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  #1  
Old 04-27-2002, 10:45 AM
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12 Gallons of Gas Added to 1980 240D Tank and Car Driven 45 Miles!

Well, the subject says most of it. My Father-in-law is in his mid 80's and I converted him to an MB Diesel fanatic in the mid 80's. When I was courting my wife, I drove my Mom's 1971 220D and then bought my own 1975 240D. At the time he thought I was some kind of twit and used to tease me about my car selections. As the cars got a little older and piled on mileage, he went through about 3 company cars and we were still driving the Diesels. When my Mom decided to get a W123 230E (I was importing them then) he asked if he could buy the 220D. Well, that led to him buying the 1980 240D in the early 90's when it had 88,000 miles on it. He now drives that car as his pride and joy from April to November. It is entirely rust free and there is not a stray drop of oil under the hood. It has 185,000 miles on it, and he uses it to tow a small trailer with wood, lawn tractors and the like up to Lake Champlain and back to Albany, NY during that time period.

Well, he called Thursday night and was very distraught. He filled the car with gas instead of Diesel and drove it about 45 miles. No indications of any problems (normal temp, and his car seems to have an invisible peg at 83 degrees C, and normal - pegged at 3 bar- oil pressure) until he tried to start it and it would not start. He then began to check things and found the fuel cap smelled like gas, not Diesel and the reciept said gas, not Diesel. He had the car towed to an independent MB shop and had the gas drained, the lines cleared, the fuel filters replaced, the oil and oil filter changed and fresh Diesel put in. It runs fine now, but my Mother-in-law observed some white smoke either when he lets off the throttle to shift (the car is a 4-speed) or when gets back on the throttle after shifting when she drove behind him on the way home. He is very worried the car is damaged or needs something else done and he might be causing more damage. Since my Mother-in-law has probably never observed the tailpipe emissions on this vehicle before, I am not sure if what she saw is new or unusual for this car. He has never had to add a quart of oil to the car between oil changes (typically 3 or 4 a year that I do with him even though I bought him a Topsider so he could do it himself rather than wait for me - he will park it after 3,000 miles and wait).

He also noted the car has more pep than it has had in a while, and that it idles a bit faster than it did before. I suggested maybe his fuel filters really needed to be cleaned and the changeout was good since he stores the car for a few months in the Winter. He routinely starts it every week, and lets it warm up for 20 or 30 minutes in the driveway (unless it is dry and salt free outside, in which case he takes it for a joy ride), but the tank full in November lasts until he really starts using it in April or May.

I told him to run some Redline Diesel Fuel Catalyst through it, and drive it until it really gets warmed up, say 100 miles or more, on one of his joy rides. If it still smokes I guess I will drive over and start looking for signs of a problem. I am suspicious of the injection pump, as it ran in some tough conditions (a 70% or so gas/Diesel mixture), but I do not see that being the cause of any white smoke. I will look at the vacuum pump diaphragm line to the intake manifold and see if that is black. But the independent MB shop owner told him only that an injector or two might have been damaged (wrote it on his receipt, too), so I am not sure if the smoke is an artifact of what was left in his fuel lines or exhaust system from the gas being in there. The car is also due for a valve adjustment that I routinely perform once a year for him, so we scheduled that maintenance next time I go to see my daughter at school in Troy.

Well, I am wondering if anyone else has gone through this kind of scenario (the gas in the Diesel part, not the wife courting and converting a future Father-in-law to become an MB Diesel person) and if they can offer any advice or shed light on what kind of damage may have occured. Thanks in advance, Jim

__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2002, 11:01 AM
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I would not worry about it,,,, I would have in the past but I have a friend with lots of dozers and tracked front end loaders and he says gas is really a pretty ' soft ' explosion,,, accidents happen, my father did the opposite... diesel into a Crown Victoria.... LOL... THAT DOES NOT WORK.... but gasoline does not seem to bother a diesel on an occasional basis....but the items you did do were correct remedies... Greg
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2002, 12:05 PM
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Lightbulb Gas in 240d

If I remember correctly, the owners manual gives an oil and gas ratio for special situtations, 50/50. Check it. If the injection pump has a sump, change the oil in it as it would dilute the pump oil. Sounds like he went over the 50/50. I would also change the fuel filter/s, as it may have losened up some crud.

