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What happens if you put Diesel Exhaust Fluid in your diesel tank?

  
  
  
  
  

 

DEF equipment Houston TexasWhat happens if I pour Diesel Exhaust Fluid inside my diesel tank? This is by far the no.1 question online; throughout all multi media channels.

We have been researching this question for sometime but need your help in filling in the blanks, the point of this entry is to help those of you searching for answers like this.  

So, first of all; Diesel Exhaust Fluid has the traditional blue cap on the tank.  Diesel also has a colored coded cap and it is typically green.  With that being said, we are unclear as to where the problem may be happening; at the retail pumps or private locations?  If you have some input, let us know here so that we can update this entry.

Ok, let's jump in. Keep this in mind, the dispensing nozzle for Diesel Exhaust Fluid is smaller than the diesel dispensing nozzle.  So, what may be happening is that the DEF dispensing nozzle is finding its way into the diesel tank.  Of course, you cannot take the diesel nozzle and put it inside the DEF tank because of the larger diameter.  Keep this in mind. 

We found ourselves in different forums adding to this ongoing conversation and here is what we have found thus far.   The main problem lies with the corrosiveness of DEF.  So if we assume that there is a misfill of DEF into the diesel fuel tank, the problems that you will encounter may occur as DEF (although classifed as a non hazardous chemical) is corrosive to some metals. This of course leads will have a negative effect inside the compelte fuel system.  Again, keep in mind that the material's used inside the fuel lines may not be compatible with Diesel Exhaust Fluid.

 

DEF houston texasWe are aware of engine failure reports, but again no hard informatio on the step by step pricess to what to do next.   The next logical place to look for data is into the AdBlue market in Europe; hoping to have a little more history and comments in those forums.  We also continue to look for OEM data to be availabe, if you know more information please post here. 

The very nature of this technology being new to the USA is what is sending people searching for answers.  So again, the biggest concern seems to be corrosiveness inside the fuel supply/engine. We do not claim to have clear answers but we will take a stab at trying to guide those that have unfortunately been hit with this dilema.

We all know that Diesel Exhaust Fluid is 67.5% water, and 32.5% Urea. Since water is the bulk of the composition on DEF; the areas of concern may be the following: (aside from the corrosivenes we have already highlighted).

 

 

1. Injectors may need to be removed / cleaned propertly.

2. All fuel lines, fuel pump, must be propertly flushed and cleaned.

3. Fuel filters must be serviced.

4. Remove the water fuel separator and install new one.

5. Remove and flush all existing fuel from the tank and inspect the tank.

6. Inspect fuel line assembly, fuel vent fittings; and hoses.

7. Address probem right away.  DEF sitting in the engine will cause much more damage due to the corrosiveneness of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

Common sense tells me not to start the engine, and drain the tank immediately to avoid any further contamination. 

 

Transliquid technologiesOk ladies and gents, chime in and let's build a good white paper to help our young industry.

 

Thank you for reading our Blog.

Transliquid Technologies - not only thinking different, but doing business different.  Call us today at 281-377-5845

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information

Comments

Good blog guys, there is data out there for the procedures in case of an accidental fill, it is not pretty. This is the main reason for the magnetic misfill option in nozzles for some companies suffering losses in time and labor. Good work!!!
Posted @ Monday, March 12, 2012 3:38 PM by Albert Febre
Albert- any information on data would be great to share here. The amount of questions on this topic is incredible. 
 
//A.
Posted @ Monday, March 12, 2012 4:10 PM by Andy Cuadra
My wife pulled up to a pump at a self service gas station. The pump said DEF, she had no idea what that was. She put .4 gallon in her gasoline tank then the pump shut off. She then realized that it was not gasoline and moved to the proper pump and put 11 gal of gasoline in on top of it. Then she drove the car home a distance of about 5 miles. So now what?
Posted @ Sunday, August 19, 2012 3:16 PM by John Koerner
John - we fired an email directly to you but follow these two 
Initial steps. 
 
John- I received your comment/question through our blog. 
 
1. Please shut off your engine 
2. Empty all fuel from the tank 
 
DEF is highly corrosive because of its properties on all metal engine parts including fuel lines. Compatible with stainless thou. 
 
