Contaminated Gasoline

I filled up with gasoline at a Marathon Station in Talladega, Alabama. I drove 25 miles into Anniston, Alabama and the Colorado quit running. I was able to continue to start the engine about every 4 truck lengths and coax it out of traffic. I called a Chevy Dealer and had the truck towed into the shop. After about 45 minutes they told me I had contaminated gasoline. They drained and dried the tank; cleaned the fuel lines; Pressure cleaned the injectors; and had to replace the fuel pump and filter. I have a quart of the contaminated gasoline. Who do I contact to test the gasoline to determine the contaminant? I have a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama who will handle this for me. The repair bill was $1,571.00. My family had to get a rental car to continue to Chattanooga, TN. I stayed in Alabama. There are motel and food bills as well as the car rental bill.

If you have a decent lawyer, he or she should be able to recommend a lab to which you can send your sample.

Thanks for your input. I asked the lawyer last Thursday, but did not get a response. We spoke very briefly on the phone. I live in Mississippi and will call him on Tuesdat about this matter again. I will also fax to him all my receipts.

I have a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama who will handle this for me. The repair bill was $1,571.00.
You have a lawyer who will handle a bill like that and a family member couldn’t get a lawyer to handle a medical malpractice suit with obvious negligence. Relative should move to Alabama.

It is possible once he sees the total receipts total a little over $2,000.00, he may decide not to handle it. I have no idea how much he figures mental anquish is worth. If he should decide not to handle it, there is a lawyer here in Ocean Springs, MS who has already said he would handle it.

You could not have been the only one who purchased the “contaminated” gas…There would have been dozens if not hundreds of others who suffered the same fate as you… have you made any attempt to contact the station where you purchased the gasoline?? You might not need a lawyer, just a phone call…

Caddyman: I did contact the station where I purchased the gasoline and they denied any other problems associated with Pump 3, where the fuel was dispensed from. They had a load delivered they said before I made my purchase and there was no way the gasoline was contaminated. I purchased gas in Ocean Springs, MS, my home, before departing for Gaylesville, AL and my wife continuiong on to Chattanooga,TN. We had no problems on the way. Once I refueled in Talladega, we went only 25 miles and the truck quit running. So the contamination had to have come from the fuel I purchased in Talladega. With their constant denial on the phone, I contacted a lawyer. I have faxed all the receipts for expenses incurred as a result of the contamination. I was hopeing at the time all it would take was just a phone call.

I’m always suspicious of claims of contaminated gas, mostly because of what Caddyman mentions-- if a gas pump has been dispensing bad gas all day long, it’s not like it’s just going to cause problems in one or two cars. It’s a pretty big deal when there actually is a pump dispensing bad gas-- it’ll usually be in the paper or on the news. And most gas stations will have insurance for just such an occurrence and so the stations themselves are pretty good about fixing people’s cars when these things happen.

I’d also be very interested in the diagnostic process that lead to a: that it was bad gas and b: that the injectors needed cleaning, fuel pump replacing, etc. With most gas contamination, you drain and refll the gas tank, change the fuel filter (that’s what it’s there for, after all!) and away you go.

GreasyJack, the fuel that was drained from the tank was clear with no tint and had a diesel-alcohol type smell to it. The truck would start and quit running almost immediately, prior to the tank being drained. They cleaned the tank, fuel lines, injectors and rails and put new gas in the tank. The truck would not run. They then installed a Fuel Pump Cycle Control Module Kit, GM Part #19167115 and the truck started and ran just fine. My undertsanding is that the filter is an intergrated part of the fuel pump and that there is no in-line filter to replace.
They made their diagnosis based upon the truck starting and not running, draining the gas tank and fining that it did not actually contain 100% gasoline, the smell of what was in the truck, etc., etc… I am able to base any repair decisions on what the service manager and automotive technician tell me. I thought just as you are thinking that it is a simple matter. But was told that with the newer vehicles, contaminated gasoline presents a major problem for the vehicle. I can only pass on what I have been told. As far as the paper and/or news I did not remain in Talladega, AL, where the fuel was purchased, nor did I stay in Anniston, AL where the Colorado was being repaired. I was 2 hours away staying with relatives until the truck was repaired. It ran for about 25 miles after I filled the tank in Talladega. I don’t know how to give 1 word answers.

“They then installed a Fuel Pump Cycle Control Module Kit, GM Part #19167115 and the truck started and ran just fine. My undertsanding is that the filter is an intergrated part of the fuel pump and that there is no in-line filter to replace.”

