The ULTIMATE Horror Story.

The ULTIMATE Horror Story.

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Gyrock

Original Poster:

193 posts

214 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
Bear with me on this one, it’s a long post but really does describe what is the ultimate nightmare and one that I hope no-one else has been through or might go through in the future. Let's hope the title of this thread doesn’t make a newspaper headline someday soon, whether it does or not is not in my hands….

I bit of background for those that don’t know. I am the lucky owner of a superb Z4M Coupe, complete with Individual paintwork, extended leather and all the toys. The last car that will grace the S54 lump and a totally superb driving machine albeit with not much change from £50grand. The car is 4 weeks old, run in and has 1800 miles on the clock.

On Sunday evening I was returning from a trip to Snowdonia with my brother who had just run the marathon (mad bugger!). We pulled off the M54, planning to join the M6 toll to avoid the usual Sunday evening M6 traffic. I was just under ¼ full on fuel, but as we joined the A460 the welcoming lights of a BP fuel station came into view and as I only ever put either Shell’s VPower or BP Ultimate into my performance cars it made sense to fill up before hitting the motorway, thus ensuring a further 170 odd miles of uninterrupted travel home.

Bear with me, because the details might at some point be important, I don’t know.

My brother Chris had said he would pay for the fuel as I had been his chauffeur and supporter during his gruelling run. So I found the sole Ultimate pump, opened the fuel cap and Chris told me he would pay cash. The pump started clicking to indicate the tank was nearing full and we stopped at £38 on the nail. Chris asked me if I wanted a receipt and I said no. (Paying by cash and therefore not getting a receipt is extremely unusual for me.)

Fuel bill paid, we fired up the car and rejoined the single carriageway road. After only a few yards I noticed out of the corner of my eye the gear stick shuddering violently, this barely had time to register when I noticed the orange engine light come on, quickly followed by the EML light, then the car stuttered, stalled and came to an unceremonious halt. I was only just able to coast the car onto the side of the road, luckily into a farm entrance turning thus out of harms way as the impatient Sunday evening traffic thundered by.

Perplexed, I turned the key a few times...turned over fine, but couldn’t fire and sounded like a bag of nails or your granny spluttering on her 27th Capstan Full Strength of the day. One call later to BMW assist and I was assured rescue within the hour, taking the car to a destination of my choice (I chose my dealer Murketts, Huntingdon about 170 miles further south).

As my brother and I waited for the rescue truck to arrive we began analysing what had happened. Obviously we assumed the fuelling exercise was to blame and I began to my horror to consider whether I had inadvertently fuelled up with Ultimate diesel and not petrol (the branding is very similar). Deep down I knew this could not be the case, as it is impossible to fit the nozzle of a diesel pump into a modern petrol car. Notwithstanding this and eager to be certain, my brother ran back to the garage to check. He returned to confirm we had fuelled up with Ultimate 98 petrol and indeed our transaction was still showing on the pump. He also consulted the guy serving who also confirmed we had not made the most stupidest of mistakes.

Anyhow, the car has been at Murketts since Sunday evening and only today has the whole horror unfolded. I received a call initially on Tuesday to confirm that a sample had been taken from the bottom of the tank and early signs were that it was petrol, so further investigating was taking place to get a full diagnosis. Mid afternoon today a further call from Murketts to say that all other options had now been ruled out and the tank had been emptied and shown to consist of roughly 75% water! The dealership have confirmed to me that a replacement fuel filter and tank flush would solve the problem and all things being equal, I would get the car back tomorrow problem fixed, albeit I would be around £200 lighter thanks to their labour and a new fuel filter. They also stated that there should be no lasting damage to engine or cats.

Not that I don’t trust Murketts (they have looked after my CSL and Andy Pressland Service Manager is the one and only bloke I would ever trust to deal with my cars) but I needed to get a second opinion on whether water could in fact damage the engine. The key point here is of course that none of this will be covered by my warranty so you can understand my concerns. One call later (cheers SteveD) and my mind had been put at rest.

Unfortunately, 20 minutes later I received a further call from Murketts to say that on draining the fuel, sludge and debris has been found at the bottom of my tank and as such it was necessary to undertake further tests to assess the damage which could be considerable. Fuel lines, injectors etc etc could be damaged and ultimately I guess the engine itself may be affected. Andy had taken pictures with the aid of a mirror showing the brown discharge which I picked up from the bottom of the BP fuel station tank along with 40 litres of water. Judge for yourselves - (that brown stuff shown in the mirror has NO place in the fuel tank of a 4 week old car.....)