75 240d sold
82 300d 194k
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2002, 01:32 PM
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Location: Evansville, Indiana
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The only thing that would get damaged is the injection pump, due to inadequate lubrication or the injectors, ditto.

Usually, a diesel runs very poorly on gasoline due to the lower energy density in the fuel -- really bad cases with have lots of smoke, too.

My volvo TD has always made a little puff of (usually) black smoke when the throttle is lifted -- I don't know why, but I always see it. Mind you the Volvo is much smokier than an MB. I've seen just exactly what was discribed, though, behind a MT 240 -- there is always a little puff of smoke when the driver changes gears.

If it starts, doesn't knock, and gets normal milage, don't worry about it.

Diesel in the gas tank is a much bigger problem -- I filled the lawn mower with diesel (don't ask!!) this spring -- took about an hour to get it started again!

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
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  #5  
Old 04-27-2002, 01:43 PM
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Thanks all for the reassurances. I have passed them on to my Father-in-law and he is greatly relieved. He put some RedLine Diesel Fuel Catalyst in the tank this morning and drove another 60 miles, and reports back the smoking has gone away. So, that made him feel better too. I think I will get him some LubroMolly stuff and run that through when I see him next too.

Once again, thanks for helping me reassure him the car is not going to suffer. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2002, 04:29 PM
turbodiesel
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I remember reading in one of the MB diesel owners manuals (not sure if it was for the 300D or the 300SDL) that in an emergency, it can be run on gasoline.

Like the others said, I think the only thing that can be damaged is the injection pump, as the diesel acts as a lubricant.

But if it still runs fine, dont worry about it!
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2002, 06:46 PM
rebootit
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If it runs ok then I don't think it hurt it. But I wonder about the gas in a diesel engine for emergency use. I have always been told that will cook a diesel in a very short time, not the pump, but the engine. In an emergency I would use straight vegie oil off the supermarket shelf before I would use gas. If a benz tech is reading this they may be able to tell us if almost 100% gas will ruin a benz motor. I know the old two cycle JD tractors were started off gas and then switched to diesel once they got running, and I used to start my 1980 Case diesel farm tractor in the dead of winter using gas soaked rags stuffed into the air intake.
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  #8  
Old 04-27-2002, 11:35 PM
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The only thing I've read that's been officially from mercedes-benz is adding kerosine to a diesel tank in the winter. This keeps the diesel from gelling up in the cold. My owner's manual is where I read it. I read on another thread on here that a guy put power steering fluid in his diesel and it ran fine. I'm sure the steering:diesel ratio was pretty low. This whole discussion has sparked an interest in me. What is safe putting in a diesel tank and what isn't? If you're desperate, what can you put in without hurting it at all?
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2002, 12:06 AM
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I read in a CAT operators handbook that kerosene can be used in cold weather at up to 50-50, but performance suffers. CAT says that you can use oils as bad as used motor oil but need to clean the injecters often... and change the fuel filters more often. I have read about soy oil or any veg. cooking oil burning just fine in diesels. CAT recommends to fill the fuel filter with trans. fluid when changing, because the detergents help clean the injectors.
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1983 300SD 343K everyday car
1983 300SD 285K from junk yard-tooks parts from deer car- runs great. Brothers car.
1984 300SD parts car-Hit deer
1979 300D 175K non-turbo "Doctor"
1979 300d parts car
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2002, 04:10 AM
XN6guy
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Gasoline has A LOT more chemical-potential energy per serving than diesel fuel or kerosene. This is why a diesel engine requires a much bigger displacement to produce the same power of a smaller gasoline engine.

If fueled by gasoline, a diesel engine will experience much higher peak combustion chamber pressures and temperatures. Gasoline needs more heat to start ignition, but it burns hot and fast once ignited. This can damage the pistons, rings, conrods, bearings, and especially the head gasket. Note the stories of a loud rapping noise and rough operation on diesels that have accidentally been fuel completely by gasoline.

However, fortunately a diesel engine will usually become unsustainable if the fuel tank is contaminated with enough gasoline--the car would become undriveable before any real damage could occur. Also, diesel engines are structurally sound, and have a higher tolerance for BS than a gasoline engine.

