Sometimes owners of new cars misfuel heres one we done recently.
This car is less than a week old, on its very first visit to a petrol station in north London it was misfuelld.
The owner calld us and someone helped them to push it into a corner of the petrol station, we arrived 45 minutes later and performed a fuel drain.
The car was fine and hadent been started and once all the wrong fuel was removed we lifted the back seats and took out every last drop from the tank itself by accessing both access panels from the inside, we took extreme care whilst doing it to avoid ruining the new car smell with “eue de misfuel”
The car started perfectly after we brimmed it with the right fuel.
As a point of note; if a fuel drain is not done correctly a dealer can often tell if petrol is left in a diesel car by a number of things, the telltale “pfffft” as you open the diesel cap and petrol vapour escapes from the sealed pressurized tank, (diesel does not vapourize and expand like petrol)
The other way is sometimes the glue in the fuelfilter innards gets loosend by a throput of petrol, this does not happen in all cases and wont happen if a car has not been started with the wrong fuel
Here’s some advice if you need to do a DIY fuel drain to remove wrong fuel
If your car has an electric fuel tank pump, then there is a way to do a fuel drain yourself,
You need, containers (enough for all the fuel you have in the tank) 2 metre length of hose, and depending on type of car, some basic tools,
It is advisable if you also clean fuel (20 litres) to hand.
This works on most bmw, mercedes, citroen, peugeot, vw, audi, fords – if your diesel car makes a gentle buzzing noise for a few seconds when you put the key in the lights on position (the buzzing is the electric fuel pump priming the system) then this will most likely work.
This method is very hard on the cars battery and if it is not in good condition may flatten it, keep jump leads handy and another donor car, or be at the top of a hill
The skill level required to do this would take someone that is mechanically minded, and is aware of the safety precautions required when working with petrol and diesel.
1) Find the fuel line coming from the tank to the engine, you need to flow line to the engine, not the return line to the tank
2) disconnect the flow line and attach a hose to it, (you will need to get blue peter about it unless you have full garage facilities at your disposal)
3) put the other end of the line into a container
4) turn the key, not to starting position, just to pump priming position, this will activate the fueltank pump for 5 to 10 seconds which will send about a cupfull of fuel through the hoseline, then the pump will switch of again
5) keep repeating the same thing, turn the ignition off, then back to accessory position for 5 seconds, you might have to do this 200 times or more, it takes ages to drain a full tank.
6) once the tank is empty you will start getting foamy white fuel out, this is air that has entered the system from the empty tank
7) now pour in the clean fuel to the tank
8) repeat the key turning process again and again untill approximately 2 litres have gone thru, this purges the wrong fuel and fills the filter and lines with clean fuel
9) re-connect the fuel system and start the car
once the car starts you should fill it again to the top with clean fuel.
Petrol is highly flammable and this should be done in an area that is safe to do it,
We attend many BMW’s that have been misfueld, mostly 5 series, the 5 series has a complicated fuel tank set up, in that it uses a “saddle bag” design, which is the tank hangs over the propshaft, which makes it 2 tanks joined by a pipe at the top, and elaborate pumping system to keep the levels equal, this dual fuel tank system with pumps to distribute fuel evenly was pioneered by concorde in the 60′s, because the engines burned fuel so fast, gravity alone would not keep fuel tanks equalised , bmw, audi, landrover, mercedes are among the cars that are using it, the reason is to cram awkward shape fuel tanks around prop shafts, exhausts, etc
Draining the fuel from a BMW involves more than emptying the tank with a suction kit, there will still be half the fuel left in the other side of the tank, to get to this you either have to bypass the cars internal “brain” and turn on the transfer pump, or you have to lift out the backseat and access both parts of the tank from above.
BMW’s sometimes signal a fault code after a misfuelling, this is normal and is the engine management computer is simply saying “engine dont work” which you already know by the time it comes on. this is not usually an indicator that something has gone terribly wrong, nor has it detected wrong fuel as the cause of the problem, once the car has been drained and filled with the right fuel and restarted, the engine management light will go out.
No permanent harm is caused by a brief misfuelling, so don’t get taken for a ride by a dealer who suggests a multi thousand pound engine and fuel pump rebuild, its just a scam that is peculiar to the UK, BMW main dealers in Germany simply recommend a fuel drain and wouldn’t dare try and pull the new engine/fuel pump trick that our dealers have been doing.
Call us if you need help with wrong fuel, a fuel drain, or advice on how to do one.
For the 4th time in 2 weeks we have attended fuel drains at main dealers premises, to carry out work for clients who had put in the wrong fuel, it goes like this, 1) client misfuels, 2) client phones dealer, 3) dealer recovers car to dealers premises, 4) dealer presents client with 6 to 8 thousand pound estimate for “repairs” 5) client has shouting match with spouse 6) spouse packs clients bags and announces end of marriage 7) client phones friend for a shoulder to cry on 8) friend googles wrong fuel and reads up on subject 9) freind suggests calling us 10) we arrive at dealership, collect keys and remove car from dealership 11) we perform standard fuel drain & system flush and hand working car over to client 12) car is working perfectly no harm done, cost £180 13) client goes home, unpacks bags and cancels moving back to mums, 14) client goes into shock that the dealer had been so opportunistic and abusive of position of trust, 15) reconciliation between client & spouse 16) for the rest of the clients life they double take every time they fill up with fuel and never misfuel again 17) client has to tolerate and manage a forced laugh an average of 7.5 times when ribbed about misfuelling 18) client lives happily ever after and the car is perfect for years to come, 19) the main dealer misses out on 8K for the misfuel “correction” but makes it up by taking over a million pounds on other misfuels that financial year,
The moral of the story is don’t panic, if you have misfueld and your car is at the dealership we can deal with everything, all you have to do is phone the dealers and authorise us to collect the car, we are fully insured and have collected cars from most dealerships in the south east, I could name and shame a few naughty one’s but I won’t, what I will say is this, The EU block exemption rule is very clear, some years ago it was ruled that you are under no obligation to have work carried out by a main dealer, any threats regarding the warranty of your car are empty, we are competent and professional in our work and provide a fuel draining report for each call out we attend.
We are happy to contact dealers on your behalf to have car’s “sprung” – often a client does not want embarrassment or confrontation, and we are adept at dealing with the situation so that neither occurs.
Sadly the dealership network that I come across that dishes out the most outrageous quotes for repair is a German car company that I have a soft spot for and I love the cars they make, but as a word of warning, if your car has a 3 pointed star on the front, call us …… pronto.