Alpine Diesel problems?

windjunky

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Anyone else have Alpine Diesel problems on Saturday? We filled a full tank (fuel indicator light was on) with Alpine diesel from the Shell at the roundabout in Bright on 12 August, but when we went to leave Dinner Plain yesterday (Saturday 19 August) we only made it to the roundabout and we conked out.
Let the engine warm in the sun, the car started and stalled/starved several times, till after about an hour it managed to get going and we made it home.
Hotham went down to -7C that night. Surely Alpine Diesel is rated to at least that; the record low temperature in Australia is -22C!
Anyone else have a Diesel
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problem this weekend, especially Saturday morning?
 

DbSki

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Not had any experience with Alpine Diesel but the engine might be a bit more sensitive to more viscous fuel when cold than larger engines.
Might be the fuel filter is in need of replacement and struggling with the fuel being a bit thicker when cold.
Only thing Id suggest is if it occurs and you get it to restart Id leave it idling for some time at least till the cooling fans come on to allow it to warm up the fuel before trying to drive it again. Since it recirculates back to the tank left idling it'll warm all the fuel in the tank too.
If you drive it too soon the higher fuel demand may draw up colder more viscous fuel causing the same stalling issue again.
If it was the Diesel Id assume there would be many people with the problem.
 

windjunky

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Not had any experience with Alpine Diesel but...
If it was the Diesel Id assume there would be many people with the problem.

The car had been serviced one week before so not a fuel filer problem. Yup... left it with sun on the engine till it would start, then left idling for quite a while (outside the pub... with me inside!) before we could drive any distance.
And to be honest, there we two others we saw at Dinner Plain with the same problem, and the one we asked said they had definitely filled with Alpine Diesel too. One was a big 4WD, other (definitely filled with Alpine Diesel like ours was) was an Allroad Audi Quattro...
 
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BrewerGrrrrrl

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there was around 80 cars yesterday that this happened to according to racv.And he was flat out again today, sunday,
everyone has alpine diesel.
a huge number have frozen.
recommended to add extra fuel additive if its gets that cold... but yes, you would think the fuel would be ok
 
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windjunky

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there was around 80 cars yesterday...

Wow!!! That sounds insane. Is that far more than normal weekend??

I must say the RACV people from Bright were brilliant, and even though we managed to get our car going and 'self rescued', they called us three times to check on us and made sure we had made it off the mountain before cancelling our job. Brilliant work Bright RACV - thank you. (And yes, I txt them today to tell them thanks)
 

Charlie

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A problem with thawing out some modern cars is the fuel cooler fitted to the return line to the tank.
Virtually a finned block of aluminium that serves to cool the fuel on the return line in summer
In winter the bloody thing just keeps refreezing the fuel after thawing it
I've spent up to 2 hours getting some of these vehicles running
My most successful method is a 10 litre garden sprayer filled with hot water, and spray all over anything that looks remotely like a fuel line
 
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Charlie

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Wow!!! That sounds insane. Is that far more than normal weekend??

I must say the RACV people from Bright were brilliant, and even though we managed to get our car going and 'self rescued', they called us three times to check on us and made sure we had made it off the mountain before cancelling our job. Brilliant work Bright RACV - thank you. (And yes, I txt them today to tell them thanks)
Of course they're still contacting you, they get paid whether they physically do the job or not, a bit of arse covering :evil:
 

DbSki

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there was around 80 cars yesterday that this happened to according to racv.And he was flat out again today, sunday,
everyone has alpine diesel.
a huge number have frozen.
recommended to add extra fuel additive if its gets that cold... but yes, you would think the fuel would be ok

That's pretty conclusive, unless there was a particularly cold snap at the time that effected many.

Ive worked in a few service stations and when there is a fuel problem there are many involved.
We get one come back who got fuel and check it out in the workshop, then soon after another with the same problem and right there you know more are coming.
Spent a few years as RACV patrol and we would see it in certain locations, always water issues but this is much the same issue although it can fix itself after a while.
Water contamination ends up in the workshops.
 
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MHzMe

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Friend had this happen with their Cruiser this morning. Ordinary diesel with the additive at standard recommended concentration. But the low temp on Saturday was just too cold, and the fuel gelled (could start it, but would not run more than 30secs).
His conclusion - next time use the additive at double the concentration, as recommended for "extreme cold" conditions.
 
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windjunky

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...could start it, but would not run more than 30secs...
His conclusion - next time use the additive at double the concentration, as recommended for "extreme cold" conditions.

Same symptoms as mine. Bloke in Bright reckoned chucking a whole bottle of the additive into a tank of Alpine diesel if it was going to be a big freeze, despite what it said on the label!
 
