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Alpo

Gasoline in a diesel engine

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Does anyone know what happens if you try to burn gasoline in a diesel engine?

 

If you put diesel in your gas tank, as long as you can get the engine started, it will run. Doesn't run all that good, and smokes like a son of a gun, but it will run. Doesn't want to stop though, when you turn the key off.

 

But if you put gas in a diesel? I've been told it because of the way diesel engines run, burning gasoline in them would cause an explosion.

 

But I've been told a lot of things that did not turn out to be true. Wondering if anyone knows about this?

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4 minutes ago, Alpo said:

Does anyone know what happens if you try to burn gasoline in a diesel engine?


My son found out when he put gasoline in the diesel tractor that picks up the golf balls at the driving range:  you get scolded by your boss and have to pump out the tank.  :wacko:

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I won't say it'll cause an explosion, but it will do catastrophic damage if it runs for more than a second or two.  A diesel will run on gasoline fumes, but it can't meter gasoline fuel properly and gasoline is way more volatile!  There ARE multi-fuel systems that provide proper metering for different fuels on some engines, but as a general rule, it's not a good idea!!

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https://www.bellperformance.com/blog/accidentally-mixing-gasoline-and-diesel-fuel

 

Putting Gasoline In Diesel Fuel

Let’s say you accidentally drop a small amount of gasoline into your diesel fuel.  The first thing it’s going to do is depress the flash point of the diesel, which can be dangerous given that pockets of higher concentrations of gasoline can develop in a tank. So the flash point wouldn’t be consistent  throughout the entire tank.

Given the large difference in flash point temperature between gas and diesel, it doesn’t take very much gasoline to depress the flash temperature significantly. As little as 1% gasoline contamination will lower the diesel flash point by 18 degrees C. This means the diesel fuel will prematurely ignite in the diesel engine, which can lead to engine damage.

Gasoline contamination can also damage the fuel pump and mess up diesel injectors.  This happens because of a drop in lubrication. Simply speaking, gasoline is a solvent while diesel is an oil.  Diesel has enough lubricity to lubricate the fuel pumps and the injectors. Swapping in some gasoline takes away this lubrication, leading to damage.

Beyond these, you’ll get incomplete combustion, initially characterized by large amounts of black smoke. Beyond being an aesthetic problem, the vehicle’s computer will try to compensate for this combustion lack by adjusting the fuel-air mixture. This is going to cut your power and performance considerably. And if you continue to use the fuel, you can cause real damage to the vehicle’s computer sensors by either overheating them or covering them in soot such that they can’t detect anything.

 

 

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Many moons ago, I was stockpiling gasoline. This was back when it was actually gasoline - that tells you how long ago it was. I was using 5 gallon Jerry cans. And I was thinking about stenciling the word DIESEL on the gas cans. that way people that needed gasoline would not steal my gas, and if somebody stole it to put it in his diesel it would screw his engine up. :D

 

I never did it, but I thought about it often.

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Posted (edited)

I have know people who used to add a small amount of gas when refueling in winter as a cheap antigel.  Say 1 gal to 20.  This was in a old 300D, so no modern controls or sensors.  I have never done it, but it probably worked in small quantities.  

Edited by Still hand Bill
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1 hour ago, Alpo said:

Does anyone know what happens if you try to burn gasoline in a diesel engine?

 

If you put diesel in your gas tank, as long as you can get the engine started, it will run. Doesn't run all that good, and smokes like a son of a gun, but it will run. Doesn't want to stop though, when you turn the key off.

 

But if you put gas in a diesel? I've been told it because of the way diesel engines run, burning gasoline in them would cause an explosion.

 

But I've been told a lot of things that did not turn out to be true. Wondering if anyone knows about this?

A high school welding instructor (when did you last hear of that class being taught in a public school?) bought a VW diesel pick up.  His daughter filled it with gasoline and, yeah, it blew up.  Not a Hollywood explosion, but it busted most of engine.

