Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Green pipe, black pipe

Like many people, we decided to go on holiday for the Easter weekend. Put in 3 days leave and you have a wonderful 11 days off from work. Like less of those many people, we headed up the West Coast. Yes, my favourite. We left the Cape later than planned and got to Piketberg, not much further. At the garage I asked the attendant to fill up with diesel. After filling up the attendant disappeared, only to come back a minute or two later to tell me that he indeed filled up, but with unleaded! This is after I told him to fill up with diesel and there’s a big red sticker with DIESEL on the inside of the diesel flap. I have a big mental note to always tell the attendant to put diesel in rather than petrol (which is the more natural way of speaking). And this is like a fear come true. Still, it won’t help fussing over this, because there’s a full tank that needs to be drained.
Luckily I haven’t started the bakkie, which would cause the unleaded petrol to flood the fuel system. It could result in major damage and definitely no holiday. I went and spoke to the manager and told him that he will have to make a plan to get it sorted today. I said the same thing to the attendant, but somehow I still felt that I haven’t made myself clear enough. This was going to prove to be slightly more difficult to fix as it was a Sunday, Easter weekend and at a smaller town with not many mechanics, most of whom were already on holiday.
The attendant came back to me and asked if I could pull the “Silver Hilux” forward as it’s blocking the pumps. As if this wasn’t serious enough already, he expected me to start it and then drive to a parking bay. With the help of some of the attendants, I pushed the bakkie forward. Some of the local Afrikaans boere community were quite amazed because, “jy stoot nooit ‘n Hilux nie”. I made my way back into Nick, the manager’s office. There he started calling telephone numbers from the yellow pages, but to no avail. No one answers. In the meantime I took my phone and searched the internet for “Piketberg Mechanics”. I got hold of a mechanic, but he was already on holiday in Elands bay. (We found that some of the numbers in the yellow pages to be wrong). He (the mechanic), said that he will try and get hold of one of the guys working for him. 10 Minutes later he called and said that his guy isn’t available, but there might be someone else that he knows that can drain the tank. He got hold of him, but he first had to finish a job and would then make his way over. Some locals were already eying my Border Collies as they know what these are worth on a farm. With an endless back and forth, the Hilux was hooked and (at probably around 2 tons including load) being towed behind a 2.2 litre red Camry up the Piketberg Mountain into town and towards the workshop.
Here we had to wait for the owner to come from Veldrif to open up. After opening, they couldn’t find a fuel pump. Without a fuel pump they would have to take the tank out to drain it and that will take very long. They checked all the old cars standing in the yard, but nothing. The mechanic then decided to take one out of a Jeep and drove off to get it. Luckily he came back around 30 mins later with it and started draining the fuel from my bakkie’s tank. This fuel pump works quite slowly, so about halfway through he went to the garage to get some diesel to get us back to the garage to fill up once the job is done. They filled about 4 and a half drums with this diesel/petrol mixture of about 80 litres. In the first 2-3 drums were more petrol as diesel is oil based and floated on top of the petrol in the tank, so the petrol was pumped out first.
I started my bakkie and true to a Toyota Hilux, the engine ran perfectly. At the garage they filled my tank up with diesel this time, for free and Nick gave us some toasted sandwiches, chips and cooldrink for dinner. 6 Hours later and way off schedule we started making our way to Hondeklipbaai again. I want to commend Nick, from Total on the professional way he handled the matter. He is going to make sure that all the attendants know the difference between the green pipe (unleaded) and the black pipe (diesel).


  1. Otto ~

    Toe ek deur noord-Duitsland gery het, van Hamburg af na Berlyn toe, het ek by die dorpie Putzlitz self vir my diesel-BMW petrol ingegooi! Gelukkig was dit op 'n werksdag en kon die garage die petrol uitpomp. Maar dit was 'n klomp onnodige geld wat ek betaal het vir die petrol, sowel as vir die arbeid. Onthou, in Duitsland help niemand jou nie; jy maak self vol! Van toe af het ek deeglik geweet wat om te doen as my voertuig by 'n dieselpomp of petrolpomp kom - genoem tenkplek: Tankstelle.

    Met so iets verloor mens net te veel tyd! Darem: Dit gebeur nooit weer nie: Ondervinding is die beste leermeester.


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