Opal fuel warning

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 10:21
ThreadID: 132642 Views:5596 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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Hi everybody. i thought i would pass this on after getting caught out using Opal fuel in Central Australia.

After experiencing a major fuel leak from the injector seals caused by using Opal we were told that the fuel has a very high level of detergent additives in it. Apparently it dissolved any carbon built up and perishes the seals. After a $2200 repair bill. We got advised to use only premiun unleaded.

Just some information if you are running a petrol vehicle
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Reply By: wombat100 - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 10:42

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 10:42
What vehicle?? Hmmmm!!
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 10:58

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 10:58
If the picture is his current vehicle I'd guess a petrol 80 series Land Cruiser.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 08:22

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 08:22
He is a member, no guessing needed to know what type of 4x4, look at his profile , it reads 80 series Land Cruiser.
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Reply By: Member - Ray Dool - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 11:48

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 11:48
You are 100 percent correct it was a 80 series toyota
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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 11:49

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 11:49
Is your vehicle rated to use the higher octane fuels other than premium or did you decide to do this because of the benefits ? Did you get it checked out properly and have fuel samples taken and receipts of purchase so you had evidence to get opal to pay for the repairs, did you regularly use their fuel for the problem to occur if so they would be liable. I expect you will not be the only one then if there is a problem there will be multiple vehicles experiencing the same thing. A similar thing happened with bp and diesel fuel yrs ago it cost them a fair amount to repair diesel fuel pumps so if there is a problem it will make headlines like it did before.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 11:53

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 11:53
Why would you be able to claim on the makers of Opal fuel - it is like claiming engine repairs when you use E10.

Good luck with that.

Garry
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 13:26

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 13:26
Ask BP how much it cost them to fix up diesel fuel pumps a few yrs ago the average price per vehicle from memory was over $1,000
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 16:45

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 16:45
Sorry not following.

If the fuel was contaminated with something for sure but if it is not contaminated then no. It is up to owners to ensure the grade of fuel is suitable for their purpose.

In Aust the common grades of petrol are Opal (low aromatic 91 made by BP), E10, 91, 95.98 so if an engine used 98 and an owner put Opal in and it was not suitable then it is the owners fault.

Contaminated fuel then that is different.
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 19:03

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 19:03
certainly my RAC insurance covers "putting the wrong fuel in"
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 00:15

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 00:15
Sorry not following we'll put that in the to hard basket for you then I'll leave it.
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 10:38

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 10:38
It is quite simple what I wrote.
My RACWA insurance covers if the missus accidentally puts petrol in the diesel, so would also cover if accidentally put opal in the petrol car.
Savvy ???
Discussion was on claiming damage
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 13:45

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 13:45
Fisho - I believe Batt was addressing my comments not yours.

If RACWA insurance covers putting in petrol in a diesel then I would stick with it as virtually no other insurance cover will cover this - contaminated fuel yes but not putting the wrong fuel in.
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Follow Up By: OutBack Wanderers - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 16:13

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 16:13
AAMI has STOPPED handing out cash to customers putting wrong fuel into their cars, they feel that the driver is not being a responsible driver

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Reply By: Hoyks - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 13:02

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 13:02
I find it strange too, why would you have carbon build up in the fuel system? Carbon is a product of combustion and would be separate from the fuel system.
How many km on the vehicle too? Its like claiming that because you had no issues for the last 300000km, but it was the last 100km that killed it.

"Failure to fuel system claim
A survey performed by RACQ’s sister club in South Australia, RAA, suggests that there is no substance to anecdotal claims linking failure of fuel system rubber components to use of OPAL fuel.
Vehicles using OPAL appear to be no more susceptible to such problems than those not using it. In the small number of vehicles located with a problem, normal wear and tear for age was found to be the cause rather than the specific fuel used."
http://www.racq.com.au/-/media/pdf/racq%20pdfs/cars%20and%20driving/2014-07-opal-fuel.ashx
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 13:02

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 13:02
OPAL fuel is the only ULP available in Alice Springs and throughout all the Aboriginal Lands and communities, West as far as Warburton and North as far as Katherine.

The RAA conducted a test on OPAL fuel in 2007 due to complaints that OPAL was causing damage to fuel systems - particularly the Nitrile rubber parts of the fuel systems, such as diaphragms and seals.

The RAA concluded that their testing showed that OPAL wasn't responsible for any major identifiable fuel system problems.
However, they did outline that OPAL is more aggressive towards Nitrile rubber than regular ULP and it does cause some shrinkage of Nitrile rubber components.
However, this shrinkage is exacerbated by age and hardening of the Nitrile rubber components.

