Dieseled Elan!

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Dieseled Elan!

Postby Steve_P » Thu 20.04.2017, 22:46

Today was not going too well so decided to go for a drive in the Elan this afternoon having just about passed the MOT yesterday
after a fretful morning fiddling with the rear calliper handbrake mechanism :evil:

Anyway, needed some fuel so thought I'd try a tank of the Shell Nitro+, pull into the Shell petrol station jump out of the car and standing between
me and the pump is a fully liveried Shell Nitro+ man offering to fill my tank. Against my normal instinct (nobody is allowed anywhere near the Lotus :mrgreen: )
I say ok and ask for £25 of Nitro+ Unleaded whilst simultaneously putting my hand directly on the Nitro + Unleaded nozzle - what could possibly go wrong!
Off I go to pay, only to be asked if mine is for £25 of Diesel at pump 1!!!!! No I say Nitro+ Unleaded surely, in complete disbelief? :(

After an hour a man arrives and pumps the tank out, some fresh fuel in and I'm on my way but I have to laugh, you couldn't make it up... there's got to
be a comedy sketch in there somewhere... :lol:
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Re: Dieseled Elan!

Postby GeoffSmith » Fri 21.04.2017, 09:54

First instinct is often the right one.
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Re: Dieseled Elan!

Postby simonbuk » Fri 21.04.2017, 13:56

Lucky escape !!
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Re: Dieseled Elan!

Postby lotusflasherman » Fri 21.04.2017, 18:05

Steve_P wrote:After an hour a man arrives and pumps the tank out, some fresh fuel in and I'm on my way but I have to laugh, you couldn't make it up... there's got to
be a comedy sketch in there somewhere... :lol:


and I trust you've agreed suitable compensation ... a couple of free tanks of petrol for the inconvenience and the cost of a new fuel filter being fitted, just in case ????
Sounds like your experience wasn't too bad as you did the right thing and didn't switch on or start the engine. :clap:

On a similar theme, we had a family nightmare at a brand new Shell filling station in the French Central Massif just off the A75 near Lorlanges over 20 years ago. We'd been in south of France over Easter and travelling home late Saturday evening in a Renault Espace (2 litre petrol) with 3 small kids asleep in the back... Pulled onto super brand new forecourt at an "Essence Sans Plomb" pump and filled the tank to the top so I could drive overnight straight to Calais. The French drive away from the pump to park at the shop to pay, so I did that but the engine stalled as I arrived in the parking bay - bit strange I thought. :o

Girl on the till presented me with ticket that said 'diesel' on it and I said "Non, Sans Plomb"... and a diplomatic incident followed ! I refused to pay for diesel and walked out and back to the pump I'd used to check what it said and sniffed the nozzle, it said "Sans Plomb" and green hose but smelt like diesel . :banghead:.. Went back to check the pump number on their till, still refusing to pay, I walked out and tried to start the Espace and it wouldn't - but found the Manager had rushed out to stand behind the Espace as he thought we were "doing a runner". Neither he nor the girl on the till spoke any English and my French didn't appear to deal with the technical complexity of the situation. Manager was getting fractious about the unpaid diesel bill and I was looking through my AA European Travel pack for a translation guide, phone numbers and change to use their payphone (no mobiles in that area then) to get the AA on board when French Traffic Police, called by filling station, arrived with blue lights flashing and sirens wailing. Fortunately one of the policemen had basic English and came with me to 'sniff the nozzle' and immediately got the Manager. They went round to check all the pumps and the Manager closed all the 'Sans Plomb' due to them concluding there was a monumental cock up with diesel coming out of the unleaded petrol nozzles. Manager did apologize to me then and said I didn't have to pay ... :lol: :lol:

Helpful Policeman got on his radio and organised an appropriate recovery vehicle to come and get the Espace and 5 of us. He also gave me a copy of his incident report which stated diesel was coming out of petrol pump due to Shell's error and customer refused to pay etc..which later proved very useful. Recovery vehicle eventually arrived and we loaded up and got driven to a large Ford dealership near St. Flour, which was 30 miles in the wrong direction! Arrived about 1.30 am and he off-loaded the Espace and opened the Reception area for us while he went in the stores and found he had the appropriate Renault fuel filters but then hit us with the bad news that he wasn't allowed to use the workshops till 7.00 am due to local planning regulations ! He put the coffee machine and snack machine on Free Vend, said help yourself and drove off. Kids had sleeping bags to snuggle in but my wife and I spent the longest, coldest night of our lives in that Reception area - very cold at altitude in the early hours in early April. Soup, Hot Chocolate and Coffee made little difference to the cold ...

