Diesel in tank - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 25 Old May 25th, 2017, 4:53 pm Thread Starter
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Diesel in tank

Somebody I know, and quite obviously by mistake, filled the tank of his brand new 1600 GTL with diesel instead of gasoline.

He managed to do about 1/2 a mile until it spluttered to a stop.

The strange thing is that normally, in cases like these, itīs enough to empty the tank, fill it up with gasoline and get back on the road again.

In this one, it hasnīt been the case, as the engine has been totally destroyed and it will have to be replaced by a new one, which doesnīt make sense.

Any thoughts about this ?.
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post #2 of 25 Old May 25th, 2017, 8:35 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

Diesel in a gas motor should do a lot less damage than gas in a diesel motor. I would think any damage would be to the injectors and maybe the fuel pump. The engine should have no damage at all. Maybe do a oil change, but I do not think that would be necessary.

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post #3 of 25 Old May 25th, 2017, 11:01 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

I'm with Mike. I wouldn't expect it to destroy the engine so any details of what was actually damaged would help to understand. A through flush of the tank, lines and injectors if done quickly should restore operability as a gas engine can't combust diesel.

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post #4 of 25 Old May 26th, 2017, 2:52 am Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

Really strange as you say.

Dealer has cleaned tank, changed plugs and injectors but the bike has difficulty in running.

Not only that, oil is coming out of the crankshaft and being burnt by the engine as well.

Looks like the 1600 is a delicate engine.

And where I say replaced, BMW are charging him for it.

Something very strange here. I have told him to not lose sight of the old one.

Last edited by simoncharles; May 26th, 2017 at 5:43 am.
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post #5 of 25 Old May 26th, 2017, 6:12 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

Insurance??

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post #6 of 25 Old May 26th, 2017, 12:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

They are saying that it was his mistake, so no go.

Some people have come up with the theory that as the 1600 has a high compression ratio ( 12,1 ), that for a while the diesel self- ignited even though it needs a minimum of around 14,0 to carry on working, and it was during this short space of time that it ruined the engine.

He wonīt know until it has been stripped.
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post #7 of 25 Old May 26th, 2017, 4:05 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

With a high compression and a mix of a bit of gasoline and diesel fuel it could very well have kept running a bit. Diesel with a bit of gas to get it going is very explosive.

Used to trim my mothers mulberry trees in november , haul the greens to the pasture, add a coffee can of diesel over the pile add about 4 ounces of gasoline spread all over then make a spear with rag tip dipped in gas. From as far as you can throw launch the spear and kaboom. Instant fire.
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post #8 of 25 Old May 27th, 2017, 8:29 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

I don't buy that at all! If it takes 14:1 compression to run the diesel, then it will not even start to think about igniting at 12:1 ratio! Actually, a typical diesel compression ratio is more like 15:1 - 23:1.

Actually, I wonder if there isn't some mechanical damages done? Note that diesel is not as volatile as gasoline, and therefore the injectors for the two fuels needs to be different. Could it be that the bike's injector were not able to atomize the diesel properly and cause accumulation of liquid fuel in the cylinder head? If so, that can be very rough on the engine when the piston tries to compress it! Admittedly, a WAG, but I can't think of anything else right now that could cause permanent damage to the engine.
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Last edited by PadG; May 27th, 2017 at 8:35 am.
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post #9 of 25 Old May 27th, 2017, 8:56 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

I thought the diesel nozzle was supposed to be bigger?? Don't know never tried it.

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post #10 of 25 Old May 27th, 2017, 9:51 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwnahas View Post
I thought the diesel nozzle was supposed to be bigger?? Don't know never tried it.
That only works for cars, motorcycles have large fill holes that will accept any nozzle. I ride with a guy who's nickname is Diesel. Wanna guess why? Luckily he realized it before he even started the bike, so we drained the tank right there in the parking lot and filled it again with the right gas.

I'm really surprised that the diesel did any damage to the engine myself and would love to hear someone explain what happened.

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post #11 of 25 Old May 27th, 2017, 6:54 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey View Post
That only works for cars, motorcycles have large fill holes that will accept any nozzle. I ride with a guy who's nickname is Diesel. Wanna guess why? Luckily he realized it before he even started the bike, so we drained the tank right there in the parking lot and filled it again with the right gas.

I'm really surprised that the diesel did any damage to the engine myself and would love to hear someone explain what happened.
Maybe we are not getting the whole story.

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post #12 of 25 Old May 28th, 2017, 3:57 am Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

You know what I know. The real reason wonīt be known until the engine is stripped, if it ever is .

There was still some gas in the tank when he refilled it with diesel, which could be the answer to why it kept going for some time.

The most plausible guess is that the crankshaft bent due to there being an incompressible liquid (diesel) in one or more of the cylinders.

Last edited by simoncharles; May 28th, 2017 at 4:04 am. Reason: spelling
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post #13 of 25 Old May 28th, 2017, 8:11 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

That is exactly what I was thinking!!