I have of course been in touch with BPs Customer Care line, I called initially yesterday to give them a heads up that there could be a problem. I was given a case number, but was told that the garage concerned was an independent and, as such, BP themselves could not be held liable for any claims unless it became apparent that they had delivered contaminated fuel. A letter has apparently been sent to me (not yet received) and more importantly to the garage in question noting the fact that there could be a claim for fuel contamination.

Following Murketts last call today I spoke again with BP Customer Care and have told them that fuel contamination IS to blame and that water plus god knows how much crap has been deposited in my car. I was told that the matter had already been raised with the garage concerned (and BPs local area manager was also aware of the situation), and a 'dip test' of the tank concerned was being arranged (anyone know what this is or who undertakes it?) The results of this test will be known tomorrow and I am to expect a call from the garage owner with further news.

I’m preparing for a call stating that 'all is fine with their fuel' and the onus is therefore on me to prove contamination/negligence or whatever. Whilst I do not hold a receipt, my transaction will be logged and BMW assist have details of my breakdown and the breakdown guy that picked us up also knows the exact location in relation to the filling station concerned and this is documented

Why am I posting then?

Well firstly because I’m wondering whether anyone here has ever come across such a situation and if so how was it resolved?

Also because we should all be aware that just because a garage sells the fuel of a multi-national oil giant that apparently doesn’t mean that oil giant takes responsibility.

And finally because I’m wondering whether anyone here has any suggestions as to what my next course of action should be should the garage owner be stupid enough to contest his responsibility. Trading Standards, Product Liability Insurers, Solicitors letter and ultimately (pardon the pun) a letter to whoever the hell owns BP might be in order (I’m sure they won’t want their good name plastered over local and possibly national newspapers…..)

Thanks for listening and I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime here’s a link to a picture of the bloody car concerned, hopefully you can share my pain

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j19

mindgam3

740 posts

215 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
I'm guessing as you had no receipt, the only thing linking you to that fuel station will be CCTV footage from the garage, so unless you get hold of that I can't see how you're going to claim?

rich 36

13,739 posts

245 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
Thats very,
very, unlucky.

A sorry story indeed, My thought would've folowed your exactly on the Diesel front BTW

christ knows what that would have done although I've a pretty good image
all the same

Richard

BliarOut

72,840 posts

218 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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Have you got a multimap location for the garage? I wouldn't want to fill up there!

GTRene

13,315 posts

203 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
Very nice car you have..but what a horror story...hm...The tankstation is to blame me thinks...also when you have that problem I guess some others have the same when they vissited that tankstation? and ad Ultimate in their tank...so maybe others are now known and you could have a case?
BP has money anough they are to blame me thinks for what I could read from your story, thats a lot of water!
Hope for your car will be fixed 100% again, ask your bmw dealer what to do, they know...
GTRene

softtop

2,971 posts

226 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
mindgam3 said:
I'm guessing as you had no receipt, the only thing linking you to that fuel station will be CCTV footage from the garage, so unless you get hold of that I can't see how you're going to claim?


It is your legal requirement to have access to any cctv pictures you are caught on. Just see the sign posted in the garage and request a copy. It is normally anout £20

softtop

2,971 posts

226 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
mindgam3 said:
I'm guessing as you had no receipt, the only thing linking you to that fuel station will be CCTV footage from the garage, so unless you get hold of that I can't see how you're going to claim?


It is your legal requirement to have access to any cctv pictures you are caught on. Just see the sign posted in the garage and request a copy. It is normally about £20

Edited by softtop on Thursday 2nd November 19:34

BliarOut

72,840 posts

218 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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Good thinking Gaz!

softtop

2,971 posts

226 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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this post is also running twice, I saw something like this in the Matrix, it means there is a disturbance in the .......

cymtriks

4,559 posts

224 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
It's very common for some water to be at the bottom of ANY petrol tank, including an older car tank. Hanyes manuals used to (perhaps stil do) recommend adding alcohol to the tank to prevent the water from freezing and damaging the tank base.

