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Thank You RAC / Misfueling

Tow Itch
Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3184
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Thank You RAC / Misfueling   Empty Thank You RAC / Misfueling

Post by Tow Itch on Sun 18 Nov 2012, 9:06 am

Wednesday I was in Warrington in a bit of a hurry to pick some stuff up but alas the local branch of Toolstation had other ideas. Got them to check that the items I wanted were available in their Bolton store and set off.
Needing a top up on fuel I stopped at a filling station exiting Warrington. Just a junction further on I struck an item of raised ironwork with a really substantial bang and wanted to check my front nearside wheel for damage.
The first safe place to stop was the on ramp of the M62. There I checked both nearside wheels and could see no obvious damage. The strike was that hard that I could have caused deflation of the front tyre.
The on ramp at this place and time of day was very busy so hard acceleration was used to fit into a gap in traffic. "What! That's an awful lot of smoke on acceleration. I'll have to keep an eye on that" These thoughts filled my mind as I entered the motorway. A little later I could feel a slight surging or hunting as I made my way in the heavy traffic. Suddenly the truth struck home.

I had been looking at the difference between the unleaded and super unleaded at the petrol station. Why? I've been running a diesel car since May. This is the fourth diesel vehicle I've owned. How on earth can I have stuck petrol into a diesel tank?

Pulled up onto the hard shoulder and phoned someone who I know who is both technically competent and has experience because I knew he had misfueled a car. Alas his was with an older car and he managed to put diesel into a petrol tank. You can't do this any longer. Since the introduction of unleaded petrol vehicles designed for unleaded only accept unleaded petrol nozzles which are smaller in diameter than diesel or leaded petrol nozzles. He offered to recover me but I said to hold things as I didn't know what my position was with the RAC. Though not a breakdown I didn't know if recovery would be offered. Alas trying to get through the automated response of the operator who answered was difficult. How can a human in a call centre be an automated response? If they have to read off the idiot check list that they have and can't circumvent when the caller knows exactly what is wrong, then it's an automated response. I knew exactly what was wrong and asked could I be helped. Unfortunately while the operator stated that it was not a breakdown and the RAC fuel service was a pay for service, I never then asked simply would a recovery service be provided or not. Honesty insofar as I openly stated I knew what was wrong with the car penalised me. A more cryptic "I got a lot of smoke as I accelerated and the car has begun to surge desperately. I've stopped before I did more damage"  Though not a lie this would have warranted service. I have to say my analytical approach to gaining "service" from an organisation that no longer considers length of membership and previous use was limited as: 1) I was on a quite tight section of motorway hard shoulder just after an on ramp 2) I've had a poor year for driving issues this is the third time I've called on the services of the RAC this year. They have only attended once and for that service I had to pay. I feel a rant on the lack of service offered from the RAC will follow.
So back to offer from friend and a tow to another friends industrial unit in Bolton ensued. The 16 mile journey along the M62, M60, M61 and A666 was nicely contrasted with a journey through town centre Bolton and it being just after 6pm all had just enough traffic to keep things lively.

Tow Itch's Guide To Misfueling
Good advice as to what to do was somewhat lacking so should you find yourself in the same position here is what little I learnt and what I did.
This is a note of what little information I found and what I chose to do. I not sure of the quality of the information I found. All diesel engines vary. Especially important would be the make of fuel pump and more important still if the vehicle has a modern common rail system. As with trying to run with veg oil common rail is apparently less tolerant. You are presumed to be an adult and no warranties are given or implied. Indeed it may be several weeks or months before I learn whether I have escaped from damage or not.  
 
How much petrol have you added? If you have just started to pump the petrol when you realise your error how much can you get away with? 10% seems to be the quoted amount. Although some engines will be more sensitive and some manufacturers will have guidelines. Though I gather most will just void any warranty if they become aware that petrol has been placed into the diesel tank. So less than 5 litres in a 50 litre tank just top it up with diesel.
Some would suggest to neither labour the engine nor use high revs. Obviously petrol is not meant for a compression engine but the other concern is the fuel pump. Petrol will not lubricate the pump, fuel pump lubrication has become more marginal with diesel itself as modern diesel is low sulphur and sulphur was a lubricant. So you may choose to add a diesel additive that assists with lubrication (Redex, Millers or Forte) or select a premium diesel if either or both are available.
If you are being really cautious then you may still choose to call a misfueling service and pay the £150+ for them to drain your tank.

