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Old 24th June 2013, 22:27   #46
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by revintup View Post
I have gone out of topic but this post is to clarify that the problem could have well occurred within the 15 feet as per my personal experience.
Thanks - any idea gurus why this would be the case?
Unless tank is completely empty I don't see why there would be turbulence in the pipe flow?
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Old 25th June 2013, 04:48   #47
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

As someone who has made his own 'diesel' fuel for years from what comes out of the back of restaurant kitchens, I found this quite an interesting read - initially I was rather laissez-faire with my filtration and drying techniques, so suffered the effects of poor fuel - but not for long, I learned fast!

It is so interesting to see people quickly jumping in to blame one party or the other - some suggesting the doctor is conspiring to blame the fuel when in fact his car (or wife?!) is at fault, even some suggestions that he is in cahoots with his Audi dealer in trying to bring a case against the garage. Others suggesting that some fuel stations are equally culpable. Yet others that the car is typically European and fragile, and should have managed to cope with water and dirt in the fuel. Such unilaterally divided opinions are what start wars - reason and truth are the first casualties!

From how I see this story, the media - as usual - are encouraging people to follow their base instincts, with little logic or thinking applied. They want to sell newspapers/the story, so the more appalling it appears to the reader, the better.

Applying a little thought and balance to the story, I would say this. First, what the garage has done is pull fuel from the tank and have found water and 'dirt'. The natural assumption is that this obviously came from the last fuel purchase, since the car conked immediately after it was filled. There is then the massive cost of repair - a main dealer is unlikely to want to skimp on repairs of a doctor's car - imagine the story if he broke down having recieved his 'repaired' car back from the garage, on the way to an emergency.

Let's not forget that almost all modern cars' diesel injection systems are very complex, totally intolerant of dirt and water and are damaged very easily if contaminated fuel finds as it finds its way through to the injection system. A water trap can only hold a certain amount of water - rarely more than a few tens of ml. This is the same for all cars - some may have slightly larger water traps but once full these cannot prevent water from wrecking the expensive injection components.

I think it is unlikely the doctor and/or his garage are somehow trying to invent a situation blaming poor fuel for a failure caused by something else. Equally, if the fuel coming from that particular garage's pumps was so awful, many people would have broken down within half a mile of filling up.

What is possible is that the car has been regularly filled with slightly dirty, wet fuel. It is also possible that it hasn't been run low in fuel. So there could well have been a cumulative effect of the dirty fuel. If the car is driven steadily and not thrown around corners, then the water and sediments would settle out at the bottom of the tank. The tank pickup unit has two quite seperate filters in it as well as having a neat flow design so that any sediments and water in the bottom of the tank are most unlikely to be ingested by the pickup pipe and in-tank pump. Small amounts of water and particles pumped through to the engine are dealt with by the under-bonnet (hood) filter which typically filters to 5 microns and can deal with limited amounts of free water.

Maybe the tank was run a little lower than usual, and water and dirt had accumulated over many months/miles to a high level. The doctor's wife fills up with fuel, and the dirt and water at the bottom are disturbed and mixed in with the new fuel. Maybe she sits with the engine running for a minute or two before moving off - this would largely use up the fuel in the lines and under-bonnet filter. The in-tank filter in the meantime is self-destructing on a mix of water and dirt, maybe sending shards of metal as well as dirt and water through to the main filter by the engine. This would prevent the particles larger than 5 microns from passing through to the high-pressure pump, but a quantity of water mpst likely swamped through to the delicate (and hugely expensive) injection components.

So the car set off, then died almost immediately. Either through water damage or a clogged filter. The garage drained the tank and what you see in the bottle is probably the worst of it. Did anyone think to take a sample from the 'offending' filling station pump?

Having recently modified a Skoda's diesel tank sender/fuel pickup (same as any Audi's), one thought I have had is that a well-engineered car like an Audi (not perfect, and not half as well engineered as they were 20 years ago - but still a fine car) has a fuel tank pickup system which is so good at avoiding sucking up the dregs of a tank that the sludge built up to a greater level than with a very basic 'pipe into the bottom of the tank' setup which would drag up dirty fuel all the time, clogging the filters but preventing a massive build-up of contamination. Which when disturbed by pumping fuel into an almost-empty tank, overwhelmed the whole system and so caused damage.

When our fuel in Britain and Europe was of indeterminate quality with wide variation according to garage, location, time of year and other factors, motor vehicles had easily-drained fuel tanks, large filters with large water traps and mechanics and owners with common sense. It seems that Indian main dealers are not using their knowledge to adapt to local conditions - they could make good money advising their customers to have larger/additional fuel filters fitted with a regular draining routine.

