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Gasoline in my new Diesel truck

rfmarshrfmarsh Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
I just bought a 2003 Silverado 2500HD with Duramax diesel engine. The dealer put 12 gallons of gasoline in the tank before I drove it off the lot and I drove it about 50 miles home. It wouldn't start after shutting it down so they towed it back to the dealer and concluded that they had topped it off with gasoline.

The dealer is telling me that there's no problem. They drained the tank and are now saying I can have it back. I told them that I wouldn't accept it until I get some confirmation from unbiased sources that no damage was done.

Any guidance out there?


  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    You don't know how badly the injectors were damaged by the gasoline. Those injectors rely heavily on the diesel fuel to provide lubrication. Gasoline is a very "dry" fuel and has almost no lubricating properties, that I am aware of. I've never done it, but I've been told that less than a 10% solution of gasoline in diesel will damage the injectors. I can tell you for a fact that water in the fuel will kill injectors in less than 150 miles. Been there, done that and still feeling uneasy about it all.

    My $.02, I would pick another one off their lot.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    damage to injectors, lift pump, injection pump, etc. Tell them you'll take another one, or call an attorney.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I'm surprised you got 50 miles. I wonder if the dealer is telling you the whole story here. Didn't the truck run just bloody awful when you drove home?
  • rfmarshrfmarsh Posts: 2
    I called another dealer and told him what happened. His response: there's definitely damage possible. He recommended I ask specifically for the following from the dealer who made the mistake:

    1. Visually inspect and replace seals if there is any swelling.
    2. Replace the fuel filter and water separator.
    3. Flush (not drain) the entire fuel system.
    4. Replace the injection pump.
    5. Document in writing that you have done the above.
    6. Warranty the work for an extended period of time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    what I was wondering was how much diesel fuel was in the tank before gasoline was added. Since your truck ran 50 miles it's possible there was quite a bit of diesel fuel. I can't imagine a diesel running on straight gasoline for 50 feet much less 50 miles. So maybe there's not so much damage.

    But you know, you can't take a chance with problems down the line.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    the tank can have 10 gallons of diesel in it, but the gauge will read near empty. So I can see where the mixture was probably near 50/50. But I agree, I'm surprised the truck ran very well at all.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    that thing must have been barking like the dog pound by the time you got home.

    I would be knee-deep in lawyers if that was my truck, wondering how "Schrader Chevrolet" would have looked on the signs. because on a 0-miles brand new truck, I would be figuring on owning the dump by the time I was done.

    I would say they owe you a complete, brand-new truck minimum, and perhaps a little something in punitive damages.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    I came across this forum by accident and would like to make a few comments: In order to avoid damage to a diesel engine when running gasoline through it, it must be designed for this purpose. I happen to own an old 69 Army Deuce and a half with a 6 cylinder multifuel diesel. This engine will run on diesel, kerosene, turbine fuel, gasoline, or any comination of these fuels. However, diesel is recommended as the primary fuel and use of other fuels as emergency fuels. This engine has several features that make it suitable for running on gasoline:

    1. Fuel density compensator built into the diesel injection pump
    2. Swirl combustion chamber effect caused by specially designed intake manifold

    3. Built-in hemispherical depressions in tops of pistons to control the fuel burn

    The engine has 22 to 1 compression ratio and is a true diesel engine. I ran this engine on gasoline only once for about a mile when I accidentally ran out of diesel due to defective fuel gauge, and could not find diesel at the nearest gas station. The engine ran smooth without any adverse effects. (Having a multifuel engine sure comes in handy at times! Pushing a 16,000 lb truck off the road is not an easy task.)

    I also own an 83 Mercedes 300 SD with a 5 cylinder turbo diesel engine. I would be very concerned with engine damage if I ran gasoline in this engine. In fact, I was told by a mechanic that running gasoline in this engine will surely damage it.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    contrary to some reports. I would not expect a market price sensitive item like a civilian car to have the expensive additional design factors in its engine that your gruntwagon has.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Of course, nobody would build a multifuel engine just to protect it from inadvertent abuse, such as using wrong fuel. But maybe they could come up with some sensor ahead of the injection pump that would recognize wrong fuel and shut down the engine or at least turn on a warning light.
    After all, these trucks are expensive - I recently saw a Chevy 3500 LT Dually 4X4 crew cab with almost $ 50K sticker price. This is no longer pocket change for most of us. (Note: Supposedly Al Capone carried about $ 50K with him at all times for pocket change. This was in the 1920's, when one dollar was worth probably $ 20 today).
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    called the "user." one is supposed to be knowledgeable enough, upon buying a diesel, to see that you can darn near push a rabbit through that huge pipe under the fuel cap... and on seeing that the diesel pump nozzle is similarly the size of a cannon barrel, deduce that only this nozzle is supposed to go into this fill hole.

    the dealer pinhead who put a 3/4-inch filler into a 1-1/4-inch (I have not measured these, this is my impression of the relative sizes on first discovery of the size of that hippo-maw of a fuel line) diesel pipeline was unqualified to be doing that work. the green "DIESEL FUEL ONLY!" sticker all tar-burners have on the filler door should also have been a tip-off... even if the pinhead couldn't read, he ought to be able to match the colors... even colorblind, green ain't red or orange.

    I'm amazed the regular nozzle didn't fall out and spray the ground, the poor dupe must have had to stand there and hold it.

    as a result, I would think a court would plainly see that the dealer is responsible for abuse, and should bear all costs whatsoever in making the situation right for the customer.

    it would be a darn difficult job to make a liquid density probe that recognizes diesel #1 with antigel, for instance, and passes it while blocking gasoline, all within a fraction of a second, continuously in flowing liquid. it would not be a $15 part.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    You can run a little bit of gasoline in a diesel engine. The Russians did this to great effect in World War II to start very cold and very gooey tank engines. I'd imagine no more than a few percent gasoline, and only in an emergency, such as if you have to launch a 1,000 tank offensive at work or something.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    it's not a recommended antigel trick, however, at least not with the non-diesels that GM converted from a 350 gas-engine block, and not with the 6.2 Liter DDA we had in an old suburban. used to be they'd recommend adding a quart of diesel to a clattering gas engine as a top-lube, too.

    part of it is fear of lawsuits, I suspect -- somebody who thinks, "one part good, so two parts must be better," is going to blow the heads off his tar-burner and get mad instead of get smart.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I actually remember reading in the Mercedes service manual that it was okay to do this, but it's probably not in the manuals for new cars, for the reasons you've stated.

    In Alaska, the solution was to just leave your truck running all night while you slept. At 40 below, not a bad idea.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    German WW II tanks had gasoline engines, so that they were easier to start in cold weather. On the other hand, the fuel economy was terrible and when hit, they would burn quickly and fuel tanks would explode. Some statistics I read about the Tiger III 12 Cylinder Maybach engine - the fuel mileage was something like 0.5 miles per gallon.

    One favorite trick to start diesel truck engines in cold weather was to build a fire under the engine oil pan to heat the oil first. The winter of 1942 in Russia was so severe that oil froze in the oil sumps of many vehicles overnight.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Some tanks get 5 gallons a mile, so that's not too bad for a V-12 gasoline tank. I think Italian tanks got great gas mileage but you could poke your finger through them, so it was a trade off.
This discussion has been closed.