Call us if you have any further questions.  
Posted @ Sunday, August 19, 2012 3:46 PM by Andy C
very good post, and very important. Never put DEF in your fuel tank!
Posted @ Tuesday, September 11, 2012 2:44 PM by reggie
Good point Albert. There are procedures out there to handle the situation should DEF accidentally get into your fuel tank. It is indeed quite a process, and one hopefully that very few will encounter.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 02, 2012 11:27 AM by tyler
We posted a good conversation on this on the Diesel Exhaust Fluid Group within Linked in. Join the conversation. 
Posted @ Tuesday, October 02, 2012 12:05 PM by Andy Cuadra
I poured 2.5 gallons into my diesel tank after working 16 hours on night shift and didnt realize it until i woke up about 7 hours later so i had actually driven about 10 miles with it in my tank. when i realized i called a heavy equipment diesel mechanic since Ford told me $10,000. they came and towed my vehicle, drained the entire fuel system, flushed it with additives,replaced all filters, and put more additve in. took about 3 hours and cost me about $600. he recommended i add DieselKleen every time i topped off my tank for a while just as an added precaution for a few tank fulls. my truck is fine. one occassion just after being serviced for all the above i had to drain the water seperator but havent had that problem anymore.
Posted @ Friday, October 12, 2012 8:55 PM by mary
Completed the repair of a new 6.7L Cummins engine that had a unknown amount of DEF added to the FUEL Tank by mistake. Failure of the Fuel Injection system followed, Exchange engine was not available, total cost of repair was just under 30,000.00 with parts, labor and sales tax. 
No "Additive" to your fuel tank will protect you from this potential failure. Only good training, tank lock off devices likewww.opw-fc.com offers to prevent miss-filling and a whole lotta luck. 
 
