Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Beware tainted petrol

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by jd, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. From the local paper:
    A Ballarat mother of three wants to warn the public about the hidden risk of pumping contaminated petrol into vehicles with damaging and expensive results.
    Ballarat Holden has confirmed the petrol in her tank contained excessive amounts of water, which led to corrosion in the fuel pump.

    The businesswoman, who wanted to be known only as Lyn, said she had been left with a $3000 bill at Christmas time after getting petrol from her regular outlet.

    Lyn has been dealing with insurance companies but is finding it difficult to have her claim approved despite tests proving the fuel contained large amounts of water.

    "It's put us out of pocket,"she said.

    "It's $3000 we didn't have at Christmas ... we should have been able to spend that on the kids."

    Lyn said there were other families in the same situation and she felt compelled to speak out and highlight the problem.

    It is impossible for car owners to see the tainted petrol when they are pumping it into their car.

    Ballarat Holden had been servicing the car and sent the damaged parts away for testing.

    Ballarat Holden general manager Siggy Haas said tests clearly showed the fuel in the car was "contaminated and clearly had excessive amounts of water"and was outside the acceptable water limits.

    "Holden has come back to us with engineering proof that the resultant damage is not product related. It's fuel contamination which has caused the problem with (her) car,"he said.

    However, he said the contamination could have occurred in several ways with water making its way into the holding tanks.

    "It's very, very hard to trace back,"Mr Haas said.

    "There's a lot of influencing factors that can do it.

    "Some of them are not in the control of fuel companies."

    Mr Haas said he had seen this type of petrol problem periodically during his time in the industry, including stints with BMW and Porsche, with similarly damaging results to vehicles.

    "Fuel contamination is not new,"he said.

    "When we see them we tend to get a few in a row. It's unfortunate for the owner."

    Mr Haas said Lyn was fortunate because she bought the fuel at a regular service station and as a company car there was clear proof of purchase.

    Lyn said the ordeal began on Tuesday, October 25, last year, and she knew of two other couples who had been affected at the same time.

    "Ever since this happened I have had nothing but a nightmare,"Lyn said.

  2. No wonder the insurance companies won't pay..as if it costs $3000 to get an injected car back up and running after fuel contamination!
    Drain fuel tank, remove tank, flush with alcohol. Dry tank. Reinstall, remove high pressure fuel injection hose at injector rail, fill tank with fresh fuel and pump fresh fuel through hose. Remove and replace fuel filter. Reinstall fuel hose and start car after a bit of farting. Reset trouble codes on computer.
    Only possible way to do damage to an engine with a LOT of water in the lines is run it till it stops and leave it for 3 months, then fuel pumps, injectors, valve faces and cylinder bores may rust.
    You can't really damage an engine this way, the thing just stops when there's no fuel to run on......even at full throttle, it wil just lose power. You can't even burn a piston, no combustion equals no heat.
    I'd say 8 hours labour max, and maybe a fuel filter, so $450 is more realistic!

    Regards, Andrew.
  3. Enuff said ;)

    I'm glad we have mechanically minded people on this forum :grin:
  4. I always thought that water in fuel was very damaging for fuel injectors.

    Injectors can be expensive parts, up to a few hundred bucks a pop?

    I'd be astounded if any car insurance policy would cover breakdowns.
  5. i agree with typhoon on all that he has said! :LOL:
  6. they should see the positive side of things... as I remember, injection of H2O into the combustion process reduces the NOx emmission... good news for the environment!

    (and an engine without combustion doesn't even have any emmission... )

  7. hate to put a wet blanket on some of you, but any water in some of the modern fuel systems in cars is terminal and extremly expensive to fix.

    Eg: a fuel pump for a comadore VS = $950 (non repairable)
    and they take about 4hrs to replace: they are situated on top of the tank and the only way to get to em is by removing the tank !!

    Inj = 85 each ( after market ) x 6
    drain and flush fuel system etc min 2 hrs

    and im just scratching the surface here guys, so 3000 is not far of the mark if it was a huge H2O problem

    and on a footnote : this isn't a rare problem, most big dealers get something like this at least once a month :?

    water in modern fuel systems is not an easy fix like the carby mtrs of old, oh to work on an old red 186/202 again :LOL:
  8. I agree, but to be a problem, the fuel would have to sit in there for long enough to actually cause rust, which would take a couple of weeks at least.
    Water in fuel has always been present, and any car can deal with it, providing it is passed through the system and not allowed to sit and do damage.
    Injectors wil inject anything liquid and will only get damaged if the water sits in them for a while, just like teh fuel pump.
    I'd seriously doubt leaving a car sit for even a week with a water stoped engine would do long term damage.

    Regards, Andrew.
  9. There's been a follow-on article to this in the paper today:
    ONE tank of tainted premium petrol cost Tony Cahill more than $7000 and six months of grief.

    But what surprised him the most was the "180-degree" turnaround the major fuel company had when dealing with his case.

    Mr Cahill filled his Nissan Pulsar hatch with premium unleaded petrol in Ballarat before heading to Port Fairy for a folk festival on March 12, last year.

    Within minutes he was on the Western Fwy but struggling to get past 100kmh.

    Knowing his regular mechanic was closed Mr Cahill decided to press on, only to have the car stall and backfire in Port Fairy - something he said had never happened before or since.

    The matter seemed to be fixed when he put a new tank of petrol in, but three months later the car broke down.

    "My centre main bearing failed, damaging the crankshaft," Mr Cahill explained.

    "I believe that this was as a direct result of the bearing being subjected to excessive stresses from the contaminated fuel."

    After calling the fuel company and showing proof of purchase Mr Cahill was told he would have no problem being reimbursed.

    However, in letters seen by The Courier, the company later told Mr Cahill they were not liable for damages and he had exaggerated the problem by continuing to drive to Port Fairy.

    Mr Cahill's story comes after other cases have been made public, with other people falling victim to excessive water in the fuel which led to corrosion and costly repair bills.

    The RACV has recommended keeping receipts as proof of purchase, testing the fuel in their car, and proving where it came from.

    RACV chief engineer of vehicles Michael Case said tainted fuel was a periodic problem and drivers had received compensation from petrol outlets in Victoria.

    However, he warned time was critical in the success of this type of compensation claim.

    -Incidentally Ballarat to Port Fairy is a little over 200kms :shock: .
  10. I'd just call that stupid.....oh, cars today, you just drive them. You don't stop to check things if something is amiss, you just bury the pedal further.
    I saw a woman trying to drive her car away from a parking spot..with 8 litres of transmission fluid under the car...I couldn't tell her that redlining the engine wasn't going to achieve anything.

    Regards, Andrew.