I filled my GT with diesel fuel? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 12:58 pm Thread Starter
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I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I posted this as a follow-up in my Flagstaff trip report, but I wanted to give it more visibility. Coming back from Flagstaff I stopped at Newberry Springs and filled up with some rather expensive gas, even for a desert station. Most of the pumps had a sign indicating that there wasn't any premium available, but pump 4 did not, so I filled up with premium on pump 4.

My wife and I got about a mile down the road when the bike died. That's when I started wondering if all pumps pull from the same tank. I figured I had pumped water. It took 2 hours to get a trailer out there. It was delivered to the Riverside dealer on Tuesday (kept in storage on Monday), and he told me it was full of diesel fuel. Cleaning the engine and replacing the fuel pump would cost $800.

My wife confirms my belief that there was no diesel listed on that pump: it was regular, super and premium. I sent an email to Texaco customer service (the gas station was called Wesco, but it's apparently run by Texaco) telling them what happen, and asking them to pay for the $800 repair. I don't expect that to just happen, but it'd be nice.

Has anyone else had a similar incident with bad fuel? Any luck getting reimbursed?

BTW, the BMW motorrad service pays the first $500 for towing, a much better deal than the 35 miles MOWTOW provides. When my motorrad service ends (3 years), I'll definitely look for roadside assistance that can help me out when I'm 80 miles from anywhere helpful.

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post #2 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 4:45 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

$880?
I'd just drain the tank, fill it with gas and crank it until it starts.

I wonder if the gas station had a delivery and they mistakenly put diesel into one of the underground fuel tanks?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnoxous
I posted this as a follow-up in my Flagstaff trip report, but I wanted to give it more visibility. Coming back from Flagstaff I stopped at Newberry Springs and filled up with some rather expensive gas, even for a desert station. Most of the pumps had a sign indicating that there wasn't any premium available, but pump 4 did not, so I filled up with premium on pump 4.

My wife and I got about a mile down the road when the bike died. That's when I started wondering if all pumps pull from the same tank. I figured I had pumped water. It took 2 hours to get a trailer out there. It was delivered to the Riverside dealer on Tuesday (kept in storage on Monday), and he told me it was full of diesel fuel. Cleaning the engine and replacing the fuel pump would cost $800.

My wife confirms my belief that there was no diesel listed on that pump: it was regular, super and premium. I sent an email to Texaco customer service (the gas station was called Wesco, but it's apparently run by Texaco) telling them what happen, and asking them to pay for the $800 repair. I don't expect that to just happen, but it'd be nice.

Has anyone else had a similar incident with bad fuel? Any luck getting reimbursed?

BTW, the BMW motorrad service pays the first $500 for towing, a much better deal than the 35 miles MOWTOW provides. When my motorrad service ends (3 years), I'll definitely look for roadside assistance that can help me out when I'm 80 miles from anywhere helpful.
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post #3 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 5:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I'm not a mechanic, but I know that diesel is more oily than gas. It's not hard for me to believe that it would gum up the fuel pump. I figured I'd rather spend $800 now, then possibly buy a new engine later.

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post #4 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 5:28 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=592587

I have accidently put kerosene and diesel into gas engines. They do stop running. All I ever did was drain and flush the system and it started right up with no further problems. With fuel injection the residual diesel in the lines will be flushed back into the tank and diluted with the new gas when the fuel pump is acivated.
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post #5 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 5:29 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

This kind of stuff happens all the time with cars. They just drain the tank, flush out the fuel system, change the filter and put some gas in it.

I really don't see the need for a new fuel pump. Diesel won't hurt your fuel pump a bit. You've never used Marvel Mystery Oil ? We used to put a little diesel in our cars to help clean out the fuel system. That was when gas was leaded...

But I'll bet most of that 800.00 is labor anyway because changing out the pump takes only a few more minutes than changing just the filter.

Sorry to hear about your mishap..


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post #6 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 5:38 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I've seen the results of putting diesel in a bike.. drain tank, replace filter, get it running again...no problems.

So, hope you make a decision you are comfy with.

I would definitely pursue the station through your State Weights and Measurement department.

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post #7 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 7:38 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

What I want to know is if you got better mileage with Diesel.

