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Old 09-25-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
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After driving from Montana to Tennessee with my new (new to me) 2004 Journey, I pulled into a local gas station to top off before heading to the house. I was about 3/4 full on a 90 gallon diesel tank and after swiping my credit card, grabbed the only "green handled" nozzle of the four on the pump, stuck it in, locked it open and walked away to wash the windshield. Approximately 15 gallons later, my wife realized that...yes...you guessed it...I was putting unleaded gasoline into my diesel [email protected]#%*@%! I have the Caterpillar C7 engine and the coach has less than 2000 miles on it (basically still new). After calling a friend of mine that is probably one of the best diesel mechaincs I know, we decided that if I topped it off the rest of the way with diesel fuel, we should be ok as the 15 gallons of gasoline would be severely diluted. I'm a mechanic by trade myself but neither of us have had any experience with these Cat engines. I have seen similar situations with other diesel engines at work and it didn't seem to be an issue except when the tank was near empty before the gas was put in (on small generators, pumps and such). In those cases, the engine just ran really rough until we changed out the fuel. Anyone out there happen to make the same mistake with these Caterpillar engines and if so.....what were the results? At this point I have only driven it back to the house about 2 miles away and then down to the storage lot about 5 miles away. I have run the Onan generator for several hours since with no problems at all. I guess I'm wondering if I should just bite the bullet and have it towed in and pumped off (all 90 gallons)or what.
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:48 PM   #2
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After driving from Montana to Tennessee with my new (new to me) 2004 Journey, I pulled into a local gas station to top off before heading to the house. I was about 3/4 full on a 90 gallon diesel tank and after swiping my credit card, grabbed the only "green handled" nozzle of the four on the pump, stuck it in, locked it open and walked away to wash the windshield. Approximately 15 gallons later, my wife realized that...yes...you guessed it...I was putting unleaded gasoline into my diesel [email protected]#%*@%! I have the Caterpillar C7 engine and the coach has less than 2000 miles on it (basically still new). After calling a friend of mine that is probably one of the best diesel mechaincs I know, we decided that if I topped it off the rest of the way with diesel fuel, we should be ok as the 15 gallons of gasoline would be severely diluted. I'm a mechanic by trade myself but neither of us have had any experience with these Cat engines. I have seen similar situations with other diesel engines at work and it didn't seem to be an issue except when the tank was near empty before the gas was put in (on small generators, pumps and such). In those cases, the engine just ran really rough until we changed out the fuel. Anyone out there happen to make the same mistake with these Caterpillar engines and if so.....what were the results? At this point I have only driven it back to the house about 2 miles away and then down to the storage lot about 5 miles away. I have run the Onan generator for several hours since with no problems at all. I guess I'm wondering if I should just bite the bullet and have it towed in and pumped off (all 90 gallons)or what.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:09 PM   #3
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For "PEACE of MIND"....bite the bullet. You will probably be ok to even drive it to your dealer, rather than have it towed. Because of the percent of dilution you could even put in two gallons of diesel every twenty miles and eventually burn it off without problems, but that would be somewhat of a hassel. You have a good size investment there and you would always be wondering in the back of your mind if you caused any latent damage that might bite you later on in the life of your coach...so BITE-THE-BULLET!
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:18 PM   #4
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The maximun dilution of # 2 diesel that the old timers told me was a 10% dilution of gasoline.
This was recommended for below zero (winter) operation only if # 1 wasn't available.

UPDATE: See Cruzer's post below. The "old timers" were wrong. Research shows Cruzer is dead on.
Thanks Cruzer!!
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:33 PM   #5
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Ron-in-Tn and Mutha Welcome to the forum
Heck of a first post Ron around here all GREEN handles are suppose to be diesel. Had a friend with gas fill full tank with diesel bad news.
Enjoy the forums friends and post often I hope under better conditions.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:24 PM   #6
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I wouldn't run it. I'd have it pumped. Diesel fuel is a lubricant as well as a fuel. As a fuel, gasoline will burn with a different burn rate than diesel and it'll combust earlier under less compression, which will give you more knock and other things your engine doesn't need. Even more importantis the loss of lubrication. Injector pump as well as cylinder walls can score from lack of lubrication. I've seen a diesel that ran with lots of gas in it. It was near impossible to beat the pistons out of the cylinder liners they were so far welded into place and scored. The injection system was also junk. It doesn't take much to mess up things with the close tolerances on today's engine systems. Up here in the frozen tundra if we are stuck with summer diesel in something the most we will do is add kerosene to it because it still has lubricity like diesel fuel. But never gasoline.
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:48 PM   #7
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Almost pulled the same trick in Canada a couple of weeks ago - the green handles are gasoline and blue handles are diesel.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:10 PM   #8
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I would drain the tank. The gas could damage the engine. It is just not worth taking the chance.
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Old 09-26-2006, 05:30 AM   #9
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Reading the signage on the pump instead of relying on colors makes a lot more sense and is much safer.