pic's available, email if you are interested.
Posted @ Saturday, February 09, 2013 7:28 AM by Bud
My Yukon XL had run low on gas and cut off at work. I went into a storage and found a gas can filled with Wat I thought was gasoline about 2 gallons. I came to find out it was Def I did not drive the truck anywhere but did crankvit multiple times not knowing Wat I put in the tank so I went n got 2 more gallons of clean gasoline and added it in ...Wat problems am I looking at? The truck was towed to a shop
Posted @ Friday, February 22, 2013 6:37 PM by jerry
i poured .5 gal of def into fuel put upper cylinder lubricant and drove to store filled w diesel , i drove home and water in fuel light came on i bled water seperator 12 times and filled truck up with fuel 1.5 times truck got low on fuel after driving about 450 miles it shut down on interstate at night 3 mile from exit w diesel i got a crew of mine to bring me .5 gal of fuel it would start fine but wouldnt accelerate properly they followed me to truck stop they told me they saw fuel dripping under truck while following me . return line blew off . i left truck at truck stop w 44000 miles . called ford dealer and they towed and said they put fuel line back on it twice and it kept blowing off while test driving . he was to order a new line due to barbed line being stripped friday ,new return line in mail on mon. and they were to install mon morn , instead i got a phone call saying ford factory told them to call me and let me know i had poured def into system and 12 g for new complete fuel system to call my insurance and notify . i told them to ay the damn payments then . 2 week later i called and asked them to put the damn return line on it and call me they put return line and a injector and called me 2 weeks later and said they couldnt get it to fire . i told them put gas on a wrag and put in breather to fire it . they claim to unsafe for me to bring them 2500.00 they would roll it out of ford shop and i could have it towed away . going to deal with them in am again but i think this is the stupidest and most costly ignorant thing ford or any automanufacturer could ever come up with . to put a def fill whole by the fuel fill whole knowing it will cause such sever damage . bs . totaled my brand new diesel engine and warranty according to them . im so gd mad .
Posted @ Friday, March 01, 2013 9:25 PM by Kyle Stover
a Mack 2013 GU-713 We had appx.2 cups added, they ran the Truck couple days, realized the problem, towed to dealer, they drained fuel tanks,cleaned out lines,cleaned fueltanks,replcd 6 injectors,replcd back flow valve, blew all fuel from engine head, drained coolant, removed valve train, adjusted all valves, took racor filter apart and cleaned it..Cleaned out DEF filter Total cost $6,068
Posted @ Friday, March 08, 2013 11:10 AM by Emily
I mistakenly put a small amount of diesel exhaust fluid in my 2011 F-350. They are repairing it for a cost of $11,429. I feel Ford has made a serious design error in putting the DIF fill cap right next to the fuel fill cap. I'm considering getting an attorney involved to see if there is any legal ramifications. Let me hear from you.
Posted @ Sunday, March 17, 2013 12:02 PM by Curt Danielson
Brillant placing def next to diesel on my trucks. No idea how to deal with accidental mixings. $1, 000+ for towing , flushing, downtime.Every single time! Assuming of course drivers admit to mistake and engine is no ruined completly. What a nightmare...
Posted @ Friday, April 05, 2013 12:36 AM by mike
Def poor quallity on my 2011 gmc. I buy the blue def from napa,O'Rileys,auto zone,ect.. Now I'm looking at a 1,500.00 bill to the system being contaminated. Is the BLue def the same as what GM sells. If the specs are the same shouldn't it be covered under warrenty? If not what should I do ref this problem. Oh I had 4,000 mi on the def tank before the Def poor quallity light came on, than the engine light came on.
Posted @ Sunday, April 07, 2013 5:22 PM by Jerry
My wife put the Fluid into gas tank, drove a few miles and stopped. We towed the truck to Ford who tells us $12,000 to fix the issue due to all the parts like fuel lines etc that have to be replaced. Auto Insurance doesn't cover and states its improper maintaining of truck, so we are facing a major expense. Ford's policy states that if the issue is not fixed as they outline they will void the maintenance policy for drive train!
Posted @ Friday, June 07, 2013 1:30 PM by MikeA
I PERSONALLY IN A MAD DASH HURRY A FEW DAYS AGO HAD A CONTAINER OF DEF AT HOME AND WAS PREPAIRING FOR AN OUT OF TOWN TRIP. I REALIZE THAT BOTH DIESEL AND DEF CAPS ARE NEXT TO EACH OTHER BUT HOWEVER OUT OF HABIT FILLING UP WITH DIESEL TWICE A WEEK I OPENED THE DIESEL LID AND POURED ABOUT HALF A CUP IN THE DIESE; TANK BEFORE REALIZING WHAT I WAS DOING. I THEN POURED THE REAMINNG CONTAINER IN THE PROPER FILL TANK. A FEW HOURS LATER AFTER DRIVING APPROX. 30 MILES THE WATER IN FUEL LIGHT CAME ON AND THE ENGINE DIED! I WAS TOWED TO THE DEALERSHIP AND THE TRUCK REMAINS THERE NOW! 
