when you Accidentally Fuel Diesel instead of Gas (petrol).
Vin Diesel, Was Not On The Menu
What do you do when you accidentally fuel diesel instead of gas (petrol)? That moment when you realise your bike doesn’t eat diesel, and you just fed it 5L of that bad stuff. Yes, I know that feeling, that sinking feeling of regret, knowing there was something odd about the price and the lack of smell from that meal. How could I be so stupid? Everyone knows my bike doesn’t eat movie stars. Why did I poison my beautiful bike? But why? Ok get a grip and kill the drama, before you overreact, it’s not the end of the world. Contrary to what people say, your bike can be saved, but at what price depends on you.
What's the difference anyway?
Gas engines compress air and fuel which is ignited by spark plugs. This combustion drives pistons down, turning the crankshaft, which is connected to the transmission. Eventually turning the wheels. When the piston moves up, it pushes the burnt gases out through the exhaust. This process is repeated and your bike keeps moving forward. Tada.
Diesel engines work the same way, but diesel needs more than a spark plug in order to combust. The thicker syrup-like fuel and air mixture combination requires intense pressure to spontaneously combust, something only diesel engines are designed to create. So when you fuel diesel into a gas engine, it isn’t equipped to create that pressure. So sadly, your bike will not be fast, it’ll be still and very furious at you for putting the wrong fuel in.
So how can you heroically rescue your poisoned bike?
1. Don’t turn on your engine
Once you comprehend, hopefully quickly, that you fed your bike diesel, keep the engine off. Even though diesel alone won’t destroy your engine, it will be an annoying thing to clean out and drain from your fuel lines, filters and pumps. So If you want to save time and money, keep your bike’s engine turned off. Roll your bike to a safe place and go to step two.
2. Siphon the diesel out.
Siphoning is usually associated with baddies. So, if you want to see how it feels to be the shady character siphoning gas out from your bike, be my guest. I’m sure it’s a good skill to have. Surprisingly, there are a lot of how-to videos on this. I didn’t siphon my diesel out, I would’ve if there were tubes available nearby. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it out, it will save you a lot of money and time. Or if you have time but no money, put a sign up for free diesel to whoever siphons it out first.
3.Get a trained professional to siphon it for you
By great risk management, you happen to be a member of a vehicle breakdown cover you can call them. Depending on your cover, they will either drain the bike for free, or charge you extra. If you aren’t a member, try googling ‘siphoning specialists’ in your area. Yes, there are trained people who siphon gas, for a price.
4. Call a friend
Hopefully if they own a bike transporter or van, and they’re willing to help you out, give them a ring. Then transport your bike to the nearest garage, who can drain the diesel out.
5. Rent a van
This sounds like a lot of work, but this is the option I went with. Why? Because I fueled diesel into my bike in the middle of nowhere, 50km (30miles) away from my hometown to be precise, and to make things worse, it was on a Sunday. Germany on a Sunday is a ghost country. Everything is closed. I searched the gas stop for siphoning hoses, but who would’ve known, they didn’t sell those? Unfortunately, I had no vehicle breakdown cover. But luckily my husband and his bike were nearby. We drove back to Cologne on his bike, rented a van, picked up his brother and a very kind friend. Then we came back to my bike and lifted, yes lifted the bike on to the van (as there were no ramps nearby). After fastening it safely into place, we drove it, very slowly to our local garage. The garage owners rolled the bike inside on Monday morning and drained the diesel for me. That all cost me €80($90/£68) (including the rental van).
What if you don’t realise you fueled diesel?
Vin might like throwing around lighters to blow things up, but diesel in a gas engine doesn’t. The only thing it will be blowing up will be your money. Like I mentioned earlier diesel isn’t combustible, it requires a lot of pressure, a spark plug won’t ignite it. So if you start the bike with diesel, it won’t combust, it will most likely seep into other areas of your bike, and stay there as liquid diesel. Your engine won’t run, as there will be 0 combustions. You will most likely need to change your fuel lines, fuel filter and fuel pump. It won’t get to the point of destroying your engine but it will be one pricey fast food meal.
What if you just fueled a little bit of diesel?
When you fuel less than 5% of diesel you can get away with filling the rest of the bike with gas. This will smoke white for a while but it will flush out the diesel eventually.
The happy end.
But whatever happens, just know, this will be the last time you ever fuel diesel into your bike! I triple check, my bikes menu. Sorry Vin, diesel isn’t coming anywhere near my bike again.