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Ziggy

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Read on the web somewhere - so it must be true - that ordinary diesel is OK down to about - 4.
That might explain why in these cases the problem was only evident on a very cold morning.
There was a swag of marooned diesels at Falls a couple of years back when it'd got down to - 7.
 

Ziggy

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Not to my knowledge.
Dissolved wax solidifies in the cold and stops the flow.
I believe the auto association mechanics just heat up the lines they can reach to get the motor started. Then retained heat does the job.
 

Xplora

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Same symptoms as mine. Bloke in Bright reckoned chucking a whole bottle of the additive into a tank of Alpine diesel if it was going to be a big freeze, despite what it said on the label!
More than double the dose is just wasting your money as it will not do any better and I would not listen to anyone who says different. Read the info provided and do your own research. Some stations will not get true alpine diesel. It may only be highland or ice breaker. Wind chill brings the temperature down below the ambient so you always need the proper stuff if parked for a couple of days. I was told the Caltex in Myrtleford has alpine diesel and there is a Caltex self serve in Wodonga in a street behind Arnolds that has it as well. Omeo only has ice breaker regardless of what is advertised and many are caught out filling up there. Proper alpine diesel is a mixture of kerosine and diesel and it will not gel but the additive used by Caltex in their delivered fuel seems to work quite well and I have never had any problems with cold starting on Caltex fuel. The Lucas additive does work but only at double the dose. Much will depend on the type of vehicle. European designed cars may have less issue and I can run normal diesel in the Peugeot but not the Ford Ranger.
 

Ziggy

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I've used the Lucas anti-gel stuff at - 4 & standard dose repeatedly without a problem. Otherwise it's Alpine diesel from Myrtleford and Mt Beauty Caltexes.
 
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windjunky

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Thanks for be suggestions... Myrtleford Caltex it is! And double dose diesel goo. Funny, I've always felt my diesel ran better on the Caltex regular fuel too.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Stick kero in the tank to thin the diesel.....no more than 3pc.
Insulate your fuel filter with footy beanie!

Check out the lines underneath your vehicle and insulate them in foam with cable ties....I notice fuel tanks sometimes have a metal guard underneath.....see if you can slot in some insulation between tank and it's metal guard...

Bears just pour in half a litre of kero at foot of mountain climb.Put blanket over engine under bonnet after parking.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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When the fuel gels it may start but won't rev above 1000rpm....it will sound sick.....if you are able to turn vehicle to face engine in to direct sunlight....but that may not help at Hotham were temp is minus six all day.You will find the fuel filter has a big surface area to conduct cold into the diesel inside....get a foooty beanie and completely cover your filter and insulate any lines in engine bay that you can see.just be careful what you stick near battery terminals....but get insulation over the intake side of the engine fuel wise....
 
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DbSki

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From the BP website
BLENDING DIESEL
If you are not in an alpine area but have abnormally cold weather, a diesel blend may provide some relief to lower the cloud point. Heating oil (duty paid at diesel rate) is an effective blending agent and your BP supplier can provide information on how to perform this safely, but typically would involve the following:
− Heating Oil at 25 litres for each 100 Litres of diesel, or
− kerosine at 5 litres for each 100 litres of Diesel.
Please note that these ratios would cover most regions in Australia
 

FlatLander

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I reckon its pretty unfair to be naming and shaming 1 fuel outlet. Because in those conditions, prolonged cold temps, exposed and high wind chill any "Alpine Diesel" will gel. This situation happens every time Hotham has these sort of events. And the 80 cars that RACV took off the hill I can guarantee didnt all fill up at the same location.

A number of years ago (about 15 I think) the govt/fuel industry changed the laws relating to blend ratios for Diesel/heating oil for production of "Alpine Diesel" , in that it was substantially reduced. Therefore it is not what it use to be, and since that time all resorts have been adding their own heating oil to the delivered "Alpine Diesel". As far as I am aware all fuel distribution companies in Vic use the same blend ratio, so doesnt matter where you go!

When ever I was on the hill for multiple days, I would always add additional commercially available anti-gel agents (Lucas is one), and would alwys add more than recommended as better to be safe than sorry. Have spoken to plenty of mechanics/fuel reps about this and bottom line is you cant have too much.