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When we had the fuel shortage back in the late 80's somebody siphoned some fuel out of my diesel pickup, Later that day I noticed one of the kids up the street trying to get his VW to start, I think he got a lesson on the difference between gas and diesel.

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One of my coworkers filled the diesel bucket truck (power company type) up with gasoline at a Hess station. He wasn't paying attention and grabbed the green handled nozzle for gasoline and hit the button that was lit up. Every other gas station around here has the diesel nozzle handle in green. The tow truck driver said "You filled up at Hess, didn't you.....I get called out here twice a week for this".

 

He had drove off and got about 2 miles up the road, started running rough and shut off. Ended up that they had to rebuild the top end of the motor and replace the turbo and cost the company about $5000.

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Depends. I've done it twice in the 40 years I've owned a diesel pickup. I depends on how much gasoline you add and how full the tank was with diesel. First time the tank was about 1/2 full and I added about 5 gallons before I realized how stupid I was. It ran for about 10 miles, enough to get it to the repair shop. Drained fuel , replaced all the filters (oil filter too) and purged the fuel system. No damage (except to my wallet)and ran fine. Next time I did it, I realized what I was doing and shutoff the pump. Called a tow truck and had it towed to Ford Dealership. Drained fuel and refilled. Because I had not started it, everything but the tank was fine.

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2 hours ago, Still hand Bill said:

I have know people who used to add a small amount of gas when refueling in winter as a cheap antigel.  Say 1 gal to 20.  This was in a old 300D, so no modern controls or sensors.  I have never done it, but it probably worked in small quantities.  

 

As I recall, the owners manuals for the old 300D's and 240D's actually recommended and had instructions for doing this.  Two of each parked outside ~ my son's a diesel Benz nut.

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Take a dish of gasoline, put a match in it, and you will immediately get a huge flame. Do the same with diesel, and the match will go out.

 

I am a collector and user of old classic hiking stoves: Primus, Optimus, Svea, Coleman, etc. The issue comes up with the use of white gas (Coleman fuel, basically gasoline without additives) or kerosene, depending on the stove. White gas can be dangerous in a kerosene hiking or camping stove. But it won't destroy the stove, and if it did, it would be a lot cheaper than an engine....

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I have an old friend, Tom, who told a gasoline-in-diesel story.

 

Tom told us that back when he was sixteen years old he was helping his dad, who was a timber contractor in Colorado.  Then came the day he fueled his pop's Caterpillar.  With gasoline.  He told me that he could not shut it down; aimed it toward a steep embankment and bailed, then ran.

 

Dad eventually forgave the kid.  In the meantime, though, he'd literally run off, lied about his age, and joined the Marines.  It was quite a long time before he returned home.  :rolleyes: 

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I know where you can buy a Really Nice Looking Dodge Diesel Ram Laramie... CHEAP !!!!

 

A neighbor found out the Hard Way, ...... Don't let the wife fill up w/ Gas in a Diesel PickUp.......

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5 hours ago, Still hand Bill said:

I have know people who used to add a small amount of gas when refueling in winter as a cheap antigel.  Say 1 gal to 20.  This was in a old 300D, so no modern controls or sensors.  I have never done it, but it probably worked in small quantities.  

Sometimes much heavier like 30% when we’re -30F.  Now they recommend chemical additives and better glow plugs.

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100 years ago when I drove a truck in the cold winter months up North we used to mix a gallon or less in 50 gallons of diesel.  The gas helped the diesel from gelling.  Of course those were simpler engines, no computers or sensors, with modern engines I wouldn't try it, just safer to use additive.

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I remember years ago I drove a stepvan for a vending company and I ran out of gas (diesel) they had to come out and we put all the stuff in another van and I went on my route. They said they had to bleed the lines before they could put fuel in. It was an Iveco truck. I don’t know if it was different back 30 years ago or it was just that particular Iveco engine. ???????

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Howdy,

A few years back when the interstates were well along in being built

I couldn't find a station and ran out of gas.

Pretty soon someone stopped and I hitched to the next station and got

a can of gas and went back and put in a few gallons.

