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Fuels & Lubricants Discussion all about Fuels & Lubricants. synthetic oil, conventional oil, brands, change intervals, diesel grades, gelling and such debated items like that. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed. This forum is NOT for the discussion of biodiesel and other alternative fuels.

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Old November 23rd, 2003, 09:21   #1
bean boy
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Saco, Maine
TDI(s): 03 Wagon
Fuel Economy: 50/46/42
Default gas from the diesel pump?

Maybe I'm just paranoid after what happened to Nate, but...

I just topped off at a local mobil station and noticed a lot of foaming when I vented. When i did the sniff test, it smelled like gas. I put some on a paper towel and got a receipt from the attendant. he thought it smelled like diesel, but he tired to throw the towel away.

I have sealed the towel in an airtight container and will go back to get a liquid sample and another receipt.

Beside the foaming, I noticed a greenish color. I'm wondering if this might actually be caused by winterized diesel? Would kerosine give the diesel more of a gas smell and color?

Anyway, as I have 1/2 biodiesel in tank already, I drove short distance back home and plan to call the dealer in the am. The dealer uses this station, so I think they might be very interseted in finding out themselves. I suspect the best precaution is to have tank pumped and fuel filter changed asap.

Any other thoughts or suggestions? Am I being overly paranoid?
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 10:37   #2
BKmetz
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Fuel Economy: 50 MPG
Default gas from the diesel pump?


You're being overly paranoid, up to a point

Diesel fuel tends to foam a lot. You can't tell a fuel's quality by its color. Kerosene is clear to maybe a light yellow. More kerosene in the mix usually means less foaming. Kerosene smells more like diesel than gasoline.

Having said all that....

The bulk fuel supplier is responsible for what goes in the retailer's tanks. The bulk supplier is responsible to make sure the fuel is blended according to the anti-jell needs of the region. It is well known that irresponsible bulk fuel suppliers will use gasoline as a cheap anti-jell substitute instead of kerosene. This usually happens this time of year when the demand for home heating oil (kerosene) goes up. The bulk fuel supplier will divert his kerosene allotment to home heating oil where he can get more money for it, rather than use it for diesel blending. You only need about 10% gasoline to drop the pour point of diesel below 0F.

What I would do: by a fuel testing kit from AV Lubes and send in a sample for analysis. The sample should not be from your car as your car's tank is diluted with biodiesel. IF the sample comes back positive for gasoline contamination, call the states attorney's office in your state and ask for whoever is in charge of consumer fraud. Make life miserable for whoever is responsible for putting the gasoline in the diesel tank.

Brian, 97 Passat TDI
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 10:52   #3
LagoonBlueTDI
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

Couple of interesting anecdotes:

I used to drive an 18 wheeler. When I was in truck driving school they showed us how to fuel a big rig. I remarked to the instructors that I'd never seen "green diesel" before - I'd only seen the "red" stuff. They thought I came from a family of outlaws or something, but my family used to work in Logging, which is all off-road diesel.

Second story is when I worked for UPS. We changed fuel supply contracts and got a load of bad fuel dumped into the underground tanks. That was a real nightmare...
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 11:18   #4
RickD
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

How does your car run??

Sounds to me like a little paranoia
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 17:10   #5
bean boy
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

Thanks for the replies.

I went back and got a sample in a clean clear glass jar (with receipt). It is green tinted.

I did a little backyard test with a paper towel of the suspect diesel vs a sample from regular gas. Big difference when flame was applied. I could also tell a significant smell differance. I'm feeling less concerned now.

I got the fuel from a Mobil so I'm more concerned about a misfueling in their tank than someone skimping on the anti gel. Not to say they arn't above that or buying from a secondary supplier.

I only drove the tdi a few miles back home and it was a 1/2 tank on top of biodiesel (which helps lube the fuel pump in case it is gas).

I'm thinking paranoia got the best of me, but may send a sample in anyway. Any idea of the test cost?

Thanks for the feedback. I'd rather feel a little foolish than have to deal with the consequences of a blown pump. [img]/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 17:36   #6
MotorCityTDI
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[ QUOTE ]
I did a little backyard test with a paper towel of the suspect diesel vs a sample from regular gas. Big difference when flame was applied. I could also tell a significant smell differance. I'm feeling less concerned now.


[/ QUOTE ]

Um.. I don't know how valid your test is. Diesel/kerosene is only flammable when burned through a wick (i.e. paper towel). Probabaly better test to put some in a shallow dish and try to light it on fire. Diesel won't, gas will.
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 17:55   #7
bean boy
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

I only had the paper towel with some from the pump taken at the time. It was a little harder to light and burned less vigorously and with black smoke.

