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Old 10-06-2016, 12:59 AM   #1
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Bad fueling situation inTexas

My son-in-law won a bus at auction in Portland, Oregon and flew up from San Antonio to pick it up. Since I only live a couple of hours north of there I drove down to get him and take him to his bus. We brought it up to my house, went through everything to make sure the bus could make it 2200 miles.
He had an easy trip until he got to Big springs, Texas. He bought 25 gal of fuel at an automated station, (middle of nowhere) just to hold him until he could get somewhere bigger. About 5-10 miles later I got a call because his bus looked like it was on fire there was so much smoke out his exhaust and it was all he could do to get up to 10 mph. After having him tell me what temp gauges and oil pressure were reading, and having him check drains for water I had to tell him that he must have gotten some bad diesel. I told him to try to limp somewhere he could get help. He found someplace relative close with a mechanic and was towed in. They had to completely drain his tank and filters and refill everything then run it long enough to get everything out of the lines.
Fortunately he didn't ruin anything but by the time everything was said and done he was out about $700.
The mechanic told him they had been having lots of problems similar to this in the general area because of all the little companies in the area and the intense competition. I don't quite see how destroying a customers engine in the middle of nowhere (there is a lot of nowhere in Texas) could help your company but apparently this mechanic had worked on two or three rigs himself.
I think anyone going through West Texas should make sure and get fuel at large, big name stations for the foreseeable future.
This wasn't fun for my son-in-law (non-mechanic) and delayed him about four days on his trip.
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:57 AM   #2
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What a nightmare!

I had a similar experience one winter driving a bus from MI to WA state. Temps for most of the trip were highs in the low teens. At those temps diesel can start to display some odd characteristics.

I made the mistake of putting biodiesel from a pump in western NE or eastern WY. All I know is I went from poking along at 60-65 MPH with virtually no smoke to barely being able to eek out 55 MPH while at the same time I was throwing up a smoke screen that could have rivaled a naval cruiser.

The addition of fuel conditioner with each subsequent tank of fuel pretty much cleaned it all up. But it had me sweating as I was struggling to get over the top of the big hills between Ogalla, NE and Rock Springs, WY.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snonut View Post
My son-in-law won a bus at auction in Portland, Oregon and flew up from San Antonio to pick it up. Since I only live a couple of hours north of there I drove down to get him and take him to his bus. We brought it up to my house, went through everything to make sure the bus could make it 2200 miles.
He had an easy trip until he got to Big springs, Texas. He bought 25 gal of fuel at an automated station, (middle of nowhere) just to hold him until he could get somewhere bigger. About 5-10 miles later I got a call because his bus looked like it was on fire there was so much smoke out his exhaust and it was all he could do to get up to 10 mph. After having him tell me what temp gauges and oil pressure were reading, and having him check drains for water I had to tell him that he must have gotten some bad diesel. I told him to try to limp somewhere he could get help. He found someplace relative close with a mechanic and was towed in. They had to completely drain his tank and filters and refill everything then run it long enough to get everything out of the lines.
Fortunately he didn't ruin anything but by the time everything was said and done he was out about $700.
The mechanic told him they had been having lots of problems similar to this in the general area because of all the little companies in the area and the intense competition. I don't quite see how destroying a customers engine in the middle of nowhere (there is a lot of nowhere in Texas) could help your company but apparently this mechanic had worked on two or three rigs himself.
I think anyone going through West Texas should make sure and get fuel at large, big name stations for the foreseeable future.
This wasn't fun for my son-in-law (non-mechanic) and delayed him about four days on his trip.
Great advice.

NEVER buy fuel at Podunk discount places.
ALWAYS buy where the volume of sales is to truckers ... and lots of them.

This almost guarantees you good fuel.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:29 AM   #4
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"off-road" diesel?

I just learned this yesterday but it might have something to do with what happened to your in-law. I've been watching diesel prices since I got my bus and yesterday I drove past a rural farm country type station that had #2 diesel and an "off-road" diesel that was 10 cents cheaper. I don't know what "off-road" diesel is but they use it in rural areas ... places that might have automated, unsupervised pump stations. I can't say I wouldn't jump on 10 cents a gallon - thats $6.50 savings for a tankful.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:35 AM   #5
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Its technically illegal to use on the highway. Its for offroad/agricultural use and its pink. If for some reason a LEO dips into your tank to check its real bad.
Chances are that will never happen. But if it does it can get EXPENSIVE depending on the state you're in.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:16 AM   #6
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I had a similar, though less disastrous situation occur when travelling down in the south. First and only time I've encountered it even though I've been burning old furnace oil in the bus on occasion.