I only use the Bright Shell now as only locally owned/operated fuel outlet in Bright.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Do the minimarts what ever at Hotham sell Kero? well it's a bit late when the fuel lines are gelled....but I am curious to know if they do?Need a little kero tanker giving each diesel comming past ticket office a squirt of kero perhaps!!o_O
 

FlatLander

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Do the minimarts what ever at Hotham sell Kero? well it's a bit late when the fuel lines are gelled....but I am curious to know if they do?Need a little kero tanker giving each diesel comming past ticket office a squirt of kero perhaps!!o_O
No I dont believe so
 

Occasional Visitor

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Had same problem with "Alpine Diesel" bought from that same place 2 years ago. Somehow got the car started after an hour. Dealership back in Melb said the fuel in the car was categorically NOT alpine diesel. Have not darkened their doors since.
 

Chaeron

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So is the take-away: carry your own can of kero and when you fill up your 100L tank, fill up to 100 l with regular diesel and then add 5l kero?

Or is it take a chance on the alpine diesel which might not be alpine diesel, or might be semi-alpine, and if you expect low temps, add a double dose of additive?

I'm tipping towards the kero myself... especially if I'm capping my fuel filter with a footy beanie. Better use a Collingwood one, just to be on the safe side.....that way, if I end up drinking the kero once it's past its use by date, no-one's going to comment...just adding fuel to the fire.

Kero's massively carcinogenic, and unfortunately it burns very dirty, so use white gas, not kero in the whisperlite... bummer.... good for termites though.
 

Chaeron

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Stick kero in the tank to thin the diesel.....no more than 3pc.
Insulate your fuel filter with footy beanie!

Check out the lines underneath your vehicle and insulate them in foam with cable ties....I notice fuel tanks sometimes have a metal guard underneath.....see if you can slot in some insulation between tank and it's metal guard...

Bears just pour in half a litre of kero at foot of mountain climb.Put blanket over engine under bonnet after parking.
@Ubiquitous Steve - king of the alpine backroads!
 

The Plowking

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I've used the Lucas anti-gel stuff at - 4 & standard dose repeatedly without a problem. Otherwise it's Alpine diesel from Myrtleford and Mt Beauty Caltexes.
I make sure I'm nearly empty by either Omeo or Bright and get a half tank of the (hopefully) alpine then a half bottle of the Lucas.
Prior to kids I would invariably head up in the worst (best :) ) of conditions where it was almost guaranteed of deisel issues at Hotham.
 
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Darb

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Petrol immune ?

Electric surely must have issues batteries hate the cold.

I remember a Canadian bloke I knew years ago would "remote pre start" his Porsche Cayenne with some sort of pre heat system, and even pre start whilst still skiing down a half hour earlier
 

Ziggy

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If your battery is marginal it'll show up.

Yeah, where it's really cold they fit engine block heaters. Haven't heard about remote starting.
 

Ziggy

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Back in the day, when folk had domestic oil heaters, folk used to whack some of that in the tank.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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@Ubiquitous Steve - king of the alpine backroads!
Only time rodeo has had problems has been in summer season when a frost occurred.Puddles froze over.Turning engine into sunlight helps.Rodeo hand pump shaft releases (stuck in place prior to ungelling)as temp in dark engine bay warns things.Melb diesel in tank....as soon as you hear little pump shaft make an audible click as it returns to normal position you know all is ok.

Have parked overnight in exposed condition at Cope Hut Carpark many a time where all surface water was a sheet of ice but with kero in tank and some insulation all is good as you drive off with a sheet of ice across windscreen.
Nothing worse than a vehicle that won't run when snow falls are expected.

Those Canberra guys strange that they are should be able to provide good info on diesel fuel additives.....assuming they all have not all turned feral and purchased electric cars!!
 
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FlatLander

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Had same problem with "Alpine Diesel" bought from that same place 2 years ago. Somehow got the car started after an hour. Dealership back in Melb said the fuel in the car was categorically NOT alpine diesel. Have not darkened their doors since.

and thats exactly what I would expect a dealership to say! Would have been interesting to have it tested.
 

cqen2l

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Petrol immune ?

Electric surely must have issues batteries hate the cold.

I remember a Canadian bloke I knew years ago would "remote pre start" his Porsche Cayenne with some sort of pre heat system, and even pre start whilst still skiing down a half hour earlier
Petrol is immune at Hotham temps. Electro @Astro66 I'm sure will have +'ve opinion on Tesla.
 

SuskiQ

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We filled at the same Shell in Bright before heading up in expectation of very cold nights (forecast was down to -7c) back in July. Our tank was only half full of regular diesel when we pulled in so we filled with Alpine and put in additive at a bit above recommended mix rates. The guy in the servo told us not to park (if possible) near the cliff edges as the wind chill will impact the cold effect and challenge the diesel even with extra additive. We were at Hotham 2 weeks and Falls 2 weeks on the same tank of topped up fuel. No problems, including through BlizzardofOz#1.
 