I can't imagine it doing any harm at all, I think the guys at the dealership were overly zealous... like others have said I would just drain it. I'm sure it would run rough for a few seconds while it cleared the injectors and probably blow some smoke for a minute or two. Unless it was cold and it jelled over a few days I can't really see any issues. Replacing the fuel filter and a decent 50 mile ride with several WOT runs would make sense.

I would try to speak to the owner of the station first... odds are pretty good you aren't the only one affected - and the last time I checked it is the responsiblity of the tanker driver to get it right.


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post #8 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 7:49 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

One of my friends is a tanker driver and they use the same tanks for diesel and gasolene. I said what happens if the tank is not completely drained from having diesel in it. he said it gets mixed with the gas and goes in the ground. He said usually there is not much left in the tak. But it does happen more often than not.

Now you know not to fill up when the station tanks are low.



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post #9 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 8:35 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I thought the diesel nozzle was physically larger than the unleaded nozzle to prevent putting it into a gasoline powered vehicle. If you did make a mistake and it WAS a diesel pump, how did you fit the nozzle into your gas tank opening? That's the question I'd be asking the gas station. Sounds to me like you got diesel coming out of a gasoline nozzle.

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post #10 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 9:02 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
I thought the diesel nozzle was physically larger than the unleaded nozzle to prevent putting it into a gasoline powered vehicle.
OOH, Dave's right isn't he.......

That pretty much forks it....It's done...


Get after that station...

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post #11 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 9:22 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Last fall our local Mobil station got a tanker load of diesel put into the gasoline tank. Dozens of cars were stalling on the highway, by the time anyone figured out what happened there weren't enough tow trucks in the county. The oil company paid the tab to have all the car's tanks drained, filters & injectors changed, etc. One local shop had the contract and you couldn't get an appointment there for anything else for a couple weeks.

If it was a switch up @ the station you're not the only one who had a problem. Call some local towing outfits to confirm.

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post #12 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 9:35 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Bob, I can only imagine your chagrine... DOH!
You HAVE to make sure you let us know if you mixed it up or they did so you can possibly get the "DOH!!!" award for 2008....
Just one side note, I would absolutely change the oil & filter in the bike at the same time as flushing the fuel system.
Diesel has some serious detergents in it that will really contaminate your engine oil (especially bad for motorycycles that use the engine oil to lube the transmission) and could possibly harm your bearing surfaces. Most likely plenty leaked past the piston rings when the engine stopped firing.

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post #13 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 9:36 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=592587

I have accidently put kerosene and diesel into gas engines. They do stop running. All I ever did was drain and flush the system and it started right up with no further problems. With fuel injection the residual diesel in the lines will be flushed back into the tank and diluted with the new gas when the fuel pump is acivated.
What he said!
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post #14 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 10:56 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1
Bob, I can only imagine your chagrine... DOH!
You HAVE to make sure you let us know if you mixed it up or they did so you can possibly get the "DOH!!!" award for 2008....
Just one side note, I would absolutely change the oil & filter in the bike at the same time as flushing the fuel system.
Diesel has some serious detergents in it that will really contaminate your engine oil (especially bad for motorycycles that use the engine oil to lube the transmission) and could possibly harm your bearing surfaces. Most likely plenty leaked past the piston rings when the engine stopped firing.

JM2CW
I'm not above accepting a "DOH" award, although I don't think I'd walk around proudly with it.

The nozzle size is a good point. I hadn't thought of that, being as I hardly ever fill up with diesel intentionally.

I'm kind of stuck as far as the repair, I think. I was stranded 200 or so miles from home. My towing package covers the first $500. The reasonable place to tow it to was the nearest dealer, 70 miles away. Now that it's there, I could pay to tow it home and try and take care of it myself, or pay the dealer to make it run. Maybe I could've talked the dealer into a lesser service, but I just wasn't confident that was a good idea. Besides, Texaco is paying for this, right?

On that note, Texaco's response was that they will contact the station manager. They seem to indicate that if there's a problem at the station, it's the station owner who's liable, not Texaco. We'll see. I know I wasn't the only one affected, because a car pulled up looking for premium, looked at the signs the same way I did, and I offered to move my bike so they could get to the 1 pump with premium. I saw them fill up. They couldn't have gotten far either, but they didn't pull over next to me. Maybe they went east instead of west.

As for changing the oil, I have a little over 5000 miles on the bike, so I'm having the dealer to the 6000 mile service too, which changes the oil (and not much else). It's pretty pricey for an oil change, but since it's in there. After this, I'll have to figure out how to do the minor services myself.

