experience. When my twins were born, I was going home from the hospital, and running low on petrol, and distracted, and I stopped to fill my Audi 5+5. I got about half a kilometer and it just stalled. Coasted off the main road, restarted the engine, and it would idle very roughly, but if I touched the accelerator it just died again. I went back to the petrol station to complain that they must have sold me bad petrol, and he asked which pump I'd used, and I pointed to it and cringed... I'd filled with diesel. At least the fix was only a new set of injectors and some flushing and labour.
     
  3. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    Lucky man!!!
     
  4. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    You got away easy!

    But I am a tad confused. I drive a lot in the UK and Europe, (Sweden is Europe, obviously so why not Euro?); and in my experience filling up rental Diesel cars the pumps are designed not to be able to insert into the sockets of the other standard. I have a Diesel in the UK (cough) ... and whenever I fill it up, the petrol pump would not fit.

    What am I missing?

    I can only feel for you to having to wait this long for Euro deliveries.
     
  5. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

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    40 MPG on the diesel is great. I do not believe the diesel is sold in the US.
     
  6. herbvdh

    herbvdh Member

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    At 8 PM my son gets an emergency call at work it is two short words "Warehouse FIRE!" he hauls back to work (30 miles) after 12 hours on duty. Fast forward 11 PM I take the call for the same fire alarms 7, 8, 9 in 2 minutes time. I leave SHOOT!!! I need gas NOW!!! MAJOR problem the stations on the way were pumping water instead of gas. Do you trust them UGH!!! no. OK I figure $5 gets me 30 miles I pull in all pumps loaded wait time 15-20 minutes if it is a mix I can always get gas at the fire scene 1 block away. I left pedal the metal. Filled up at station then parked and ran. PS. Gas station was a mini command center food etc. ELECTRIC is ELECTRIC no matter where!!! For those volunteers or paid it was now 20+ alarms.
     
  7. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    No, same round nozzle with the same dimensions for both diesel and petrol here in the Nordic countries at least... I call conspiracy on this - mechanics are making way to much money "fixing" these mistakes. Had I taken my car to a Volvo dealership they would probably have flushed the tank two or three times with diesel, changed the fuel filter, cleaned out the carburator, etc. etc. charging me thousands of dollars in labour and materials. One more thing that electric got right from the start: You can't cant plug a 16A plug into a 50A outlet, no matter how violently you push...
     
  8. Laumb

    Laumb smrtass.

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    No Johan, the diesel nozzle has a larger diameter so it will not fit In petrol cars.
    The petrol nozzle is smaller, so obviousely it will fit on diesel cars.

    It should have been the other way around as diesel on a petrol engine is not even close to as expensive to fix as petrol on a diesel engine.

    On the other hand this does not apply to old vehicles (a 1987 Volvo 240 could fit anything from a diesel or petrol nozzle to a firehose or football).
     
  9. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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  10. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Typical TMC Tease : Fill up the Subject line with babble . . . then begin first paragraph with enough (more) babble to occupy the maximum capacity of the mouse-hover bubble pop up. In short: nothing is revealed, so why not climb aboard to just to see what might be going on, if anything . . .
    --
     
  11. Tharo

    Tharo Member

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    My family also has a car diesel and has had the same problem. It is something very common here in Europe.
     
  12. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    #12 AudubonB, Apr 3, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
    Filling a diesel tank with gasoline:

    I have done the same thing. Started with an empty tank and filled it completely with gasoline. MY excuse was that, contrary to practice - and probably statute - here in the USA, the filling station used a green-handled nozzle for gasoline (in the US, that is, or was, reserved for diesel).

    At this time (1999), I lived only about 28 mi/ 45 km outside Fairbanks, over a series of fair-sized hills. Realized something was wrong in my 7.3-liter Ford F-250 pickup truck once the engine had consumed the remnant diesel in the bowl, the filter, and the fuel line, and started sucking in the gasoline. Perhpas 3 miles out, now.

    Ka-Blam!...gu..gu..gu...Ka-Blam!, as the pistons compressed and tried to explode the lower-energy substance. No cell phones or any such. Oh brother.

    I did, in fact, drive all the way home, very slowly and, of course, coasting down whatever hills. When I reached my garage, I performed my own suction drain, which likely left 2-3 gallons in the 39-gallon tank, and then filled dead-full with diesel there. Thank goodness I had enough of same at home. That gave me a mix of better than 90% diesel. I no longer can remember if I emptied the fuel bowl and filter or not, but what I did do is cycled the starter several times - that would have run fuel through the entire system and back to the tank, something that diesel engines do but not, to my knowledge, any gasoline engines.

    The result? No ruined injectors. That engine still runs, 220,000 miles later, just fine. It's been owned for the past 175,000 or so miles by my friend and neighbor - will have to check to learn if Alan ever has replaced the injectors to learn how long they really did last.

    Nevertheless, this is NOT recommended practice!
     
  13. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Which is why I stopped going to BP stations back in 2006. I was so paranoid about putting Gasoline in my Diesel Jetta, and all their pumps had green handles. Shell stations were my friend.

    I did put a gasoline nozzle in the filler once, but stopped short of pumping gas. At a BP station.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of two stories, both when I was working summers at a marina during my college years.

    1. The fuel fill port on one particular boat I was gassing up was on the front deck (bow). After I had pumped what I thought was an awful lot of fuel into this customers 21' runabout, I happened to glance through the windshield and saw the deck (floor) of the boat awash in gasoline! The fuel line had broken off of the chrome filler neck and I had probably pumped 50 gallons directly into the interior of the boat! Not really my fault, but we took responsibility and brought the boat ashore, drained and cleaned it.

    2. My boss (fortunately not me) accidentally filled a cabin cruiser's fresh water tank with about 25 gallons of gasoline. Hilarity did not ensue!
     
  15. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    That is too good a story, MKnox, not to continue this thread-hijack.

    As it brings to mind what a certain German adventurer told us, one night as we were swapping Overland Sagas (he has me beat all over the place, but that's another thread).

    He was driving a Land Cruiser, a BJ40 just like mine, I think, through Saudi Arabia's Rub-al Khali (the Empty Quarter). Pulled into (Where!!!????!!!!????) to diesel-up, and busied himself doing something else while the pump-jockey inserted the nozzle and pumped away.

    Some time later, as diesel started pouring out of the door gaskets..... :scared: ... he realized to his horror the Nobel Prize non-candidate had inserted the nozzle into one of the swing-open air vents.
     

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