Someone at work had exactly your experience a few years back. The Garage quibbled over the blame until shown the reciept for a full tanks worth of petrol showing that they were responsible.

The deposits in your tank could be from anywhere. They may even be the remains of solvents used during the manufacturing of the car or from some aspect of running in. I know that some bearings in car gearboxes are designed to leak grease in the first thousand miles and allow gearbox oil in to replace it. Perhaps something is still being run in somewhere?

Mustang Baz

1,600 posts

213 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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One of my good friends (Richard 450) had a very similar issue whilst in France last year. I have sent this post to him in the hope he can spare a few mins to write (no promises regrettably), but he basically got independent fuel testers in which validated that the main fuel tanks at the petrol station had a significant % of water in them. The real kicker is comparable to yours - a franchise station of a major operator, and given that it is overseas, the UK arm of said major operator is denying all liability or input.

Edited by Mustang Baz on Thursday 2nd November 12:07

antony moxey

6,681 posts

198 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
softtop said:
It is your legal requirement to have access to any cctv pictures you are caught on. Just see the sign posted in the garage and request a copy. It is normally anout £20

Might be a daft suggestion but they should still have the till roll too? You know the time you were there and the amount of fuel you put in, plus the pump number too. It'd have to be one hell of a coincidence to lucky guess a correct combination of those three.

M400 NBL

3,529 posts

191 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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Did your brother pay with plastic? If so he should request a statement from his bank/lender.

If they don't admit liability, contact points of view on the bbc wwebsite. You are no doubt not the only person affected. That said, could you be the only person to completely fill up.

derek m5

1,159 posts

191 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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Nightmare... hope it all works out for you.

housemaster

2,065 posts

206 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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I live in the Cannock area (ish) so let us know where the station was. I hope it wasn't Hilton Park services, I filled up my GT3 there today!

E38

720 posts

192 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
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I think its very hard for (Bp, station or) whoever is at blame to avoid liability because of the proximity of the car to the station, seeing as a car wont run on water (I wish).
And you are not going to put water in for ghits and shiggles, not in 50K of ///M.

Davi

17,153 posts

199 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
This isn't as uncommon as you might think (as in, contaminants and other things being in fuel tanks on the forecourt)

My Mum is an accountant for a number of stations across the country, they have had similar occur with contaminants, and also had the delivery lorry put diesel into the unleaded storage tanks - fortunately the first bloke who's engine was damaged ran back to the garage and told them - IIRC they identified all drivers who had filled up from it by the ANPR system and contacted them individually to get it sorted - so you might be lucky, the forecourt owners may not cause as many problems as you think!

mdm123

336 posts

243 months

Wednesday 1st November 2006
quotequote all
in work (super market filling station) were not allowed to to sell any fuel if the tank is below 3000 litres this is for a small 20,000 litre tank like super unleaded. (it around 5000 for a bigger tank with a capacity of say 74,000) what will have probably happened is that they have went way under the safety mark, you'll have probably not got any fuel at all, just 40 litres of water,

i would inquire if they can provide you with a ullage report for the tank at the time you were there,(will tell you how much was in the tank and it capacity and temperatures and stuff, in work it also tells you that level of water in the tank,) this should all be data logged for reasons like this.

one question is would the z4 not a a pre-tank filter fitted in the filling neck,

i would fight them on this the garage should pay out,

The Hitman

2,584 posts

189 months

Thursday 2nd November 2006
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If you want to CCTV footage from the garage, just go there, ask to see the manager and ask politely for him to give over a copy, if he refuses, then tell him you wish to make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act which means he HAS TO disclose ALL info on you, which'll probably cost him a couple of £100's. If he refuses again, he's breaking the law. The Subject Access Request might cost you £10 though.

Tunku

7,703 posts

207 months

Thursday 2nd November 2006
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cymtriks said:
It's very common for some water to be at the bottom of ANY petrol tank

I never had Any water, or anything else in the tanks of my +300,000 mile Volvos, so I can't see how any other car could. The bottom of my 340,000 miler 740 was covered in a white. pure white nylon baffle and when I last looked in to replace the fuel pump at 300,000 the white was pristine. No gunge and no water. I've never seen water in any tank. Ever.
Not even in my Triumph 250 Trailblazer circa 1970. Old folks tale.