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Old 03-31-2018, 08:50 PM   #1
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1999 23' Safari
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F-150 Diesel? Not so fast!

I tow with a GMC2500 diesel. Tows my little 23’ Safari like it’s not there. Decided maybe I could downsize a bit to the new F-150 diesel. Went through the brochures, sat down with sales lady, and got two shocks.

First, the new F-150 diesel is NOT available with the extended range fuel tank option, for no reason anyone can explain to me. The only fuel tank size available is 26 gallons; the tow / long-distance friendlier 36 gallon long-range tank option is just not available on the diesel. NO idea why it’s this way, it just is. I found this puzzling and very disappointing.

Second, the owner’s manual has this dire warning about operating / parking in cold weather, if you should inadvertently “overfill” your DEF tank:

“Diesel exhaust fluid may freeze if the ambient temperature is below 12degrees F (-11degrees C). Your vehicle has a preheating system which allows diesel exhaust fluid to operate below 12degrees F (-11degrees C). If you do not use your vehicle for an extended period when the ambient temperature is below 12 degrees F (-11degrees C), the fluid in the tank may freeze. If the tank is overfilled and the fluid freezes it may damage the tank. This is not covered by the vehicle warranty.”

So: if you’re thinking of this vehicle as I was, be sure to ask plenty of questions and be informed!
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:41 AM   #2
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Not having a larger capacity fuel tank is not easy to understand. Hopefully that may be corrected in the future.

Is the issue of freezing DEF common on all modern diesels?
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:50 AM   #3
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Maybe Ford didn't want the almost 100lbs of extra tank and fuel to reduce payload, as 150's optioned up to the max can end up with sub 1,000 lb payload capacities; and the diesel engine weight alone is already significantly higher than gas models.

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Old 04-01-2018, 05:53 AM   #4
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DEF is mostly water, so it will freeze in any vehicle, same with damaging the tank, full tank with no room for expansion and something will have to give...

My impression is that there are those who are not well informed and Ford got tired of having to deal with it, so now it comes with a disclaimer, I'll have to check to see if there larger models come with it too, I expect they will.

My concern is more about the MAX 2020lb payload, so that would be in the most stripped down version, so what will it be on a higher trim level most will want?
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:42 AM   #5
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The DEF disclaimer applies to all diesels that use DEF in cold climates. The problem stems from over filling the tank in cold weather as the neck can then freeze with damage resulting. We use so little DEF and fill so infrequently that it has not been an issue for us. We can easily get from NE to Florida on a tank of DEF in our Ram with a bunch to spare.
I believe that payload is, as mentioned, the reason for the smaller tank.
Not sure I’d be worried about 25 gallons of fuel. How big is your bladder? We stop every 3 to 4 hours at most. We’ve never had any issue finding diesel...
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans627 View Post
Not having a larger capacity fuel tank is not easy to understand. Hopefully that may be corrected in the future.

Is the issue of freezing DEF common on all modern diesels?
Never any problems with our ram....we run it when it is down to 8 degrees...all the big trucks have def....they keep running...there is a heater somewhere in the tank...
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Old 04-01-2018, 07:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirsDream View Post
I tow with a GMC2500 diesel. Tows my little 23’ Safari like it’s not there. Decided maybe I could downsize a bit to the new F-150 diesel. Went through the brochures, sat down with sales lady, and got two shocks.

First, the new F-150 diesel is NOT available with the extended range fuel tank option, for no reason anyone can explain to me. The only fuel tank size available is 26 gallons; the tow / long-distance friendlier 36 gallon long-range tank option is just not available on the diesel. NO idea why it’s this way, it just is. I found this puzzling and very disappointing.

