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Old 07-23-2011, 06:58 PM
sgtsandman sgtsandman is offline
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Default Beware the dangers of running on empty

People have asked from time to time about fuel pumps and running their tanks empty. I ran across an article put out by AAA that covers the subject. Also, for those looking for better fuel mileage, it throws in a bit of info too. Do with it what you will.

Beware the dangers of running on empty

Quote:
AAA Reminds Motorists of Hazards of Running Out of Gas

Orlando, Fl - 4/25/2011
As fuel prices continue to climb, drivers pushing gas tanks to their limits could end up with costly repair bills in addition to putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations

With gas prices nearing record levels, motorists who attempt to stretch a tank of gas too far could end up stranded at the roadside. AAA cautions drivers that allowing their car to run out of fuel can not only put them in a potentially dangerous situation, but also could result in costly repair bills.
“We realize some motorists are trying to be resourceful and delay fuel expenditures by driving their car until the gas tank is nearly empty, but this can sometimes do more harm than good,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information.

Potential Costly Repairs from Running on Empty
Running a vehicle extremely low on fuel may cause sediment in the bottom of the tank to clog the fuel pump pickup, the fuel filter or even the fuel injectors. In addition, when a minimum level of fuel is not maintained it could cause the electric fuel pump inside the tank to overheat. The cost to replace that one component alone can be $500 or more in parts and labor.

Dangers of Running Out of Gas
Running out of gas also can put the personal safety of a motorist and their passengers in jeopardy should the vehicle suddenly become immobilized on the roadway. “Power steering and brakes can be lost when the engine dies, and drivers can end up stranded in the middle of a busy highway without the ability to move their vehicle. Fortunately, out-of-gas situations are completely avoidable just by keeping an eye on the fuel gauge,” noted Nielsen.

Finding the Lowest Priced Gas before Hitting E
AAA recommends drivers always maintain at least a quarter tank of fuel. “We understand everyone today is looking to save money by finding the lowest priced gas before they fill up. AAA can help in that quest with several free tools drivers can use to plan their fill ups in advance so they both save money and avoid running out of gas,” explained Nielsen.
Both the TripTik Travel Planner on AAA.com and the free AAA TripTik Mobile iPhone app can help drivers plan efficient routes for errands and locate the best places to stop for gas along the way. And on the go, AAA TripTik Mobile provides motorists with turn-by-turn navigation and audible directions. Both tools allow drivers to compare frequently updated fuel costs at gas stations near their location.

Safe, Smart Ways to Save on Gas
Rather than stretching their fuel supply too far, AAA urges motorists to make a few simple changes in their driving habits that can greatly improve fuel economy.
“Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, accelerate gently rather than making a ‘jack rabbit’ start,” said Nielsen.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can reduce a car’s fuel economy up to 33 percent.
Speed also is a key factor in conserving fuel. The fuel efficiency of most vehicles decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. “Every additional 5 mph above 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Take it easy on the road and you’ll see a tremendous savings at the pump,” added Nielsen.
AAA offers more than 40 ways motorists can reduce the amount of fuel they consume in its “Gas Watchers Guide” available online at AAA.com/PublicAffairs.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2011, 07:02 PM
HIGH TECH REDNECK HIGH TECH REDNECK is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

i never drop below half so i dont have to worry about this stuff happening, i had heard of this years ago.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:03 PM
HazardousRanger HazardousRanger is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

how low is too low? it never says lol
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:35 PM
FireRanger FireRanger is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

Is the fuel pump/intake even on a float in our trucks. I haven't had a fuel tank apart since my old '84 and the intake was at the bottom regardless of tank level. None the less, I have never in all my years seen or heard of anyone actually experiencing this "bottom of the tank" issue. I really think it is more myth than reality. The liquid in the tank is sloshing constantly. Sludge and crap are not going to magically stay put on the bottom of the tank. Everytime the truck moves, it would be stirred up and sucked in anyway.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:40 PM
01_ranger_4x4 01_ranger_4x4 is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

ive been running my ranger until the light comes on since ive owned it. ive never run out of gas nor have I ever had any issues because of it. the fuel pump pick up is already at the bottom of the tank so there is no reason what so ever that it would draw sediment when the tank is empty vs when the tank is full.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:43 PM
FireRanger FireRanger is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

That's what I thought. Looking at pictures of the new ones, it is obviously at the bottom and I suspect that's how most cars are. Why would the ever even make a floating intake, thats asking for something to break. Hence why I always felt this is BS.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:57 PM
one1 one1 is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

Well, you CAN wear one part out. -----> http://www.fordrangerforum.com/gener...past-life.html
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:34 PM
TenSilver TenSilver is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

I'm under the impression that Rangers have approximately 2~3 gallon reserve when the gas guage reads empty.

