Sugar/coke in gas tank will damage engine. Fact or Myth?

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by search4aztlan, Dec 7, 2004.


  1. search4aztlan

    search4aztlan New Member

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    My car was in for repair because when i cranked it up one morning it sounded like it was misfiring. The mechanic tells me that the rocker arm got knocked out of alignment and caused a valve to stay open, which ended up getting damaged by the piston. NEway, the heads were also damaged and sent out for repair. The people working on the heads clamied to have found some sticky substance that could've been sugar. First of all is this possible? If so, can it cause what the mechanics described. If this isn't clear, i'll try to get more details from the mechanic.

    '98 gt w/ 66,000 miles
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  2. Aeroguy315

    Aeroguy315 New Member

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    i assume any substance other than gasoline in your motor would be harmful. check your gas tank is there sugar or a discolored fuel mixture? that will tell u if someone put sugar in your tank.

    btw, who did you **** off for them to pour crap in your tank???
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  3. dastang2

    dastang2 Active Member

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    wouldn't you think it would freeze your fuel pump up and clog the lines, that is what sugar usually does, right
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  4. search4aztlan

    search4aztlan New Member

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    Your guess as good as mine.

    ?? I don't remember ****ing anyone off. It's still speculation. The mechanic saw a gummy substance and assumes it's sugar caramelized. I doubt he did some chemical analysis so it's not 100% certain. I'm hoping the insurance adjuster properly investigates. Here's the kicker: I had the same problem a few weeks ago, took it in, got it back a week later. The rocker arm got knocked off again. It makes me wonder why they didn't find this "sticky" substance the 1st time.
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  5. dastang2

    dastang2 Active Member

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    is your ail any good, what kind. i'd be dropping the tank now
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  6. Boss 351

    Boss 351 Here sthhhhhhhheeeve take a picthh of my man flowe

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    According to MythBusters it's a myth. The sugar won't be picked up by the "pickup tube" and would clog the fuel filter anyway. Bleach would cause a crap load of rust everywhere...

    Have you revved your engine too much lately? I don't know how a rocker can get out of alignment from sugar though... You'd have to rev the crap out of the engine and a stud fails or something?
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  7. search4aztlan

    search4aztlan New Member

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    Your guess as good as mine.

    ?? I don't remember ****ing anyone off. It's still speculation. The mechanic saw a gummy substance and assumes it's sugar caramelized. I doubt he did some chemical analysis so it's not 100% certain. I'm hoping the insurance adjuster properly investigates. Here's the kicker: I had the same problem a few weeks ago, took it in, got it back a week later. The rocker arm got knocked off again. It makes me wonder why they didn't find this "sticky" substance the 1st time.
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  8. search4aztlan

    search4aztlan New Member

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    Sorry for the double post ....

    Ok, sugar is one thing. That would probably clog my filter and may damage the fuel pump. What if the sugar was dissolved in a liquid? Would it then be able to pass through the filter?
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  9. 1986LX2002

    1986LX2002 Founding Member

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    locking gas cap, you cant go wrong!
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  10. Boss 351

    Boss 351 Here sthhhhhhhheeeve take a picthh of my man flowe

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    I guess you need a new set of rockers, get some new studs, helicoils, whatever is needed to keep the rockers in place? Do you have a bent pushrod or something lol.
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  11. dastang2

    dastang2 Active Member

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    no pushrods, it's a 4.6
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  12. fred-fred

    fred-fred New Member

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    Well with experience in that field.
    Yes the sugar will get all the way into your fuel sytem and damage your motor. But not knocking off rocker arms. I have seen about everything in a fuel tank. Salt Sugar Flour and even Oatmeal. Sugar will disolve and go all the way to your injectors. When this happens they will need to drop the fuel tank and clean it flush the lines and replace the fuel pump and filter. The injectors are a different story that will depend on how long the motor ran or how much surgar went thru them. They will try to clean them if they can not be cleaned they will have to be replaced. The cylinder walls more than likely are not damaged as well as the piston rings. They may want to decarbon the eng that will get the valves taking care of and get some of the build up off the top of the piston. You should ask them for a fuel sample in two containers 1 from the topf the fuel and one from the bottum of the tank. I would do this all the time. I hope this helps.
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  13. search4aztlan

    search4aztlan New Member

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    Believe me....

    after this fiasco i will be investing in a locking gas cap.
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  14. jb89coupe

    jb89coupe New Member

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    This is quoted from http://www.snopes.com/autos/grace/sugar.asp

    "Sugar doesn't dissolve in gasoline, as a researcher at Berkeley confirmed in 1994. Forensics professor John Thornton labeled sucrose with radioactive carbon atoms and mixed it with gasoline, then spun the concoction in a centrifuge. After the undissolved particles were removed, the liquid's radiation level was measured to determine how much sucrose had become part of the gasoline. The answer was extremely little: the equivalent of less than a teaspoonful per 15-gallon tank of gas.

    Because sugar doesn't dissolve in automotive fuel, it doesn't carmelize, and so it does not turn into the debilitating gunk this well-known entry in the revenge canon calls for.

    Instead, sugar poured into a car's gas tank stays intact. While sugar could still cause harm if it reached the engine (but in the same way sand would, by virtue of its being a granular contaminant, not because the sugar would turn into a syrup), even that potential harm is generally prevented by filtration. At the end of the pickup tube in the gas tank is a "sock" that blocks solid materials, so the fuel gets through, but precious little that's not liquid does. Further up the line is the fuel filter, and what may have got through the "sock" does not get past it.

    Yet, even though the sugar will not reach the engine in either syrup or solid state, it can clog the fuel filter or the fuel injectors, a circumstance which could stop a car. A little sugar in the tank could be dealt with by no more than having to change the fuel filter a few times, but a heavier sugaring would require the gas tank be removed from the car and dumped out. Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the hosts of radio's Car Talk) say it's not a big job for a good mechanic to drop the tank and clean it out; the process would likely cost the car's owner somewhere between $100 and $200. Though $100 to $200 is an appreciable sum, it is a far cry from the wished-for outcome of forcing the victim to have to replace the engine or scrap the car."

    They also tested this on Mythbusters (discovery channel) and declared this myth "busted" when they came to the same conclusion.
    #14
  15. smallstang393

    smallstang393 Member

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    put a good set of springs in it and it will stop throwing rockers had a buddy with same problem
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  16. saltymaz

    saltymaz New Member

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    The best way to own someone is to pour bleach or ammonium in a engine, sugar wont do **** besides clog the FP sock, which costs 2$
    Sugar doesnt "liquify" in fuel
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  17. RsStanG1987

    RsStanG1987 I shaved all my pubes playing this game.

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    Sounds like your mechanic is a little shady if it were just there for the same thing 2 weeks ago. Maybe he doesent know what hes doing. Or he got something in there the first time he did it and now he is saying its sugar.
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