Given the possibility of poor fuel, I would suggest that anyone with a modern diesel regularly drains their tank and fits a large, additional fuel filter with a large water trap in its base. Something from an old Land-Rover 300TDi would be ideal. Removing the fuel tank sender, draining the fuel tank and cleaning it out every 10,000km would only add an hour and a half to a service. Much cheaper than new pumps and injectors.

Last edited by FlatOut : 25th June 2013 at 04:56.
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Old 25th June 2013, 05:27   #48
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Originally Posted by FlatOut View Post
As someone who has made his own 'diesel' fuel for years from what comes out of the back of restaurant kitchens, I found this quite an interesting read - initially I was rather laissez-faire with my filtration and drying techniques, so suffered the effects of poor fuel - but not for long, I learned fast!

It is so interesting to see people quickly jumping in to blame one party or the other - some suggesting the doctor is conspiring to blame the fuel when in fact his car (or wife?!) is mple from the 'offending' filling station pump?

Land-Rover 300TDi would be ideal. Removing the fuel tank sender, draining the fuel tank and cleaning it out every 10,000km would only add an hour and a half to a service. Much cheaper than new pumps and injectors.
What a balanced and erudite post! Thank you for rationalizing so well instead of adding further to the fire by apportioning blame...
It does not make sense that the owner of an expensive car and his wife, would have such an axe to grind against a pump owner, that they would ruin their own car to see it done. A bit like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face...
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Old 25th June 2013, 06:11   #49
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

This thread reiterates why the Bolero is the largest selling UV in India!

Thanks for your post, FlatOut!
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Old 25th June 2013, 08:50   #50
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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This thread reiterates why the Bolero is the largest selling UV in India!
Ha ha. That made me laugh especially since its posted on a A6 thread! I was wondering since when does the profile of a A6 buyer compare with the one buying a Bolero! I would luv to see a Bolero and A6 standing in someone's garage side by side. And I don't think its so easy to clean the fuel tank every 10k kms as FlatOut seems to suggest. And fitting up-country vehicle gear into a A6!! Now that's a thought... But then this is TeamBHP where Normal is boring.
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Old 25th June 2013, 08:52   #51
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by bijuiser View Post
Any suggestions as to- how do we determine where to fuel up while traveling through a different city for the first time? Cause every pump is branded either HP, BP, IOC, IBP, Rel, Shell...
http://www.team-bhp.com/tech-stuff/h...-car-top-shape
Stick to a company owned, company operated pump. This does not mean you have the option of having a "safe" pump. Generally, I fill up from "known" petrol pumps and avoid filling elsewhere. When I am travelling, I generally watch out for company owned company operated fuel pumps and also ask my contacts close to that area which one is a recommended pump before filling. I always top up when I am close to a known petrol pump and my tank is half full or less. Also watch out for fuel pumps where there are more people tanking up. These are just measure you can take to protect yourself and does not guarantee good fuel everytime. It has worked well for me so far though.

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I do not agree that the onus is placed only and solely on the car owner. One goes to a company owned and company operated petrol pump in good faith. Providing first class quality to a consumer is the responsibility of the pump owning company. No layman consumer is going to know the difference between adulterated and pure fuel because we cannot analyse the composition of the fuel using our bare hands and eyes and nose. I think it is deadly unfair placing the responsibility solely on the consumer.
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Filling of adulterated fuel cannot be made out to be a consumers fault by the Insurance companies. How can the consumer be 'aware' that he is getting adulterated fuel filled. It is the onus of the oil companies to ensure and if they fail to do so he is fully justified in asking for compensation from the Insurance company. Because if being hit by a truck due to faulty traffic conditions in India is an accident so is being duped by fuel pump owners who fill up adulterated fuel in our cars.

Also Audi cannot wash off its hands 'if' it has not taken into account the lower quality of fuel available in India and provided safety measures in their cars so that the same does not harm the engine. If you have to sell your cars in India you have the responsibility to provide India compatible cars.
Both of you are asking for a perfect world and remember, India isn't there yet. We are far from it. In a perfect world, there would be no crimes like these and you are good. Again, you need to realize the fact that insurance companies work on their "definitions" of an accident and when you take insurance, you agree to their terms and conditions. That does not include saving you from adulterated fuel, unless you specifically ask for. If you suspect adulterated fuel, then get it checked. If the pump refuses, do not fill from there. A confident and honest pump will happily offer you the test.

