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FORD'S EASY FUEL SYSTEM TAKES THE GUESSWORK
OUT OF FILLING UP
COLOGNE, GERMANY - When Rudolph
Diesel devised a more efficient engine in 1892, he probably did
not envision the situation that exists today: Gasoline and diesel
fuel sold next to each other from look-alike pumps, often four to
six in a row. But for anyone who accidentally fills their diesel-powered
car with gasoline, it can be a 4,000-5,000 ($4,700-$5,900)
case of mistaken identity.
Ford of Europe has now come up with a
solution for the mis-fueling of cars, a problem that affects
hundreds of thousands of people in Europe each year. It's called
Easy Fuel, and it is a simple device that prevents a gasoline
nozzle from being inserted into a car with a diesel engine.
"Ford's intention is to isolate the
danger of engine damage to all customers," said Ford Fuel
Systems Engineer Stefan Buro. "With the Easy Fuel system, we
have developed a method for error-free handling, especially for
the coming generation of quietly running diesel engines, where
the only things customers notice are good performance and
excellent fuel economy."
The Easy Fuel system, with a patented mis-fueling
inhibitor, consists of a sealed filler pipe insert and fuel
nozzle locator that guides the nozzle to the tank opening. The
insert contains a mechanically operated diameter detector which
only allows the larger diesel fuel nozzle to be inserted into the
filler pipe, and locks out the thinner gasoline nozzles. The
system will begin appearing on Ford vehicles within two years
following final testing.
Unlike a gasoline engine, which compresses
a mixture of gasoline and air, diesel engines compress just air
before diesel fuel is injected into the cylinder and the fuel is
ignited. Pouring gasoline into a diesel engine can cause damage
to the fuel pump, the high-pressure injection system, as well as
other serious engine problems.
Today's modern diesel engines, with their
sophisticated high pressure injection systems, typically have a
low tolerance against mis-fueling. Even after a short driving
distance, parts of the fuel pump may seize, requiring parts or
the total injection system to be replaced.
With the European diesel market growing
approximately 50 percent of Ford's car sales in Europe
have diesel engines mis-fueling is an ever increasing
problem. In Great Britain, for example, where diesel fueled
family cars are relatively new, the Automobile Association
reported 43,000 breakdowns as a result of an estimated 120,000
cases of unintended mis-fueling in 2003, with approximately the
same proportion expected for the following years.
Other European countries, such as Germany
and France, have a longer tradition of diesel powered cars and a
somewhat lower proportion of mis-fueling. But, as has been
indicated by auto industry trade magazines, mis-fueling happens
to very experienced drivers as well. Depending on the amount of
damage sustained, engine repairs can cost from 120 to
4,000-5,000 for a major overhaul.
The Easy Fuel system is catching the
attention of others. Autocar, a leading British car enthusiast
publication, presented the Easy Fuel system with its Idea
Of The Year Award earlier this month.
Autocar Editor Rob Aherne said: If
simplicity is the essence of a great invention then Fords
Easy Fuel Concept must be one of the best. It has the potential
to prevent the inconvenience and expensive repair bills
associated with filling a diesel car with petrol. We think it is
ingeniously designed and a worthy winner of the Autocar idea of
On collecting the award, Ford's Buro said:
We are delighted to accept this Autocar Award. We at Ford
are keen to make motoring as problem free as we can by constantly
evolving our product design and integrating ideas such as the
Easy Fuel Concept.