If you have put more than 10% petrol into your tank the recommended(?) action is to drain the fuel. Unless of course you have a new vehicle where manufacturers will recommend anything up to a complete fuel system replacement to prevent future harm. Though the entire fuel system will cost several thousand pounds and what is the point in replacing a common rail system which includes the injectors if the injectors and pump were the only items that could be damaged? Hardly preventative maintenance. The two contrasting options is reflected within a web search for possible solutions. I'd guess most of the advice and opinions are posted either by the unknowing or those who want to peddle either a solution or a preventative. Though sadly I'm guessing here as there is a lack of perceived wisdom.
So feeling just topping up wouldn't be suitable as it would result in running or trying to run for a period of time on a 50/50 petrol diesel mix I set out to drain the tank.
I still don't know if there is an anti siphon trap fitted at the bottom of the filling spout but an attempt to insert a tube and suck up the fuel failed. Lungs filling with petrol vapour but no proper liquid fuel brought up and bubbling or gurgling sound from the end of the tube.
As it was now late and no other tools available the car was abandoned at my mates unit until Thursday. A brief bit of reading that night left me puzzled. The only thing I had discerned was that the tank could be emptied with the low pressure electric fuel pump in the fuel system. Alas the Rover L Series diesel doesn't have an electric lift pump so an attempt was made to split the fuel line near the tank and let the tank drain. While attempting to split the lines I managed to get a large flake of rust in my eye (Well it felt like a large flake) and the afternoon was very nearly spent in the local A & E dept. (Be brighter than me use eye protection. Don't ever be tempted to work through the introduction of an irritant because after a few hours it gets less painful. What is happening is the eye is placing a surface over the fleck of material and all that will end up happening is that you need to go to A & E and the nurse then needs to remove the fleck with a needle while your head is held in a frame. {done that one in the past not as bad as it sounds but not fun})Fortunately just as about to get into my friends car to head for A & E the fleck fell out. Returning to the car it was found that the pipes exited the top of the tank so would not gravity drain.
At this point I set off to acquire a low pressure fuel pump to empty the tank and allied pipework. I'd obviously not thought this through as I could have used the fuel lines to syphon the fuel out with a small additional piece of pipe. This idea didn't strike either of my mates.
D'oh save me from modern parts suppliers. The type who need a registration number or a car definition to sell parts and the staff have never used spanners themselves. Went to buy a low pressure fuel pump. The type used on carburettor type vehicles not a high pressure pump for a fuel injection engine. Not too sure of the spec at that point but since looked up on interweb about 3 to 5 PSI and about 30 litres a minute. It took under 5 minutes to find what I want. Mr Bright wants my reg number at the first parts emporium. "No my car doesn't have an electric fuel pump if it did I'd energise that rather than buy another pump. I just want a low pressure fuel pump" "I can't just sell a fuel pump I need to know what vehicle it's for" Replies Mr Bright "No I'm just going to Jerry rig a pump so it doesn't matter what car it's from as long as it's low pressure. The sort of thing you would use to substitute for a broken manual pump on a classic just not a modern pump off a fuel injected car" "I need a reg number or a model" This was notionally in a proper spares establishment not a Halfords and none of Mr Bright's colleagues who were ear wigging offered help. Went to another supplier who was just the same. Went to an old fashioned shop and service place who at first said yes I can do something but they're expensive £70 ish. Flirted with using a washer pump (not sure if solvent proof but it didn't have to last for long) or even punching hole into tank and sealing hole at this point. In the end he found a motor that looked like a windscreen wiper motor attached to a pump. £30 deposit.

Pump on tank. Slower than a slow thing. Realised after half a hour that there was a third port that bled air into pump. (see first picture and the clear plastic pipe not sealed with a screwdriver at that point) Sealed that and much quicker. Then pumped from the return side where I pumped out a couple of litres.

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If I hadn't already put the car on ramps or split the fuel lines I'd have just pumped from the point where the fuel filter sits. After  joining up the fuel lines I did this anyway to clear the fuel line and because I was conscious that the car was on such an angle on the ramps that there might still be a few litres stuck in the tank. After clearing the line I put 10 litres of diesel in the tank and pulled a litre or so of this through the fuel line. I might of been bothered about the residue in the high pressure pump and possibly been concerned about trying to start the engine on the residual petrol but I'd pulled that much petrol through the return pipe from underneath the car that I thought I'd cleared the return. Also I'd was getting cold and tired by this point so became lazy and didn't bother to crack the connectors to the injectors and pump diesel through. Attitudes are variable to changing the fuel filter. Also I'd ask when you change it? When you drop the tank? Or after a few miles in case any crud from the bottom of the tank is lifted when you have jumped from diesel to petrol to diesel? (If you run on veg oil or bio diesel you are supposed to change the fuel filter after a few hundred miles as the veg oil lifts sludge in the diesel tank) I emptied the fuel filter and I don't know if the resultant appearance was from the petrol or any water in the bottom of the filter but looked like brush cleaner that had been used to clean a brush with white paint on it.