If the engine were forced to remain in operation, the head gasket would probably eventually go first, followed closely by the rings. If any pre-existing metallurgical problem existed in the pistons, conrods, etc... they would likely fail too.

Some manufacturers recommend mixing gasoline with diesel fuel during excessively cold conditions, if kerosene is not available.

I've experimented with a gasoline/diesel mix in my car (don't ask why), and noted a nice jump in power with less WOT smoke--no doubt the higher temp helped to oxidize more fuel... However, the noise and vibration definitely increased.

-Joe
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2002, 11:48 AM
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XN6guy, as much as it seems to go against common logic I am afraid that your first sentence is not correct.... and that PSFred is correct...gas has a lower energy density per unit of measurement....

The higher displacement comes partly as a result of the way in which the fuel is ignited, and that the higher the compression the more efficient the energy release is... that is the same as with gas engines.. except when you get to a certain point the lower flash point causes preignition in gas but not in diesel... (pre meaning before the proper piston position in the cycle ) ....

But we have strayed from the original question to where it looks like some of you are answering as if someone were Wanting to run gasoline ... and I have seen no indication on this post of that...

If a short period of running on gasoline did not produce noticable symptoms during or soon afterwards I say that the chances are that no harm was done....Lets try to help JimSmith sleep at night..... Greg
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2002, 12:24 PM
rebootit
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I was going to point the energy difference as well. Based on BTU diesel has a much higher level of energy per volume. Gas is much more explosive than diesel, burns hotter, but will not burn as long.
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2002, 01:00 PM
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Yeah I was going to say.... It's always been my understanding diesel has way more energy than gas, but gas is much more explosive than diesel. That's why diesel has the higher compression ratio. There'd be no point in putting a lower energy fuel in a big rig, it would just make the mileage drop! It would also not make sense that if diesel had less energy that we all get around 30mpg driving lead foot in the CITY!

I love diesel because of its efficiency and I like pissing people off with my huge black clouds when I floor it as hard as possible on a down shift!
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1984 190D 2.2 Auto 220k
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2004 Lexus RX-330 ??K
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2002, 04:19 PM
XN6guy
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Well heck, let's change the subject--this is a discussion forum afterall... We all know the ol' 240D is alright!

Oops, my bad... diesel fuel, *by quantity*, does have a higher energy density than gasoline--gallon vs gallon. Diesel fuel is much heavier, and its molecule chains are longer.

By weight, gasoline would win of course... for example, 40 lbs of gasoline does have more potential energy than 40lbs of diesel fuel. I must have been thinking in those terms.

I may not have been very concise or specific with my displacement remark, so here's a more pragmatic explanation--see if you agree:

There is so much more Hydrogen and Carbon in a certain quantity of diesel fuel, it requires a whole lot more oxygen in order for complete oxidation to take place. Thus, one either needs more displacement OR some forced induction... otherwise you'll end up with a 72bhp 2.2 liter naturally aspirated 4 cylinder diesel, when similar sized 8 valve gasoline engines can do about 130bhp with similar street tuning.

Ahhh, yes... then there's the added benefit of smoking people in a diesel! Though sometimes I'm embarrassed to "floor it" because of the smoke... other times (with a tailgater) I'm thankful that I have that little feature--good for hours of entainment!

-Joe
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  #15  
Old 04-28-2002, 06:10 PM
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TXBill and all the others who responded,

Thanks to all of you for helping me reassure the old gentleman. He is really a great guy, especially as a Father-in-law, and this was really bugging him until the car returned to normal and I passed on all the advice to the effect that all was well. He is a fanatic about taking care of the car, being of German origins. I mean, even the door jambs get wiped and waxed every Winter. And there can be no oil leaks dripping on the garage floor! He used to bust my chops about being overly concerned with my old 240D and how I was always doing something to it. Now I just smile as he acts out some previously dormant program of being nuts about his Diesel.

You never know what you will learn from one of these posts though. I was a little astonished to find out you could use the engine as an incinerator for hazardous wastes! Probably never take advantage of that feature, but it is an amusing story.

Well, once again, thanks for the input and helping my Father-in-law get over his worries about the consequential damages of his error. Jim

__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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