Was in need of fuel in south western Arkansas. Found an unfamiliar place that had well priced fuel. It was the first station I saw in the town, so pulled in. Unrelated I'm sure, but the gas attendant was smoking while leaning up against the fuel pumps After filling the tank and getting 20 miles down the road the bus started bucking and sputtering. It had me freaked out because I immediately assumed it to be something mechanical! I repeatedly stopped to check things out, but all the gauges were fine and nothing strange was occurring under the hood.

My thought was to get to our destination the best we could and figure things out from there. In the mean time, I just happened to top the tank up at another fuel station during a driving break. To my surprise the problem was resolved! Or at least much less pronounced. One more tank and everything was back to normal.

Thanks for the adventure Arkansas!
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:16 AM   #7
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I was thinking off-roads diesel isnt the 'ultra low sulfur' stuff that emission controlled stuff requires.. plus doesnt have road taxes in it.

when I was growing up, finding winterized diesel was touch and go at times so we would mix a few gallons of kerosene in the fuel of our scouts.. we werent allowed to pump it directly from the kerosene puimp into the truck because it was "off-road" fuel.. designed for the kerosene heater craze prevalent in the 70s and early 80s. .. so we have to get it in a can and pour it in at our house..

-Christopher
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Its technically illegal to use on the highway. Its for offroad/agricultural use and its pink. If for some reason a LEO dips into your tank to check its real bad.
Chances are that will never happen. But if it does it can get EXPENSIVE depending on the state you're in.
Two years ago I was pulled over by a State Trooper in WA. I was baffled as to why I was being pulled over. I knew that I had not committed any traffic violations.

When he got out of his car he had a long clear hose in his hand....

He told me that he needed to check my fuel tank. He stuck the hose down my fuel filler and pulled out a sample of fuel and tested it. He explained that he was testing for "off road" diesel.

I looked into what the fine is here for running red diesel on the highway:

$10 per gallon with a minimum fine of $1000.

Not worth the chance in my book.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:16 PM   #9
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If I remember correctly off road diesel doesn't have the taxes assessed to it that highway diesel does, when I used to drive Tractor trailers if you got caught using it it was a big no no
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Old 07-10-2017, 01:29 PM   #10
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I would submit that off-road fuel isn't likely to have inferior quality: it's intended for expensive farm and construction equipment which is often powered by the same variety of engines as power our buses. Those applications wouldn't tolerate poor fuel any more than we would.

Most likely is that a refinery produces only a single diesel formulation, and that dye is added when appropriate at the distribution rack as tanker trucks are filled. I believe store-brand detergents are added to gasoline in the same way: straight gasoline as the refinery produced it is loaded for transport to the independent and discount fuel retailers, while the same gas has Techron blended added during the tanker fill-up when it's destined to a Chevron station. Unbranded vs. branded gasoline: Is there a difference? - The Barrel Blog
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:08 PM   #11
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I would submit that off-road fuel isn't likely to have inferior quality: it's intended for expensive farm and construction equipment which is often powered by the same variety of engines as power our buses. Those applications wouldn't tolerate poor fuel any more than we would.

Most likely is that a refinery produces only a single diesel formulation, and that dye is added when appropriate at the distribution rack as tanker trucks are filled. I believe store-brand detergents are added to gasoline in the same way: straight gasoline as the refinery produced it is loaded for transport to the independent and discount fuel retailers, while the same gas has Techron blended added during the tanker fill-up when it's destined to a Chevron station. Unbranded vs. branded gasoline: Is there a difference? - The Barrel Blog
It is 100% about the taxes. The only difference between highway fuel and off road fuel is that a red dye, that cannot be filtered out, is added in order to easily identify fuel that has not had highway tax paid on it.

Lesson: Do not try and steal from the guberment. They hate competition.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:58 PM   #12
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it is my impression that the ford pickup with dual tanks were designed for offs road diesel for on the farm use. As soon as they would hit the public road they would have to switch over on normal taxed diesel. I imagine you would have to be registered as a farmer.

funny think is that electric vehicles do not pay road taxes either.

later J
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:03 PM   #13
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I use the red diesel at work for skid loaders and tractors, and can also confirm its regular diesel with a dye added.
Theres no way this fuel did it to his bus. I highly doubt a fuel station even had it too, as far as i know i've only ever seen it delivered to farms and business with their own standalone tanks.

