SUNDAY 5 AUGUST – SUNDAY 12 AUGUST
After quite a lot of consultation and cogitating, John decided to drain the fuel tank himself. For that, read, with me helping! He didn’t want to have to try to get Bus up on a tilt truck again, which from where it was, would probably require the engine to be run.
We managed to roll Bus a little way up onto the new wheel chocks and thus create enough space for John to just be able to squeeze under. He went and bought seven twenty litre plastic jerry cans.
The fuel tank was drained, in stops and starts, into a large, low plastic dish. John would push that out from under Bus and it was my job to transfer the fuel from that into the jerry cans. It took ages, but we eventually had four jerry cans filled with what came from Bus, so estimated there was still about 15 litres left in the tank. Being on a sideways slope, no more would drain out. The tank had still been maybe a third full when we had arrived at the servo, so what we’d drained, and what was left, was not pure petrol.
The next stage saw John drive his car to our servo and buy three jerry cans of diesel, which was then transferred, via a funnel, into bus fuel tank. So now it had a mix of mostly diesel back in the tank.
John calculated that it would now be safe to start and drive Bus into its parking slot.
It had been a long and somewhat messy job. We’d spilt a bit of fuel in the process and had no choice but to hose it down the drains.
I’d worn gumboots to try to protect me from fuel splashes, but at one stage some was slopped onto my vulnerable lower leg/ankle area. By that night it was really sore.
As soon as Bus was parked in its proper place, we plugged the external power back in. I had noticed that the fridge had not been starting up and thought the batteries may have been low, there not being much sun. But I was not familiar with the workings of this 12/240 volt fridge, having only previously had a 12 volt one. Managed to find, download and print the manual for that model, from the internet – was quite proud of myself! Fridge worked well on 240volt. In the process of all this investigation, discovered that fridge was automatically switched between 240 and 12 volt, depending on which was available.
The fuel burn on lower leg turned into a small ulcer, which promptly became infected. Back on the medical merry-go-round! Fortunately, it was quickly treated from the beginning, and seemed to heal up again within a few days.
Advice John garnered from various “experts” made him decide that the Bus fuel tank should be drained a second time, to further dilute whatever petrol remained in there. So off he went to Bunnings and bought yet another four jerry cans. Given the state of my leg, he enlisted M’s help for the second go-round. It was much easier with Bus in the parking bay. This time, he put in about 50 litres of diesel via jerry cans, then drove Bus to the servo to finish refilling it. As he came back down our road, the engine sounded fine, so, hopefully, all would now be well.
The consensus from those who knew was that a little bit of petrol in the diesel would not be harmful.
A very surprising aspect of this whole affair was discovering that this sort of incident is really common! Similar tales of woe came from everywhere. In fact, we were amongst the few lucky ones who discovered the error before driving away. We heard so many stories of people who had blown up their diesel engines by doing just that. Expensive mistake – we got off lightly.
From then on, every time we stopped for fuel, I double checked that John was using the right fuel! It was probably fortunate that his new Passat was also a diesel – after all those years of putting diesel into Truck, I am not sure he would have adapted seamlessly to a petrol car!
Now – what on earth were we going to do with eight large jerry cans of mixed fuel? They sat for months in the shed, before someone from a sawmill took the second batch, believing that his machinery would run on that diesel-petrol combination. Eventually, someone John knew from bowls took the batch that was petrol-heavy, saying something about rabbit burrows and extermination. On both legal and environmental grounds, John did not seek further details!
During this week at home, our electrician friend installed an external 240 volt power point on Bus, such as the really useful one we’d had on the van.
I also visited our Vet and obtained some homeopathic spray and drops that we hoped would calm the dog while travelling in the Bus.