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Old 01-13-2020, 02:55 PM   #1
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Gasoline in MB diesel.

There is no greater fear than accidentally putting gasoline in a diesel engine. Even the reverse does not do the kind of damage that gasoline will do to the high pressure pump of a MB Sprinter. On our recent trip to Florida, we found ourselves in the middle of no where and getting low on fuel. The station advertised both diesel and gas, the diesel pump handles were green and gasoline were black, there were buttons clearly marked diesel on each pump. Most of the pumps had the black/gasoline handles covered, indicating that either they were out of gasoline or the pumps were inoperative. We tried the diesel side on a couple of the pumps and the electronics of the pump themselves were not working. This would have been a great time to leave and take our chances at a rather run down looking station across the street but there was one more pump to try. The handle was green, the button said diesel but as I began to add fuel the pump was making a strange sound and I immediately smelled gasoline fumes. I had just put 2 gallons of gas in my Isata 3. I asked where I could find diesel and they pointed to the station across the street. We very briefly started the engine and coasted into the station where we added 20 gallons of diesel. So now we have 2 gallons of gasoline and 24 gallons of diesel. I called a friend who is a service manager for MB and he said that it would probably be okay but to stop every 30 to 40 miles and add diesel. He also said he would have his top diesel tech give me a call. We headed down the road. After about 30 miles, we stopped to add diesel. The tech called and said that we should have the rig towed to the nearest MB dealer and go through the $1200 procedure for getting gas out of the system just to be on the safe side. If the high pressure pump craters, it is a $12000 repair. So I called my insurance company and filed a claim. They started arranging for the 55 mile tow to the nearest dealer and we waited. The insurance company said that the repairs would "probably" be covered under comp but it really depended on what MB found and what MB recommended . They instructed me to contact the service manager of the closest dealership and let him know we were being towed to his location. Here came the Catch 22. The MB service manager stated that he did not think 2 gallons would damage the motor and recommended the same course of action that the first manager had recommended , frequent dilution. His advise meant that the insurance company would not authorize the repairs unless something happened that changed the decision regarding damage. I would be paying for the tow, the $1200 fuel system cleaning and the new fuel filter. He asked how it was running and I told him it ran the same as always and no warning lights. He said that they had seen Amazon drivers put two or 3 gallons in by accident and not report until the end of the day with no damage and based his advise on that experience. So off we went, stopping every 30-40 miles and topping off the tank. 825 miles later, no light has ever come on and the engine runs fine. I am taking it in this week to have fuel filter replaced but it appears we dodged a bullet. I am certainly not advocating driving with any amount of gas in diesel but keep in mind that there are circumstances where insurance may not cover if the dealership says that the work is not necessary. I documented everything. The pump, the advice from MB and statements from my insurance company. In retrospect, the warning sign should have been so many pumps having electronic issues and no cars fueling at this station while they were lined up at the other station.

Battchief
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:02 PM   #2
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There is no greater fear than accidentally putting gasoline in a diesel engine. Even the reverse does not do the kind of damage that gasoline will do to the high pressure pump of a MB Sprinter. On our recent trip to Florida, we found ourselves in the middle of no where and getting low on fuel. The station advertised both diesel and gas, the diesel pump handles were green and gasoline were black, there were buttons clearly marked diesel on each pump. Most of the pumps had the black/gasoline handles covered, indicating that either they were out of gasoline or the pumps were inoperative. We tried the diesel side on a couple of the pumps and the electronics of the pump themselves were not working. This would have been a great time to leave and take our chances at a rather run down looking station across the street but there was one more pump to try. The handle was green, the button said diesel but as I began to add fuel the pump was making a strange sound and I immediately smelled gasoline fumes. I had just put 2 gallons of gas in my Isata 3. I asked where I could find diesel and they pointed to the station across the street. We very briefly started the engine and coasted into the station where we added 20 gallons of diesel. So now we have 2 gallons of gasoline and 24 gallons of diesel. I called a friend who is a service manager for MB and he said that it would probably be okay but to stop every 30 to 40 miles and add diesel. He also said he would have his top diesel tech give me a call. We headed down the road. After about 30 miles, we stopped to add diesel. The tech called and said that we should have the rig towed to the nearest MB dealer and go through the $1200 procedure for getting gas out of the system just to be on the safe side. If the high pressure pump craters, it is a $12000 repair. So I called my insurance company and filed a claim. They started arranging for the 55 mile tow to the nearest dealer and we waited. The insurance company said that the repairs would "probably" be covered under comp but it really depended on what MB found and what MB recommended . They instructed me to contact the service manager of the closest dealership and let him know we were being towed to his location. Here came the Catch 22. The MB service manager stated that he did not think 2 gallons would damage the motor and recommended the same course of action that the first manager had recommended , frequent dilution. His advise meant that the insurance company would not authorize the repairs unless something happened that changed the decision regarding damage. I would be paying for the tow, the $1200 fuel system cleaning and the new fuel filter. He asked how it was running and I told him it ran the same as always and no warning lights. He said that they had seen Amazon drivers put two or 3 gallons in by accident and not report until the end of the day with no damage and based his advise on that experience. So off we went, stopping every 30-40 miles and topping off the tank. 825 miles later, no light has ever come on and the engine runs fine. I am taking it in this week to have fuel filter replaced but it appears we dodged a bullet. I am certainly not advocating driving with any amount of gas in diesel but keep in mind that there are circumstances where insurance may not cover if the dealership says that the work is not necessary. I documented everything. The pump, the advice from MB and statements from my insurance company. In retrospect, the warning sign should have been so many pumps having electronic issues and no cars fueling at this station while they were lined up at the other station.



