How do you do a fuel drain?
The process of removing contaminated fuel from a fuel tank can vary from vehicle to vehicle, and even from situation to situation on the same make and model.
If you would like to know more about the general process and steps involved in performing misfuel recovery then look no further as we will go into it right here.
Fuel Recovery Procedure
These are the fundamental steps taken on the majority of vehicles that have been misfuelled:
- Ensure the vehicle is in a safe location. This step would include performing a dynamic risk assessment, and is essential before starting any work. If any problems are found they should be dealt with before beginning work. Things to look out for include:
- Vehicle not in a live lane or on a motorway. If it is then it will need to be recovered to a safe location before the fuel drain can be attempted.
- Vehicle not in the vicinity of any "hot works" or fire risks. This means looking out for things like welding, open fires, passing foot traffic which could include smokers, or even petrol station fuel tank vapour vents.
- Visibility: this is an important factor as the technician, attending vehicle and casualty vehicle are all vulnerable roadside. The technician should deploy cones, don hi-vis PPE, and activate the hazard beacon on the attending vehicle.
- Make the casualty vehicle as level as possible. This will help to ensure as much fuel as possible can be recovered as opposed to it pooling up in an inaccessible corner of the tank.
- Determine the fuel tank configuration of the vehicle - is it a single tank, a saddle-tank or some other set-up.
- Insert a thin, braided hose down the filler-neck and bypass the anti-siphon device fitted on most modern vehicles.
- Drain all accessible fuel via this specialist hose.
- If present, drain any saddles or secondary tanks. This could involve a number of approaches:
- Access the other tanks with the same hose via the filler-neck, or
- Open the sender unit above the secondary tank and drain it directly from there, or
- Key-transfer the secondary tank into the primary, to be drained normally from there. This process involved turning the ignition to the "ON" position - without actually starting the car - to engage the lift pump in the secondary tank. Or
- Access the fuel lines going into the fuel filter and drain both tanks from there, or
- Rig up an external fuel tank and engage the lift pump on the secondary internal tank by running the vehicle on this external fuel supply. Or
- Plug into the vehicle's computer system and tell it to pump out the secondary tank electronically.
- If the vehicle has been started or driven on the contaminated fuel the entire fuel system will also need to be flushed through with clean fuel to purge all the contaminants. This can be done by connecting directly to the fuel lines and filter and draining from there. It might also involve putting a small amount of clean fuel in the vehicle and starting it momentarily to push out any remaining contamination, and then re-draining the tank.
- Refuel the vehicle with sufficient clean fuel.
- Clearing any air-locks or issues causing the clean fuel to not reach the engine.
- Reading and clearing any diagnostic fault codes or Engine Management Light warnings.
- Re-starting the engine and carefully watching how it runs. It will usually run rough for the first minute or so while any remaining contamination is burnt off. Once this clears the vehicle will be safe to drive on. If this doesn't clear then it's a process of isolating any remnants of contamination and re-draining it.
- An injection cleaner can be added at this point to help fully clear out the system and re-lubricate the fuel system components.
- Finally, the car should be taken to the nearest petrol station and filled to the brim. This will help ensure that any minute amounts of contamination are fully diluted out. This step is taken as it is impossible to remove 100% of the fuel from a vehicle without completely disassembling and cleaning it.
Above are the steps taken in most misfuel recovery situations. There is, however, some variation in steps depending on the vehicle involved, and even on the type of contamination. For example, water and AdBlue contamination will usually require that the tank itself is flushed out and the filter changed if the vehicle has been run.
As a note: all of these steps are required to be carried out by a trained, certified and competent fuel technician. Just "having a go" can result in engine damage or, in worse case scenarios, injury or death due to the highly flammable nature of petrol fumes.
If you are in need of misfuel recovery assistance give us a call. We are the professionals and will sort the problem out with minimal lost time.
Who is Wrong Fuel Drain?
We are a UK national Wrong Fuel Drain service. Our technicians are fully mobile and able to attend any vehicle breakdown in almost any location.
All call staff and roadside technicians are trained in-house on our thorough and stringent wrong fuel and Health & Safety sylabus. This is in addition to any mandatory qualifications they hold for their positions.
We have been operating for over a decade as specialists in the wrong fuel recovery industry, and therefore have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field.
You could not be in safer hands.
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