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post #15 of 43 Old May 29th, 2008, 11:42 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Do you remember if the pump nozle handle was black or green? If green, it's diesel. I think it is a standard color configuration nationwide.



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post #16 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 6:11 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbushey
I thought the diesel nozzle was physically larger than the unleaded nozzle to prevent putting it into a gasoline powered vehicle. If you did make a mistake and it WAS a diesel pump, how did you fit the nozzle into your gas tank opening? That's the question I'd be asking the gas station. Sounds to me like you got diesel coming out of a gasoline nozzle.
There are 2 sizes of nozzles used for diesel. The larger size is only use at a station that caters to LARGE TRUCKS. The "AUTO Diesel"nozzle is the same size as regular fuel nozzles. But they are marked with a "GREEN" cover on the handle. Always stay away from the "GREEN" nozzle.

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post #17 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 6:12 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSpen
This kind of stuff happens all the time with cars. They just drain the tank, flush out the fuel system, change the filter and put some gas in it.

I really don't see the need for a new fuel pump. Diesel won't hurt your fuel pump a bit. You've never used Marvel Mystery Oil ? We used to put a little diesel in our cars to help clean out the fuel system. That was when gas was leaded...

But I'll bet most of that 800.00 is labor anyway because changing out the pump takes only a few more minutes than changing just the filter.

Sorry to hear about your mishap..


John
On the GT the fuel pump & filter are an integral unit. Since it's a demand system instead of constant flow, like the LT, it rarely needs changing.



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post #18 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 7:01 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

No need to replace anything. Just drain as much Diesel as you can, refill with gas, and go riding. Diesel fuel will not damage anything in a gas system. Not even the filter.

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post #19 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 11:28 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

To hijack this thread slightly....

In a ride a few years ago in the Nevada desert a friend and I stopped at a remote gas station...or rather pumps and a small store. A medium sized Rv was sitting at the pumps. Seems the renter/driver of the RV filled his water tank with gas some time before and drove off only to run out of gas and then discover his error. Had to be towed back and then attack the contaminated water tank issue.
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post #20 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 11:38 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Pump handles for diesel fuel aren't always green. In the state where I live, the diesel pump handles are colored yellow.

The poster who commented about pump handle size is correct. Some diesel pump handles are high-capacity handles for filling trucks, others are the same size as a car pump and are for filling cars like my VW diesel. It would be easy to fill a motorcycle tank with diesel from a pump with a conventional handle.

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post #21 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 11:53 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

bout 15 years ago, a friend went to a gas station when they still had full service and the idiot attendant put diesel into her Mercedes. Naturally the car died and needed repair.

Back then anyways the station stepped forward and took care of it.

If they do not sell diesel at the station that you went to, I imagine they are going to have quite a lot of claims.

Small Claims court is a good resource as well. Good luck with it.

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post #22 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 3:09 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Back when I was riding Harleys, a friend of mine accidently put diesel in his Harley. It actually ran, but roughly and smoked like all get out. We just pulled over and disconnected the fuel line from the tank (easier to do on a Harley), drained it and filled it up with gas. It ran like a charm and he never had a problem with it afterwards.

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post #23 of 43 Old May 30th, 2008, 8:53 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I have been a mechanic for over 25 years. Someone is trying to put you together. You can but a miti vac vacuum cannister for about $70-$80 and suck the diesel out. Or get a hose and syphon it out for next to nothing. There is nothing the diesel fuel could do to hurt your pump. Suck it out, Add good fuel and crank till it starts. Might have to change spark plugs and an oil change would be advisable.
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post #24 of 43 Old Jun 1st, 2008, 10:21 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Sounds like Mr Tanker driver nutted up and put diesel in the regular fuel tank!

Diesel has a very distinctive smell. Completely different from gasoline. I would describe it as "oily." If you touch a little of the diesel residual on the pump nozzle, you will notice that it feels much different than gasoline, also. Again, I would describe it as "oily."

If you're not familiar with diesel, take a look at the nozzle next time you're at the gas station. You will smell the difference right away. You will never have an "accident" again.

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post #25 of 43 Old Jun 1st, 2008, 6:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Thanks for all the feedback. I clearly do need to be more careful when fueling. I'll educate myself on the smell.

