Sugar in gas tank


Old 12-31-09, 08:36 PM
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Sugar in gas tank

2003 Ford Focus SE Zetec
My sisters car had to be towed to my house last Wednesday after losing horsepower for less than a minute before quickly stalling and failing to restart despite healthy cranking ability.
So after doing the JIC stuff, filter included, I grabbed a fuel pump kit from the autostore after hastily snubbing my nose at the prospect of having to wait two whole days for the dealer to order the whole assembly.
Couple of days later (ok a few days later, whatever.) I had the fuel tank out and fuel pump exposed, well what did I see inside the tank but white flakey shards. I took a piece out and determined by its brittle glass like nature that someone had put sugar in my sisters gas tank. The whole bottom of the tank was glazed like a donut.
So after setting aside the pump, I became preoccupied with scooping, cleaning and flushing the tank with starter fluid and fresh gas. Thank goodness the coating broke up and gathered to one corner with just a quick rapping the bottom of the tank during the scooping phase. Only after finishing that did I realize that I couldn't just use the kit on the existing fuel pump assembly. So now I don't get my part until Monday.
And now I get to sweat about whether her injectors are also clogged.
I've never encountered this problem before. I'm a parts changer not a mechanic! Besides the nature of the problem's onset that I described a few paragraphs ago, also consider that the fuel pump fuse had been blown... and I was able to pour brownish fuel out of the intake side of the filter. Discharge side looked clean.

1)Is that a fair indication that the injectors aren't toast?
Since the injectors didn't cause the failure?
2) Are there any preventative measures I can take after the new pump is installed before I attempt to start this car up?

Looks like about 3 cups of sugar in about 6 gallons of fuel.
And you know what else? They didn't even bother to add any creamer!

Anyhow Happy New Year y'all !!
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Old 12-31-09, 09:37 PM
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I doubt your problem went as far as the injectors the filter however is toast and getting plugged probably caused the pump failer and blowing the fuse from excessive draw you can pull the injectors and get them tested if your really concerned about this.Contrary to belief suger in the tank won't cause major or minor damage to an engine(Mythbusters even did a thing on this)just make it run like dog ****.Go ahead and r&r the pump , filter and fuse I also recommend replacing the fuel pump relay also since in the fine print of the warrenty papers of the pump it will void warrenty if not done.
Old 01-05-10, 10:08 AM
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I always thought that sugar gets burned and gums up the works of an engine, but I learned that that wasn't so. Sugar is insoluble in gas and behaves no differently than sand. Your problem should end at the filter. Everything before that should be flushed out.
Old 01-05-10, 04:56 PM
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Got 'er done!

I can attest that this has been good advice.

Very little (if any) sugar seems to dissolve in gas enough to make it past a fuel filter.
Instead the solids seem to have gotten stopped at the pump sock and fuel filter to the point that they clog and bye bye fuel delivery. Before what tiny amount that might dissolve can do any further harm.

So no engine damage at all.

Just dropped my sisters car off to her this evening, after test driving it to and from work. And showed her how to use her new locking gas cap. Phew!
Old 01-06-10, 07:42 AM
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Prob a good thing they didn't use Karo Wonder if Mythbusters checked that one?
Old 01-06-10, 08:10 AM
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How about some non-dairy creamer to go with the sugar? I'm guessing maybe that would be insoluble as well.
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