Now that I have a fluid sample, I may try the dish test. My wife isn't happy with my playing with fire, so have to wait until she isn't around.

Thanks again.
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 18:03   #8
MotorCityTDI
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[ QUOTE ]
Now that I have a fluid sample, I may try the dish test. My wife isn't happy with my playing with fire, so have to wait until she isn't around.


[/ QUOTE ]

[img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] Tell her you are conducting a highly important scientific experiment.
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 18:17   #9
mrGutWrench
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[ QUOTE ]
MotorCityTDI said:
[ QUOTE ]
Now that I have a fluid sample, I may try the dish test. My wife isn't happy with my playing with fire, so have to wait until she isn't around.

[/ QUOTE ]

[img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] Tell her you are conducting a highly important scientific experiment.

[/ QUOTE ]

__. And remind her that -- considering that she has a TDI owning husband -- that the grill in the backyard is still clean! [img]/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img] [img]/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] [img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

__. But don't forget, you have a really important way to get on her good side. Just volunteer to wash the dishes often, use "Dawn". By the time you've finished with the pots and pans, any diesel fuel or Delvac on your hands will be long gone. Ummm, I'm guessing you're smart enough not to tell her about the last bit. [img]/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 18:28   #10
mannytranny
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

It has happened before. Gas in the diesel tank, that is.

Can be a costly error, so I take a good sniff of the pump before I fill.

Ide hang on to that jar for a while...
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Old November 24th, 2003, 06:35   #11
Pat Dolan
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[ QUOTE ]
bean boy said:
I did a little backyard test with a paper towel of the suspect diesel vs a sample from regular gas. Big difference when flame was applied. I could also tell a significant smell differance. I'm feeling less concerned now.

[/ QUOTE ]

You did this outside, right? Maybe we know why your wife is nervous about you and the fire thing. [img]/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif[/img]

Pat
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Old November 24th, 2003, 06:55   #12
jck66
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[ QUOTE ]
bean boy said:
I did a little backyard test with a paper towel of the suspect diesel vs a sample from regular gas. Big difference when flame was applied. I could also tell a significant smell differance. I'm feeling less concerned now.


[/ QUOTE ]

This test works better when you use a glass bottle with an oily rag stuffed in the neck. Fill the bottle half to 3/4 full of your "test liquid" and another with your "reference" (the gasoline). When the "samples" are prepared, find a hard surface (the side of your garage will work, or failing that, use a neighbor's garage). Light each rag afire and hurl against the hard surface, recording your observations. Please report back with your results. [img]/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] [img]/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Old November 24th, 2003, 08:33   #13
bean boy
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Yes I was outside, but uncomfortabley close to her potting bench (ceder).

I don't have a garage to test against but if anyone here wants to volunteer their's, I would be happy to conduct the test there. [img]/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

My stealership just advised me that Mobil doesn't use Kerosine for anti gel, but since they fuel there also, they are a little concerned. Maybe I can used their garage for the test?? [img]/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
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Old November 24th, 2003, 11:53   #14
bean boy
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

Paranoia it is.

I tried lighting up a sample. Yes it was outside and in the grill, with the wife standing by with a fire estinguisher ( Damn she looked hot in that asbestos suit!)

It wouldn't burn with application of a flame. Not very scientific, but close enough for the time being. I am saving the sample and the receipts until I get thru this tank.

Thanks for all, well almost all, the suggestions.
[img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Old November 24th, 2003, 13:54   #15
mrGutWrench
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Default gas from the diesel pump?

[ QUOTE ]
bean boy said:
Paranoia it is.
I tried lighting up a sample. Yes it was outside and in the grill, with the wife standing by with a fire estinguisher ( Damn she looked hot in that asbestos suit!)
It wouldn't burn with application of a flame. Not very scientific, but close enough for the time being. I am saving the sample and the receipts until I get thru this tank.
Thanks for all, well almost all, the suggestions. [img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

__. Yeah, it's a shame that we'll never know what is being put in the fuel that we buy. So, you could have been smelling most anything. Also, diesel fuel is a blend of many different mid-weight petroleum distillates anyway -- I'd expect that some of the chemical components are pretty much like some of the chemical components in gasoline anyway. And gasoline was a standard "winterizer" for years anyway -- not that I'd want any of that fuel in my TDI. But it probably wouldn't hurt our engines, especially if there's a good lubricant additive added. But I wouldn't like any fuel with gasoline in it.
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