Battchief


In the Midwest during the winter we would dilute diesel moldy to avoid gelling - I think you would have been fine with dilution - for future reference
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:26 PM   #3
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Back when GM came out with their first automotive diesel that pos 5.7 it happened a lot. I was working in a Chevrolet/Buick dealership and we were doing probably three per month. We got pretty good at dropping the tank and draining it and we had a fuel cap with a Schrader fitting and used an air regulator. This allowed us to push fresh diesel all the way through the system before trying to restart the vehicle. I do believe we replaced a few injection pumps caused by gasoline contamination.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:18 AM   #4
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A couple of years ago I went to top off my tank and inadvertently filled the tank will gas instead of diesel. I already had about a half a tank of diesel. I got down the road about 5 miles when the engine started acting up. I pulled off to the shoulder and called Mercedes and they recommended having it towed to the local dealer. When the tow truck came the driver said he could drain the tank, replace the fuel filter then give us a few gallons of diesel to get us to the gas station. I was a little leary so I called the local Mercedes dealer and they said thatís all they would do. I went ahead and had the tow truck driver drain the tank and replace the fuel filter. This cost about $300.00. Since that experience, Iíve had no problems with the engine and It runs just like new. Iíve had it serviced several times since then and theyíve never found any problems. I believe the only reason I didnít do any damage to the engine is because I stoped as soon as the engine started to act up. Now I double check every time I fill up the tank.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:44 AM   #5
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I refuse to go to BP stations because every other station in the USA seems to know green means DIESEL and yellow is E85. Not BP. Their brand color is green, so their gas handles are green and their diesel is yellow.

To easy to get distracted/in a hurry and put the wrong stuff in.

Tim
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:52 AM   #6
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I refuse to go to BP stations because every other station in the USA seems to know green means DIESEL and yellow is E85. Not BP. Their brand color is green, so their gas handles are green and their diesel is yellow.

Tim
I ran into this years ago and almost put gasoline into the Cummins. I've been leery ever since no matter what color the nozzle cover is.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:42 AM   #7
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Someone put a few gallons of gas in my Cummins. Diluted with diesel, no issues. I wasn't worried.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowracer View Post
I refuse to go to BP stations because every other station in the USA seems to know green means DIESEL and yellow is E85. Not BP. Their brand color is green, so their gas handles are green and their diesel is yellow.

To easy to get distracted/in a hurry and put the wrong stuff in.

Tim


Thatís what happened to me. I live in Oregon where you canít pump your own gas so I assumed green meant diesel. I no longer go to BP unless there is no other option.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:55 AM   #9
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Hi,

I did this once with my Duramax diesel engine in a remote area of Utah -- where I couldn't have the tank drained and a tow was not on my agenda. (Long story omitted).

I immediately added an entire container of Power Service White into the tank and drove slowly to the next fuel source, where I topped off. Repeated this cycle, much as an earlier poster described, until I was confident the gas was only minutely present.

However, I had an EGT gauge in the truck, and drove by temperature -- never letting the reading exceed 1,000 degrees in order to avoid melting the top of the pistons. And the Power Service added back lubricity that the gas was lacking.

Might not be an acceptable strategy for others, but it worked for me. That truck went another 100,000+ miles with no problems before I traded it.

FWIW.

