Petrol in your Diesel C4
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Petrol in your Diesel C4

    i have just completed a job for a customer who by accident had added 25 litres of petrol to a few litres of diesel in his C4 then he drove it untill it stopped.
    He had search the Web and found many stories of people spending up to $5000 to have there car restored to a working condition.
    He rang me for advice and we talked for some time and in the end I said bring the car around and we will look at the problem.
    While the car was being trucked to my place I contacted Andy Pol and told him of the situation and he said that in Europe they drain out the petrol clean the system and refill with diesel and all is well. This was good news.
    When the C4 arrived I first removed the injectors and had them serviced and tested.
    While they were being done I drained the petrol from the tank. Now the tank is a pig to remove and it is not equiped with a drain plug so I did some thinking as there must be a better way to drain this tank.
    I removed the drivers side plastic stone guard and there is exposed the two fuel pipe connectors for the main pipe and return pipe I disconnected the pipes and with my vacuum cleaner on blowing I put the air pipe in the fuel filler pipe and out came the petrol.
    It did not take long to drain 99% of the petrol from the tank and I found that if I banged the bottom of the tank the last 1% was forced out.
    I left the air blowing in the tank for 2 hours to dry out any remainder and I used the some method to blow out all the fuel pipes right up to the pipes at the engine.
    The injectors had nothing wrong with them and were just serviced and replaced and with fresh diesel fuel and a prime with the hand primer the engine started and ran perfect.
    I took the car for a 25 kilometre run and it performed as new.
    I hope this helps some diesel owners of Citroens.

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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger
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    A useful note. Yes, fuel can syphon out via the fuel line, which is preferable to removing the tank. It will tolerate some petrol in the diesel and still run OK. If it's only a few litres, making up the rest of the tank with diesel may be the least costly fix.

    Two things to be cautious of would be the fuel vapour generated by the vacuum cleaner/blower and removing the injectors has it's own problems. At a minimum, you need to replace the sealing rings and you are meant to replace the supply piping and manifold seals every time. Removing the injectors is not an ideal DIY job and the injectors on the 1.6 can be difficult to remove without the proper tools. Most people should leave them alone unless there has been some damage done.

  3. #3
    Tadpole
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    Thanks David
    The vacuum cleaner I use is a old Electrolux and it blows and well as sucks I have used it for 30 years to dry out fuel tanks before I reweld them when there is holes in the tanks.
    Using the blowing side there is no fuel fumes going to the electric motor and so it is safe.
    With the C4 injectors it was the first time I had removed this type and quite frankly I had nil problems they came out with the greatest of ease no tools required.
    All that is needed is a long 7mm Allan key to remove the special injector clamp bolts.
    Keep smiling.

  4. #4
    sans witticism SLC206's Avatar
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    There is a 250-1,600 bar range (or more on the very latest models) of fuel pressure on these HDi fuel systems. Disturbed o-rings may not last long at those pressures.
    Regards,

    Simon

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  5. #5
    Tadpole
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    The only pipes with "O" rings are the low pressure feed and return pipes.
    The very high pressure injector steel pipes are metal to metal contact without any "O" ring seals as they are on all diesels.

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger! XM Mechanic's Avatar
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    The problem also with using a vacuum, even in the blowing mode, is the static electricity build up with the warm air (2400w motor). One static spark at the right stoichiometric ratio and its all over. Probably may never happen, but one day the holes may line up.

    Just my thoughts and probably the industry I work in.
    Regards,

    Garth.


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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Gamma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XM Mechanic View Post
    The problem also with using a vacuum, even in the blowing mode, is the static electricity build up with the warm air (2400w motor). One static spark at the right stoichiometric ratio and its all over. Probably may never happen, but one day the holes may line up.