Also, making an Audi fool proof for conditions like this isn't really going to happen. As a consumer if you are worried about such issues, it is entirely your judgment to not purchase a car which does not have mechanisms to filter water from adulterated fuel or not. You cannot blame the manufacturer for this, but you can feedback to provide these features. In a way you are asking to make tyres which will never have problems over rough roads because India has bad roads.

P.S: These are just my personal opinions. My intention is to just tell you all that you can do things which are within your control to protect yourself, not what others should do. You can choose to drive at high speed, but you cannot choose that you should not have an accident!
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Old 25th June 2013, 08:59   #52
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by sudeepg View Post
Both of you are asking for a perfect world
Well I, at least, was talking about the 'rest' of the world and not a 'perfect' world. Anywhere else except 3rd world countries like India, and fuel quality and consumer rights are very well protected in a similar situation. Not so much in India and that is what we are talking about, that we too should be moving towards that. Once the Government has allowed such EU companies to sell their so called 'perfect' world vehicles in India, onus also falls on them to provide infrastructure for them.

Personally, I know we are not reaching there any time soon and take necessary precautions with these EU vehicles, but hope... alas is all we can do!

Last edited by dkaile : 25th June 2013 at 09:00.
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Old 25th June 2013, 09:18   #53
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by dkaile View Post
Ha ha. That made me laugh especially since its posted on a A6 thread! I was wondering since when does the profile of a A6 buyer compare with the one buying a Bolero! I would luv to see a Bolero and A6 standing in someone's garage side by side. And I don't think its so easy to clean the fuel tank every 10k kms as FlatOut seems to suggest. And fitting up-country vehicle gear into a A6!! Now that's a thought... But then this is TeamBHP where Normal is boring.
Its not about the owner profile - its about our screwed up system where fuel pump owners can adulterate with impunity. No wonder so many Indians want such simple vehicles - that was my point. If I was someone living in rural areas with suspect fuel supply, I would be deeply suspicious of the fancy new age engines. In fact, when i started looking for a car initially in 2007, the accent CRDi was off my list simply because of the whole story about its fuel pump etc (which is something i independently verified with a friend in bosch).

But yes, I'm in no way insinuating that both vehicle buyers are similar in any way!
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Old 25th June 2013, 15:55   #54
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

I find it strange that the Insurance company is not willing to cover it. A customer has gone to a fuel pump to fill up diesel like any other car. How on earth could he have known the fuel is adulterated? If the pump fills up their adulterated fuel into his car, is n't that an accident?
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Old 25th June 2013, 16:22   #55
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

If the fuel was mixed with water and has resulted in a hydro static lock (hydrolock) then the insurance covers it.

I remember because it happened to my uncle's Ford Fiesta but he did not get insurance because of 2 reasons.

1. After a hydrolock, you are not supposed to try and crank the engine. Forcefully trying to crank a hydrolocked engine results in irreversible damage to the engine namely the pistons and con rods.
2. Insurance should be informed within 24 hours and before the garage starts opening the engine.

If any of the 2 above are not done, insurance will not honour the claim.
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Old 25th June 2013, 17:36   #56
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
If the fuel was mixed with water and has resulted in a hydro static lock (hydrolock) then the insurance covers it. .
When diesel has high content of water, and it reaches the engine, much before hydro static lock, the injector nozzles will burst, and the common rail system will be totally kaput.
Due to this many Common rail cars have a "water separator". Not all have them. There is a good chance that Audi does not have them. In that case if there is high content of water in fuel, your common rail is toast.
Here is a link
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conten...eparators.html

If the vehicle is equipped with a water separator, then the user manual will show the locations of the drain plug to get rid of water. Not all vehicles have this water separator.
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Old 25th June 2013, 17:42   #57
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
60l? No way. If its a 2.0tdi then its around 38. Also this engine isn't any exotic engine. Like I mentioned its used in everything from the Laura onwards. A fuel system on a 15l car cannot be 4l.

Petrol being filled instead of diesel, that's one of my thoughts. But then I don't know where the adulterated bit is coming from.
The A6 2.0 TDI in Bangalore is about 55 lakhs on road. Mumbai/Pune road tax may be a bit cheaper but surely still must cost about 50 lakhs on road!

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Whenever storage of diesel is not proper(faulty tanks) leading to contamination by dirt and water, it is going to affect the engine.

