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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dodged A Bullet

Today was the day to hit the road.  With plenty of time to get to our destination of Branson, MO, we took our time packing up and getting ready to leave. 

The nearby Walmart has a gas station and the good news is it carries diesel at a good price.  Better yet, buying a prepaid Walmart gift card and using it at the gas station, I was able to get ten cents off each gallon, and I needed almost 60 gallons.

I topped off the tank, Marti and I hooked up the Element and we headed off down the road.  That’s when the trouble started.

The Journey’s engine started missing when I pushed the accelerator pedal down, putting the engine under load.  That was not good.

Sometimes knowing the intricacies of diesel engines and how they work can be a bad thing.  I listened closely, watched the gauges like a hawk and had visions of big dollar bills to repair bad injectors or a fuel injection pump.  You see, even though I have an extended warranty, warranty companies often will not cover fuel system parts failures because contaminated fuel damage is not from a component failure.

Also there could be another cause for the engine missing, diesel fuel that sits in a hot environment can grow a type of algae in it.  I had run the tank down to under 1/4 when we arrived in South Carolina last month in the (unsuccessful) hope that the then falling price of diesel fuel would continue its downward spiral. A choice environment for the algae growth, diesel fuel, a dark, hot tank and lots of oxygen from the tank being so low. 

Driving along, the miss slowly cleared up.  The gauges all remained reading normal, no “Check Engine” light came on and after about twenty miles it disappeared completely. 

I think that there really was a little bit of algae that had started growing in the fuel lines or filters.  Once the bad fuel ran through the engine, the good fuel took over and the Journey ran like a top.  Note to self: Fill fuel tank whenever extended periods of non-use in hot weather.  The couple of dollars saved pales in comparison to the potential thousands of dollars to replace bad injectors or fuel injection pump.

Just to make sure, I stopped at the next truck stop and bought a container of diesel fuel conditioner that helps clean out fuel system problems.  Half of the container went in the tank, saving the other half for tomorrow’s fill up.  Dodged a bullet, for sure!


We drove through the mountains of North Carolina, the Journey took all the hills in stride.  The scenery was beautiful, as always.



Even a tunnel to break up the monotony of all the scenery. ;c)


We set our goal to stop for the night at the Escapee's Raccoon Valley Campground just outside of Knoxville, TN.  When we were here last June, it was a sweltering day and the campground pool looked so inviting.  Unfortunately, it was locked up because it had not had its annual county inspection.  I was bummed.

Pulling in today, after only 261 miles (I am recovering from PDD – Paul Dahl Disorder for driving too many miles in one day), I saw the pool looking very inviting.  I registered and asked the Host if the pool was open.  He said “Yes”.  I quickly got the Journey set up and  donned my swim trunks.


Hoofing it up to the pool gate, what did I find?  A padlock!  I guess I’m not destined to ever swim in this pool. Sniff!   :c(

The End.


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Glad you dodged the bullet. Too often when a diesel coughs it means big bucks.

  2. Thanks for teaching us something we didn't know!!! Glad it all worked out:o))

  3. great news that you were able to run fuel through and all is well..sorry to hear the pool was locked?

  4. Yikes, diesel engines can be tricky. I remember George's fuel gelling up a few cold winters ago. Never do that again!

  5. Paul when your rig is sitting still for any period of time whether it is hot or cold a low diesel fuel tank can give you problems. Cold Weather will cause moisture build up in the not so full fuel tank. Hot to Warm can cause moisture as well as Algae problems. Using a fuel additive each time you fuel before parking will also help you to avoid those problems.

    Glad you dodged the bullet. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  6. I still think you need to work on cutting back the mileage a little bit. Try to do only 150 tomorrow. :)

  7. Bad fuel is one of my fears, but it luckily has not happened yet. I do always try to keep the tank full when I know it is going to sit for awhile, but then I am just a deckie:)

  8. We keep the tank full year-round ... don't need no algae growing in our tank :-) Glad to see the SDOTR (slowing down on the road) treatment is starting to curb your PDD :-)))

  9. Wow! It's always something. I hope I can remember all the blogs I read. The least I can do is help Steve diagnose any problems we may, I mean will have, in the future! Hope the rest of the trip is smoother sailing.

  10. See. I told you I learn something new from bloggers every single day I read! Wondering if a low tank isn't good for gasoline as well.

  11. The good thing is that most things we worry about don't ever happen. So, it was a good thing you worried about that engine. Who knows what might have happened had you not worried about it. Set up a sprinkler next time when the pool isn't open. At least you'll be able to cool off.

  12. See that's why I never wanted a diesel! It's just too much to think about. That stinks about the pool, but since when has a little padlock stopped you? LOL

  13. Enjoy Branson! I love it there. I don't remember whether you've been there before, but if not, be sure to see "Six." It's a terrific show.

  14. WHEW.......well done Cowboy Paul!

  15. Glad you had a good outcome. . . except for the pool of course. :(

  16. glad you dodged that bullet fairly quickly and easily...but I can imagine and feel how anxious you were when it happened...sorry about the couldn't climb the fence:) lol

  17. Whew! Lucky dodge!

    You will not be cured of PDD until you can keep it at 200 miles a day or less! :)

  18. Thanks for sparing us the swimsuit

  19. Not bad for a day. Catherine insists on a full or nearly full tank before stopping even for the night.