The motor took a bit of cranking but fired up and I put a third 5 litre can of diesel in. The engine was a little slow to fire the following morning and sounded a bit rough. Now I'd most probably done whatever damage I was going to do to the high pressure pump by this point but as the major problem is supposedly fuel pump lubrication went to petrol station double dosed on Millers Oils Diesel Power Eco Max and filled up with BP Ultimate Diesel. Changed the fuel filter after about 60 miles. Now seems to run as before, I'll see what time brings.

Typical of exaggerated issues is this even in common rail systems the high pressure pump is manual so you can't just damage it by opening the door. Unsure what cars might activate the lift pumps at this point or what the advantage would be? [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Wish I'd found more articles like this rather than the Private Frazer response of "We're All Doomed"  [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Cheaper parts from Halfords

As I was replacing the fuel filter I decided to change the air filter and do an oil change as well as they have not been changed since buying the car. Unfortunately Halfords did not have a fuel filter in stock so I crossed the road to Euro Car Parts. The fuel filter was more expensive than I expected and caused me to revise the price from Halfords. I have a trade card for Halfords some years ago Car Mechanics had a note saying that anyone who worked for a garage or an automotive based employer could get a trade card just bring in a pay slip. I worked for the worlds largest automotive component supplier at the time. True I might have been turning or milling at the time but I still worked for them. Only thing my pay slip didn't have my employers name on at that point so I used my P60. On reflection the average employee of Halfords wouldn't know who my employers were. As long as you produce something that doesn't say Leigh Cats And Dogs Home on it or similar, ask and you should get a card.
The discounts are variable but mainly apply to service items. I think it used to be up to 80% off brake components, oil and air filters. The two filters I bought came to £7. something rather than £17. something so closer to 60%. While the fuel filter cost £8 ish elsewhere. I see it as 60% of Halfords extortionate prices and would rather keep an independent in business with the advantage that an independent often knows what the bits are. e.g they don't need to have a car make to sell a fuel pump. Though for many of you who don't have a local car spares place a Halfords card would be useful. It's about 50% off light bulbs and 20% to 30% off fluids. Just don't expect owt off bikes or your next cold box.


Got the discount off bulbs wrong. Bought some last month. 90% off Halfords bulbs and remember they are still making a profit at that price. £0.30 for a twin pack of 21w stop lamps or 5w tail lamps.


Last edited by Tow Itch on Sun 10 Nov 2013, 5:31 pm; edited 4 times in total
Helen
Helen
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Post by Helen on Tue 20 Nov 2012, 8:25 am

We've been with the RAC for around 12 years now and not had to call them out (even with the bust radiator situation as we were so close to home) we were with the AA before and did call them out once but changed because at the time the RAC were offering a better deal. There have been several times when we have considered cancelling but know that the minute we do that's when we're going to need them and with towing it may be difficult to find someone who can get us and the Dandy home. I've been told green flag are good but would they also leave you stranded for a mis-fuel/other reason ?
Tow Itch
Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3184
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

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Post by Tow Itch on Tue 20 Nov 2012, 7:09 pm

Helen

Wanted to do a bit of research for options before writing further.
Research on who will / won't pick up trailers as well.
Loosely I've been a member of the RAC for at least 17 years. I would prefer a member base for recovery as I own more than 1 vehicle.
Though the motorcycles I own are coved for recovery under my insurance. It does cover me if a passenger in another vehicle.
This year has been a bad year and needed to call on their services 3 Times:
1) Crashed car. Not covered cost me somewhere in the region of £100 for recovery.
2) Wasn't in a fit state to drive the vehicle. Many of the recovery services will recover you if you become unfit or incapable through driving through illness. At the tail end of June as I went to leave Dent I wasn't best well. I attempted the drive home and stopped when I started to feel like a danger to myself or others. I knew something at the time about the physical discomfort I was in what I didn't understand at the time was that the fatigue I felt and the confused or slightly blurred thinking I was suffering from was dehydration. Not from lack of water but because I have a messed up digestive system and lots of my body salts had gone AWOL. I stopped at Forton (Lancaster) and requested assistance. Alas I would have had to drive to somewhere where I could gain medical assessment and provide a doctors note that I was unfit to drive. I can see how this could be abused but unless you are staying a distance from home and have access to medical services this basically excludes this service.
3) Missfuel. If I'd lied or just been more coy about my circumstances I'd have been recovered. I don't want to have to lie though.