In Tata safari there is a sedimeter to remove water from diesel, so that no water gets passed on. You can remove the stopper at bottom to remove accumulated water.
When sedimeter is near full, a warning lamp lights up. If you ignore this, water will go forward into the system, and this can cause injector damage, and then you are looking at serious repairs.
I think the case here is water adultration. Diesel fuel can hold large amounts of water, and many pumps do not have proper isolation mechanisms in their tanks. So during rainy season large amount of water will get mixed into diesel, and then you are in trouble.
Does Audi have a sedimeter and a warning light to indicate presence of water. Audi owners, please comment?
I will look this up the manual!
If it doesn't have this, Audi should introduce a 'bad fuel' package just the way the German's have introduced the 'rough road' package on their cars!
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Old 25th June 2013, 17:58   #58
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by viper_711 View Post
The A6 2.0 TDI in Bangalore is about 55 lakhs on road. Mumbai/Pune road tax may be a bit cheaper but surely still must cost about 50 lakhs on road!


I will look this up the manual!
If it doesn't have this, Audi should introduce a 'bad fuel' package just the way the German's have introduced the 'rough road' package on their cars!
In Bombay its cheaper than Bangalore, but its not 50l on road. Its less. In fact I said 38 because someone I know got one at 38 (registering outside Mumbai so without Octroi costs, about 3l saved here), I think it may have been the business edition. But this was when Audi was just throwing discounts away at everyone. Of course it may be more now, but not by too much. My mistake for not mentioning the discount bit earlier.

Checking some BMW vin numbers it shows something called preparation for poor quality fuel or something like that. Maybe the others should do something similar too.
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Old 25th June 2013, 21:18   #59
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by veyron_head View Post
I find it strange that the Insurance company is not willing to cover it. A customer has gone to a fuel pump to fill up diesel like any other car. How on earth could he have known the fuel is adulterated? If the pump fills up their adulterated fuel into his car, is n't that an accident?
An insurance company would ask for a sample of fuel from the 'offending' garage, surely, then suggest the car owner pursue the matter with them if the fuel was found to be wet and dirty.

As I suggested in my post above, it is quite likely that the accumulation of water and sediment was cumulative and that on this occasion, possibly having run the tank a little lower than usual, the process of filling the tank stirred up the muck at the bottom which remained in suspension when the engine was started.

If this is the case (which it sounds to be, given there is no mention of anyone else having broken down), the insurers could legitimately argue that the car's service schedule (and/or fuel system) is not adequate for use in India. In that case, it would techniclly be the supplying and servicing garage's problem - although persuading them to acknowledge this wouldn't be easy. Are lots of other Audis/VWs/Skodas suffering the same problem?

The real problems will come with the third and fourth owners of such cars, who will not be able to afford to replace such expensive parts. As always, simple is best - it's a shame that quality makers don't make simple cars anymore. My old Audi A6 2.5TDi from the mid-90s is as simple and tough as they come - it even runs totally reliably on 90% waste vegetable oil.

Service intervals come at ridiculously long intervals nowadays, it is crazy - brake pads are replaced before they are even half worn, etc. Also there is a potential safety issue not servicing a car every 6 months.

I would install my own tank at home, complete with a large 5 micron filter in the delivery pipe. Any water would drop to the bottom of the tank, from where it could be drained off. If you used just one supplier and the levels of water and dirt were significant, you could refuse to pay for whatever percentage of the fuel was water/dirt.

Last edited by FlatOut : 25th June 2013 at 21:26.
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Old 25th June 2013, 21:42   #60
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Default Re: Adulterated diesel costs Audi A6 owner Rs 4.11 lakhs

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Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post

1. But isn't a filter supposed to stop these impurities ?
2. I find it hard to believe that someone would adulterate fuel with mud and water !!!

3. Kerosene is a common adulterant for diesel.

4. 4.11 lakhs is an exorbitant price for fixing the car. In this case, Audi is getting defamed itself for being such an expensive to maintain car. lol
1. Exactly. The very purpose of the filter is that, along with a water sedimenter in the fuel system. The CRDi engines rely on a very good filtration system prior to being pumped to a high pressure.

2. +1 to that observation. In all my travel (including Bangalore to Hasimara in North Bengal in 2002, Euro 1 days), I have never seen fuel like that !

3. Kerosene is not an adulterant actually. Winter Diesel comprises refined kerosene mixed in a prescribed proportion depending on freezing temp of that zone. The TATA manuals also say so, giving the proportions.

4. Well, If I could buy an audi for say 40 lakhs, what is 4.11 lakhs for a complex repair ? I bet the Doc would earn that amount in less than a week from his hospital ! I'm sure a fuel filter itself would cost a bomb and they would have simply advised replacement of the entire fuel system components. Why else that cost ? The components would be imported, so add extra cost + excise + import duties + Audi's expensive service to top up !
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