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PG2736

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We were up at Hotham on the weekend. I filled up at the Shell on Thurs night with their Alpine diesel. My car wouldn't start on either sat or Sunday. Once things eventually warmed up on sun managed to get it going. seems like it was definitely an issue coming out of shell. Has anyone contacted them?
 
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Hully

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I suspect that the effect of 'windchill' on diesel is a fallacy. 'Windchill' is a 'feels like' parameter....ie what the wind blowing on exposed skin feels like compared to the ambient temperature. Airflow would cause the vessel that contains the fuel (and as a result the fuel) to reach ambient air temperature more rapidly to to an increase in heat transfer efficiency but don't think it would cause it to cool lower than ambient. Also, the fuel components of a car are generally protected somewhat from direct winds so any 'windchill' effect would be a lot less than that calculated from BOM anemometer. I would suggest that any gelling is happening at the ambient air temperature, not the much lower calculated 'wind chill' temperature.
 

alexd

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I suspect that the effect of 'windchill' on diesel is a fallacy. 'Windchill' is a 'feels like' parameter....ie what the wind blowing on exposed skin feels like compared to the ambient temperature. Airflow would cause the vessel that contains the fuel (and as a result the fuel) to reach ambient air temperature more rapidly to to an increase in heat transfer efficiency but don't think it would cause it to cool lower than ambient. Also, the fuel components of a car are generally protected somewhat from direct winds so any 'windchill' effect would be a lot less than that calculated from BOM anemometer. I would suggest that any gelling is happening at the ambient air temperature, not the much lower calculated 'wind chill' temperature.
I was just about to say this. Windchill has absolutely no way to reduce things below the actual air temperature, unless those things are evaporating water. It's just an equivalency scale for humans to show that the rate of heat lost from exposed skin at that windchill is equivalent to that actual temperature with no wind.

In extremely cold climates, even petrol engines can have problems. In such climates you can usually buy alcohol solutions such as isopropanol to add to your petrol tank. This is for temps like -20 and below. Also in cold climates, block heaters are used to warm the engine block to a reasonable temperature so that parts have the correct fit, engine oil isn't too viscous and coolant doesn't freeze. This is also only necessary at temps like -20 and below.

As for electric, the electric motors and inverters have no problem operating in the cold. In fact, the colder they are, the more efficient they are. However, batteries' voltages decrease in the cold and resistance increases, so the peak power available from a battery is less when its cold, and the amount of energy recoverable is less. However, the main disadvantage for electric cars in cold climates is that there is no source of waste heat to heat the cabin, so energy from the battery must be used to run a heat pump (air con in reverse) to heat the cabin, and also in some cases to heat the battery itself (Tesla does this, their batteries are liquid cooled/heated).
 
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Ziggy

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Same symptoms as mine. Bloke in Bright reckoned chucking a whole bottle of the additive into a tank of Alpine diesel if it was going to be a big freeze, despite what it said on the label!
The Lucas anti-wax agent label says overdosing won't hurt.
 

Xplora

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The Lucas anti-wax agent label says overdosing won't hurt.
This is true but it does not do anything extra either so it is wasting money but if you do not have anything to measure with then overdosing is a better option. The Ford Ranger manual says not to use additives or alpine fuel for too long as it may cause damage. Fine if you are visiting but a bit hard if you live in it and can get as cold as Hotham or Falls. With 3 diesel vehicles and one diesel machine we go through a lot of fuel and start using additives in late May. So far this winter I have had fuel from Caltex Mt. Beauty, MG Eskdale and Caltex self serve near Arnolds in Wodonga with no problems starting down to minus 8 and without adding the Lucas which we keep for emergencies. I think it is reasonable to name those places supplying reliable fuel as well as those who may be suspect if it can be demonstrated they are not doing the right thing by their customers. It could be the distributor or refineries are not doing the right thing by their agents.
 
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Charlie

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So far this winter I have had fuel from Caltex Mt. Beauty, MG Eskdale and Caltex self serve near Arnolds in Wodonga with no problems starting down to minus 8 and without adding the Lucas which we keep for emergencies. doing
What do you mean, you keep additive for emergencies?
If it's sitting in the glovebox, and not in the tank it's useless!
 

Xplora

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What do you mean, you keep additive for emergencies?
If it's sitting in the glovebox, and not in the tank it's useless!
We don't need the additive if we have proper Alpine Diesel but if we have to fill up to get home at a station that not sell Alpine diesel then we use the additive. We also keep stock of diesel at home because the nearest service station with reliable fuel is 1.5hrs away.
 
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