Second, the owner’s manual has this dire warning about operating / parking in cold weather, if you should inadvertently “overfill” your DEF tank:

“Diesel exhaust fluid may freeze if the ambient temperature is below 12degrees F (-11degrees C). Your vehicle has a preheating system which allows diesel exhaust fluid to operate below 12degrees F (-11degrees C). If you do not use your vehicle for an extended period when the ambient temperature is below 12 degrees F (-11degrees C), the fluid in the tank may freeze. If the tank is overfilled and the fluid freezes it may damage the tank. This is not covered by the vehicle warranty.”

So: if you’re thinking of this vehicle as I was, be sure to ask plenty of questions and be informed!
Why would you do that?..
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:37 AM   #8
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The 2016 F250 Powerstroke Supercab Standard box was only available with a 26 gallon tank and there was no aftermarket option that I could find--nothing larger would fit under the truck unless one was willing to replace the spare with a fuel tank. I bought a GMC.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:38 AM   #9
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Had the same question about why they would not offer the larger fuel tank (made no sense to me as it’s a diesel meant for towing). The sales person asked around and came back with “the extra space that allows the 36 gallon tank on the EB gas engine is taken up by the roughly 6 gallon DEF tank on the new diesel.” Makes sense? Only kinda.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirsDream View Post
I tow with a GMC2500 diesel. Tows my little 23’ Safari like it’s not there. Decided maybe I could downsize a bit to the new F-150 diesel. Went through the brochures, sat down with sales lady, and got two shocks.

First, the new F-150 diesel is NOT available with the extended range fuel tank option, for no reason anyone can explain to me. The only fuel tank size available is 26 gallons; the tow / long-distance friendlier 36 gallon long-range tank option is just not available on the diesel. NO idea why it’s this way, it just is. I found this puzzling and very disappointing.

Second, the owner’s manual has this dire warning about operating / parking in cold weather, if you should inadvertently “overfill” your DEF tank:

“Diesel exhaust fluid may freeze if the ambient temperature is below 12degrees F (-11degrees C). Your vehicle has a preheating system which allows diesel exhaust fluid to operate below 12degrees F (-11degrees C). If you do not use your vehicle for an extended period when the ambient temperature is below 12 degrees F (-11degrees C), the fluid in the tank may freeze. If the tank is overfilled and the fluid freezes it may damage the tank. This is not covered by the vehicle warranty.”

So: if you’re thinking of this vehicle as I was, be sure to ask plenty of questions and be informed!
We thought about the diesel, but decided to go with the 3.5L ecoboost with max tow option. The diesel engine premium price is too much, in my opinion. Then consider asking your dealer how much an oil change will be, and how often. Be prepared for $150+ for synthetic oil and filters. Then there is the oil/water fuel separator filter. Then DEF, which is not that big of a deal at ~$10 for 2.5 gallons.

We have a first-year Jeep GC diesel. Many 'break-in' issues with the NOX injection system, diesel particulate filter and such. Oil changes… $160 each, every 10K, but usually do them at 5K. If you do them yourself, you may void the warranty. Had $11,000 worth of emissions work done at 70K miles, luckily warranty. Plus Fiat is in litigation with EPA and Cal EPA on possible emissions issues, or at least false advertising. That said, when we haul our 5,000 pound trailer we get 16.5mpg. Without the trailer the 4x4 gets 28mpg most of the time.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
Never any problems with our ram....we run it when it is down to 8 degrees...all the big trucks have def....they keep running...there is a heater somewhere in the tank...
The warning isn’t about cold weather and the DEF in the tank freezing, as there is a heater to handle that. The warning is about refilling DEF below -11C and overfilling the DEF tank, then the spilled DEF freezing.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
Why would you do that?..
Echoing above sentiment, why would you want diesel for towing a 23' safari? The F150 3.5L V6 Ecoboost with max tow comes with all the "umph" you would need along with its 36 gallon tank.

