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Old 09-03-2012, 12:31 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 3,313,369 times
Reputation: 579

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There are lots of different viewpoints of those that say you should not let the tank run below 1/4 for fear that trash and sediment may clog up the sock, and that the pump itself can be ruined overtime because it may get hot and overheat.

Gas tanks are pretty much sealed and there is very little chance in trash getting in the tank. Gas pumps usually have filters when you pump the gas. If the trash was such a concern sitting in the tank there would be alot more clogged fuel pump strainers and fuel filters. In fact, after I had pulled the old tank and examined the inside, I still had a gallon left over with no trash at the bottom, plus the original fuel pump sock was still very clean.

Here's what I think. Since I have just replaced my gas tank yesterday I have put in 5 gallons of fresh gas from the container and put in a bottle of the Chevron Techron to give the fuel system a good cleaning. So as of now the needle sits at 1/4 tank. The pump from what I know is cooled with the gas going through the pump itself. And with the sock being at the very bottom, I think that as long as the pump is pumping the gas, it will stay cool. Besides, once you truly run out of gas the engine will stop anyway along with the pump, so no danger in harming the pump in running dry.

When I pulled the old tank, the gauge indicated it was empty, but there was still a gallon of gas left in the tank. I remember in the owner's manual in the 84 Olds that said "Tank is not empty when the needle is on E, as there is built-in gallon reserve". Maybe this was done to where if the needle was on E or close enough to it, you should go fill it asap before you run out from the last gallon. of course this can always vary depending on the driving conditions and whether its stop and go vs highway driving.

The new Spectra tank I installed has a square baffle that surrounds the float and sock, so I think this minimizes having fuel sloshing around and preventing the gauge from moving so much. Plus there is a small hole in the back of the baffle that gas would go in and out of to minimize the sloshing.

What are your thoughts regarding the fuel capacity? Do you guys always fill at 1/4, or let it run low? At least now in my case that whenever I see my gauge at 1/4 I know that I have about 5 gallons left (confirmed from a completely new empty tank), with a new sending unit and everything I think filling it at 1/4 it would be tougher to get an accurate MPG calculation since usually if you go by a near-empty tank and fill it up you can get a better MPG calculation.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Lake Norman, NC
8,560 posts, read 12,748,953 times
Reputation: 34933
I've run the gas down to the bare minimum several times in my ride. I have one of those "miles to empty" indicators" that I've taken down to 2 miles to go and the needle is below E. I don't fear contaminants being in the tank from rust, etc. What concerns me is what comes out of the ground at the gas station. If I see a tanker at the station, I'll drive by and get gas somewhere else. I have no idea if I am being overcautious or just crazy, but that's my habit.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Central TX
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I try not to but my wife is perfectly ok with it...
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:06 PM
 
33,411 posts, read 31,706,327 times
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i have run my tank down to near zero a few times. i dont like to do it with modern EFI cars as the fuel pump in the tank is cooled by the fuel, so i try to fill up at about 1/4 tank.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:06 PM
 
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
21,919 posts, read 23,077,094 times
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All the time.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:07 PM
 
245 posts, read 513,944 times
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I'm not concerned with fuel pump damage, but I usually fill at the 1/2 tank mark. I drive a lot for work, and hanging out with my girlfriend. 1/4 tank would give me a 100 mile range or less. Not enough.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:13 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
38,055 posts, read 68,747,100 times
Reputation: 45120
The damage to fuel pumps from overheating on a low tank is somewhat exaggerated, but when you live at 700' elevation and going anywhere means steep hills, the pump does in fact lose it's cooling as the fuel left goes to the front of the tank.
rarely do I let it get below 1/4, I prefer not to have to pay for another $600 fuel pump change after having it happen 3 times on different vehicles at 80-120k miles over the years since we moved to this house. It's a small inconvenience for the possible benefit, and these days, filling sooner saves you money since the gas price goes up daily.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Amelia Island
3,886 posts, read 4,999,901 times
Reputation: 4623
Dad always told me residue in the tank would somehow get sucked out when running on fumes, never heeded his advice and can honestly say I have only run out of gas about twice in my life and have run it pretty close.

Now when we travel I try to never let it get much below 1/2 a tank...we do a lot of traveling and several times we (me) have lost track of the gas gauge due to scenery being fantastic, once on the Pacific coast in Oregon I had let it run down before I noticed that the light was already on, man did I panic but luckily found and old store in a small town (only one). Same thing happened leaving the North Rim of the Grand Canyon one night, lucked out again as the park gas station was almost ready to close. Traffic jams, and other things make me keep the tank filled.

Again though, around town I still have the tendency to run it low or right when the light goes on
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Eastern NC
20,872 posts, read 21,344,650 times
Reputation: 18770
Every vehicle has a certain amout of fuel that will never be used, this saves the fuel pump from burning out. If your tank is 14 gallons, there will only be about 12.5 to 13 gallons of usable fuel. So you can run it completely out and there will still be fuel in it.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:23 PM
 
Location: On the Chesapeake
40,066 posts, read 51,889,488 times
Reputation: 53289
I've never run out of gas in 40+ years of driving. I also usually fill up at a 1/2 a tank.
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