I guess that the pump is located in a recess so it will be submerged in reserve fuel.

If you drive with your gas guage going past empty then you're burning your reserve fuel.

I normally fill up at a 1/4 tank though.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:29 AM
FireRanger FireRanger is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

It is also VERY unlikely that the pump actually needs to be submerged to be cooled. I call 95% BS on that one too. You would need a lot more than 2 gallons in there to keep the pump submerged and pumps would be burning up left and right. It is the fuel flowing through the pump that cools it. Running the pump dry for X minutes will probably piss it off. But I'm pretty sure submersion is totally unnecessary.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:16 AM
north44 north44 is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

Best to keep the tank full . . .

Story #1:
Years ago, driving on an interstate, I thought it would be "interesting" to see how far I could go on a tank of gas.

When the low fuel light came on, I determined to take the next exit and fill up . . .

As the miles rolled by, no exit, and there were some pretty harrowing moments as I fully expected to run out of gas . . .

Luckily, an exit came up before I ran empty, but lesson learned.

Story #2:
I was stuck on an urban expressway behind a massive accident, summertime, very hot; and after it became apparent that everyone would be stuck for a long time, most people shut off their vehicles . . .

Some people, however, sat with their cars idling, obviously with A/C running . . .

When the traffic got moving after about 1 1/2 hours, there were all kinds of cars just sitting, or started moving and sputtered to a stop (dangerous thing right there) . . .

Cars weaving around other stopped cars . . .

Seemed like they just ran out of gas.

And if you live in an area where winters are severe, you will know just how dangerous it is to run out gas in subzero temps.

Anyway, for myself, it may have taken some time and "lessons", but I now rarely let my fuel level fall below 1/2 tank.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:16 AM
Christianguy Christianguy is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01_ranger_4x4 View Post
ive been running my ranger until the light comes on since ive owned it. ive never run out of gas nor have I ever had any issues because of it. the fuel pump pick up is already at the bottom of the tank so there is no reason what so ever that it would draw sediment when the tank is empty vs when the tank is full.
If I wait for a light to come on, I will die of old age! LOL
Im pretty sure mine doesn't have a light .

They must have made the Ranger right!
I never had any fuel problems other than needing a new pump
Maintenance is ALWAYS the key,though.
I do agree on filling up SOON once the gauge is 1/3 to empty.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:51 AM
FireRanger FireRanger is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

Quote:
Originally Posted by north44 View Post
Best to keep the tank full . . .

Story #1:.....
Story #2:.....
Umm, neither of those are lessons on why you should keep your tank full. The first one is a lesson on reading maps and knowing where you're going. And the second one is a lesson on not letting it get down to fumes to begin with.

FYI, at idle not moving, you burn between 1/3 to 1/2 gallon per hour (in a 4.0). Probably even less in the smaller engines. So if you run out gas from idling for an hour or two, you were an idiot and already down to nothing in the first place.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:47 AM
sgtsandman sgtsandman is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

The article recommends keeping at least a quarter tank.

Most fuel pumps are cooled by the fuel. How much is due to it being submerged and how much is due to fuel circulating through the pump, I can't say. But I do know that the more fuel that is in the tank the better the "heat sink" is.

As an Aircraft Fuel Systems Mechanic, I know their pumps are also cooled by the fuel. Now obviously, we can't work in a tank with fuel in it, so we purposefully run the tank dry. One can do it and as others have mentioned, they do it regularly. However, running a fuel pump for extended periods of time with a low fuel quantity is a problem. I've seen it with the original pumps in the aircraft (which have all been swapped out since the 1990's).

Now the claim on the sediments in the article, I will throw a BS flag on that. Sediment has not been an issue for a long time. Water is still a possibility in vehicles with metal tanks but not so much with the current plastic ones. With most fuel being E10, that pretty much solves any residual water issues since dry gas is alcohol.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:13 AM
southbama man southbama man is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

I thought this was common sense?
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:03 PM
sgtsandman sgtsandman is offline
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Default Re: Beware the dangers of running on empty

Common sense isn't common. Ask any decent mechanic on what they see on day to day basis concerning vehicles and how owners use and abuse them.

One of my favorite "run the hell away" lines is, "I've never had to do anything to it other than change the oil." ---- REALLY? Glad you've been so fortunate. I bet you're trading that in real soon before all hell breaks loose, aren't you? Because whoever gets it next is going to have one HELL of a repair bill...
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