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Old 01-02-2009, 09:03 AM   #1
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fueling up with diesel

This is probably a pretty lame question, but is something that concerns me a bit.

I towed our last (non-AS) trailer with a gas truck. It was a 27ft trailer, and the truck was a 1/2 ton extended cab.

I'm not the best at manouvering trailers, and always had a bit of concern when stopping for gas. Unless I was able to stop at a Flying J or similar, I was always a bit concerned about pulling into a small gas station to be sure that I could exit easily without being blocked in. I would try to assess things as we approached gas stations and often bypass a cheaper station and stop at one where i might have to pay a little more per gallon to ensure ease of access.

Well, now I've switched to a Classic 30 and a crew cab diesel so I'm sure my paranoia about fuelling will notch up a bit further!

Apart from the increased rig length, my concern is that those stations that do sell diesel usually only have one or two pumps so now I am furtyer restricted!

We have yet to tow this new set up, but we are getting ready to hit the road for California next month.

I'm expecting that on the interstates I should be ok with larger truck stops, but just wondering if anyone has any tips or suggestions for me?

I haven't had this diesel truck long enough to know yet, but is there any sort of standardization as to where diesel pumps are located at gas stations?

My local gas station, the only place I have fuelled up yet has the pumps in the outer (most easily accessed) lane, which seems logical.

I am wondering also, are the pump handles generally coloured green (as my local one is)? This would help in trying to pick lanes when approaching the fuel stands with the trailer in tow.

Any tips/advice appreciated to ease my concerns!
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:12 AM   #2
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Brian;
Welcome to the forums. Sounds like a nice rig you have. I have seen that most smaller stations have their diesel pumps on the outer pumps so it does give you extra room to manuever. I don't have a diesel but with trailer and TV it is about 62' in length. I just have to be a little cautious, especially for the " other drivers" because they don't really realize or care if they box you in or not. Flying J has a diesel lane for RV's that gives you plenty of room. Since my rig is gas (460) I sometimes have to wait for the fueling lanes to clear before I fill because of the length.
Good luck in your trip to Calif.

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Old 01-02-2009, 09:20 AM   #3
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Hello Wingeezer,

I think we all understand and/or been in your situation. The key to it is just relax.. The pump handles are all green here in California. Usually always on the end of a pump row and each side of that particular island. When im looking for a diesel station the first thing i look for is easy and gradual driveways. If it looks like im going to drag bottom somewhere then forget it! After i spy that i quickly look into to station to see how busy they are, ie. can i pull in or am i going to be hanging out on the road. I too have a crew cab with a 30 foot airstream. If all this looks good (and it really only takes seconds for you to process all this) I pull in. Most people realize that you have something big and not very manueverable. After I fill up and am ready to go if it seems that i have to back up or go around something my wife will jump out and watch. When other folks see all this going on they tend to sympathize with you and will back up a bit if just pulling in to give you room. The key to it is just relax so that you dont hurry and make a mistake. nobody will rememeber if it took you 20 minutes to refuel but a crowd will gather if you crease the airstream on one of those steel poles. Dont worry.. you will be fine. The fact that your worried about it at all shows that you are careful. Remember that video of that dodge truck and 5ver that hits the top of the fuel station because he wasnt watching his height? He was in too much of a hurry to get in and out and not thinking about all the variables.

Happy New Year and Happy traveling!

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Old 01-02-2009, 09:22 AM   #4
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In general do not buy diesel at a GAS STATION unless you know they have a thriving diesel business. Diesel will go stale so you want to go to a station that pumps the inventory through faster than the average gas station.

Use a truck stop to insure you are getting new fuel plus they all have the larger nozzles so you stopping time is cut down.

As a new diesel owner I would suggest you look into using a fuel additive such as Stanadyne Performance Formula. This will put back most of the qualities the government removed and will reduce your chances of collecting water in the fuel filter. I have been using about 1/2 of the recommended amount for the last 12 years or so and have not had a water in fuel indication since.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:27 AM   #5
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At Gas Stations with only one or two diesel pumps they are usually located at the outside island. Some Stations use different colored handles others do not best to read the label.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:06 AM   #6
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Ditto to Vinnie and Howie! I've towed with a Diesel since 1983 and have had very few problems getting in and out. I bought my first diesel car in 1969 (a 1969 Mercedes 220D) so I was practiced in a few practicals, namely:

1) Don't wait until you are desperate to fill up. A little foresight cuts the stress a big bunch.