My bus actually had the red diesel in it when i bought it. Not sure if the bus company has their own tanks or not or how they can get by without paying a fuel tax on highways. Didnt know until i drained my tank and switched fuel filters. Maybe DOT or police would've believed me but you never know.

There's three reasons i can think of why it happened. First, hope to god he didnt put gas in it, which he might have. At work we run all diesels and sometimes have to stop at gas-stations. BE VERY CAREFUL OF BP. you get used to diesel having a green handle everywhere you go but BP actually has unleaded gas as green handles. its very confusing sometimes lol.

Second, Hopefully he didnt put Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in the tank because that could do it too. the handle for those are right next to the diesel and if you're new you could get confused with the diesel types.

Lastly i've been told that if you do go to those middle-of-nowhere gas stations that you could be sucking the bottom of the tank fuel since they dont have fuel moving in and out of there as much as a big truck stop.

glad to hear **** worked out though.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:26 PM   #14
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are there certain colors to look for to make sure you get winterized fuel? I know when I drove the DEV from florida to ohio when it was below zero.. I kept stopping every 50 miles to put fuel in it as I headed north to make sure I had winterized fuel in the tank... plus I never shut the bus off for more than 15 minutes that whole trip...

ive noticed sometimes when I pump fuel it has a greenish tint at some stations..
-Christopher
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
it is my impression that the ford pickup with dual tanks were designed for offs road diesel for on the farm use. As soon as they would hit the public road they would have to switch over on normal taxed diesel. I imagine you would have to be registered as a farmer.

funny think is that electric vehicles do not pay road taxes either.

later J
I don't know how it is in other states but in WA you can get a "farm truck" registration for trucks used primarily on the farm and within 25 miles of the farm. You can use red diesel in these. Just don't get caught 26 miles from the farm. It is also a much cheaper registration than normal.

Most of the red diesel I have seen is delivered to bulk tanks at the farm or in my case the golf course. I have seen a very few truck stops that sell it for refer use and at service stations in farm country in TX.
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:55 AM   #16
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We deal with red diesel at work all the time. Use it in our Locomotives and refrigerated rail cars. We have it delivered directly to Locomotives now but used to have a 10,000 gal tank by our fuel track. Back then one of our maintenance guys decided it would be ok to run some in his Ford diesel truck. He got caught on the hiway by State Patrol and had to pay about a twelve hundred dollar fine. Totally not worth chancing it in my opinion.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:35 AM   #17
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My 2 cents on off road red diesel and farm registration

I agree with others that dyed off road diesel is the same quality as on road fuel, the farms where i work it is ultra low sulfur 15 ppm max, however i believe for off road use it can be up to 500 ppm. Unless the bus has a newer than 2005 tier engine it would work just fine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-...#United_States

Regarding farm registration of light or heavy farm trucks there are many states that gives farmers a good deal, Wisconsin "America's Dairyland" being one of the better states: $45 for light truck registration "tabs" valid for 2 years and up to 12,000 lbs, provided it is not used for driving to a non-farm job.

Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site - Bus and light truck license plates

Heavy Farm truck (over 12,000 lbs) is 1/4 the regular rate: I plan to register my flatbed bus as 32,000 lbs heavy farm for only $152.25 a year, since its under 38,000 lbs it is primarily for farm use, not exclusively as the 38,000+ lbs trucks are. Any thoughts on this? ?

http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/dm...d/farm-trk.pdf

I haven't driven my buses on road since im still building them out and they came with nearly half a tank left from my high school. But i would agree its best to fill at larger truck stop stations if possible to assure quality fuel.

Im glad the fuel was the only issue for several of you, not injector pump issues, or more costly repairs.
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:15 PM   #18
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perfect example of donmt assume the green handle is diesel!!!

some stations like UDF the Diesel is yellow.. others the E-85 is yellow


-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:02 PM   #19
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BP got me once with that a long time ago when I was in a rush!
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:15 PM   #20
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I have bee driving diesel rigs as my daily drivers for a loong time. I have heard numerous horror stories of folks accidentally putting gas in their diesel rig. That has made me extremely observant and cautious. I have never had a close call when it come to my trucks & buses.

I have had a few close calls when driving my wife's Hyudai. I have gotten as far as putting the diesel nozzle into the filler before realizing that in was about to make a big blunder.
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