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Water in Gas

I have an '08 Subaru Outback. Brand new (9 months, 8K miles). I had to have the fuel pump replaced in September when the car had 5K miles on it. About a month ago, it stalled twice on the way to work. I ran a tank of super unleaded through it and it ran better, although it stalled a couple other times, but I was able to get it going. This last Saturday I went out and it wouldn’t start…again. It turns over, but no fire. I had it towed, and the dealer diagnosed it as bad gas…water in the tank and the fuel line froze. They (supposedly) drained off all the water, and ran a couple bottles of dry gas through the tank and replaced the spark plugs. I picked it up on Tuesday Afternoon. It ran perfectly until went to a friend’s house Wednesday after work. The car sat for 2.5 hours and when I went to leave, it wouldn’t start.

I have 2 questions.

1. Could it be bad gas? If so, wouldn’t the car run roughly?

2. Any other suggestions as to the problem…do I have a lemon?

I Hope Outback As In Wild Part Of Australia, Not Outback Of The Dealership!

Sorry, this is probably not a time for jokes. I know it’s tough right now, but I wouldn’t be thinking “lemon”. Subaru did nothing to put water in the tank, if that’s what started this. I think it could still be water. The dealer deserves another shot at this. They may now look into other possible causes other than water or fuel pumps. Let the dealer have it while it’s not working. After a rough start, this could become the best car you’ve ever owned. Let them know that if it’s not fixed, this could be strike 3.

Thanks for the input. I am trying not to think lemon. Mostly I am just wondering if it is plausible that it make my car not start, when it ran perfectly 3 hours before?

Don’t make the mistake of using a fuel with a higher octane rating that the manufacture requires for your car will fix this problem.

It would have been more convincing if the dealer showed you a sample of your “bad gas” did they cover the “bad gas” under warranty? why would they?

I don’t think “bad gas” starts the clock running on a “lemon” claim,this is why you must make them prove it was “bad gas”

I doubt if it was bad gas, but it is possible. I suggest going back to the dealer. It looks like they guessed wrong. It may even have had some water in there, but it appears there was something else. Give them another try, it is not at all uncommon to try one thing or another only to find out it was something else causing the problem.

BTW high test gas in a car that does not need it will do noting at all good. Generally it does nothing bad either, other than cost you a little more. Octane is like adding sugar to your tea. Some is good, too much is not good. How much is too much or not enough depends on who’s drinking it.

I always take the water in the gas diagnosis with a lot of salt when a fuel sample is not kept. Any dealer or shop who does not keep a sample of this alleged bad gas to show the customer is either screwing up royally due to ignorance or they’re flat lying.

Couple of questions.
Are you SURE this pump was replaced or is this based on what you were told?
Did they replace the pump under warranty due to this bad gas situation?
Do you have copies of a signed repair orders stating the pump was changed, the cause, the plugs changed, etc.?

You’re correct; if the gas had water in it the car is going to run rough at all speeds. It may even be erratic in nature; running fine for a few minutes, cut out, back to fine, etc.
I don’t know that you have a Lemon at this point but be suffering from a diagnostic problem.

You must think lemon! But only to be ready in case it really is one. Check on line to see what you have to do to qualify for car replacement; you need to protect yourself. I was in a similar situation with a 1987 Taurus. It sat on the lot too long and the AC seals dried out, causing a leak. They were on their last chance when they finally just replaced the compressor. At the time, I needed 6 documented visits to the dealer for the same problem in the first 2 years of ownership. Web search ‘lemon law’ and your state to determine what you need to document.

Diagnosing “bad gas” isn’t a simple thing since other problems with the engine can have the same symptoms. There are other things than water which can make “bad gas”. There have been cases of too much of a fuel additive causing “bad gas”.
To check for water in the fuel, a mechanic could disconnect the fuel line, run a quart of fuel into a clear container, let the container sit for a few hours. Any water will sink to the bottom. How much water is too much? Good question.

I seen and changed fuel filters and there is almost always a little water in the filter and in the tank.
If it is water in your tank do not fill it up or take in with a full tank, if possible. I’me in agreement about the “show me the water and how much?” (pint, guart, gallon or gallons. If it had a gallon or quarts in the tank, they should have dumped the tank in the beginning. So I question some BS service and possible dishonesty somewhere…

Thank you all for your comments. Here is the continuance. Please help me with my continued scepticism. Please let me know your thoughts.

Call from dealer yesterday…there was still bad gas in the tank…they said they should have drained it fully. The fuel line re-froze. It was around 20 degrees both times. Due to the freezing of the fuel line, the fuel pump was damaged and it will need to be replaced. Of course due to the bad gas causing it, it is not a warranty item…but wait…Subaru will goodwill me a new fuel pump, since I just replaced it 3K miles ago. Of course they will not pay for the new gas, but they will give me a loaner car so I won’t have to keep renting a car over the weekend.

Is there anyone out there who can defend this? It just seems too contrived.

Can “bad Gas” or water in the tank damage the fuel pump?

Also, I called the gas company where I got my gas 2 nights before it didn’t start, and they have filters, and if they ever spread bad gas, their phone rings off the hook and I am the only call they have received.

Thanks in advance for the input.

This Says It All!
"… they said they should have drained it fully."

Their fault! This shouldn’t cost you a cent! In fact, they owe You!

Have you called Subaru?