Careful where you buy fuel

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 16:28
ThreadID: 141393 Views:2569 Replies:12 FollowUps:16
Reported on several sites Eucla roadhouse got the wrong fuel in the diesel tank
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Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 19:18

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 19:18
It is all very nice to be warned about being careful but how to be careful is more important. Any time when filling with diesel OR petrol, don't simply insert the nozzle and fill the tank. You never see the fluid going IN. Best to carefully hold the nozzle out a little so the fuel and it's colour, viscosity and smell can be determined. If at night, use an LED torch to view the fuel. That way, you are unlikely to unwittingly continue with the wrong fuel. If in doubt I do the above.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 19:47

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 19:47
If your torch is busted then you can light a match to view the fuel and very quickly discover what it is.... :-)
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 20:23

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 20:23
That doesn',t work with water though Michael. Do you recommend tasting it first?
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 08:25

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 08:25
Sorry RMD, but you should never put any electrical device near fuel vapour unless the device is “intrinsically safe”. That includes phones, torches and LED lights. There are torches and phones for that matter that are intrinsically safe, but these are stamped as such. Even a waterproof torch can let vapour into itself and cause an ignition source.

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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 19:50

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 19:50
They said on the news 12 vehicles, all diesel have been affected.

At first they said it was nothing to do with them.....but now...they have sent sample of both petrol and diesel to be tested.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 09:25

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 09:25
IMHO the following applies.
Contaminated fuel coming out of a pump is most commonly caused by the fuel level in the underground tanks getting very low. The underground tanks will collect water and who knows what other crud which collects at the bottom. The older the tank the more likely the problem. For this reason the pickup for the bowser is not quite to the bottom and so usually its not an issue. The two most common causes of this contaminated fuel reaching the bowser pickup are a sudden ingress of water or a fuel delivery which stirs the new fuel with the old. Given time it will settle and not be a problem but until it does settle contaminated fuel will be dispensed. The steps I take to try and avoid this situation are these;
1. Always try and refuel at high volume outlets like truck stops.
2. Avoid fuel outlets where their tanks are located in areas that may have been flooded at some time. The tanks at Eucla are most definitely not in a flood prone area so this is not the cause in this instant.
3. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, ever fill up if you see a fuel tanker refilling the tanks or even a tanker in the area as I may have just filled the tanks. When tanks are refilled this process stirs up any contaminants in the bottom of the tank and mixes it with the new fuel. Only time will see the contaminants resettle on the bottom of the tank. In most of Europe fuel stations are forbidden from dispensing fuel for an hour after a tank refill. If this is the only fuel station available wait as long as you can and then take a sample of the fuel and examine and smell it. I always have a Mr Funnel strainer for instances where I have any doubt about the fuel quality.
4. In very remote places where fuel contamination is more likely and the consequences of getting bad fuel much more serious, I will use the Mr Funnel for the first AND last 5 litres. It is most important to do the last 5 litres so you are absolutely sure that the whole fuel delivery is not contaminated.
5. Always try and sight and smell the fuel when you first start to fill, if the colour is not right the fuel will not be right.
Fuel outlets should be checking their tanks from time to time and pumping out any contaminants but anyone relying on all fuel outlets to do the right thing are kidding themselves.
When going very remote you should be just as paranoid about the quality of your fuel as you would be about the quantity, your wellbeing may depend on it. Chris

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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 10:34

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 10:34
Currently Lockhart River is our local place to buy fuel. The fuel is shipped up in containers on the barge. two weeks ago the barge operators inadvertantly left the fuel containers on the wharf in Cairns. Result no fuel available in the area for a week. The following week fuel was brought in, but the containers were mislabelled & diesel got put into the unleaded tanks (creating a lot of work for the local mechanic for customers with petrol cars). As a result the bowser was shut down for a further week until the underground tank could be drained & refilled after the next barge arrival. On the day the next barge was due, the road into Lockhart was closed due to the collapse of an under road culvert , with no available replacement pipe locally.

3 weeks now without being able to get unleaded & due to a dead diesel generator we have been keeping 8 full fridges & freezers from thawing out using the solar plus two little 2Vva Honda generators, & having to chase around to borrow a few litres here & a few litres there, from folk who also have been unable to replace their supplies.

Hoping we can get into Lockhart this morning!
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 07:12

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 07:12
Just an update from our RAA motor body organisation here in South Australia about this serious problem.

Tests have pointed out that it is not contaminated dirty fuel but more serious......

They can not say how, but the Service Station some how had petrol put into the diesel tanks.

