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S350CDi Blue Efficiency - 2010 - Car destroyed by fire due to wrong fuel

Discussion in 'Engine, Drivetrain, Fuel and Exhaust' started by CTU, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. CTU

    CTU New Member

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    I was the owner of a S350CDi Blue Efficiency, registered in 2010.

    I accidently filled the tank with petrol instead of diesel one day.
    Yes, I know this was a stupid thing to do but I know understand that it is quite a common occurence among motorists.

    I did not realise what I had done and proceeded to drive the car. After about a mile the car jerked and white smoke started to come out from under the bonnet of the car. The car was driving fine until this point and there were no warning lights on dashboard.

    I immediately pulled over, at which point a pedestrian came running over and said that the car was on fire. The car was subsquently destroyed by the fire. The fire brigade attended and when I told them what happened, they said they had never heard of a similar story.

    The car was picked up by Mercedes and they refused to investigate the cause as I had told them about the incorrect fuel. They referred me to the handbook which states that you run the risk of fire if incorrect fuel is used. I asked Mercedes whether this has happened to any other S Class or in fact any other Mercedes and they refused to answer, stating that they have to "Protect their position".

    I have spoken with a number of car specialist and mechanics and no-one has heard of this happening to any car before. Most people believe that there must have been a fault with the car.

    Has anybody experienced something similar and do they recommend that I take Mercedes further on this matter?
     
  2. whitenemesis

    whitenemesis Senior Member

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    I think you have answered your own question by entitling your thread " Car destroyed by fire due to wrong fuel".....
     
  3. robparker

    robparker Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    Yea, weather or not it has happened to anyone else, I cant see how Mercedes could be held accountable for it.
     
  4. Xtractorfan

    Xtractorfan Senior Member

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    It will be very, very hard to make a case against MB as you did fill with petrol instead of diesel..I've never heard of cars going on fire before with a wrong fill of fuel.
    I would assume the reason your car went on fire was possibly due to the engine regenerating, this is where extra fuel is pumped into system to purge the exhaust DPF.
    The only case against MB is that on such a car as the S class they haven't fitted an anti wrong fuel device, but that does not make for a case against them.
    I think you have been unlucky, and hopefully the insurance will reimburse you.
     
  5. tode

    tode Senior Member

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    While it is true that mis-fuelling happens quite regularly, the results are not usually so radical.

    It is possible that there was a minor fault somewhere: a small leak and/or electrical problem, but since the engine compartment is now carbonised (I would imagine), you would have zero chance of proving it.

    And, at the end of the day, the manual did warn you.

    Sorry to hear about it.
     
  6. OlafMaxwell

    OlafMaxwell Senior Member

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    I cannot see that the answer is as simple as that.

    Wrong refuelling is a common enough occurrence and car manufacturers rightly cover themselves against the mechanical damage that may result from that. Most of us will also accept that as a consequence as a consequence of our mistake.

    What is not acceptable is that such an innocent mistake can result in a life threatening situation. That is a boundary that cannot be crossed. Otherwise we are all driving around in time bombs.

    Remember the cartoon where the man walked into the back of the Ford Pinto and the car explodes in a ball of fire? Mercedes accidentally fills up with petrol instead of diesel, fires up and the whole gas station goes up in a ball of flame. Remember the runaway Volvos?

    Incorrect refuelling happens often, I have had it done to me. More than once I have found myself about to fill my motorcycle with diesel. I have often helped out people who have put in wrong fuel. It happens often enough for it to be a safety issue not to be ignored. The frequency of occurrence is high enough for it to be a matter to be addressed rather than hiding behind small print. Car hire companies would need to address the issue.

    Are you happy enough to let your children or grandchildren off in a car that if someone accidentally misfuels could become a ball of fire???? How many people do you know who have done this at some point in their lives?

    Mercedes are back living in the arrogant dark ages if they fail to investigate this. This S class was inside its warranty period or just out of it presumably having been checked by Mercedes so I for one do not see that it can really argued that there was a defect in the car due to the owners neglect.

    Watch what happens if that happens in US and someone is burnt alive in it. Fiat had a number of cases of fires and buried their heads. One of them was in Ireland and resulted in a family being burnt alive. Mercedes cars being nice expensive cars means it will be close to a lawyer somewhere who will end up taking them apart.

    We also have instances of Bosch dishwashers causing house fires and they are trying to keep that under wraps so maybe its standard big company practice to have little value in a human life over profit.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  7. tode

    tode Senior Member

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    Olaf - I understand your point of view, but to be fair to Mercedes, the OP's car did not become a ball of fire.

    But if it happened to me, I would be somewhat miffed.
     
  8. robparker

    robparker Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    It does have a big DIESEL sticker by the fuel filler cap, and with all the modern emissions equipment fitted it makes it more of an issue, not like the old days where you could just top it up with diesel and keep going.
     
  9. turbopete

    turbopete Senior Member

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    even dads fFOCUS has a special filler neck that means he CANT put petrol in a diesel car as the neck wont allow the petrol nozzle to fit inside the neck. I thought it was a Motability thing, but apparrently its STANDARD!!!
     
  10. OlafMaxwell

    OlafMaxwell Senior Member

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    I agree entirely.....but 80mph on a motorway, outside lane, no passer by....lots of air to fan the flames, I suspect by the time you make it to the hard shoulder and get stopped the end would be a lot closer. Put a mother and a few small children in that situation trying to control them on a busy motorway and it is more scary.

    For my moneys worth though I feel its a likely the petrol was not the cause of the fire but down to something else and the petrol is simply a get out. Just as disturbing....
     
  11. toby1

    toby1 Senior Member

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    On the plus side the OP is unlikely to make the same mistake again - one would hope

    Great first post BTW
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  12. DennisTheMenace

    DennisTheMenace Senior Member

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    Yep, all Ford's apart from the Ka, and i think the Ranger come with Ford's easy-fuel. My 320d also had a similar system, but not as ingeniously thought out as the Ford system.
     
  13. whitenemesis

    whitenemesis Senior Member

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    I doubt the car would have made it that far before shuddering to a halt.

    And not a word back from the OP .....
     
  14. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    At least if I put diesel in my CL it would just get very smokey like a smoke machine
     
  15. EmilysDad

    EmilysDad Senior Member

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    It's usually more difficult putting the Fuel of the Devil in a petrol car because the diseasal pump nozzle is bigger than the petrol's
     
  16. OP
    CTU

    CTU New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. The car was within the warranty period but Mercedes have clearly said they will not investigate. It was quite interesting when they they would not comment on whether there have been any other cases, hence why I posted this to see if there were any. Is there anyone out there who has experienced the same issue?
     
  17. OP
    CTU

    CTU New Member

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    It was local driving in London at not more than 30mph. No problems with the driving until the car jerked and the white smoke appeared.
     
  18. pipmk

    pipmk Senior Member

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    Put simply the law does not protect the stupid against the consequences of their actions. No case to answer.
     
  19. OP
    CTU

    CTU New Member

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    I do not deny that it was a stupid mistake, but I did not think or know that something as serious as this could happen. At the time, there were a lot of scared people on the street where I stopped. If the fire brigade had not arrived in time the car could have easily blown up with a full tank. You could imagine the damage it could have caused.
     
  20. OP
    CTU

    CTU New Member

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    The front half of the car was engulfed in flames when the fire brigade arrived, so I would say that if they had not arrived in time the complete car could easily have been on fire. I post a picture in the next few days.
     

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