2) Except for an emergency, buy your fuel from an outlet that sells a lot of the stuff. Yukky stuff can grow in old diesel fuel!

3) Form the habit of buying from the same company. I try for Flying J, but Love's or others will do just as well. I go to their web site and determine where the stations are located along the route I plan to travel. They list addresses and prices so it cuts down on surprises.

4) I stay out of the big truck side of these places unless I have no choice. I don't want to hold up these pro drivers with my rig and I don't like to use the high volume nozzles on the commercial pumps. They are MUCH harder to fill from. Many of these chain truck stops have dedicated RV pumps that are pretty user friendly.

5) There is nothing wrong with pulling into the station parking area and scouting the layout before you commit. What is the old saying?-- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

6) Keep a pair of gloves handy. When you are handling the nozzle the protection will keep the long-lingering stink from your delicate hands.

You'll do fine. Just get with it and enjoy the journey!

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Old 01-02-2009, 10:30 AM   #7
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Hi
I have to concurr wiff HowiE
I have had at least 45 yrs on the road experience with diesels. Try Very hard to plan your trip around the major truck stops for the purchase of fuel.
1 More room and easier maneuvering
2 Fresher fuel because of the shear volume these places do.
Stay away from 1 & 2 pump MOM and POP stations when ever possible.
The problem is Water.Im not sayin that all mom and pop places have water but its more likely. Fuel filters are expense and so are injectors. Just 1 drop of water thru a Fuel Injector can blow the tip off and become a major repair. I know they never told ya that at the dealer did they?
Please trust me on this one I been there, done that.
Roger
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:35 AM   #8
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Yup, pretty much what everyone else said. I've been driving diesels for twenty years with no difficulties ... but you do have to plan ahead, esp. in "smaller" stations when towing. So I try real hard not to stop at those!

In Mich., most diesel pump handles are indeed green. But that's not true everywhere. Some places they are black. Most places, the diesel pumps are either on the end of the line or are on separate islands.

If you hit the high volume places like Flying J, etc. you'll get fresh fuel and big lanes with plenty of turning room. I've never yet had to back out of a station, but that's because as others have said, I am picky about where I stop and I never get so low that I HAVE to stop at any particular station.

Be VERY careful about additives like Stanadyne. I use it in my older diesels and it's great for them, but for your '08, it's not clear to me that it won't help to plug your new particulate filter, and if you do, it's not covered by warranty. And contrary to what someone said, if you wind up having to or wanting to, fill from a "big rig" pump with a big nozzle, GM's got a filler neck on your truck that'll work just fine. And it fills FAST!

BTW, it is comforting to KNOW how high your airconditioner, vents, etc. are from the ground, so a little time with a ladder, stick, tape measure, etc. will pay dividends in relaxation: when you see a pump island or something with a sign that says something like "Clearance 10' 6" " ... you'll know FOR SURE whether you'll clear, and not worry / wonder. That sound of breaking plastic / bending aluminum has gotta' be a baaaad thing to hear.

Enjoy.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
This is probably a pretty lame question, but is something that concerns me a bit.
!

Thanks to all for the helpful comments!

I do indeed plan to use Flying J / Love's / Pilot as often as I can, and fo the most part I think that should make life easy. When stopping overnight at towns, I'll make extra sure to fill up the truck before hitching up.

I have long been a big fan of Flying J as we have used them for years due to generally good prices and ability (at most of them) to stop overnight when on the road.

When we do that, we always fill up, eat, and usually drop a few more $$ in the store!

I'm not sure if Pilot or Love's allow overnight stays, I have the feeling maybe not.

The point about avoiding smaller "mom & pop" stations is well taken. I have started reading up on some of the potential problems of water in diesel fuel as well as the possibility of organisms starting to "grow" in stale fuel!

