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  • Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

    So I have my vehicle over at a repair station and the technician found the fuel filter full of slime and moisture. Fuel filter was replaced last year, I only fill at one of three stations and one of those I fill at about 90% of the time.

    So the tech is thinking the fuel is contaminated from the supplier, I am not sure what to think I trust the tech and have high regards for the supplier of the fuel. The repairs will total around $2 K as the injectors are plugged so if the supplier is the problem I would have no issues asking for him to cover the repair, if they are at fault, and that is the big if..

    SO 2 questions

    1 would love to have an opinion if this makes sense ?

    and

    2 anyone else having a problem like this?

  • #2
    Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

    Yes I've heard of dirty fuel before and it makes sense. Secondly, where do you fill up? You should let everyone else know so we can avoid those stations if possible.
    Thanks,
    AJ

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    • #3
      Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

      HI: I had avoided naming the supplier as I need to make sure we have a smoking gun and they are really at fault, would also like to see how they handle things as this is more important than the original problem.

      First response from the supplier which I expected was, "no else is having this problem". They did call around and verify that it was true that no one else had the problem I experienced. As I am friends with the guys at the fueling station they confirmed that they had gotten the call from the supplier.

      What I can report is that the technician who is completing the repairs is considered to be an expert and is certified, he did have evidence in the form of fuel filters, injectors and contaminate samples to confirm the original complaint.

      My insurance adjuster that covers the comprehensive on my vehicle has agreed that the technicians finding are credible, reasonable and most likely accurate and most important that the claim is valid, they have now contacted the risk manager associated with the fuel supplier to see about next steps.

      The insurance company cut a check for $1500 this morning and I will pay the deductible.

      Still out of pocket for almost a grand but not as bad as it could have been and you never know the supplier may pay the deductible claim. I will let you know as the drama unfolds.

      Thanks for the response

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

        Older technology compressors with oil filled crankcases can start having blow-by issues when they start getting some wear on them. Blow-by meaning the oil is passing the rings and entering the gas side of the compressor. Usually there is a filter on the system to stop contaminants from getting to the vehicle tank. Convenience store maintenance is notorious for neglecting regular service and filter changes. There could also be a lack of maintenance of the low pressure coelescing filter that is supposed to stop gas line contaminates and moisture.

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        • #5
          Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

          I also suspect contaminated fuel from a specific supplier on Brush Street in Oakland. This is the second time I have a stuttering Honda 2000. And am thoroughly frustrated. The last time I had to replace all four jets. Costly.

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          • #6
            Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

            why dont you get a clean sample tank and fill at the supplier than have the gas checked for oil and other contaminates

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

              Not to surprising the CNG supplier has declined to be responsible for the problem. The amount of contaminate the technican dug out of the line before the filter was significant. I have put another 1000 miles on the car since the repair with no further issues or complications.

              You save a lot of money on fuel but when something goes wrong you spend a lot to fix it wiping out your fuel savings

              Still the car pool lanes still make all the craziness worth while.

              The station was located in the south bay by the way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                It would be helpful if you did name the location.
                Silver 09 GX
                Phill G:1.5

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                  This has unfortunately always been an issue with natural gas vehicle usage. I agree that it is more common with (ICE) engine driven compressors, and is far less common with electically driven compressors. I know of a municipal bus service that had such poor fuel quality that they shut off their connection to the Gas CO and switched the fuel station over to LNG, with large elctrically driven compressors. When I worked there as an independant contractor, we converted over 10,000 gallons of LNG to CNG everyday for their fleet. When I talked to their bus drivers, they said that the engine performance had noticeably improved, and the vehicle range was increased. This happens as a result of largely eliminating useless constituant gases, which the Gas Co charges you for. This is one reason that the fuel prices should be based on mass rather than volume. There are some drawbacks to using LNG feedstock, but i feel overall that it is the safest way to fuel a CNG vehicle. There may be state law to help you with your current predicament. I would look at current law that applies to vehicle gas stations, and see if the language is broadly worded, as the station owner may not be excluded from liability if the law does not mention specifics of fuel type when dealing with liability. I am not a lawyer, and I am not offering legal advice. Good luck, and I hope you get a fair resolution.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                    Hi Well I think it has been resolved, the nozzle or tip was sitting in singnificant amount of dirt, debris, gum whatever you want to call it just black nasty stuff. This stuff contaminated the nozzle and in theory was pushed into the cylinders during a refuel. I have some picutres of all this and have sent them over to the insurance company who is chasing the claim.

