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Old 02-08-2010, 05:53 PM   #1
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Auxiliary fuel tanks

Thinking over tow vehicle choices and the matter of fuel capacity and range comes up.

Most long bed pickups have 35 gallon stock fuel tanks.

There are several choices in aftermarket tanks. Transfer Flow and Titan make replacement tanks that add 15-25 gallons capacity at the expense of a little ground clearance. There are several choices for diesel, and fewer for gasoline.

There are also in-bed tanks readily available in sizes up to 100 gallons.

This leads me to a couple of questions to ponder:

1) With proper planning, is a 35 gallon gasoline tank sufficient at the 9-10 MPG towing that seems to be realistic with larger trucks and trailers? If not, is a ~15 gallon increase in capacity sufficient?

2) Is the availability of under-bed replacement tanks of higher capacity, and the slightly higher MPG, for diesel trucks a reason to consider them? (I am, in general, not a true believer in diesel engines)

3) More broadly, how much cruising range is necessary?
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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long bed 250/350s fords have 38 gallon tanks.

which is a range of 400+ miles approximately while towing and as much as 700 UNhitched.

i too was concerned about range and explored most of the auxiliary or replacement options...

instead i just tried the 38 and carried a 5 gallon yellow diesel jug for a few months.

gasoline is more widely available than diesel and some places with diesel are too small for towing into/through...

so the big trailer/diesel combo is probably the most challenging in terms of fuel availability.

anyway i only needed the fuel can once in 70,000 miles of towing.

and that was because the station i expected to stop at was CLOSED.

also had to DROP the trailer one time, then go back for fuel in a small spot...
__________

clearly there are locations where range matters (nevada for example) especially if AWAY from major routes.

i started using the yellow can for biod, adding a bit to each tank for lubrication...
__________

it would be nice to have 50-60 gallons but i'm happy with the decision to NOT add a secondary tank, now.

people who have them are usually VERY happy with the extra capacity.
__________

IF traveling the interstate highway system much, there is a very handyl book called "the next exit"

it basically lists EVERY exit (by mile marker) on every interstate and what services (food/fuel/lodging/repairs/hours) are available.

usually it's very reliable and updated every 1-2 years...

highly recommended.

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:57 AM   #3
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I installed a 91-gallon aluminum tank in the bed of my F250 diesel.

The main reason is that I hate to refuel. The only time I ever damaged my Airstream was maneuvering in a fuel station that was too crowded and too busy.

Now, I refuel when I want to, at my leisure, only once every several days, and usually when I'm unhooked and visiting some place, and where the price of fuel is reasonable.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
1) With proper planning, is a 35 gallon gasoline tank sufficient at the 9-10 MPG towing that seems to be realistic with larger trucks and trailers? If not, is a ~15 gallon increase in capacity sufficient?

2) Is the availability of under-bed replacement tanks of higher capacity, and the slightly higher MPG, for diesel trucks a reason to consider them? (I am, in general, not a true believer in diesel engines)

3) More broadly, how much cruising range is necessary?
1) This depends how far off the beaten track you like to get, and how much you tend to anticipate things. Most people don't like to do more than 200 miles or so at (CA) legal towing speeds w/o a stop; if I expected everyone in our truck to make it between needed fuel stops I'd have outright rebellion on my hands . Out here in the West I've never had trouble finding diesel, but I do tend to not wait until the second tank is nearly empty before discovering we need fuel.

2) The reasons to tow w/ a diesel is because of the very flat power curve, overall longevity and that it will happily operate at high output w/o fuss for hours. Our '96 F250 makes 200+ hp from 2000 to 3400 rpm; this means that as the RPM drops under load the torque climbs proportionally. As a result, the truck pulls hills very easily, and will operate at WOT for as long as needed to climb steep hills. I'm never worried about the engine; the transmission on the other hand has a hard life when towing. Fit a transmission temperature gage if you tow in the hills.

3) Most people find the stocks tanks sufficient. I'd follow 2airishuman suggestion and use one (or two) 5 gallon yellow diesel cans in the bed until the answer for your situation becomes obvious.

- Bart
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