Fuel Mix-up at Spring Lake Gas Station

A mix-up at a Spring Lake gas station left some customers with a few car problems. Full Story
Marsha Hill-King

Whitehall, MI

#1 Sep 4, 2007
Can I get the mailing address to the corporate headquarters of the station in Spring Lake that had the gasoline error. I want to send them a correspondance and can not locate their address in our telephone book.
Thank You Marsha Hill-King
306 Gibbs St.
Whitehall, Mi 49461

“Congrats to all Graduating”

Since: Aug 07

Muskegon, MI

#2 Sep 4, 2007
what kind of problems can this cause for someones car?
Lovely

Southfield, MI

#3 Sep 4, 2007
Bri Bri 73 wrote:
what kind of problems can this cause for someones car?
Cars that are not "flex-fuel" cannot handle this fuel.
I'm not sure exactly what it does, but it causes some $$$ expensive damage to engines.

“Congrats to all Graduating”

Since: Aug 07

Muskegon, MI

#4 Sep 5, 2007
Lovely wrote:
<quoted text>
Cars that are not "flex-fuel" cannot handle this fuel.
I'm not sure exactly what it does, but it causes some $$$ expensive damage to engines.
with the economy the way that it is right now, the phrase"adding fuel to teh fire" fits this.
how can they make such a mistake?
we have to trust that they are putting the correct gas in the pumps, now witht he prices the way they are and lack of money we have to be afraid of careless attendants?
Did they call a different company to save cost, or was this the only company that could do it at that time?I guess mistakes happen, I just thought that these things were watched very close.
that is just horrible for anyone that got gas there.
I hope they treat you all well and fix any problems that you may occur without you having to come out of pocket for anything.
Good luck!

Since: Aug 07

Muskegon MI

#5 Sep 6, 2007
Something similar to this happened at the Wal-Mart in Fremont awhile back. I think the issue there was the fuel delivery driver filled the unleaded tank with diesel.

“Lost my mind”

Since: Apr 07

be back later

#6 Sep 6, 2007
Yes it did. But instead of going in and filling out a report at the station, for it to be sent to the owners in Traverse City(and who knows how long it will take for THEM to respond), Walmart sent all of the people who received diesel instead of unleaded to Duer/Speet and they fixed the cars and billed Walmart directly.

I found it interesting that you have to go to the station to make a report. To me it sounds like you get to pay for the repairs yourself and then wait (and wait and wait) to be reimbursed for repairs that shouldn't have been needed in the first place.

“Hoping to see some good news”

Since: Jul 07

Location hidden

#7 Sep 6, 2007
Here's some information I found on E85

To find out if your car is e85 compatable.(may need to open a pdf - adobe file to read)
http://www.e85fuel.com/e85101/flexfuelvehicle...

"What happens if I accidentally fill up with e85 in a regular gasoline only vehicle?"
"Although your vehicle was not manufactured to run on E85, no problems should occur if you mistakenly fuel once with the alternative fuel. The largest difference between an E85 powered vehicle and a gasoline powered vehicle is that their computer modules are meant to read different amounts of oxygen within the fuel. E85 contains a higher amount of oxygen than gasoline and E85 compatible vehicles are made to read that higher amount. When a higher amount of oxygen is read by a gasoline powered vehicle, your "check engine light" may appear. A number of other parts on the FFV's fuel delivery system are modified to be ethanol-compatible. The fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel injectors, computer system and anti-siphon device have been modified slightly. Alcohol fuels can be more corrosive than gasoline. Therefore; fuel system parts have been upgraded to be ethanol-compatible."

“Lost my mind”

Since: Apr 07

be back later

#8 Sep 6, 2007
LOL Ann. I just love that. "No problems should occure if you mistakenly fuel once with alternative fuel". Yet it goes on to say that AF is more corrosive than gasoline and the fuel tank, fuel lines, injectors and other parts have been modified to handle it. So, by fueling up with AF instead of gasoline, you run the risk of having to replace your entire fuel system.

Never mind the fact that AF gets less MPG for about 10-20 cents less per gallon.

“Hoping to see some good news”

Since: Jul 07

Location hidden

#9 Sep 6, 2007
That is why they specifically say "no problems should occur if you fill up ONCE"

LOL I got a chuckle out of that too. Basically they are saying that if you only did this the one time, you are not likely to suffer any long term damage, but don't make a habit of it.

“Lost my mind”

Since: Apr 07

be back later

#10 Sep 6, 2007
Ann -

What caught me the most is the "no problems SHOULD occure if you fill up once". That tells me that they aren't sure if there will be problems. They don't think it will by just one fill up. But what about those people who fill up, and they don't have to drive very far. One tank of gas could last them a while, which means that corrosive quality in the E85 could eat away at their fuel system and cause expensive repairs.