MY QUESTION TO THE TRUCK MANUFACTERS IS THIS!!!! THERE ARE SEVERAL LIQUID FILL CONTAINERS ON THIS VEHICLE! BRAKE FLUID, COOLANT FLUID, OIL FILL, TRANSMISSION FLUID NOT TO MENTION OTHERS!!! WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU PUT THE OPENING FOR DEF FLUID WHICH IS SO CORROSSIVE TO THE ENGINE 2 INNCHES AWAY FROM THE DIESEL FILL CAP??? ANYONE COULD MAKE THIS MISTAKE IN A HURRY NOT THINKING OF WHAT WAS HAPENING JUST OUT OF HABIT!!! IT WOULD BE LESS LIKLEY TO POUR THE DEF FLUID IN IT'S PROPER PLACE IF IT WERE LOCATED IN ANOTHER LOCATION LIKE NDER THE HOOD! THIS IS NEW TO DIESEL OWNERS THAT THERE ARE NOE 2 SPOUTS IN THE SAME TRAP DOO ON THESE NEWER VEHICLES AND ANYONE ON ANY GIVEN DAY COULD MAKE THIS MISTAKE! I BLAME THE MANUFACTOR FOR THIS INCONVIENCE! 
I WILL UPDATE ON THE COST AND AFFECTS OF WHAT THIS HAS CAUSED AS FAR AN ENGINE DAMAGE!!! AND JUST FOR YOUR INFORMATION, SOME AUTO COMPRENSIVE INSURANCE POLICIES COVER THE DAMAGES! LOOKS LIKE MINE WILL!
Posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:02 PM by DWAIN
I put 18 litres of DEF on top of 1100 litres of diesel fuel in my 2013 Volvo. Realizing my mistake I had my supervisor call a mechanic before I started the motor. He said it may run rough for a while but will not damage the motor. How wrong he was. After driving five or ten minutes the picture of a fuel pump and a check light came on my dash. I turned of the engine and my supervisor called Volvo who said to tow the truck to the dealer. The repair bill was just shy of $10,000. Yes, that much. They changed injectors, fuel pump, gaskets and many other parts. I felt like such an idiot. Thankfully I work for an understanding company.  
Manufactures need to address this problem because I did hear of an other case where the driver continued to drive his truck after putting DEF into his fuel and the result was an engine failure.
Posted @ Friday, August 02, 2013 7:20 PM by Rob
SOMEONE WANTED TO KNOW HOW DEF COULD DAMAGE ANY ENGINE??? READ THE BOX IT IS 67.5% WATER!!! THAT WOULD DAMAGE ANY TYPE OF SYSTEM!!! MY TRUCK IS UNDERGOING A 12,000.00 FUEL SYSTEM CHANGE AS WE SPEAK! FORTUNATILY I FOUND OUT MY AUTO COLLISSION INSURANCE DOES COVER LESS 100.00 DEDUCTABLE!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 06, 2013 7:58 PM by DWAIN
I have a 2011 F250 diesel Lariat fx4. I accidently added 2-3 gallons of DEF on top of my already full diesel tank. I didnt start the vehicle and immediately called the dealer. The dealer told me just run it and I will be fine. They said to just replace the filters once or even twice. ran through the tank draining the seperator every 15 miles. left for a weekend trip, came back and changed the filters. 15 miles later the truck lost power and was broke down. A return line was blowing off. Warranty clearly not valid as I explained what I did, but I figured the dealer would do the right thing and accept liability since it was their instruction that caused the real damage. My error would have left me drainign the tank, but their poor advice cost me an entire fuel system. The wont take responsibility even though the service worker and tech admit to telling me to run it. They said they cant verify I didnt run it. They also say to file an insurance claim. I am having the vehicle towed from their dealer, I filed a complaint with Ford coporate, and not sure what I am going to do. I agree with others that the design was a HUGE mistake on Fords part. They are well aware of the problem and have an automatic denial of warranty and course of action in place. Fords design let us down and this dealer let me down even further. Once I get a reply from the complaint, I will be looking into legal action. Not letting this go and on principal it shouldnt be a claim on my insurance. maybe theirs....
Posted @ Friday, August 16, 2013 5:30 PM by ed morad
ED, did the same thing! my vehicle comprensive insurance paid for mine less the 100 dollar deductible!!! Traded for a gas 6.2!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 20, 2013 2:02 PM by Dwain
I put 2.5 gal of DEF but did not start the truck, had it towed to Ford I guess I better call them in the morning and ask them to not do anything but drain the tank, I don't think the insurance will cover it need to find someone who will work on it for less than FORD
Posted @ Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:22 PM by dale
DEF ruins all rubber parts by softening the part. I never started after adding the DEF but the tow truck driver placed the key in accessory. You can change the shift lever from park to neutral to to be towed. The accessory will start the flow of fuel and most other electronic components. $8,700 - $9,000 in shop now. AAA paid all except deductible, I love my insurance company.  
P.S. If you should ever make this mistake, remove your battery cables immediately, pull key out of ignation this will allow the mix to stay in the tank and not ruin everything from tank to and including injectors. Your warranty will remain effective as long as the proper procedures are followed in cleaning your mistake.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:20 PM by Gerald Bomay
What will happen if someone fills a def tank up with diesel fuel? Is it possible to then drive that truck for at least a 176 miles the next day. with no issues. No warning lights. know sign of anything.
Posted @ Monday, October 21, 2013 2:59 PM by Katrina Ruffin
Katrina-  
 
