Record Fuel Consumption and the danger in making assumptions

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 18, 2011 at 08:42
ThreadID: 127619 Views:1671 Replies:1 FollowUps:0
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We were travelling to the Boulia Camel races and refuelled at Bourke.
Something unusual happened while we were filling the long-range tank,
the fuel gauge instead of going up, went down, & finished up registering a negative amount. However as we were travelling, it resumed normal readings.

Assumption (1) Faulty fuel gauge, or damaged fuel float in the tank.

From Bourke to Eulo via Hungerford is about 400km on outback dirt.

When unhooking the van at Quilpie, I noticed diesel on the safety chains, & a drip from the long-range fuel tank.

Assumption (2) We had trouble with the original long range tank which had a split weld at the top of the tank. This took a while to identify as it only leaked when absolutely full and was eventually replaced under warranty.
I assumed this had happened again & needed a mechanic to jack the truck up & have a look. However, the only mechanic in Quilpie was on a training course & wouldn’t return for two days.

The leak in the original tank only occurred when it was full. I decided to fill up & check the fuel consumption to see if we had a major leak. This worked out at around 22 litres/100km, & with some headwinds appeared to be about normal. Nothing had leaked over night, so we headed off for Windorah.

A truckie called me on the UHF radio & said we had something leaking out the back of the caravan. I told him I had a split weld in the fuel tank & we were OK. We pulled up for morning tea after about 120km & noticed that diesel was dripping from the tank.

Assumption (2) I assumed that the bumpy bitumen had sloshed the diesel around & out the ‘damaged’ weld.
The drip had stopped when we were ready to take off again.

Another 130km to Windorah, & on the way we noticed the fuel gauge dropping rather fast.

Assumption (1) The fuel gauge had chucked a wobbly at Bourke when we filled up & registered a minus empty instead of full, so I assumed that the gauge was playing up again.

Tojo was also running rough as we approached Windorah so I asumed another problem. When we stopped in front of the service station, we dropped a pool of diesel, which was coming up front from the engine.

The service station (only one in town) doesn’t have a mechanic, but referred to a guy who may be able to help.
We were lucky this time as he is the mailman, & had just arrived home from his 400km mail run.
He quickly found the culprit as one of the recently replaced fuel injector lines on the engine has come unscrewed & fallen off. These injector lines had been replaced as part of our 150,000km service.

We filled up again at Windorah,& took 160 litres for a distance of 253km from Quilpie, or:

63litres/100km or 1.56km/litre.

The message here is DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS Check all possibilities. Fortunately we made it to Windorah, but this could have easily have stranded us in the 'never-never'.

Epilogue.
All has been OK since, & we arrived at Boulia for the Camel races that weren't.
100litres of diesel makes a mess of Tojo and the Bushtracker.
We were lucky on two issues:
1) there is a free truck wash facility in Windorah.
2) Our mailman mechanic gave us a squirter bottle full of this magic blue liquid that he uses to clean the blood of his ute after he has been kangaroo shooting. It dissolves grease, & any thing else that shouldn't be there.
Also I was able to purchase a bottle of CT40 truck wash from the servo.

While Pat got lunch, I was able to give Tojo & the Van a tub, & all looked beautiful again.

I would like to know what this light blue liquid is. I think the name starts with a "C" but I don't know. I haven't seen it in my travels so far, but I would like to track it down, as it is the best degreaser I've come across.


Neil



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Reply By: Traveling Macs - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 19:14

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 19:14
Aside from your fuel leak keep an eye on your fuel filter. We had a long range fuel tank installed last year and unfortunately the tank had not been flushed out properly. We ended up with a considerable amount of metal swarth in the fuel filter, at first I thought it was crook fuel when the light came on half way between Bedourie and Windorah.
I had to belled the filter a number of times between there and our home on the Coast. Of course neither the installer or the manufacturer was prepared to accept any responsibility each blaming the other. The only thing I was quizzed about was how I kept the dust out of my 200 series on dirt roads. Ahh thats life
AnswerID: 583117

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