We use to live 3 miles away from where I use to work. A full tank of gas would last me almost 3 weeks with only driving back and forth to work (we used hubby's car for errands and longer driving. Better stereo and the heat worked better than in my "beater").

“Congrats to all Graduating”

Since: Aug 07

Muskegon, MI

#11 Sep 7, 2007
messing with the computer chip also can mess up the whole system couldnt it?
I read what they said about wal mart.
this mightbe bacause wal mart has thier own shop right in it, I am not sure what they are able to fix there, or if they had thier own shop even do it.
I do agree with this person, sounds like "IF" someone has a problem, hope ya have the $$ to get it fixxed, and if you do, we will pay you when we get to it.
I feel bad for anyone that might have thisissue.
What if they cant go to work, loose thier jobs.
OHHH, these people need to get on the ball with this.
It usually works my nerves when people say "law suit" but in this case, I think I would.

Since: Aug 07

Muskegon MI

#12 Sep 7, 2007
Bri Bri 73 wrote:
messing with the computer chip also can mess up the whole system couldnt it?
I read what they said about wal mart.
this mightbe bacause wal mart has thier own shop right in it, I am not sure what they are able to fix there, or if they had thier own shop even do it.
I do agree with this person, sounds like "IF" someone has a problem, hope ya have the $$ to get it fixxed, and if you do, we will pay you when we get to it.
I feel bad for anyone that might have thisissue.
What if they cant go to work, loose thier jobs.
OHHH, these people need to get on the ball with this.
It usually works my nerves when people say "law suit" but in this case, I think I would.
Wal-Mart TLE(Tire & Lube Express) only does basics like oil changes, and tires. They can't even align your tires after they put them on. I work for Wesco(delivering donuts) and I've talked to our fuel delivery guys about this. They've said it's pretty difficult to mix up the underground fuel tanks. I agree that there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits, and I'd expect restitution for whatever I lost.
Automotive Advantage GH

Alma, MI

#13 Sep 10, 2007
Bri Bri 73 wrote:
messing with the computer chip also can mess up the whole system couldnt it?
.
I can understand why you might wonder about the effects of this. The computer chip doesn't get messed up; it just gets weird data to compute, says OOP’s, something’s not right here, and then tries to make adjustments to compensate for the condition.
Once it can no longer compensate, it turns on the check engine light, as it should.
Our clients that had this problem,(three Honda’s and four Toyota’s) all indicated that the oxygen sensor was reading outside its normal range, which normally points toward sensor replacement. E85 is an “oxygenated” fuel.
This time though, the cars had low mileage 30,000 – 50,000 miles. Oxygen sensors rarely fail before reaching 100,000 miles. So, we started looking for a common denominator.
When we saw the article the next day about the mix up at Shell, lights started flashing & bells went off (inside our heads).
After draining and refilling the fuel tanks, all readings were within expected parameters. We’ve heard that some garages replaced the fuel filters as well. We won’t argue against that, we just felt that of the cars we serviced, none were clients that let the cars sit for any length of time, so the fuel would be run through rather quickly.
As far as long term damage, I could find no clear information on what to expect. I would expect the lawyers to perform their best CYA. Time will tell, my opinion is: One tank of ethanol, drained, with the residual being burned through in a short (2 week) period of time, is not going to cause ANY long term damage.
Rob - www.cars4keeps.com

“Hoping to see some good news”

Since: Jul 07

Location hidden

#14 Sep 10, 2007
Thanks for the expert opinion, I had to google to find out any information, and there really isn't alot out there on this subject.

“Lost my mind”

Since: Apr 07

be back later

#15 Sep 10, 2007
Thanks Rob! I think you cleared up a lot of questions for us! It's very much appreciated.
:)
Wildgoody

San Diego, CA

#16 Apr 19, 2010
I find it funny that when you start talking E-85 all of a sudden it becomes voodoo juice and everyone gets all worried about what could happen. The facts are Ethanol is NOT corrosive, when was the last time you saw a corroded out bottle of whiskey? It does however have an affinity for water, in that water can blend with alcohols, where it will not blend with petroleum products like Gasoline and Diesel fuels. This is not however a bad thing, how many of you have seen a bottle at the auto parts store that says "Fuel Drier" this stuff is in fact Methanol, a poisonous alcohol that has the affect of dissolving the water in the gas tank and allow it to flow through the fuel system and be burned by the engine with the regular fuel.

There is however a possibility that some older vehicles have fuel system components that can be dissolved by high % of alcohol fuels, but it takes time for this to happen, and most of us have been driving on a blend of 10% Ethanol and Gasoline for over 15 years. Auto makers have known this for some time and the fuel systems are able to work just fine on lower levels of alcohol blended fuels, likely to 30% with no ill affects.

Hope this helps
Darrin

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