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Advice please - I put a few litres of Diesel in my unleaded car.

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05-10-2008, 07:44   #1
jimbob23
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At Morrisons garage I filled a green (unleaded identification) Morrisons petrol can 2/3rds full then went to top up the car's tank in a hurry folowing a 12 hour night shift and hectic morning shopping and financial problem solving, I was well aware that a Diesel nozzle wouldn't fit fully into unleaded tanks but due to the wide top of the green can it does fit that and hence ... it took only seconds for my twisting, turning nozzle not going fully home to make me check back at the dispenser and see DIESEL writ large...Oh @####!
I had put 8.40 in both can and car tank with the can 2/3rds full so I'm guessing at bulk being in the can about 5 worth leaving 3 to 4 worth of diesel in my tank I went into the paycentre and asked advice, my instinct being to drive straight home (I live about half a mile away and I had, had about a third of a tank to dilute it when I arrived) drain off the tank, flush with unleaded and refill but the staff and customers all thought at that ratio it would stall at the pump and I would be stuck with expensive towing charges and advised I should dilute by filling tank fully before starting.
I did this, giving the canned diesel to some happy chap and refilling the can with unleaded - my intent being draining of tank and using canned unleaded to flush clean and a little to get back to refill properly
BUT
the car appears to be running perfectly with no visible emissions problems no misfiring or signs of problems starting ... which is a little suspicious? is the diesel sat like a crocodile at the bottom of my tank waiting for a low tank to enter the fuel system or has it mixed and is simply lowering high octane ratings or are my filters etc being thoroughly gutted in cleaning the diesel out of the fuel feed -
I drove the car home only since then but have restarted and idled several times to check if there is some emission or starting problems developing before risking using it for a work trip.
The current mix must be around 10 to 1 petrol to diesel.
This is purely a get to the new job car so any knowledgeable professional or personal experience would be welcomed
my car is a 95 Fiat Cinquecento.
Thank you!

Last edited by jimbob23; 05-10-2008 at 07:57.
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05-10-2008, 08:19   #2
muckynees
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I know a couple of people that have done this, they quickly filled the tank with the fuel they did want and hoped for the best. They didn't notice any ill effects with the car although a qualified person may say that there was some unseen damage but they are still driving the same cars today so maybe you got lucky
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05-10-2008, 08:25   #3
Mr_Squirrel
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TBH i wouldnt worry about it too much with it being a Cinquecento, thats no put down on your car just to say that its not the most technically advanced car in the world, that is probably your saving grace,see the wrong fuel in modern cars can do all sorts of damage, mainly to engine management sensors, cat converters etc but a tiny amount of diesel in your car i wouldnt have thought it will do much harm.

In the old days, people used to put a small amount of 4 star in diesel cars in cold weather in order to stop the diesel from freezing up, do this with a modern diesel and you will be facing a huge repair bill. Also, in older cars, if you put diesel in a petrol car by mistake the only thing that would happen is the car would puff clouds of grey smoke out of the exhaust.

There is alot to be said of 'meat pie' engineered cars, if they broke down, you could lift the bonnet, take the part off yourself and hit it with a hammer until it worked again, you cant do that nowadays......

Mind, old cars used to break down alot.....
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05-10-2008, 08:26   #4
jimbob23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muckynees View Post
I know a couple of people that have done this, they quickly filled the tank with the fuel they did want and hoped for the best. They didn't notice any ill effects with the car although a qualified person may say that there was some unseen damage but they are still driving the same cars today so maybe you got lucky
Cheers for that, it's a little settling knowing the advice was sound and to know others also took the risk of using the mix; can't really afford to dump 30 of petrol as I have just started full time work only 2 weeks ago.
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05-10-2008, 08:32   #5
jimbob23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Squirrel View Post
TBH i wouldnt worry about it too much with it being a Cinquecento, thats no put down on your car just to say that its not the most technically advanced car in the world, that is probably your saving grace,see the wrong fuel in modern cars can do all sorts of damage, mainly to engine management sensors, cat converters etc but a tiny amount of diesel in your car i wouldnt have thought it will do much harm.
Unfortunately the Cinquecento does have fuel management with lambda exhaust sensor, fuel filters and cat convertor according to the lbrary's manual I scan read today... not that this all means much to me...oh well!
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05-10-2008, 08:38   #6
Heyesey
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From what I can gather, the real killer is filling a diesel car with petrol - diesel is very oily, and the engine relies on that oiliness to run. Use petrol, and there's no oily effect, and the engine seizes up completely and knackers itself. Diesel in a petrol engine probably just won't work, since a petrol engine doesn't reach high enough temperatures to ignite the diesel.

That said, plenty of people have claimed that they've used the "wrong" fuel and got away with it - and plenty of others have claimed that it cost them the thick end of a thousand pounds to fix the damage. Make your own mind up who you believe.
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05-10-2008, 08:47   #7
Scozzie
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Originally Posted by Heyesey View Post
From what I can gather, the real killer is filling a diesel car with petrol - diesel is very oily, and the engine relies on that oiliness to run. Use petrol, and there's no oily effect, and the engine seizes up completely and knackers itself. Diesel in a petrol engine probably just won't work, since a petrol engine doesn't reach high enough temperatures to ignite the diesel.