Many later fuel systems, and particularly those systems designed for ethanol use have seals and components made of Viton, which is a superior and more durable material than Nitrile rubber (misspelt as "Vitron" in the RAA article below).

In essence, if you have an older vehicle which is likely to already be suffering from some degree of hardening in the Nitrile rubber components of the fuel system, then OPAL is quite likely going to cause leaks with those aged Nitrile rubber components.

The RAANT would like to hear from anyone having fuel system problems that can be traced directly to OPAL fuel use.
However, as with many engine problems, trying to identify the precise cause of the problem is often difficult, particularly when older vehicles with high kms are involved.

OPAL fuel report - RAA

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 600961

Follow Up By: Dion - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 11:19

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 11:19
Where did you get that Opal is the only ULP available in Alice Springs?

That is NOT factual.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 11:44

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 11:44
Well, I could have worded it better and gone into another 3 paragraphs, I suppose - but what I should have written, is that OPAL is ALMOST the only REGULAR ULP (RULP) available in the Alice Springs AREA.

There are apparently 2 roadhouses near Alice Springs that refuse to stock OPAL, undermining the Govts subsidised efforts (it costs taxpayers $4M annually to supply OPAL) to reduce petrol-sniffing, by introducing the low-aromatic OPAL fuel.

These 2 roadhouse owners claim OPAL damages engines, against all the known research and oil industry testing.

PULP is available, is sniffable, and is not low-aromatic, as OPAL is - thus, the entire low-aromatic petrol programme has never been thought-through properly, as is typical of many Govt programmes.

The Govt has never legislated for COMPULSORY stocking of OPAL by fuel suppliers in Central Australia and Aboriginal Lands - fearful of being taken to court over any compulsion in the legislation, by businesses claiming to have suffered losses via the compulsion.

The refining cost of OPAL (produced only by the BP refinery at Kwinana) was an additional 27c a litre back in 2006. It is no doubt costing more today.
OPAL requires separate refining processes, separate storage at fuel farms, and incurs additional transportation costs.

If the OPAL scheme had been extended to all fuels and made compulsory, it would have had increased benefit.
I don't know if any research or study has been done on the overall success of the OPAL scheme - but it certainly has had some effect on reducing petrol-sniffing.
The gaps in the OPAL scheme need to be plugged for it to have maximum effect.

Low-Aromatic Fuel Bill 2012
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Follow Up By: Kumunara (NT) - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 22:34

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 22:34
Ron

I retired in Oct 2015. I worked for NT Dept of Health, Alcohol and Drug Services before that and I can tell you that Low Aromatic Unleaded Fuel has been very effective in reducing petrol sniffing.

The legislation exists to make LAF compulsory but the preference is not to use the legislation. Almost all service station proprietors are happy to stock LAF to assist in the reduction of petrol sniffing. Fear of legal action and compensation has nothing to do with this decision.

There is a cost as you mention that this is far less than the cost of petrol sniffing both in human and financial costs.

There have been a number of complaints. In only one was OPAL found to have caused damage. That was due to a person putting OPAL in a vehicle which was supposed to run on 98. If regular unleaded had been put in that vehicle it would have caused the same damage.

Most of the NT now has LAF. Darwin does not. It also extends into WA and QLD.


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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 23:41

Sunday, Jun 05, 2016 at 23:41
Kumanara, it appears the Greens have been successful in ensuring that stocking of OPAL fuel in the legislated OPAL fuel regions is now mandatory - and the Federal Govt is merely waiting for the individual states to pass their own legislation making it mandatory for all fuel sellers in those regions to stock only OPAL.

If the States don't pass the relevant laws to make stocking OPAL manadatory, the Federal Govt will step in with Federal control in those legislated OPAL regions.

Remote communities welcome (total) OPAL fuel rollout

I have since found all the relevant information relating to the OPAL fuel programme success, and it certainly does appear to have had a substantial success rate.
However, the mandatory stocking of OPAL fuel in the legislated regions, is certainly what is needed now, to complete the programme.
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 23:25

Saturday, Jun 04, 2016 at 23:25
OPAL is BP's brand name for Low Aromatic Unleaded Fuel. BP supply the fuel in Central Australia. In the top end Shell has the contract for supplying Low Aromatic Unleaded Fuel .
AANT is contracted to independently investigate any complaints and there is a fuel guarantee.
Contact AANT and have the matter investigated.
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