We recommend not driving your vehicle if this happens, and call your dealership for further instructions.
Posted @ Monday, October 21, 2013 4:06 PM by Melissa Rey
We are facing a $2400 repair bill for diesel fuel in the DEF tank. Can anyone advise if this is an issue which may be covered by auto insurance? Other suggestions?
Posted @ Friday, November 08, 2013 11:26 AM by Kristel Acre
I am a mechanic for a diesel shop but had to turn away a job because i did not know enough about this problem to help. After reading some of these blogs, i know what DEF will do to your system, i can only imagine what diesel will do to the DEF system. So is their any info on what must be done in this case?
Posted @ Saturday, November 16, 2013 5:47 PM by Kevin
I have a freightliner and just stopped for fuel. By accident I mistakenly put about 1 gallon of Diesel into my Def tank. I cranked the truck and pulled across the street for food before I realized what I had done. Once I realized I immediately turned the truck off and now I amwwaiting for roadside assistance to get hear and drain the tank. Any one have any input on whether this will cause any damage to my truck or engine?  
 
Justin
Posted @ Sunday, December 22, 2013 1:14 PM by justin
well I was lucky that when I put DEF in the diesel tank I realized it and didn't start the truck. took it in the shop and it cost me over 600 dollars. The Ford dealer said the highest damage they had heard of for this mistake was 40,000 dollars. def is mainly uric acid and water. both of these are corosive to an engine. what ever it touches in the engine it messed up.
Posted @ Monday, December 30, 2013 1:29 PM by Dale
ford dealer said that insurance pays for it but mine was under my deductable 
Posted @ Monday, December 30, 2013 1:33 PM by Dale
I would really like to know what genius put the DEF Fill right next to the Diesel. I made the same mistake, in a hurry and not paying attention. I am not sure how much DEF went into the fuel tank, it didn't even register on the gauge of the pump when I realized what I had done but I know I got some in it because the warning light (gas pump with water) came on. I drove the truck home 18 miles. I have called my friend a diesel mechanic to come help drain the full tank. I wonder if we all can file a class action lawsuit against these manufacturers?
Posted @ Monday, January 20, 2014 8:30 PM by Tiffany
So i just bought a cube of DEF and a bottle of fuel stabilizer. I put the funnel into the diesel the tank of my brand new 2013 Cummins and added the stabilizer. While the funnel was in there, I was staring across the street staring at Subway and thinking about how hungry I was. In my inattentive stupidity, i proceeded to dump the entire case of DEF down the wrong tube. I immediately recognized my mistake and called the Dodge dealership. They recommended I drop the tank, drain it and wipe it dry, drain the fuel filter, and clean it (i used brake cleaner), and change the fuel water separator. I had it towed home. I did not start the engine. The tow truck driver turned the key too far by mistake trying to put it in neutral but it just cranked, didn't actually start. I pulled it apart, drained/cleaned it, and put a new fuel/water separator on, put it back together, and so far its running just fine after about ten miles. I just added some fuel stabilizer to help with any water issues. I think it will be just fine and no check engine lights have come on (yet). I'll post back if that changes. DO NOT START THE MOTOR AND DO ALL OF THE ABOVE AND YOU SHOULD BE JUST FINE!
Posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:44 PM by Idiot123
How is it that just turning on the key can cause that much damage ? 
I agree there needs to be a class action suite filed  
We have had this with two of our trucks
Posted @ Tuesday, April 01, 2014 9:07 PM by Gary
I put about a gal in my fuel before I new I did it drove about a mile to a shop to pull the fuel tank. Is there anything I can do to clean the system ? How much damage is done? 
Posted @ Tuesday, April 01, 2014 9:12 PM by Gary
Please contact your dealer, they will be able to asses what damage has been done.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:54 PM by Melissa Rey
cost me 16,000 total to get the truck corrected. 2 gallons, went out of town for a week, then drove for 1 week before it broke down. turning the key pumps the def through the whole fuel system, which is extravegant on a diesel. very expensive. all fuel parts damaged and replaced with new. 
 
sign me up for the class action suit.
Posted @ Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:42 AM by ed
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