There were over 12 vehicles that had to be put on flat top recovery vehicles with repairs to vehicles going to countless thousands of dollars.

The Eucla Caltex is now looking into how this has happened and wether the fault has been caused by the tanker driver that delivered the fuel, or from the fuel depot that loaded fuel into the fuel tanker.


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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 12:57

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 12:57
Therefore, it is not "be careful where you buy fuel" as we have to buy from fuel outlets, It is more a issue of being "careful WHEN you buy fuel", and how to be "careful". Most people do not check and therefore are not careful at all.
Unless the tanker dispensed all it's fuel at the one site then it seems like driver dispensing is the problem as other sites would be affected too if Depot fault and multiple sites downloads.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 08:42

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 08:42
It would be very unlikely that the wrong fuel was loaded at the depot, particularly if it was from a large depot such as in Adelaide, as they are computer controlled, and the product code for Diesel and Petrol are different. Load numbers have specific codes and volumes associated with them. It is more likely that the driver made the mistake at the delivery site.

This may not necessarily be entirely the drivers fault, as some sites, particularly older sites may not have clearly marked inlet points. Inlet points are generally colour coded, but colours do fade.

Whilst the colour and appearance of unleaded and diesel is different, as someone else has pointed out, once you put the nozzle of the pump into your foul inlet, you can no longer see the the fuel.

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Follow Up By: Member - Gordon B5 - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 22:07

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 22:07
I had a Servo for over 22 years, if a delivery driver complained about a tank ID missing or discoloured it had to be fixed ASAP or they wouldn't deliver to you, or at least that tank.The load is often mixed fuel the load is in compartments, long way to drive out somewhere like this driver is tired, even with his breaks hooks up to wrong fuel, who knows. I know of it happening while I was in the industry, albeit , not very often but was picked up by the driver in one instance & by staff checking off delivery with fuel balance on another time. It happens but is very rare. As to references to water in fuel tanks we checked EVERY month for water with a paste on the dip stick, it can indicate a leak and if you have fuel leaking out the EPA will crucify you for contamination these day, and I do know of one family that where sent broke because they had a leaking tank.
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Reply By: Member - Jim S1 - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 08:16

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 08:16
Thanks for posting this important info Cruza. One of the benefits of using forums like this is getting early news about dramas like this. Might well have saved time and heartache for a few travellers.

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 21:22

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 21:22
Appears it was a stuff up , the delivery for whatever reason was the wrong product in the wrong tank .
That could possibly happen anywhere.
So if you’re going to be paranoid, best be paranoid everywhere , not just remote.

Does anyone actually know what damage ULP will do to a diesel?
Petrol doesn’t ignite on compression does it? A diesel won’t run on petrol.
So drain clear the petrol and all should be fine.
I have seen it before.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 22:17

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 22:17
Older petrol engines, ie carby, allowed engines to RUN ON as petrol ignited by itself under compression. Petrol ignites easier on compression than diesel fuel does, ie, burns faster, and as a consequence there is uncontrolled explosion and very high pressures developed in the cylinders instead of a normal diesel cetane quality, delay of burn starting, after injection commences. The issue with the fuel system can be, depending on ratio of petrol to diesel, if any significant amount is there and the diesel will start and run initially on diesel present in pump and lines then change to a shandy, which then runs horribly and noisily as combustion isn't happening as designed. Seeing the high pressure Injector pump relies on lubrication of it's cam and piston to stop scarring of the hard surfaces involved, the petrol allows fairly immediate degredation of the pump and injector hard surfaces due to scuffing because of lack of lube. All depends on the loss of lubricity now present. Not recommended! If bad, the cost is usually past $7000 repairs and can be much more depending on number of cylinders of engine and complexity of design and make of vehicle. If you know of the wrong fuel has entered the tank DO NOT START IT until all fuel replaced with known quality diesel. Any start immediately distributes the shandy through the fuel system which is not what you want to happen.
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Follow Up By: Razor2000 - Tuesday, Apr 27, 2021 at 12:02

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2021 at 12:02
Really depends on the engine and percentage/ratio of the mix. 2011 I put 20 litres of petrol into a work hilux that had a 75 litre tank and it was fine to keep driving, just filled it up at the next servo again. You wouldn’t get away with that with a crd though as they need the lubrication and not sure how much more petrol in the mix I could have got away with either.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 23:43

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 23:43
Insurance covers the cost of repairs if the garage is at fault.
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Reply By: Member - firie - Monday, Apr 19, 2021 at 15:26