I can still remember the station owner was so weird about me not stealing

his gas can.

So while I was dealing with him his helper filled my car with regular.

I was upset but didn't know how much my car needed HI test.

It ran very rough and every station I stopped and put in more 100 octane.

Its really too bad manufacturers cant put a little tag over the filler saying 

what fuel is needed.   

Do parts stores sell tags telling what fuel to use??

Best

CR

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Chili Ron said:

Its really too bad manufacturers cant put a little tag over the filler saying 

what fuel is needed.   

 

CR

 

 

Automobiles requiring premium grades have had stickers by the fillers denoting such for a loooong time...   :rolleyes:

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When I had a car that had a factory supercharger on it, it had a notation for only 93 or above octane. Never tried to put anything less that that in it.

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The gas caps on MOST modern diesel vehicles ARE marked accordingly.

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1 hour ago, Blackwater 53393 said:

The gas caps on MOST modern diesel vehicles ARE marked accordingly.

I like that.  Our diesel fuel tank caps are marked at work.  Some of the old timers still cut in gas when the shop is out of stock for chemical additives.  People panic buy that around here in the cold like TP is now.

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12 hours ago, Alpo said:

Many moons ago, I was stockpiling gasoline. This was back when it was actually gasoline - that tells you how long ago it was. I was using 5 gallon Jerry cans. And I was thinking about stenciling the word DIESEL on the gas cans. that way people that needed gasoline would not steal my gas, and if somebody stole it to put it in his diesel it would screw his engine up. :D

 

I never did it, but I thought about it often.

Have a neighbor that marked his farm fuel tanks, diesel on the gas tank and gas on the diesel tank. He knows the difference, but the thieves don't.  A lot of farms and ranches get hit with fuel thieves.

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When I was in high school, I pumped gas  on the weekends at an Esso gas station.  A farmer farmer came in with  a gas burning pick-up that had run out of gas on his way to town.  He had a barrel of diesel complete with pump for his tractor in the back of the truck, and he put diesel in  to get him to town.  He said it was sluggish on the hills.

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An 18 wheel driver was getting short of fuel when he found a small service station closed but the big tanks out back were unlocked.  He filled upboth tanks.  He did not make a mile before his diesel shuddered and quit.  Unfortunately the tank he chose belonged to the dry cleaner next door. 

Diesel engines will run on cleaning fluid, just not very well and not very long.

 

Kinda related: My daughter, 3 at the time, helped her Grandpa by filling both tanks on his 454 Chevy pickup with the water hose.

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filled the diesel bucket truck (power company type) up with gasoline at a Hess station. He wasn't paying attention and grabbed the green handled nozzle for gasoline and hit the button that was lit up. Every other gas station around here has the diesel nozzle handle in green.

Yup, Hess got m,e once with the green handle trick....I caught it at 18 galons! in a near empty tank....Moved the truck 20' out of the way, walked across the street and bought three 6 gallon gas cans and a piece of tubing. Siphoned all the gas out and filled it with diesel. Started it up and put another 190,000 miles on that 2006 Dodge with zero issues.

 

Ever run a Honda 360 Motorcycle on Colman fuel? Back in the gas crisis of the 70's, newly married wife and I went on a two up motorcycle trip. Couldn't buy gas up in Vermont. Found Colman fuel and a quart of motor oil. In the tank it went. Drove 300 miles home with engine pinging like nobodies business....Bike ran for many thousand miles afterwards with no issues....Can't kill an old Honda!

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On 3/21/2020 at 12:00 PM, Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 said:

 

As I recall, the owners manuals for the old 300D's and 240D's actually recommended and had instructions for doing this.  Two of each parked outside ~ my son's a diesel Benz nut.

 

We had an 84 300d a few years back (around 2010).  Had to get rid of it because we couldn't find anyone to work on it.  We even took a diesel mechanics class hoping to learn how to do it ourselves.  But we didn't (it concentrated too much on inspections and maintenance of tractors and big rigs).  We did learn though that the car had leaking valves.  We just never could get the courage or time to try and rebuild them ourselves. 