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post #14 of 25 Old Jun 7th, 2017, 5:40 am Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

The dealer finally got around to stripping the engine and according to my friend found some distorted pistons and a bent crankshaft.

This to me seems to be far more serious damage than one would have expected.

Question.

Couldnīt they have found this out by doing a compression test, and if so, how would they have done it ?.

Last edited by simoncharles; Jun 7th, 2017 at 5:46 am.
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post #15 of 25 Old Jun 7th, 2017, 8:04 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

Compression test will only tell you if the rings (or cylinder wall) are worn or damaged. That is all. I was half expecting to see that the con-rods were damaged as well, since in the old days, those were a lot weaker than the crankshaft, in attempt to save weight.

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Once Upon a Time........
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1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
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post #16 of 25 Old Jun 7th, 2017, 1:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

What if a piston or pistons had holes in them ?.

Apparently, and before they stripped the engine and were trying to get it to run, oil was being forced out of the crankcase transmission seal.

In the "old" days, didnīt bikes have longer strokes, therefore having to absorb a larger force ?.
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post #17 of 25 Old Jun 7th, 2017, 4:09 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

Diesel auto-ignites based on very high pressure in the combustion chamber. Diesel combustion in a diesel engine is solely based on temperature (an ignition source is not required). Diesel can also ignite based on its flash point - in the presence of an ignition source. This would be the case in a gasoline engine with a spark plug that had diesel for its fuel.
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post #18 of 25 Old Jun 8th, 2017, 12:28 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

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I would think the bike a total loss. But then this is not an insurance job. Toss in another 10 or 12 hours for R&R too. A memorable experience. Many parts on the old engine worth money or save for spares. I personally would just sell it as a basket case and buy a new one.

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post #19 of 25 Old Jun 8th, 2017, 1:30 am Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

I understand that he canīt afford to.

He handed in his used RT as a deposit and is paying the rest off in installments.

The bike, top of the range with ALL the extras, is virtually brand new with only a few hundred miles on the dial.
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post #20 of 25 Old Jun 8th, 2017, 6:07 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles View Post
They are saying that it was his mistake, so no go.
Time to find a new insurance company.

Lets say you turned on your oven to preheat and went to your garage to work on your bike.

The night before your wife had pizza, and put the leftover in the oven (in the box)

Your house fills with smoke.
It was your fault, but it was a accident, the insurance has to pay as long a they can't prove malicious intent.
Happened to a friend. he got a whole kitchen, paint, lots of cleaning.

insurance if to pay for accidents, your friend dut diesel in his bike by accident.
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post #21 of 25 Old Jun 8th, 2017, 8:14 am
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Re: Diesel in tank

The engine won't run with a religious (holy! ) piston, and so no need for compression tests!!!

Yeah, the long stroke of the engines of the yesteryear is what I am familiar with, and that is the major factor in why the con-rod of this engine, which has a much shorter con-rods, didn't bend or break!

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Once Upon a Time........
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1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
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post #22 of 25 Old Jun 8th, 2017, 4:14 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by PadG View Post
The engine won't run with a religious (holy! ) piston, and so no need for compression tests!!!

Yeah, the long stroke of the engines of the yesteryear is what I am familiar with, and that is the major factor in why the con-rod of this engine, which has a much shorter con-rods, didn't bend or break!
Donīt forget we are talking about a 6 cylinder monster, so it may have tried to get going on only 5
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post #23 of 25 Old Jun 11th, 2017, 8:55 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

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Originally Posted by mtrevelino View Post
Diesel in a gas motor should do a lot less damage than gas in a diesel motor. I would think any damage would be to the injectors and maybe the fuel pump. The engine should have no damage at all. Maybe do a oil change, but I do not think that would be necessary.
Many years ago, I put gasoline in my John Deere diesel Yanmar 3 cylinder tractor. It started to smoke and run rough. I shut down. Realizing what I did, stopped, drained the tank and put fresh diesel in. It has been fine since and that was some time ago. I still have the tractor.
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post #24 of 25 Old Jul 24th, 2017, 3:35 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel in tank

Have just been told that after 2 months of having been taken to the dealer, the bike has been fitted with a brand new engine.

Total cost $ 10.600 plus 21% tax.
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post #25 of 25 Old Aug 17th, 2017, 8:18 pm
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Re: Diesel in tank

Little late to the party but I can tell you what a honda cbx 6 cylinder will do with a hydro lock. In 1979 they had a recall. The seat would over flow on #1 if you put it on the side stand......

Don't ask me how I know. It bent #1 rod....that's it. I fixed it myself.

I cannot see how the engine was ruined. I must say it must be a very delicate engine on the 1600. Of course looking at some of the recent engines none are built to the longevity/toughness standards of the early 70's-mid 80's muscle bikes....I found that out with hayabusa's....delicate........
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