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Old 01-14-2020, 11:15 AM   #10
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In the Midwest during the winter we would dilute diesel moldy to avoid gelling - I think you would have been fine with dilution - for future reference
It is recommended to use a mix of No. 1 and No. 2 diesel, not gasoline for this.

It sounds like the station with the mislabeled pump is liable for the service charges.

I avoid BP like the plague because of their stupid pump colors. Green is ALWAYS diesel at the pump. i stopped once and even asked which was which because it was so confusing. the attendant looked at me like i was stupid.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:22 AM   #11
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Apparently a Cummins will run on gasoline but it's not happy about it.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:40 AM   #12
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Hi,

Apparently (as I read at some point) gas burns much hotter and has just about zero lubricity.

Run gas under load for any length of time in a diesel, and you fry the pistons because of the elevated combustion temperatures. At the same time, you are scarfing and damaging the injectors by denying them the lubrication value that diesel inherently provides.

I have heard of folks -- in extreme cases -- putting ATF in the tank to restore lubricity. But that was in older engines that were not so reliant on precise metering and highly calibrated electronics to meter fuel. I don't think I'd try that in my new DMAX, nor in any of your fine MB rigs.

FWIW.

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Old 01-14-2020, 02:40 PM   #13
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That’s smart that you documented everything. I think that if you had a problem after the MB dealership said that you would be just fine, than they would have been liable for your engine damage. I had an rv dealership install the wrong airfilter while changing my oil(very first service) on my Mercedes Sprinter engine. They were liable and had to pay the $20,000. plus for a new engine.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:50 PM   #14
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I refuse to go to BP stations because every other station in the USA seems to know green means DIESEL and yellow is E85. Not BP. Their brand color is green, so their gas handles are green and their diesel is yellow.

To easy to get distracted/in a hurry and put the wrong stuff in.

Tim
Actually they are not so wrong as you imagine. If you go to purchase a new "Diesel" fuel can it is yellow as well.

Apparently yellow is the new green for diesel.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:09 PM   #15
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Just an FYI, but diesel is at the bottom of the distilling column when a barrel of oil is distilled. Diesel is not a different chemical, it is petroleum.
That said, each fraction of a barrel of oil produces different characteristics when it burns. Even propane and butane is made from the same barrel of oil as diesel.
Have you ever noticed that when the price of gas goes down diesel goes up and vice versa? That's because from one barrel of oil you get the same amount of distilled petroleum, no matter how you slice it. That means that the oil producers WILL get their price, whether from pricing diesel for more and gas less or gas more and diesel less.
So, I do think that adding ATF or even motor oil to gas WOULD give you an edge in lubricity, and it will mix well with the gas, since it all came from the same source anyway. It might even save your diesel engine.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:42 PM   #16
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I would not of documented MB but the gas station you were at. If it was pumping gas rather than diesel and you did everything correctly (sounds like you did), it is their problem.



On another note, when you are tired and not feeling well you can easily grab that wrong pump handle. In that case I was lucky that I kept hitting that diesel button and nothing would pump. Then it dawned on me why.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:47 PM   #17
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gas in diesel

Agree with MOODMAN add oil to the gas
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:52 PM   #18
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Why aren't the nozzles different shapes? Why not make it harder to put a square gas in a round diesel?
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:15 PM   #19
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Why aren't the nozzles different shapes? Why not make it harder to put a square gas in a round diesel?
I think that is true with unleaded fuel, the nozzle and tank "hole" are smaller in diameter. That is a holdover from the old leaded gas days when the nozzle was larger in diameter. It prevented someone from filling leaded gasoline in an unleaded gas vehicle.
From what I have seen, the diesel nozzle is larger and will not fit in an unleaded fuel tank.
Unfortunately the smaller unleaded nozzle has no problem fitting in the larger diesel filler.
Good idea though but the retrofit for existing diesels would be expensive.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:31 PM   #20
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My problem was just the opposite, several years ago I grabbed the wrong color at 1AM in the morning and topped of my tank with what I thought was gasoline but was actually diesel. Only problem was I had a 454cid gas engine in the motorhome. Did realize what I had done a few miles down the road, but it was running fine so I figured I would stop and add gasoline a few miles down the road. Stopped down the road to top off, but when I killed the engine, it never started again. Had it towed to a shop and was told I had three broken pistons and needed a new engine. $6500 latter and I was on the road again, my wallet was lighter but I was much wiser!

At the time I was told diesel burns much hotter and melted holes in the top of the pistons. Glad your outcome was better.
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