"Garage man" reappeared with a mate just before 7.00 and they moved our Espace into the workshop. About an hour later it was on the forecourt with them putting some petrol in and they started it and everything disappeared in a smoke cloud.. :lol: Then they drove around the forecourt swerving and braking and accelerating with it still smoking and then went back into the workshop. About 30 mins later it was out again to be filled with petrol and ran without smoke. Invoice said they'd drained tank, changed filter, flushed fuel pump and pipes, removed and cleaned injectors of diesel, filled with petrol and then repeated all of that so I paid for 2 filters, a lot of petrol, for 'disposing of diesel' and their time, plus the recovery charge. Big hit on Visa Card!

Set off feeling awful but fueled by caffeine and we passed that service area near Lorlanges almost 12 hours after we'd originally been there :banghead: .... Seemed a much longer drive to Calais with Sunday morning traffic around too, but Espace ran fine and continued to do so for many years after that..

Once home I sent the AA photocopies of all the paperwork to claim it back under the European Travel part of my annual membership and got an initial letter suggesting "self inflicted not a breakdown so not a full refund".
I also wrote to Shell UK Publicity Dept to say what a crap outfit they had in France and copied the papers to them.

After I made an irate phone call to the AA threatening to cancel all membership they decided to translate and read the police report and paid a full refund to my credit card and said they intended to reclaim from Shell in France. Shell Uk wrote and said I should have written to France but here's a full refund, plus a bit extra, in fuel vouchers as a goodwill gesture. Kept the family fleet going for several months but didn't really compensate for 'the worst night of our lives"... except our kids talk about it as 'the best night of our lives' - Tic Tac, chocolate bars & crisps on Free Vend, their Willy Wonka experience. Only later did we find out the little rascals had used their sleeping bags for 'extra storage' too... we were wondering how a box of Tic Tac could last so long ... :lol:
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Re: Dieseled Elan!

Postby Giniw » Fri 21.04.2017, 18:40

lotusflasherman wrote:Only later did we find out the little rascals had used their sleeping bags for 'extra storage' too... we were wondering how a box of Tic Tac could last so long ... :lol:
:lol:
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Re: Dieseled Elan!

Postby Steve_P » Fri 21.04.2017, 22:14

Thanks for sharing that story Phil, that certainly surpasses the general inconvenience of waiting at the pumps while
someone does their weekly grocery shop! :D My wife also had a good chuckle when I relayed your 'Shell' end of holiday experience.

A colleague pointed me to Shell's UK website. Quote:

"Shell puts the service back into UK service stations with the return of Forecourt Attendants.

After an absence of more than 20 years, the reappearance of Shell forecourt attendants at certain sites in the UK heralds a return to a golden age of motoring customer service.

The new Attended Service is designed to improve the overall forecourt experience, delivering a more personal service at no extra cost, including:

Helping you with advice on fuels, fuel efficiency, safety tips and of course, refuelling."
Link

I feel a red marker pen coming out to edit. :P
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Re: Dieseled Elan!

Postby lotusflasherman » Fri 21.04.2017, 23:37

That will be great if they know what they are doing, yours obviously didn't !

Way back in the good old days before self-service I had a Ford 100E Anglia with 1172cc sidevalve engine that had a tall Solex carb with push on gauze air cleaner and the oil filler was a tall tube also with a push on gauze breather cap. Pulled into a garage with a girlfriend who was 'real eye candy' and asked for petrol and a pint of oil and we sat there chatting. Attendant filled tank and I sprung the front hinged bonnet for oil but I think he got distracted by her & her miniskirt ... she suddenly said "Should he be putting oil in there" and the bloody idiot had just started pouring it in the carb! He heard her and stopped and put the rest down the oil filler tube but I produced more smoke than the Red Arrows when I started up. :lol:

Shell have also produced a phone app so you can pay by phone at the pump but say use it in the car because of the bullshit about "don't use phone on forecourt, it's dangerous".
They don't say anything about having the hood down though :banghead:
Phil

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