accidentally added gasoline to our diesel tank - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 28 Old 11-11-2009
Don Radcliffe
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Accidentally filling a diesel with gasoline - Putting gasoline in a diesel - Running a diesel engine on gasoline

Your boat diesel is not full of fancy smog devices, so the above reference says you are probably OK with up to 10% gasoline. You are going to have less than 3% gasoline if you fill the tank, so with the good old high lubricity diesel you are going to get in Cabo, you are safe in filling the tank with diesel and moving on.
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post #22 of 28 Old 11-11-2009
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Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
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.
You are right there isnt really a problem at the kind of dilution. Now you go the other way and put diesel in a gas engine and you have some problems. You can wreck a gas engine with diesel. It happens all the time on our farm when some dummy grabs the wrong hose and sticks a bit of gas in a diesel tractor.

One thing you may want to understand about diesel is it changed a few years ago thanks to the EPA. New Diesel engines can handle the removal of the substance that was harmful to the enviroment (forget what it was called) but older engines just cant. If you do not add a fuel additive to your older diesel engine you will at some point have a problem with it. I learned the hard way after losing two injection pumps in my 6 year old Ford Tractor. Now 6 years old isnt that old but if its older than about 2005 I would be adding additive to every tank. The material was a lubricant and with out it I am sorry but your diesel will fail at some point in the future under a heavy load. Probably right when you need it. For my tractor its about a 2600 dollar bill to rebuild the injection pump and in all honesty the engines them selves just are not quite the same afterwards. I suffered about a 5% power loss. Many Sailors may not notice the issue for a bit simply because you are not pushing the power to the degree we do in a tractor but at some point just when the greenies are rolling and you really need that power it may not be there.

"Hydroprocessing removes sulfur and significant amounts of polar and aromatic compounds that give conventional diesel fuel adequate lubricating capability. Low lubricity in diesel fuel can cause engine problems unless treated with additives."

Stolen quote here But unless you know the quality of the particular batch of diesel you get be safe add the additive every time.

Last edited by kootenay; 11-11-2009 at 02:36 AM. Reason: added quote
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post #23 of 28 Old 11-11-2009
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Just a side note about the lubricity of modern diesel fuel: my old boss would put transmission fluid in his fuel tank to increase the life of this injector & fuel pumps on his diesel truck and tractors - a pint to 15 gals. It did stain his filters red and caused him some trouble b/c they put red dye in off road diesel for that reason.
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post #24 of 28 Old 11-11-2009
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ATF is no longer a good idea to put in a diesel. It is now formulated so that it will not burn and it will just cause soot. Back in the old days, it was a great additive for lubricity but not anymore. A lot of people use 2 stroke oil now which is made to burn. Another option is an additive like power service.

The reason for the new fuel has to do with the diesel particulate filter which was added to over the road vehicles in 2007. If you have sulfur in the fuel, you will clog your DPF really quickly so they went from LSD(500ppm) to ULSD(15ppm). The process of removing the sulfur that they use changes the makeup of the fuel and decreases the lubricity. They actually use additives to bring the lubricity back up. There has been lots of debate over how much of a problem it is and it appears that some older vehicles with fuel lubricated injection pumps have problems but everyone else is fine.

There were a wide range of suggestions in this thread from very risk averse ones to people who couldn't be worried. If it will give you peace of mind, you can drain the tank because there is a very small chance of having adverse effects. Personally, I would not and I know that most of the diesel mechanics I know would not as well. This is an extremely common occurrence in over the road vehicles and as long as it is caught early, the gas is simply diluted.
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post #25 of 28 Old 11-13-2009
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We did the same thing...

We did the same this summer on our boat (wince) - our engine is a 75 gallon 35 yr old volvo penta and the attendant put about 5-7 gallons of gas into our tank...the engine coughed and sputtered a bit (and shut off a few times) when she took a gulp of gas, but, like you, we didn't put much in at all so it was very well diluted. You should be fine, just make sure to keep topping off with diesel and eventually it'll work its way out. As someone else suggested, just keep some extra fuel filters on hand. Lesson learned though!!

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post #26 of 28 Old 11-13-2009
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wonder how the OP made out?

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post #27 of 28 Old 11-15-2009
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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
wonder how the OP made out?
If he read all the post, he probably gave up and did the logical thing.....................drained and refueled

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post #28 of 28 Old 11-25-2009
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They made out fine. No bad reports yet. I was on the boat (NOT involved in the pouring though!) and the general consensus between captains and Racor via phone, and relatives in the know all agreed to let the few liters of gas mix in, and keep topping off the tank with diesel for awhile. So far so good. Maybe J will chime in to let us know if the engine skipped a few beats, as was the worst expectation.
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