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Old 10-05-2016, 11:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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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, 01:57 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, 07:04 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, 07:29 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, 07:35 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, 09:16 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, 09:16 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, 10:17 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, 11:16 AM   #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, 12:29 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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