I probably should've had the dealer hold off until I got some other opinions, like on this website. Maybe it was a waste to change the fuel pump, but what's done is done. Like I said, it was at a dealer over 100 miles away. I didn't have a good way to get it home and do it myself. Maybe I should invest in a bike trailer next time, and just bring it home.

They changed the plugs and oil. One positive, is it seems to run better. Before, it would sometimes hesitate at about 2300 RPM or so, and then suddenly go, even after the airbox change. On the trip home, I didn't notice that, but I'll test it some more this week.

No word back from Texaco. I'm going to follow up with them. If they don't move soon, I will. I don't want to wait a month and everyone says it happened too long ago and we don't know what happened.

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post #26 of 43 Old Jun 1st, 2008, 7:39 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Glad it worked out for you and glad it runs even better now! Wonder if they upgraded the software?

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post #27 of 43 Old Jun 1st, 2008, 10:28 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

What's real fun is to fill a one ton ford diesel with gasoline! Don't ask me how I know!!!!

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post #28 of 43 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 1:55 am Thread Starter
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOGILLS2
What's real fun is to fill a one ton ford diesel with gasoline! Don't ask me how I know!!!!
I hear gas in a diesel engine destroys the engine. True?

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post #29 of 43 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 6:48 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I guess it could, but just drive it and add diesel as the tank level drops. It would take a lot to destroy a diesel. Diesel engines are not built like gas engines, diesels are hardier than gasoline. If you ever get a chance to take one apart it is very revealing. I had a ford gasoline engine that was supposed to be built like a diesel and supposed to last 300,000K miles or more. I never got the chance to find out, as my son wrapped it around an oak tree one morning.

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post #30 of 43 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 8:09 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Gasoline will damage or destroy a diesel engine. The fuel injection pump requires the lubrication provided by diesel fuel. Running gasoline will damage the pump and it will have to be replaced.

Since gasoline is designed to be resistant to self-ignition, gasoline in a diesel engine either won't ignite or will ignite at the wrong time. Some diesel engines run leaner than gasoline engines (meaning that the air-fuel mix has a higher proportion of air than a gasoline engine). That increases the chances that the gasoline won't ignite and that unburnt fuel will be sent into the hot exhaust system--where, ironically, it could ignite, leading to possible exhaust damage.

I'm a fan of diesel engines - though not the type that are actually commercial engines that have been shoehorned into medium duty pickup trucks for folks who have no need for a diesel engine vehicle.

The current crop of smaller diesels used in cars in various parts of the world are teriffic. I drive a '06 VW TDI. It routinely gets 45-50 mpg in normal driving, has plenty of torque, is pretty quiet, and is a fun car to drive. It gets hybrid-like mileage without the hybrid complexity and battery packs.

Honda sells its Accord/Civic lines in Europe with diesel engines. Honda is reportedly going to offer those engines in its US Accords and Odessy minivans in 2009 or 2010. Suburau is developing a boxer diesel that will be added to its US product line in 2010.

As for the domestic manufacturers - clueless. GM and Ford are reportedly developing a 4.0 liter diesel for use in light duty pickup trucks, but nothing for use in cars.

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post #31 of 43 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 12:35 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katnapinn
[snip] But they are marked with a "GREEN" cover on the handle. Always stay away from the "GREEN" nozzle.
In the US maybe, but that reminds me of standing in the rain in Grande Cache, Alberta, Canada, in front of the Premium gas pump and holding the green handle. After a long day's ride I was suffering from a brain fart trying to reconcile the two, when the teenage attendant meandered out said "You from the US, eh? It's alright up here green is unleaded."

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post #32 of 43 Old Jun 8th, 2008, 2:58 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang
No need to replace anything. Just drain as much Diesel as you can, refill with gas, and go riding. Diesel fuel will not damage anything in a gas system. Not even the filter.
I'd have thought the diesel would damage the catalyctic convertor.
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post #33 of 43 Old Jun 8th, 2008, 8:01 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbushey
I thought the diesel nozzle was physically larger than the unleaded nozzle to prevent putting it into a gasoline powered vehicle.
There are low flow nozzles for diesel cars/ smaller trucks, and larger high flow nozzles so you can pump 300-400 gallons into a semi, without taking all day.

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post #34 of 43 Old Jun 8th, 2008, 10:05 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

quote: I'd have thought the diesel would damage the catalyctic convertor.

