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Water in the Diesel Tank

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October 2015 110 Puma Utility

One small mistake ........................................

We live in an area thats been pretty badly flooded, and at the end of the week recently I made mistake number one, and headed home very low on fuel (knowing that I had 2 cans of fuel at home and wasnt planning on going anywhere that week-end)  Sunday evening we got a call to rescue a 'maiden in distress' who was stranded unable to get home after spending most of the day trying to find a route through the floods.  We set off in a hurry and brough her back to stay for the night, the fuel light came on, and I calculated we would make it home, which we did.

Early next morning, in the dark, in the most vile, wet, and gale-force windy conditions I dumped one can into the tank and set off for the nearest petrol station (11 miles away) - I was a bit concerned that the fuel light didnt extinguish, but waded through some significant water (everywhere, up to 2 feet deep at times).  after the first couple of  miles the fuel light went off, and I noted that the fuel guage started rising (to about an eighth of a tank indicated) I was suprised, (I NEVER let the tank drop below 1/4 - so had no idea about whether this was normal or not) 

When I jumped out at the pumps I was devasted to see the fuel cap dangling off!  Stunned I brimed it (with the usual Shell V Power) and depressed and embarassed I went to work.

Its taken the last 2 weeks to steel myself to even thinking about admitting this stupididty publicly.

The continuing issues with the continuing extreme weather (combined with my dodgy knees) have stopped me getting underneath the tank to investigate draining it.

So - what should I do?

Drain it is the obvious answer, but given my circumstances I wont get to this anytime soon, are there any other options -?  (its also fair to say that I'm pretty incompetent mechanically - I can (could, pre recent legislation ) wire houses, plumb, work stone, Oak Frame, and carpenter, (and back in the day fix appliances like VCRs) but I have zero success with vehicles (even though I have 6 including a '55 S1, 79 V8 110, and my forever Defender - which is the only Brand New vehicle Ive ever bought, and didnt take delivery of until it was dry enough to drive it stright to the guy who waxoiled it.

In the immdeiate short term - is there anything I should put in the tank to deal with this?

Am I imagining that the flood water dumped 1/8th of a tank's worth of water into the tank 

apologies for the long post - I'll admit I'm an idiot and very embarssed - hence the 2 weeks to pluck up the nerev to even post this!


Thanks if you are still reading this 




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It your still driving with no issues I would in the short term not let the tank get below 1/4 full not sure if defenders have a drain plug but ultimately I would drain/siphon the tank allow said contents  to settle and then recover the diesel leaving any water behind it you can get access to a 12v fluid pump Lidl have had them for draining  oil through dipstick you could use one of them  ps I filled my 200 tdi with petrol once so it happens to all of us at some point regards Stephen


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Some of the (metal) tanks have a drain, in the form of a bolt into a threaded boss on the bottom of the tank. It might be possible to release a small amount after it has been allowed to settle for a day or so, and see if any water is drained? It's only a matter of undoing a bolt., which admittedly may be rather stiff. The plastic ones would have to be removed I think to completely drain.

The problem with water in the diesel is that it allows the bugs to grow - maybe  you could add some biocide  pro tem? 

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Given the pickup is from the bottom of the tank and your engine is still running, my bet is there is less in there than you think.

Rain won't get you to 1/8 tank, and flood water when you drive through mostly wash away from the vehicle, so doubt you filled it like that.

I'd run it as low as you dare (to avoid too much mess) and then drain it, if possible from a drain plug as it will give you the water first!

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Your fuel filter also has a drain plug on the bottom of it which you'll be able to extract water from. Might be an idea to open that up slowly to see what comes out. If it's water then keep going until you get to the diesel and then try again in a few days' time.

Also, depending on the spec, you may have a water sensor at the fuel filter which will illuminate a warning on the dash if there is water in your fuel line. It plugs into the bottom of the fuel filter so you'll quickly know whether it's installed or not.

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