    Just my thoughts and probably the industry I work in.
    Ahh the mighty barrel vac.
    Yes there is the small risk that it will all end in tears and splinters.
    I have read workcover and HSE reports of fumes being sucked into the motor unit and this then ignites.
    Use the good old tried and true method of a compressor hose into the tank, (3/4" line down into the tank and left to run, (no pressurisation of the tank and a looooong anti-static hose to the compressor in a well vented area away from the fumes). (A rag in the top to "seal" it and gentle controlled air injection to force out any fuel through the lines, is all that is needed).

    I would flush the tank a couple of times with a litre or two of diesel prior to refilling.

    The major harm happens when the diesel engine is run on a dilute mix of petrol and oil. My sister in law ran a diesel BMW X something??? on about 10L of petrol in 30L of diesel and it did not stop until the innards of said Teutonic behemoth was well and truly on its way to Valhalla. The better part of $10K to fix. Most of which would have been the dealership markup on labour and parts.
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  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Senn View Post
    Thanks David
    The vacuum cleaner I use is a old Electrolux and it blows and well as sucks I have used it for 30 years to dry out fuel tanks before I reweld them when there is holes in the tanks.
    Using the blowing side there is no fuel fumes going to the electric motor and so it is safe.
    With the C4 injectors it was the first time I had removed this type and quite frankly I had nil problems they came out with the greatest of ease no tools required.
    All that is needed is a long 7mm Allan key to remove the special injector clamp bolts.
    Keep smiling.
    Bob, you were fortunate to have been able to remove the injectors so easily. Sometimes, they jam in the tube in the head and will not budge, even with the correct tooling. It's usually better to leave them alone unless you absolutely have to remove them.

    For the benefit of others, the sealing rings are compressible copper washers at the bottom of the injector and are a single use item. The high pressure pipes feeding fuel from the rail to the injectors are also supposed to be single use items because of the very high pressures involved and how they are designed to seal. The supply from the tank is by suction as far as the high pressure pump, so there's little chance of a fuel leak. However, if air bubbles can be drawn into the circuit at a poor joint, it may cause running problems or stalling.

    Bob, what do you use for your repairs on rusted steel tanks? Are you welding, brazing or soldering? Old fuel tanks are a real hassle to repair as you can't get into to them to remove rust and scale. POR tank sealer was used (properly and professionally) on a friend's vintage tank after a new bottom was let in, but although it's clean and not leaking, the coating is starting to come away at the neck.

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger!
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    I have 1980 Golf diesel that I run on Veggie Oil (self Processed) and in the winter I use 1 litre of petrol with 20 litres of Bio as it helps stop the fuel going thick at temperatures below 0 degrees and also helps starting, I have done this for some years without ill effect.
    In is fairly common practice in europe for those who use Straight Vegetable Oil in diesels to add 5% unleaded petrol to it for the above reasons.
    Regards Dennis

  10. #10
    Tadpole
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    Hi David
    Most of the fuel tanks I have had to weld up were near new hire cars when I lived in Tom Price and it was the stones on the dirt roads so I had no problems with rust and mostly I would braze weld the holes with the tanks out of the vehicles.
    I have a CX tank out now with a small amount of rust but I will not paint the inside of the tank because of the danger of the paint flaking.
    I take the point about static electricity and will consider this when next I have to empty a fuel tank. I do take all precautions.

  11. #11
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Senn View Post
    Hi David
    Most of the fuel tanks I have had to weld up were near new hire cars when I lived in Tom Price and it was the stones on the dirt roads so I had no problems with rust and mostly I would braze weld the holes with the tanks out of the vehicles.
    I have a CX tank out now with a small amount of rust but I will not paint the inside of the tank because of the danger of the paint flaking.
    I take the point about static electricity and will consider this when next I have to empty a fuel tank. I do take all precautions.
    Hello Bob!!

    The great thing about this forum is the range of people and the associated range of "directions of thought" that appear. It's a bit like browsing in an encyclopaedia at times.

    Justin's tank is out?