It will not run long enough on diesel to do harm. The main cause of cat failure is overheating (i.e. lean running) diesel will not cause overheating. I have seen gas engines with engine failure that pumped large amounts of engine oil into the cat. After the engine is repaired and restarted you get a lot of smoke, once that clears up even the CO sensor usually work fine again.

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post #35 of 43 Old Jun 28th, 2008, 5:34 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

I got a check today from the gas station for the repair bill on my bike. They were pretty good about it. A little slow; I had to keep on them, but they didn't try and argue. They said a sign had fallen off. I wasn't the only one who got bad gas.

The station manager I talked to was surprised when I told her the dealer said it was diesel fuel. She thought it was water. In the end, I don't care what it was. it was fixed and I was reimbursed. Texaco did all right.

When a government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs.
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post #36 of 43 Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:21 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

My big concern would be your engine! I worked as an airline mechanic and diesel is almost identical to jet fuel. Every once in a while the fuel truck would fill up our gasoline vehicles with jet fuel by mistake they would run terribly if at all. Sometimes the mistake was made and jet fuel was put into a gasoline powered (piston) engine aircraft. When that happened it was always big bucks! If the engine was run on the jet fuel, it HAD to be rebuilt. The detonation the jet fuel caused was deemed too much stress on the engine for it to be considered reliable. The higher the compression ratio of the engine the more damage it caused. In A&P class it was put to us this way, "With the proper grade gasoline the force against the pistons is like pedaling a bicycle with your feet. Put jet fuel (or diesel) into the same engine it would be like pedaling a bicycle by hitting the pedals full force with a sledge hammer." In case you think there is a big difference between Diesel and jet fuel - Sometimes we had to drain jet fuel out of our aircraft and it could not be put back in. The guys with diesel trucks loved the free jet fuel!!!

Mike Kiesel

Medina, Ohio
2000 K1200LT (Katerina)
"She's big and graceful - most of the time"
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post #37 of 43 Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:39 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Glad one of those EVIL big oil companies that "W" owns stepped up, Bob.

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post #38 of 43 Old Jun 30th, 2008, 12:50 pm
 
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Had a friend who filled his 44 gallon fuel tank in his boat with diesel by accident! That was expensive, as there was enough gas in the fuel line for him to launch the boat and idle for a little bit until it died. He then spent $75.00 to have an on-water marina drain the fuel (for which they kept) and then spent another $100 for gas!
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post #39 of 43 Old Jun 30th, 2008, 2:50 pm
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Glad to hear that they took care of you, Bob.

Ken
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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #40 of 43 Old Jul 2nd, 2008, 11:03 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

2 years ago, I filled my 2005 GS with Diesel. Brought it to Chicago cycle after I drained it and refilled but still couldn't start it. They took care of it and charged me under 200.00 for the fix and an oil/filter change. Bike has been flawless since.

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post #41 of 43 Old Jul 2nd, 2008, 1:17 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

There may be a difference in the design of the bikes. The dealer wanted to change the fuel filter, which on the GT, is integrated with the fuel pump, so that's a $400 item. If I was trying to get by with just what was needed, I probably won't have changed that, and just stuck to cleaning the injectors. I also wouldn't have used BMW spark plugs, which for some reason are $20/plug.

When a government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs.
- Maxwell Anderson

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post #42 of 43 Old Jul 3rd, 2008, 8:29 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnoxous
.......................

Has anyone else had a similar incident with bad fuel? Any luck getting reimbursed?

Not in a motorcycle. But March this year while towing my 33 ft trailer behind my 2004 Chevy diesel I filled up once with about 17 gallons of #2 diesel and 2 gallons of H2O.

To make a very long story short; the bill was $6500, but the Exxon station did reimburse me $69 for the diesel. Luckily my truck insurance paid for the repairs. Long live USAA insurance!
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post #43 of 43 Old Jul 3rd, 2008, 8:30 am
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Re: I filled my GT with diesel fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnoxous
.......................

Has anyone else had a similar incident with bad fuel? Any luck getting reimbursed?

Not in a motorcycle. But March this year while towing my 33 ft trailer behind my 2004 Chevy diesel I filled up once with 20 gallons of #2 diesel and 2 gallons of H2O. To make a very long story short; the bill was $6500, but the Exxon station did reimburse me $69 for the diesel. Luckily my truck insurance paid for the repairs. Long live USAA insurance!
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