That said, plenty of people have claimed that they've used the "wrong" fuel and got away with it - and plenty of others have claimed that it cost them the thick end of a thousand pounds to fix the damage. Make your own mind up who you believe.
I'm used to eating oven baked chips. If I eat Oily fried chips, I tend to feel queasy.
I'm overly cautious, I would change it. Oil is bad for the arteries.
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05-10-2008, 08:53   #8
shuispoo
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A while back i put about 2 diesel in an older rover, paniced but went into the rover garage about 100yds away and they said do not worry, so I filled it up with unleaded

Found out later that there are cleaning agents in diesel that, I was told so do not try it yourself esp with newer cars, garages can put in a petrol car to help clean things up

No probs with the car until it failed its MOT, nothing to do with the petrol/diesel though!!
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05-10-2008, 08:56   #9
Dave650
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Fill it with super unleaded!
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05-10-2008, 09:22   #10
kenthack
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it should be allright as youve diluted it down (might even do it a bit of good cleaning it)
but dont do it the other way round or you are in for a big bill
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05-10-2008, 09:30   #11
Cyclone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyesey View Post
From what I can gather, the real killer is filling a diesel car with petrol - diesel is very oily, and the engine relies on that oiliness to run. Use petrol, and there's no oily effect, and the engine seizes up completely and knackers itself. Diesel in a petrol engine probably just won't work, since a petrol engine doesn't reach high enough temperatures to ignite the diesel.

That said, plenty of people have claimed that they've used the "wrong" fuel and got away with it - and plenty of others have claimed that it cost them the thick end of a thousand pounds to fix the damage. Make your own mind up who you believe.
Diesel engines also run completely differently with very high compression ratios and no spark for ignition. Petrol ignites much more easily and you get pre ignition in every chamber and much higher temperatures. That's why it wrecks the engine.
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05-10-2008, 09:40   #12
H da fella
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The price of fuel nowadays means you have probably got about a cup full of diesel in your tank, dont worry about it as long as its running fine, be an idea to check the spark plugs in about a few weeks though to see if they are clean.... Nice to see not only i have done this but petrol into diesel
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05-10-2008, 09:47   #13
deedar
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I had to call the RAC in South London a few months ago and while talking to the bloke, he said this is one of the main things they get called out for nowadays. They've actually invested in loads of vacuum pump things and most of their vans have got one on board.
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05-10-2008, 15:00   #14
pathman
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as some have already mentioned, putting petrol in a diesel car is far worse than vice-versa, and putting only a few litres of diesel in a petrol car should be okay as long as it is otherwise full of unleaded.

my car is petrol and the wife's is diesel, so we are always very careful filling up.
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05-10-2008, 19:07   #15
Tridentine
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I've been told petrol in a diesel car also removes some of the hard facing in the high pressure fuel pump leading to failure and a very expensive replacement cost!
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05-10-2008, 19:59   #16
Mr_Squirrel
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Fuel grades were always marked with color coding..
Black,Blue and yellow were Diesel, Green is unleaded and Red 4 star or LRP

Its also harder to put diesel into a petrol filler as the nozzle of the diesel pump is fatter than a petrol pump, however i myself have filled a diesel with unleaded......

About 4 years ago i drove my van into a filling station in Harrogate, a filling station i had used on many occasions for around 10 years previously. I drove in and to the usual pump i use there, a pump that dispensed Diesel ONLY (positioned in the highest part of the forecourt so high vehicles could get under the canopy) i shoved the BLUE nozzle in and pumped away while my mind wandered with the fairies...after a min or so, i thought "this smells funny"... i looked down and saw the pump had a new sticker on it and the nozzle had a tag, both reading "NEW ULTIMATE UNLEADED"...i stopped pumping and read that i had put in nearly 40 litres...i went in and after a blazing row with the attendant (who had worked there for years and recognised me) i had to stump up the bill for the unleaded and call the recovery firm who after an hour waiting towed me to the garage, drained off the tank before i had to go back to the same garage and refill with 80 litres of diesel (that peed me off a bit) before going home...

Now, my point to this dreary story is this, the attendant knew me, knew i filled with diesel and knew that big sprinter vans DONT use unleaded, the recovery guy said that this was a regular 'mistake' at that station after the pump change and reckoned they were onto a good screw.....

I notice that this petrol station has now reverted back to the Diesel ONLY pump and changed the color of the ULTIMATE unleaded to green with a red 'highlight'

Funny eh?

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05-10-2008, 20:19   #17
Jason Bourne
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Thanks for the info people, it's been an interesting read

I'm surprised to read that you can kill a diesel engine by adding petrol; I always thought the old cast-iron blocks were practically bulletproof and that if they could run on vegetable oil, they could run on anything.
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05-10-2008, 20:25   #18
Mr_Squirrel
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Originally Posted by Jason Bourne View Post
Thanks for the info people, it's been an interesting read

I'm surprised to read that you can kill a diesel engine by adding petrol; I always thought the old cast-iron blocks were practically bulletproof and that if they could run on vegetable oil, they could run on anything.

The OLD diesels you could (pre electronic everything days)

Like i said in an earlier post, years ago people used to put a small amount of petrol in diesel tanks to stop the diesel from freezing up in cold weather.
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27-02-2009, 02:14   #19
jimbob23
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Feedback - no long term effects at all, dilution by filling fuel tank seems to have worked well enough.
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