If there are enough exclusions what is the point of the cover. Do I just get a knackered ECU from the scrapyard ready to plug in and guarantee a suitable fault if I next need service?

I need to do some inquiries about service levels prices and exclusions. To be honest given the nature of "Customer Services" in any insurance or honour based sector I expect very little.
Helen
Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6837
Join date : 2011-06-12

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Post by Helen on Tue 20 Nov 2012, 8:42 pm

I think it's time we took a closer look at our RAC cover, I know there are different levels of cover but was under the assumption that if we break down then they would bring us, our vehicle and whatever we are towing home. Having not had the misfortune to have to discover the hard way you now have me wondering exactly what we have been paying for over a decade for.
We did read it all when we first took cover out but haven't really looked closely for years, we just have the card in the car and the booklets go in the glovebox Embarassed
Caz1960
Caz1960

Posts : 1716
Join date : 2011-09-04
Age : 60
Location : Cardigan west wales

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Post by Caz1960 on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 12:26 am

Shocked I was with the RAC then the AA both services I had home start, recovery,and breakdown also they both spouted about " fast attendance to women on their own" ha I have been left at night near a Tesco's petrol station ( which was closed) for an hour not happy they take your monies over £100 per year and no help when you need it but now i'm with a company which is tied to my insurance company and cost £55 per year and the times that I have used them I cant fault them they even phoned me and chatted to me to keep me company while I waited for the breakdown van yep it was at night but that made me feel safe ..so sorry to read your misfortunes Mr Itch hope all is on the mend..with all the breakdown services find that mates are always the fastest to the rescue bless them Thank You RAC / Misfueling   1710857839 Thank You RAC / Misfueling   1710857839
Eilis
Eilis
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Posts : 1458
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Age : 54
Location : Lowestoft, Suffolk

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Post by Eilis on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 7:23 am

i find AA and RAC interested in making money but have been with Green Flag for years, fast efficient service and they also chat to keep you company if you are waiting at night although I have never waited more than about 20 minutes - highly recommend them and would never go back to AA or RAC after unhappy with the service from both
Helen
Helen
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Posts : 6837
Join date : 2011-06-12

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Post by Helen on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 8:19 am

Looked into the Trailer/Caravan question and if the car breaks down they will get the car and either Trailer/Caravan home but if there is a fault with the Trailer/Caravan and not the towing vehicle then they won't. Shocked

If your a member of the CCC then you can take out extra cover with the RAC that will cover the vehicle & Trailer/caravan, doesn't matter which is at fault they will get you to your pre-booked campsite and home again or just home if you haven't booked in advance ...... £164.90 per year. It's the RAC Arrival package
Tow Itch
Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3184
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

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Post by Tow Itch on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 10:13 am

Ah you have an actual price.
All I could see was 25% this year and 15% off in future on the RAC price for the service you chose. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Actually that is not true I saw an add on the C&CC website the other day with a differing offer but can't get the ad to appear now. 40% off for tent campers. What about tent campers who carry their stuff in a trailer?

Still after this summers illness refusal of service I'd like to see the small print.
What circumstances do they recover the caravan / trailer tent in? Non motoring breakdown, attempted theft, accident (remember the car is not covered in an accident) storm damage etc.
Helen
Helen
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Post by Helen on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 3:30 pm

I would assume that it covers trailers/trailer tents/caravans, if you look down the page you'll see the options and prices.

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mike
mike
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Post by mike on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 3:45 pm

We have mayday through the caravan club this is a quote from there blerb

Mayday Vehicle Rescue is The Caravan Club's UK breakdown and recovery service, specially designed for caravanners and motorhome owners. Operated on our behalf by Green Flag and exclusive to Caravan Club members, it provides 24 hour cover, 365 days a year, whether you're towing or not. Mayday covers your car or motorhome, and touring caravan or trailer tent.

I never ask any questions maybe i should
Helen
Helen
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Posts : 6837
Join date : 2011-06-12

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Post by Helen on Thu 22 Nov 2012, 4:42 pm

I think it's time we looked at our breakdown cover and compared it to what others have to offer to get value for money and the cover we want.

Sorry about your recent experiences Kevin but it has brought to light that we didn't really know what we were covered for and what's not covered when it comes to towing, we may even find a deal that gives us what we need for a lower price so Thank You RAC / Misfueling   115684958

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