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Old 06-05-2015, 10:45 AM   #1
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2016 30' International
Houston , Texas
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Running out of diesel

This would probably better be posted on a diesel truck forum but I probably wouldn't understand the answers I got so I am hoping that some of the more experienced diesel TV users here know the answer.

I have an auxiliary tank on our F250 that is controlled by a switch in the cab. I hope I never get in this situation but if I were to run either the auxiliary tank or the main tank dry until the engine started to run out of fuel and I switched tanks, would I likely be stuck on the side of the road or would the fuel system be able to work the air out of the line and pull fuel out of the other tank?

I know that running out of diesel generally involves a tow to the shop to bleed the air out of the fuel line but if the fuel supply is interrupted only briefly, and the vehicle is still moving, would it continue to run?

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Old 06-05-2015, 10:59 AM   #2
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Melbourne Beach , Florida
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What year is your truck? It is my understanding that the newer (I don't know what that means, either) engines can bleed air out of the lines, although I can't confirm it in practice. Check your manual or call your local dealer.



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Old 06-05-2015, 11:16 AM   #3
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2001 30' Excella
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My '06 Dodge will self bleed the air. I turn the ignition on and momentarily to crank and it will start the fuel pump. I need to do it each time I replace the fuel filter it only takes a few seconds to fill the filter canister. Older diesels ( I'm not sure when they changed) needed to open a fuel line while cranking to bleed the air. I'm pretty sure all modern diesels are self bleeding.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:53 AM   #4
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2015 27' FB International
Newmarket , Ontario
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Common rail diesel trucks SUVs have very high pressure (19,000 lbs) that supply the injectors. On my Touareg TDI the unused fuel is returned to the tank hot and mixes with the cooler fuel in the tank. This is then picked up to supply the HPFP to supply high pressure fuel again. I have seen several recommendations that indicate the fuel tank be kept 1/4 full to ensure proper cooling for the fuel pump.

Just a thought?

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Old 06-05-2015, 01:40 PM   #5
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Running 'dual tanks' I have always refilled the main tank when 1/2 has been used. So, I 'run out' of the 'auxilliary' tank first... that does not hurt the truck fuel system and keeps the fuel 'fresh'....because it is always being used.
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:44 PM   #6
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Running out of diesel

Having returned from Wisconsin, about 1000 plus miles, I thought I might need to refill the main and 60 gallon auxiliary tank in the bed.

Actually for only about $171 I did just that...I think about 66 gallons. Now, my tank is gravity feed, and on a long run, it is allowed to feed continuously into the main tank, passing through a clear plastic fuel filter as it drops from the Aux Tank into the main tank. However, the actual feed tubing from the Aux Tank, goes up hill about an inch, thus preventing all the fuel in the aux from feeding the main tank. Or, I have about 10 gallons of reserve, easily drained not the main tank if I simply reduce the "hump" in the hose and allow gravity to do its work.

I use an inline clear plastic filter so as to be able to see if there is water or other garbage in the fuel from the aux tank. Any water would collect on the bottom of the filter I believe.

And, mpg from Wisconsin...15.1....down hill, I guess....LOL
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:52 PM   #7
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You do not want to run out of diesel. The injection pump is lubricated by the diesel and will destroy itself very quickly if run dry.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:42 PM   #8
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1987 29' Sovereign
Tallahassee , Florida
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The Ford 6.0 diesel models will self prime. Just turn the key and let the fuel pump run until it stops. Then turn off the key and do it again about 15 times. Then turn it on and crank it up.

I suspect the 6.4 and 6.7's are the same.

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Old 06-06-2015, 02:50 PM   #9
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Hot Springs , Arkansas
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My 2002 F250, would self prime with its electrical lift pump. Nice.

My 83 Suburban would require cracking each injector open until fuel dripped while cranking. Then it was 30 minutes of CPR until it ran right. The tank bottom was not what was indicated on the gauge. Lesson learned.
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Old 06-06-2015, 04:26 PM   #10
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2013 25' FB Flying Cloud
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I have a F-250 with a 6.0. When I change the fuel filters there is air in the filters. Never a problem, start up and go.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:58 AM   #11
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Greenwood , Mississippi
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The GM Duramax diesels have a big ole primer bulb to push, but it still ain't no good idea to run out or to run low, as it might pick up sediment and trash from the bottom of the tank and clog the fuel filter. We say as a rule of thumb to fill up at 1/4 tank.

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