End of story… It would seem THIS was the problem right from the get-go…Forget the lawyer. And yes, there is an external, in-line fuel filter. The in-tank filter is just a sock/screen that lays flat on the bottom of the tank and acts as a fuel pick-up…

Caddyman, if I am understanding you, are you saying that the fuel pump went out and there was no contaminated gasoline? If there was no contaminated fuel, why is it clear? It doesn’t look or smell like gasoline? I forgot to tell you: That after they replaced the Module Kit, I was standing there watching everything that was done, the truck started but was runnning very rough. The technician then pressure cleaned the injectors again, and the truck ran fine and still runs great.

Modern gasoline is clear. The yellow tint is no longer present, at least in the gas I buy.

My gasoline has a mericome or Iodine tint to it and it does smell like gasoline and burns very efficiently.

I have a hard time believing your truck would have run for a trouble-free 25 miles on some sort of completely non-gasoline substance. The first thing I’d do if I were you is go to a gas station (preferably a Marathon) and put another quart of gas in another clear container and compare. If you wanted to be thorough, you might pour that quart in and try some other stations.

I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but just be aware that diagnosis of bad gas by mechanics who can’t figure out what’s going on is much more common than actual instances of fuel contamination. Seeing as the appearance and smell of the fuel is the only thing the mechanics are offering as evidence of this, the least I’d do is compare it to some other sample.

I would also consider hedging your bets and start raising some heck with Chevy, since presumably if it wasn’t bad gas it would be covered under warranty, right?

GreasyJack, my wife said it was more like 20 miles and not 25, but that is beside the matter. The car did in fact run from Talladega to Anniston before it just quit running. In a 19 gal tank I put in 13.3 gallons in Talladega. So does it not stand to reason that there was enough gasoline to get me to Anniston before the truck quit running? I talked today with a representative of AMOCO OIL CO who told me that the alcohol smell was the 10% Ethanol in the fuel and that the color was indicative of Diesel fuel. He said it is possible that a dump of diesel was started and when the person realized it was going in the wrong tank, stopped and then dumped unleaded in the tank. He said they run into that problem quite often. He said they would test the fuel for me and tell me exactly what it is , but that it would be cost prohibitive for a private individual. $3,000 was the figure he quoted. He said he test tanks and 55 gallon drums.
In order for me to go to Talledega to obtain gas, I would have to travel approximately four and a half hours from where I live in Mississippi to Talladega, Alabama. As far as I know that is the only Marathon in Talladega. We travel HWY 21 and in goes straight through the town. Talladega is not a very large town. The work order at the dealership indicates contaminated fuel and the service manager and auo tec said they would give me affadavits to that affect if I need them. Oh, I forgot to mention that the guy with AMOCO wanted to know how far I drove before the truck quit. I told him and he was not surprised. He said other people he had contact with drove further than that on contaminated fuel and they had majoe problems. He also asked what was done to the truck and said I was lucky that that was all that had to be done. I agree with you that if it wasn’t bad gas, then the repair would have been covered under warranty. But since I was right there and watched as things were taking place and saw first hand the fuel coming from the tank and immediately saw the color,I honestly have no reason to doubt them, as much as I may wish that was the case and it was a warranty repair. By the way the lawyer in Birmingham said it was not a big enough case for him. So I am now in talks with a lawyer in Talladega, who is checking to make sure he does not have a conflict of interest and a lawyer in Anniston. Since this is considered a small claims case, I hope to have action soon. I guess I wrote a book!! SORRY!!

Assuming you still have a sample of this contaminated fuel, take one ounce of it and, outdoors, pour it on to a flat plate and leave it in the sun for an hour or two. Gasoline will QUICKLY evaporate and leave almost no trace on the plate. If it is mixed with diesel fuel, the diesel will NOT evaporate and will remain on the plate. Likewise with water. But I will tell you this. Unless there are a dozen or more people with the same complaint, you are wasting you time and money perusing this.

Caddyman, I have quite a large sample of the comtaminated fuel on hand. Should the rain here stop and the sun come out, I will try your little experiment.Sonce I do not live there I am not aware of other complaints by individuals in Talledeaga. My lawyer would have to assertain that through inquiries, either by newspaper, radio/t.v. or word of mouth.If the lawyer says I need to be there, color me gone. Because I will go there.I am finding it very difficyult to to do what is required from here in MS. I am not out to ruin the owners of the station. I just want mt expenses reimbursed and of course the lawyer will want his.