Jim
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDAmerica View Post
Had the same question about why they would not offer the larger fuel tank (made no sense to me as it’s a diesel meant for towing). The sales person asked around and came back with “the extra space that allows the 36 gallon tank on the EB gas engine is taken up by the roughly 6 gallon DEF tank on the new diesel.” Makes sense? Only kinda.
Most likely engineering issue when they fit the diesel particulate filter (just after the turbo, then the NOX catalyst unit, then the muffler, then the DEF tank. Takes up a lot of room, which I suspect limited the fuel tank size.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by TDAmerica View Post
Had the same question about why they would not offer the larger fuel tank (made no sense to me as it’s a diesel meant for towing). The sales person asked around and came back with “the extra space that allows the 36 gallon tank on the EB gas engine is taken up by the roughly 6 gallon DEF tank on the new diesel.” Makes sense? Only kinda.
I don’t think the diesel F150 is meant for towing. Sure, one can tow with it, but there is limited payload, and no exhaust brake. With the limited retardation of the diesel it will be slower down hills. The diesel F150 also has only 2/3 the hp of the Ecoboost, and less torque. I think the diesel is offered in the F150 for the EPA highway fuel economy rating, running empty. For towing, the diesel is a downgrade from the Ecoboost.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:21 AM   #15
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I have had the Ford Powerstroke 6.7 and currently own the RAM Cummins 6.7, of course both use DEF. The same warning exists in the RAM manual : "If the tank is overfilled and freezes, it could be damaged. Therefore, do not overfill the DEF tank". But RAM does not ding you on a warranty if you mess up. All modern diesels have to heed this warning. But it is easily managed. If this is an issue for you to change your mind from a diesel to a gasser, then you really didn't need a diesel in the first place.

I live in Michigan and have run both the Powerstroke and Cummins, with DEF, with temperatures at or below -15F. I have never had an issue. But, I also have always never filled the DEF tanks above 2/3 full as to not have a freeze breakage issue on the filler necks of the DEF tanks. The RAM is easier to manage since it has an actual DEF gauge similar to a gas gauge. At extreme temps I just wait till the DEF tank gets low and then add a 2.5 gallons jug of DEF. On the RAM 6.7 thats good for about 4,000 miles (no towing) before I would have to add another 2.5 gals. The 6.7 Powerstroke uses more DEF for the same operation conditions as the Cummins. So plan accordingly.

As far as Ford's 26 gal tank. My Powerstroke 6.7 had the same issue as you point out on the diesel F-150. On the Powerstoke 26 gal tank..it was clear they made the tank smaller to install the 5 gal DEF tank. That was a pisser. RAM did not reduce the fuel tank size and made room else where for the the DEF tank.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:23 AM   #16
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I agree with jcl. I'm sure Ford meant this option to be more of a homeowner/lifestyle truck. Federal CAFE standards require increased mileage across the product line. Offering a diesel is one way to increase mileage. That is probably the same reason Ford went to aluminum bodies. Lighter weight and v-6 engines equals higher mileage.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRF0st3r View Post
Echoing above sentiment, why would you want diesel for towing a 23' safari? The F150 3.5L V6 Ecoboost with max tow comes with all the "umph" you would need along with its 36 gallon tank.

Jim
My sentiment is why would you go from a duramax to a 1/2 ton ford?
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:30 AM   #18
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If you considered diesel with a larger tank but didn't want a larger engine, consider the Nissan Titan XD with 5 litre Cummins engine. I have two friends who love theirs. They get great mileage on the highway even when towing their small trailers. I wish I could afford one because my 8.1 only gets 14.6 or 14.9 on the highway and 11 towing my '86 Sovereign 25'.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:34 AM   #19
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Two years ago I bought a F250 Crewcab with a short box. Ford only offered a 26 gal tank. I had the dealer replace the diesel tank with a 50 gal Titan tank before I took delivery. The Ford tank is not a problem that can't be fixed. Who knows why they don't offer a larger tank.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:37 AM   #20
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Of course, a larger tank will reduce the payload. 50 gal of Diesel weighs 350 lb.
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