Monday, Apr 19, 2021 at 15:26
I was one of the unlucky ones, 1HZ 105 cruiser towing a van, main tank empty before fill up and yep switched back to main before heading off. Got just past Cocklebiddy before she started to play up, turned around and luckily got ourselves into a gravel pit before she died. This was on Monday, we couldn't get a tilt tray till the Thursday as they were so busy, luck we are fully self sufficient.
I think you'll find this has affected far more than 12, I have met a few, I have also heard much larger numbers but all rumors at this stage.
I'm insured with CBA, big mistake as not covered, rang them. I'll have to pay for repairs and claim everything back, lucky ours isn't a common rail otherwise we'd be up poop creek.
I have been in discussions with Eucla Motel Hotel who have been ok but also not saying too much at this stage, lucky we kept our receipt. I'm just worried about the blame game and how long before I get reimbursed.

A bit of blah blah but might be of interest, cheers Bob
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 08:43

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 08:43
Sorry to hear of your situation.

One question: did you fuel at that pump that's separate and to the EAST of the main "drive-thru" group?
The reason I ask is that there was a pump service crew stripping it down early on Saturday. The distance from the main cluster may mean a separate tank, which would hopefully limit the number potentially affected.
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Follow Up By: Member - firie - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 13:16

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 13:16
Hi Zippo,

Sorry for slow reply, yep that's the pump.

If anyone here knows of anyone else affected, please let them know Consumer Protection WA wants to hear from them.

Cheers Bob

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Reply By: Member - Andy M (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 19:28

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 at 19:28
We filled up with diesel there the week before these problems, from the pump in the main driveway, and had no issues thankfully!
Was wondering if that was because there was a different tank or if the tank still had plenty of good diesel at the pickup point. They said the fuel delivery was on 31st March.
Maybe petrol, if it was added would float on top?? until the tank volume was reduced??
Cheers
Andy
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:07

Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:07
Hi Andy,

Unfortunately, Petrol & Diesel will mix quite readily. Once a tank is contaminated you can not seperate the two products, the tank has to be pumped out and the contaminated fuel discarded. In some instances, the contaminated fuel can be returned to the refinery and reprocessed. This is done at the cost of either the transport delivery company if they are to blame for the contamination, or the fuel company selling the product. If it cannot be returned, it is classed as a hazardous waste and is disposed of accordingly. Either way it is an expensive exercise.

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Follow Up By: Member - Andy M (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 20:58

Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 at 20:58
Thanks for those thoughts Macca. I'm just thankful we got away without getting the contaminated fuel. If the fuel was actually delivered on 31st March , I wonder why it took so long for the problem to appear. Surely others would have refueled from the problem pump/tank in the days straight after the delivery!

Andy
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Follow Up By: Member - firie - Saturday, Apr 24, 2021 at 23:25

Saturday, Apr 24, 2021 at 23:25
Lots of rumors Andy so delivery might not have been on the 31st, as far as I know every one was affected on the 12th, I filled mid morning :(


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Reply By: milltian05 - Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 11:34

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 11:34
That's quite unfortunate. How they were able to resolve it?
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Follow Up By: Member - firie - Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 23:28

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021 at 23:28
Good question, they have my details and said they would get back to me but haven't so far, I have sent an email a couple days ago and no answer so far, I'll ring tomorrow.

Consumer Protection WA are helping so I hope things will work out, also this has affected quite a few so bit hard to ignore, I have all my fingers and toes crossed.

We are one of the lucky unlucky ones, the workshop that has my vehicle also had 3 other affected vehicles, all written off by their insurance companies. One I saw was a very nice 76 series cruiser and another was a motor home a family was doing a year lap in.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 at 10:16

Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 at 10:16
Firie, that motorhome may be the white one we saw being unloaded from the tilt-tray at Balladonia on the afternoon of April 15, with a family standing aound it.
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Follow Up By: Member - firie - Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 at 13:38

Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 at 13:38
Good chance Zippo, mum and dad with an 18yo daughter on her gap year. Feel real sorry for them, motorhome has already gone to the auctions.

I rang Caltex this morning and they seem helpful, said their insurance should have contacted me by now so they'll chase it up.
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Reply By: Lurchwa - Thursday, May 06, 2021 at 20:52

Thursday, May 06, 2021 at 20:52
Given the juice (diesel) at Eucla is usually a good 20c per litre cheaper than Border Village It surprises me that more people havent been affected by the issue.
That said, given the mileage that the issue has aroused what will it take for the fuel at that establishment to be trusted again?

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