 

On 3/21/2020 at 9:29 AM, Alpo said:

Does anyone know what happens if you try to burn gasoline in a diesel engine?

 

If you put diesel in your gas tank, as long as you can get the engine started, it will run. Doesn't run all that good, and smokes like a son of a gun, but it will run. Doesn't want to stop though, when you turn the key off.

 

But if you put gas in a diesel? I've been told it because of the way diesel engines run, burning gasoline in them would cause an explosion.

 

But I've been told a lot of things that did not turn out to be true. Wondering if anyone knows about this?

 

It's been more or less said, the gasoline will ignite early which will bend your rods and/or cause runaway depending on the concentration

 

But as someone who has put diesel into a gasoline engine, I disagree with your 2nd paragraph.  We had no trouble getting started, there's enough gas already in the lines to get started.  But it didn't run for long.  Fortunately with that mistake all you gotta do is siphon the fuel out and then clear out what's in the engine by cranking it for a few minutes. 

 

On 3/21/2020 at 10:39 AM, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

A high school welding instructor (when did you last hear of that class being taught in a public school?)

 

My daughter is 23 and she took welding in high school.  It's a public HS and I assume they still have the class.  No reason to believe they've stopped it. 

 

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I went to a "Vocational" high school. We had welding, automotive, printing, machine shop, drafting for the guys and cosmetology, secretarial, and commercial art for both sexes. i was a printer. It was a city public school. They don't do that anymore though:blush:

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Rancho

 Here we called that coleman fuel DRIP gas.Ran alot of it when in High school.The old 312 ford ran pretty good on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LARGO

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And how do the military trucks run that are multi-fuelers? I never did ask the maint section as I would not have understood the answer

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On 3/24/2020 at 9:30 AM, Grass Range said:

And how do the military trucks run that are multi-fuelers? I never did ask the maint section as I would not have understood the answer

 

They run at lower compression and instead of injecting the fuel into the chambers, they evaporate it in.  This makes them inefficient with any kind of fuel.  I've heard of a version where you have to flip some valves inside the engine.  That one might be more efficient, but then you cannot mix the fuel types. 

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Back in the 1970's waste management fleets (Italian Limo's) as well as school bus fleets were switching from gasoline to diesel engines.  So, the depots had both gas & diesel pumps.  At the vehicle's fill these vehicles were clearly marked; however,  some of the folks who filled the tanks didn't pay attention & miss-fueled.   The most popular diesel engines were various versions of the CAT V8 (model 3208 210HP & earlier versions).   From March of 1978 until retiring in December 2012 I worked for the engine subsidiary of a CAT dealer.  I remember the odiferous trucks that had been towed into the truck shop when miss-fueled.   After the tanks were drained of gasoline & a few gallons of diesel added the mechanic would prime the fuel system up to and including the injection pump.  They wouldn't bother to crack the fuel line nuts where they entered the valve rocker housings when they bled the fuel system.  The engine would start and made terrible knocking noises until the gas was purged.  The same as when you overdose a diesel engine with ether.   Unless the engine was under load there was no damage.  From mid 90's all Ford, Dodge & GM 3/4 & 1 ton pickups with diesel engines use common rail fuel systems. as opposed to inline injection pumps or hydraulic electronic unit injectors (HEUI 7.3L Powerstroke engines).  The high pressure pump boosts fuel pressure to 30k PSI & higher.  To do this the clearance between the plunger & cylinder sleeve is the size of the molecules making up the fuel.  Gasoline has no lubricity; so, if gas run in a engine with a common rail system the high pressure pump is quickly ruined.  Leading to a very expensive repair bill.  Pretty much all new diesels & low emissions versions of older models are common rail.  Even the biggest & highest output diesels engines which are are 2 stroke have been converted from unit injector to common rail systems.  Some even use hydraulic operated exhaust valves.  Besides lowering exhaust emissions these engines are more efficient & have higher ratings than the unit injector versions.

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