    Cheers

    John
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  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger! kimmo's Avatar
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    My wife put 60l of petrol in C5 HDI just last week. Drove 200m and stopped when the car started shuttering. the car was towed to a nearby relative's house. The tank and the fuel filter were emptied and filled with diesel. No damage reported so far.
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  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamma View Post
    The major harm happens when the diesel engine is run on a dilute mix of petrol and oil. My sister in law ran a diesel BMW X something??? on about 10L of petrol in 30L of diesel and it did not stop until the innards of said Teutonic behemoth was well and truly on its way to Valhalla. The better part of $10K to fix. Most of which would have been the dealership markup on labour and parts.
    Fwiw my employer runs a fleet of Toyota HiAce 'D4D' turbo diesel buses, of which some have occasionally been mis-fuelled. Of those that have then been started & driven away (without the driver realising) the subsequent bill from our friendly Toyota dealer has reached $7k. I've driven most of these repaired vehicles and felt that the 'edge' had gone from the motor's performance on a couple of them, as compared to 'virgin' vehicles. Interestingly, on these Toyotas it also affects the accuracy of the fuel gauge (sender) which drops like a stone from a 'full' reading and then reads increasingly pessimistic.

    Just last week a driver put 500 litres of unleaded into a 44-seat coach - our employer was definately "Not Happy, Jan!

  14. #14
    Tadpole
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    Bob, thanks for sharing your ULP/ Diesel fix to a C4 HDI, I plan to do all the refilling on our C4, but there will be that day when wife/kids do it and after years of ULP and LPG old habits will die slowly and knowing it does not need to cost 10K or even 5K to fix is comforting.
    Cheers

  15. #15
    1000+ Posts HONG KONG PUGGY's Avatar
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    Great fix there bob, would have saved your mate a heap. Hope he got you a very nice present.
    Good to see people willing to take on modern Cits with a bit of good old aussie bush mechanics



    Quote Originally Posted by Gamma View Post
    The better part of $10K to fix. Most of which would have been the dealership markup on labour and parts.
    And you don't reckon there was just a small percentage added on the top for her being an almighty dill??
    You've bought a diesel car for goodness sake, you know it runs on oil
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nota View Post
    Fwiw my employer runs a fleet of Toyota HiAce 'D4D' turbo diesel buses, of which some have occasionally been mis-fuelled. Of those that have then been started & driven away (without the driver realising) the subsequent bill from our friendly Toyota dealer has reached $7k. I've driven most of these repaired vehicles and felt that the 'edge' had gone from the motor's performance on a couple of them, as compared to 'virgin' vehicles. Interestingly, on these Toyotas it also affects the accuracy of the fuel gauge (sender) which drops like a stone from a 'full' reading and then reads increasingly pessimistic.

    Just last week a driver put 500 litres of unleaded into a 44-seat coach - our employer was definately "Not Happy, Jan!
    nota, do you know what exactly Toyota did that cost $7k?

    i almost hate to ask, but what happened with the coach?

    it is most interesting to see that this usually costs $$$ when dealer sort it out, yet DIYers above have sorted it out for almost nothing!

  17. #17
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    There is a bloke in New Zealand who started a mobile operation that comes to you and sucks out the wrong fuel and replaces it with the right fuel and bleeds the fuel lines. It's called Suckie Moto. He says he has a 100% success rate and is now franchising it around NZ. The cost is $160. Sounds cheap compared with taking it to a dealer.

    Roger

  18. #18
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Well SWMBO will never put ULP in the XM.... You see she refuses to fill it. However it wouldn't surprise me if I did it myself someday ... It's the only oil burner in house full of petrol motors. Strangely I don't ever have to think about it, I've always pulled up at a diesel pump so far.

    I think it's 'cos my brain is always looking for a truck pump when I'm filling the car. It takes a bloody long time to put 85litres of fuel into a car from a tediously slow "car" pump. She certainly likes to get a "head" ontop of the tank and explode out of the filler when you dump 80litres in in 30seconds flat ...

    This is good stuff, at least we'll know what to do if my parents C4 ever ends up with petrol in it. Thanks for the great tip on the C4 injectors too... Certainly it's a car we'll never in a million years touch unless there is no other alternative.

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