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Sugar in fuel system?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 96LegacyEJ22

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:01 AM

So gents. Here is what I found today. Keep in mind I installed a BRAND new fuel filter when this motor was put in.

GD took a look at it and we are fairly convinced it is sugar or something of that nature.

This is in all of the heads. Hard as a rock. Have to use a screw driver to break it off.
Posted Image

And traces of it in the fuel filter. Pull it out. Same color and hard texture.
Posted Image

Sugar in the gas tank? Whatever it is. I believe it is the reason the old heads locked up on the intake side.

#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:58 AM

that's crazy looking stuff.

But, supposedly, sugar is insoluble in gasoline (despite the 'common wisdom' of sabotaging a vehicle with it - dunno about gas with 10% ethanol) but, it WOULD clog a filter. Dunno about honey or molasses.

wonder what the 'sock'/strainer on the fuel pump looks like? Or could that stuff have come from the PCV system?

maybe put some near a sweet-eating ant bed and see if they go for it!

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 10 January 2013 - 01:06 AM.


#3 96LegacyEJ22

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:01 AM

Fuel filter strainer is all crystalized. Looks like sugar crystals.

The PCV system was cleaned and a new PCV valve was installed.

It looks like that on each and every intake port on both heads.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:12 AM

wow.

apparently you can heat it up with a torch to clean it up or free up the sticking valves and then smell it to identify it.

#5 CNY_Dave

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

So who has gotten angry with you recently?

#6 ivans imports

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:16 AM

have had thiss before clean the pu in the pan will be gumed up

#7 ivans imports

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:18 AM

in the one i saw it was a bottle of pop in the tank i did save it after cleaning everything

#8 96LegacyEJ22

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

This had to have happened to the previous owner. Because the original motor in the car had all the intake valves stuck open. Thats why this motor was rebuilt by GD and I. However as you can see.......Whatever killed the last motor was working on killing this one.

And no one has gotten angry at me...Yet. Heh. It was something someone did to the previous owner.

#9 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

The car was purchased (not by me) with the fuel door broken into and all the intake valves stuck open. The seller claimed it had a bad starter and the starter was in the trunk. After installing a starter it was discovered the engine had no compression and that's when the intake valves were found stuck open. Disassembled the engine to find a gooey, sticky substance in the cylinders, and that's what had glued the valve stems to the guides.

At the time it didn't occur to any of us that this had come from the fuel. I postulated that perhaps they had fed something into the intake (as you do with products like Seafoam that are popular) that had caused this. Maybe some smoke-away type thickener product and it had reacted badly with the fuel and coated everything in sticky goo.

Engine was rebuilt and ran really well for about 100 miles. Then problems began to arise - idle quality when cold was really bad (in retrospect that was the valves sticking again) and at about 140 miles it developed a rod knock. Upon dissasembly we found the same goo. That's when I realized it had to be coming from the fuel. When it hits the hot cylinder heads it turns into rock candy. Bits of this got into the oil and the sugar crystals chewed the hell out of the rods and mains. It will now require an undersized crank, new bearings, rings, and a new oil pump and pickup. Probably a new oil pan as well.

We have all heard tales of pouring sugar in the gas tank but I personally had never seen the results of it. I have heard that bleach in the gas tank will do really awful things also.

Anyway - it's an expensive and horrible thing to do to an engine and it's definitely something for the picture archives and for a "machine care picture of the month" at my shop. :-\

GD

#10 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

when cars are turned for 'cash-for-clunkers' programs, they are supposed to use something to destroy the engine. I THINK it may be sodium silicate, but, w'ever it is, I wonder if somehow, that car was supposed to go to a crusher after a C4C deal? Problem is, unless they were confused, the silicate is supposed to go into the crankcase after draining the oil.

Or, did someone go overboard on some kinda headgasket fix/'mechanic in a can' stuff?

anyway, if you are finding crystals in the tank, clearly the stuff is not very well dissolved by gasoline. But it certainly seems enough is - or gets through - to cause problems!

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 10 January 2013 - 02:21 PM.


#11 grossgary

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

thanks for sharing, fascinating stuff from an experimental point of view. otherwise what a mess to wade through.

guess you don't have full coverage insurance? i've heard of sabotage being covered by insurance...but not sure if "pre-existing sabotage" would be covered, how nuts.

Most places say "sugar doesn't dissolve in gas", it's all over the internet. But this has nothing to do with technical academic approaches to solutions. A motorized vehicle *probably* moves in which case particulate matter will suspend.

#12 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:19 PM

I bet this was caused by someone making a mistake with some additive. putting it in the tank instead of the radiator, or thinking 5 cans will work better than one or something.

sodium silicate is used in some radiator stop-leaks products.


oh yeah, I'll ask the obvious; Did you taste a piece of the deposit to see if it's sweet?

a REAL mechanic would. lol!

#13 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:32 PM

Apparently (though I was not present) the guys tried heating it with a torch and it pops and sizzles and smells sweet.

It may not dissolve in gasoline - but that doesn't mean they didn't put water in the tank or the tank didn't have some water in the bottom of it - as many cars that have been sitting for a period of time, are 20+ years old, and have 230k on them are prone to having.

GD

#14 CNY_Dave

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:13 PM

Maybe it was high-fructose corn syrup? Bad for cars and people, perhaps...

It looks like sugar will dissolve into the water dissolved into isopropyl alcohol, though, so a snaky bastard might go that route.

Edited by CNY_Dave, 10 January 2013 - 05:20 PM.


#15 bstone

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

I do have to admit it may be a matter of being sabotaged. If you have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle then I would file a police report and make an insurance claim. Something like this doesn't happen by accident (most of the time).

#16 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:14 PM

I could see it being MUCH easier nowadays to pour some corn syrup or Pepsi w'ever in rather than trying to get a a powdered substance past that filler flap deal.

#17 Rooster2

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

What a mess and ugly situation. I hate to hear this happening to anyone.

The substance must have been in liquid form to get through the fuel filter. Then, once the gasoline vaporized, the substance turns into a solid.

There is just so much of it, I have to think this is sabotage, pure and simple.

I am thinking the gas tank and fuel lines are also full of this stuff.

#18 ivans imports

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

the one i delt with was a ea82 t was abble to eat it a bitt did not wreak the engine but i did have to pull the pan and clean the pu and washout the valves i just used very hot soapy water to remove the sugar gum and changed out the injectors and feul fill flushed the tank and drove it home. it was a bottle of sprite as we found the bottle sitting by the car and gas cap was gone




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