I'm a bit leary on using additives for the moment until I learn more though, mainly because I believe I read in the Duramax manual not to use them.

I do have a 6 yr GM bumper-bumper warranty on the truck (fingers crossed GM is still around in 6 years!)

I just ordered a book from Trailer Life called "Next Exit" that should be helpful with fuelling. It tells you what services are available at all interstate exits and it appears to identify diesel fuel locations. I do use a GPS that has good exit info, but I don't believe it specifies diesel vs gas.

The comment about measuring trailer air conditioner height is well taken also, although I would imagine that is more of an issue with fifth wheel trailers.

In our last truck, I had the truck ht. on a piece of tape on the dash as a reminder when entering indoor carparks.

No doubt it will be all the more important with our new truck as it is somewhat higher still than the half ton.

When I add the info on our dash, I'll be sure to also measure and add the trailer info - sure couldn't hurt!

Thanks again to all! I guess probably as anything is just to relax and take it easy - I know that I get way to concerned about looking stupid and or holding other people up! My wife is always telling me that!
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:44 PM   #10
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Here in Ontario Canada the diesel pumps are color coded yellow. Look for the yellow handle on the pump and the yellow sign.

Around here in smalltownville, gas stations that sell diesel put up a big sign with the price on it, along with the one with the regular gas price. So it is easy to tell who has diesel.

The pumps are located to make it easy to fill up a big truck or truck hauling a trailer. No doubt in urban areas they fill up mostly diesel cars but here in the country the farmers use a lot of diesel pickup trucks and duallies and haul big trailers with tractors on them or hay or other ag products. So the pumps are set up for the convenience of rigs as big as yours or bigger.

You shouldn't have any trouble. In fact you may find it easier to get fuel at rural service stations than in the city.

See you next summer!
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:06 PM   #11
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Wingeezer,
Pretty much as everyone else has reported.
Additionally, I will always do this for less stressful trips.
1. Fill up my diesel tank (green handle) before the start of every trip without the trailer. (Makes sense?)
2. If I need to, I don't hesitant one bit to go and, filler up with the BIG BOYS..
After all, I am almost as long..lol
You will do just fine..Remember that you have more than you had before back there and, plan your turns according..
Use them mirrors~
Have fun and, we'll see you down the road..
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:18 PM   #12
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I've found I can pull 500+ miles on a full tank (Dodge Cummins with ~ 35 gallon tank), and hardly ever do I drive more than that in a single day. So starting with a full tank I can be at the next campground before needing to refuel. This avoids the stress of pulling the trailer into tight fueling stations, etc.

Of course if you need to go further than a single tank can take you this won't help

If I absolutely had to refuel and I had any doubts at all about getting into a tight station and getting 'stuck' - other people honking horns and getting upset, etc - I'd just find a place to unhitch the trailer & then refuel the truck. One more unhitch/hitch cycle isn't a big deal compared to the stress of worrying about damaging my trailer or the fuel pumps!
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:26 PM   #13
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I forgot to mention.

NEVER RUN OUT OF FUEL

A diesel does not like that and it will tell you so when you try to restart it.

Also check out this site if you want good information on the D Max. This will not be info written by the Company Legal Department but rather equal to the information you are receiving here on the Forum.

Diesel Place - Duramax Diesel Discussion Forums
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
I forgot to mention.

NEVER RUN OUT OF FUEL

A diesel does not like that and it will tell you so when you try to restart it.

Also check out this site if you want good information on the D Max. This will not be info written by the Company Legal Department but rather equal to the information you are receiving here on the Forum.

Diesel Place - Duramax Diesel Discussion Forums

Yeah,

I read about what must be done to restart the engine should you run it dry and will try to avoid that!

I mentioned it to my Mrs - along with telling her how important it is not to put gas in by mistake! Having said that, it will likely be me who does it and she will just sit there quietly biting her tongue!

Fuel mileage doesn't seem very good as yet - judging by the averaging readout, but I guess that is to be expected on a new vehicle, we don't have 500 miles on it yet, and all driving has been around town so far.

Brian
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