                    I figured this out as I was going over to refuel again and noted some black contaminate on the refuel nozzle, called the provider and told them about it they agreed this was not good and would send a tech over. I did not refuel there but went over to the airport where I have had no issues and the dispensers look really good.

                    If anyone has any theorys about contaminate bieng pushed into the tank by the dispenser let me know. car is a 2002 Ford CV

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                      It would still be helpful if you could tell the rest of us which station we should be careful of.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                        I just performed my second B1 service. My tech shows me the low pressure filter/housing after he unplugged, it is full of oil and the filter interval turn into orange color. Mostly I refuel at PG&E Hayward, San Jose Airport and Oakland CE stations. It is a big different between my first low pressure filter interval, my first low pressure filter was so clean and color still "White", I compare two side by side (I kept every filter replacement).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                          We had a similar problem with oil in regulators and filters. On one vehicle that had a reduced driving range, we dumped over 2 gallons of compressor oil from its fuel tank.

                          No one put the dots together about having to add a gallon of oil to the compressor every week.

                          Franz

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                            If you suspect that your fuel provider is providing contaminated fuel, ask them how they filter the gas, after it's compressed. The supplier should have at least one coalescing filter though two or more in series is best. The coalescing filter will capture oil or condensate (from the gas feedstock or compressor) that would otherwise make it's way to your fuel tank and fuel system including regulator and injectors, eventually fouling your vehicle performance.

                            Just having a filter at the station does not solve this potential problem. Servicing the filter is critical. Every station is different but a recommendation is to add enough filtration such that the last filter is hardly catching any liquids. This will also vary depending on how often the filter is drained. Some stations require filter service daily and others may only need service once a week or longer depending on the history of liquid carry-over and usage.

                            If you really want to educate yourself, look at SAE J1616, the automotive fuel specification for CNG vehicle fuel.

                            Lastly, if you find liquids in your fuel system you can take it to a lab for analysis which may help you identify which fuel provider is responsible.

                            You can also look in the station nozzle for obvious signs of liquids before you connect to your vehicle.

                            Any other ideas?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Contaminated fuel in the bay area?

                              I'm sorry I'm late with "my 2 cents". But as a designer/manager of a CNG station, it is my professional opinion there are least two causes of contaminated fuel.

                              One is excessive oil carryover in the compressed gas because the fueler is using mineral oil in the compressors in lieu of synthetic oil, and because they are not maintaining the compressed gas temperature to acceptable levels, so the compressed gas exiting the compressors volatilizes the oil and carries over in the CNG fuel, and then it drops out in your tank wher it can plug your fuel filters and injectors.

                              Another reason is that the fueler does not remove moisture for the CNG.

                              The specs for moisture and oil in CNG are 0.5 pounds per million Standard Cubic Foot (SCF) of gas for oil, and 1.0 pounds per 1 million SCF of gas for moisture.

                              I have found using and properly operating Xebec equipment removes moisture. dirt and oil adequately. Only problem is many CNG fuelers do not use Xebec equipment. (I do not work for Xebec)

                              Another problem is the fuel suppliers, whether they by PG&E, Clean Energy, Pinnacle or Trillium, do not periodically test their CNG to ensure it meets these standards.

                              Further, what I have found is some fuelers appear to dilute their CNG with compressed air or equivalent, so that the BTU value is significantly reduced, thereby reducing your MPG.

                              I'm not saying these are continual problems, but it has happened too much in my professional opinion. Unfortunately, since there is no agency oversight on this, we are left with "buyer beware". I recommend we require regulation and oversight.

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