Siphon all the fuel you can get out of the tank and refill with diesel. That ought to dilute the gas enough to make it neglible to the Cat.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:01 PM   #10
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Well, so far two Caterpillar dealers (NC Machinery) have told me it's not a problem. They referred to the diesel fuel in my area as "heavy fuel" loaded with lubricants and said the mixture isn't enough to worry about. They said there is no danger of pre/post ignition unless I had a larger concentration of gasoline. The only "potential" damage areas are the injector pump and possibly the injectors but didn't feel I had a high enough gasoline concentration to mess with either. Both dealers did recommend keeping it topped with diesel for a bit. I'll probably call another 3 or 4 dealerships just to see if they all say the same thing. I did get the number of a gentleman who specializes in the C7 engine so I'll be chatting with him tomorrow. I'll keep you all posted on his response. Both dealers did say that had I done this in Alaska, they would both have recommended pumping it out as the diesel fuel in Alaska is extremely dry...I guess some of the worst fuel in the nation. Something to keep in mind if you decide to make the trip up....a lubricating fuel addative might be in order.
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Old 09-28-2006, 02:04 AM   #11
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How much would it cost to replace the fuel.....$270? Where can you take your diesel RV and have it worked on for less than $270? There's no telling of the long-term consequences of trying to run the fuel out of your MH. I don't think it's worth it.....drain the tank!
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Old 09-28-2006, 03:35 AM   #12
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You might find this page interesting reading: Diesel/Gasonline mix
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Old 09-28-2006, 04:55 AM   #13
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Why not call Caterpillar Service Hotline @ 877-777-3126. I have found them to be quite helpful.
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Old 09-28-2006, 01:22 PM   #14
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I also suggested draining or siphoning as much out of the tank as you can get. But then I began to wonder what to do with the product you take out? Only thing I could come up with was adding a little bit back a few gallons at a time and then topping with new fuel. Anyone else have a solution? I sure as heck would not be giving that much "waste" fuel to a oil recycling company.
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Old 09-28-2006, 01:52 PM   #15
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I am not a chemist but how about adding motor oil or transmission fluid to the mixture for lubrication. I have heard about tractor dealers adding motor oil to a tractor when demonstrating the pulling power.
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Old 09-28-2006, 03:01 PM   #16
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Well, so far everyone at the Caterpillar dealerships(including a gentleman that specializes in the C7) is telling me that it "should" be fine. However, no one has been able to say "Oh yeah...seen it before on that engine and it ran with no issues". So, I'm gonna spend the $270 to have it pumped out and then the $200-$225 to top it off (with DIESEL) just for the sake of a good night's sleep. I guess I'll just chock this one up as that $500 "Head-up-a$$) mistake that I assure you will not be made again. Funny thing is, this is one of those things that I've chewed others out for doing at work with the whole "How did you manage to do that!).....I digress
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Old 09-28-2006, 03:38 PM   #17
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Second guessing the issue now....Just got off the phone with the tech at the Caterpillar Service Hotline and he basically said I'd be crazy to drain it out. His only concern with the mixture was the injectors themselves as these C7's have what they call the "Huey" injection system and the injectors can be touchy. However he said that diesel and gas mix very well with no seperation in the mix and as long as the tank is topped off every hour or so during the next trip it will be fine. He said even if there was a small bit of damage to the injectors, this isn't something that one would notice for years or thousands of miles down the road at which point he said you would probably experience an injector failure simply due to the age or wear and tear. He said over and over that he recommend just keeping it diluted until I know that I've run close to a tank full through the engine, press on and I'll never the differnce. He pretty much knew then entire developement history, operation and future of this fuel system and took the time to educate me on it as well.....not that I'll remember half of what he said. I'm guessing if anyone would know the potential outcome...these would be the folks. Still not 100% convinced that I won't just tell the dealership to dump it....something to stew over until then.
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Old 09-28-2006, 05:32 PM   #18
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Ron-in-Tn:
Second guessing the issue now....Just got off the phone with the tech at the Caterpillar Service Hotline and he basically said I'd be crazy to drain it out. His only concern with the mixture was the injectors themselves as these C7's have what they call the "Huey" injection system and the injectors can be touchy. However he said that diesel and gas mix very well with no seperation in the mix and as long as the tank is topped off every hour or so during the next trip it will be fine. He said even if there was a small bit of damage to the injectors, this isn't something that one would notice for years or thousands of miles down the road at which point he said you would probably experience an injector failure simply due to the age or wear and tear. He said over and over that he recommend just keeping it diluted until I know that I've run close to a tank full through the engine, press on and I'll never the differnce. He pretty much knew then entire developement history, operation and future of this fuel system and took the time to educate me on it as well.....not that I'll remember half of what he said. I'm guessing if anyone would know the potential outcome...these would be the folks. Still not 100% convinced that I won't just tell the dealership to dump it....something to stew over until then. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Get them to put it in writing and then do whatever they said. If it was mine, I'd drain it and refill it with diesel. It's yours so do whatever you think you need to do.
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