accidentally added gasoline to our diesel tank - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Old 11-09-2009
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accidentally added gasoline to our diesel tank

OK, OK. Before you really slap me up side the head: we gave our diesel jerry cans (yellow, says DIESEL on the side) to pangas in Turtle Bay and told them we need DIESEL. But what they gave us was, of course, gasoline.

We discovered this after our crew put about a gallon of gasoline into the tank. We have a 46 gallon tank. If we were in a marina, I'd just have a fuel polisher empty the tank. However, we're sitting at anchor in Cabo San Lucas and don't want to start the engine until we understand what sort of problems it's going to cause. Right now, the tank has probably 20 gallons of diesel. If we can just dilute the gasoline with diesel, we can take the rest of our jerry cans and dinghy into the fuel dock and fill them up.

Anybody have any experience with this and what sorts of problems it might cause?

Thanks!

Jason
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Old 11-09-2009
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Can you skim the gas from the top of the deisel?I know a fella who put water in, and just ran a hose down to the bottom, and siphoined the water out........i2f
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Old 11-09-2009
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What model of engine do you have? Some of the newer common rail engines do not run well with gas. The older diesels run just fine with a little bit of gas. This happens all the time in trucks and the standard practice is just to dilute it with diesel as much as possible. People actually intentionally add gas sometimes when they are having gelling issues.

It is a good thing that you caught it quickly. I always smell the nozzle for just that reason.
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Old 11-09-2009
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"We are sitting at anchor at Cabo San Lucas" gee it sucks to be you.

Good luck with your fuel problem, I think it should be diluted enough but then I have never tried it. The gas will sit on top and your suction should be near the bottom so it will likely dilute slowing over time.

Gary
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Old 11-09-2009
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I'm not so sure that gas floats on top of diesel. I would think that gas is solvent for diesel and that it will mix like water and vinegar, not oil and vinegar.

Maybe someone has first hand experience with this?

Regards,
Brad
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I know they have different specify gravity, but they are both seperated from the same stuff. I would go with filling it with Diesel and at 40 to 1 is probably safe. I would take 40 drops of gas and mix in 1 drop of diesel and see how it looks over night. I dont think it could seperate at all.
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As diesel and gasoline have different specific gravities, one will float on top of the other.
(gas on top of the diesel)

As I2f suggested, siphon the gasoline from the tank. What little is left should do no harm to your engine. Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2009
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Top the tanks off with diesel, I doubt you'll even notice any difference. You might want to put a new fuel filter in next time you fill it up though.
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Old 11-09-2009
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Our slip neighbor with a Perkins 4-108 went through this just this past year. Do not even think about starting your engine. If you can smell gasoline at the fuel fill you'll waste your engine and blow-out the seals in your injection pump. While it will be a pain in the butt, shut the fuel pick-up line at the tank, disconnect the fuel line from your tank to your filter(s) at the filter, off-load the fuel into jerry jugs and take it ashore for disposal and completely refill your tanks with diesel. Diesel and gasoline will not separate--we tried that experiment by decanting a sample of contaminated fuel into a glass container and letting it sit undisturbed for a week.

Good luck. And next time do not delegate fueling or watering to pangeros or untrained (by you!) crew.

Good Luck....

s/v HyLyte
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Old 11-09-2009
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If you filled the remaining tank with diesel, that would give you ~2% gasoline content. Truckers will run than that when temps get below 25F to keep the fuel from gelling. At that diluted amount, you might see a reduction in power. Gas is less likely to ignite in the cylinder or at least at the correct time, which could cause knocking - bad, even for a diesel.

The only experience I have is a friend completely filled a FORD Power Stroke full of Gas - it ran fast for about 30 sec and died. The tank and fuel system had to be removed and flushed. . .
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