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Peter321

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What would happen to my car if someone put something like sugar in my gas tank?

Describe exactly what I might experience immediately and what eventual damage will occur if I didn't know there was sugar in the tank.

1327 day(s) ago

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Answers (7)

Tim3211
I don't care what the "Mythbusters" say,I have seen what sugar will do in a fuel system.Although this will not happen for quite a while after the fuel has been contaminated,the sugar will start to crystalize on the walls of fuel tank,pump,fuel lines,carb float bowl,or in the case of a fuel injected system the throttle body,or injectors.I have personally worked on cars that have had this done to them at least three times over the years,and believe me the sugar does eventually crystalize and form restrictions.The Mythbusters did not give the test enough time to show damage.The sugar takes weeks,if not months to crystalize.

Posted 1326 days ago

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Tim3211
There are three basic ways that sugar in the gas tank is going to foul up someone's car. First, as you say, it will clog the fuel filter. Second, what gets through the fuel filter will clog the fuel pump. Finally, what makes it through the fuel filter and the fuel pump will completely foul whatever fuel delivery system your car uses. A carburetor that gets sugar in it is junk; you can strip it down and attempt to rebuild it but you likely will fail - it's a gummy, sticky mess. Your fuel injected vehicle will not fare much better when mucked up with the sticky stuff. This sort of vandalism will result in the car hesitating, losing power, and stalling. And repairs will not be cheap - replacing the fuel filter, dropping and draining the fuel tank, possibly a new carburetor or new fuel injectors. The latter two are very expensive, both in parts and labor.

An interesting side note - in the days before unleaded gasoline, fuel tank intake necks did not have flapper valves, and one way of screwing someone who was going on a long trip over was to roll a few golf balls down the neck into the tank. Once inside, the cover would slowly dissolve in the gas tank, leaving the spagetti-like fine string that wraps the core of a ball to unravel and clog the fuel filter. Now, if you REALLY want to put someone out of commission, sand in the oil fill tube is the ticket. Once the sand gets sucked up by the oil pump, it will score the pistons and the chambers and make the engine scrap. I do not advocate or recommend doing this, as it is extremely illegal and you probably don't want to go to jail. But then again, I don't know you. Here's hoping your interest in this is strictly academic.

Posted 1326 days ago

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Tim3211
I think mythbusters did this and there was no immediate consequences. if it dissolves the worst i could see is clogging injectors, filters, or pumps. I say drive it out.

Posted 1326 days ago

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Tim3211
if it actually mixes with the gas,the filter may clog up on it before it gets to the engine,if not it will maybe clog up the injectors on it,most of the time it just means you have to remove the tank and clean it all out,it will eventually dissolve,and become real sticky inside the lines and filter,and possibly stop up the strainer on the fuel pump,that's about the worst that can happen,good luck with it.

Posted 1326 days ago

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Tim3211
The engine would start sputtering & eventually quit,
(assuming you could get it started in the first place.)
You'd have to get your fuel injector totally cleaned out.
The fuel system would have to be drained & flushed also.

Posted 1326 days ago

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Tim3211
Well for one your car would be running really rough to begin with. And if you run it a long time with it in there you wil damage your engine. The sugar turns everything into a goey mess. Your injecters will be the first to take the toll. But I would say if you think you have any in there at all to drop the tank and empty everthing out NOW!!

Posted 1327 days ago

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Tim3211
sugar does not dissolve in gas, ever! it just sits there. It may clog the strainer on the fuel pump but that is it.

Posted 1327 days ago

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