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  #1  
Old 01-16-2013, 08:50 PM
86'F-150 86'F-150 is offline
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Why do I keep running out of gas?

1986 F-150, 4.9, 114,xxx

There are a few problems here so I'll try to be as concise as possible.

Gas gauge doesn't work, never has.

When I bought the truck the guy that sold it to me said that the secondary tank isn't hooked up, but the tank selector switch in the cab has to be set to the rear tank because the original owner 'switched some lines around when a pump failed.'

I'm guessing that the sending unit for the primary tank failed so the original owner switched the primary tank fuel line to the secondary tank sending unit, sacrificing the secondary tank completely and rendering the fuel gauge useless as it is still reading the fuel level in the secondary tank since the tank selector is still set to the rear tank. I'm guessing.

Here's the bigger problem:

I ran out of gas last week because I have no fuel gauge. I put a gallon in the tank from a gas can and drove to a gas station to fill up. I was only able to get three gallons in the tank before the pump kept shutting off as if the tank was full, which I found bizarre--but sort of said 'whatever.'

At this point I assumed that the problem was the float in the tank and I had plans to replace it this weekend. However:

Today I ran out of gas again. I put one gallon of gas in the tank from a gas can and then drove to a gas station. I was only able to pump $.50 in the tank. I pumped four gallons into a gas can and poured it into the tank by hand. Before I could get the entire four gallons in the tank it began to overflow. The tank is obviously full.

So why is it 'running out of gas' if the tank is actually petty full? I'm very confused.

It should be noted that both times I've 'run out of gas' it occurred when the truck was shut off after a drive, at the point I went to restart it. Both times--put in a gallon of gas, back on the road.

And what can I do to remedy this problem with the gas gauge being inoperative? I don't actually have a need for a secondary tank, so I'm fine not having one. Can I just switch the sending units at the rail so I can set the tank selector switch back to the front tank and get my fuel gauge back?

Any easier ideas?

Thanks for the help.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2013, 09:55 PM
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Gary Lewis Gary Lewis is offline
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I'm going to guess that it is the fuel tank selector valve. IIRC, the one on your truck has both supply and return fittings on it. I have seen the valves get stuck mid-switchover and pull from one tank and return to the other. However, that requires an in-tank electric pump and I'm not sure yours has those. Anyway, if you just have one tank functioning I would bypass the valve to simplify things. You can get a fuel line repair kit at the parts store, but get one in the size for the supply and the return.

If not, I'm wondering if you have a plugged vent. Maybe you are pulling a vacuum on the tank as you drive and releasing it when you pull the cap. Do you hear a big whoosh when you pull the cap?

In any event, how about describing your system to us. Carb? In-tank or mechanical pump? Number of lines connected to the tank valve?
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:13 PM
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The other thing that comes to mind is a break inside the tank where you're not pulling from the bottom.

My next step would be to bypass the selector to rule that out. If you're still having issues then it may be in the tank.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:30 PM
86'F-150 86'F-150 is offline
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If I bypass the selector can I get my gauge back? That's sort of a top priority right now.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:33 PM
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Yes. If you bypass the selector valve you can put the switch in any position you want, inc the one that makes you gauge function.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:35 PM
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Sounds like the pickup tube on the sending unit is cracked towards the top of the tank so when its full it pulls fuel but than you get down a gallon or to and the crack is above the fuel level therefore it sucks air.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:04 PM
86'F-150 86'F-150 is offline
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Can someone post a link to some literature on bypassing the selector valve? I'm having a hard time finding anything that spells it out, and I'm not sure which ports go to what tank and so forth. I also don't see anything listed for sale on RockAuto? Are these dual tank sending units difficult to find now?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:10 PM
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:30 PM
86'F-150 86'F-150 is offline
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Sometimes RockAuto has diagrams or photos of parts so I was just hoping to get a clearer picture of how the selector valve is laid out to get a sense of what I'm trying to accomplish here.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:48 PM
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:57 PM
86'F-150 86'F-150 is offline
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Awesome. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:21 AM
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The lack of getting fuel in could be as simple as the vent being plugged. My 88 will not let me run fuel in any too fast even when the vent isn't plugged, worse when it is. Most times I have to run the gas in slow enough that I can't set the holder on the pump, have to hold it myself the whole time.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDaniel6 View Post
Sounds like the pickup tube on the sending unit is cracked towards the top of the tank so when its full it pulls fuel but than you get down a gallon or to and the crack is above the fuel level therefore it sucks air.
That is my thought. It happens all the time, especially if you leave it low all the time and everything above that level rusts out. Once the fuel drops below that level, it's all she wrote. You need to drain the tank and check this out.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archion View Post
That is my thought. It happens all the time, especially if you leave it low all the time and everything above that level rusts out. Once the fuel drops below that level, it's all she wrote. You need to drain the tank and check this out.
I concur... Times three on this suggestion.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:26 AM
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Have you found the problem yet? I'm having dual tank problems similar to yours. I also think my is system is returning fuel to the wrong tank! I don't mean to hijack the thread but I noticed the fuel pump has three lines. One obviously is the metal feed for the carburetor, but where do the other two rubber lines go?
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:26 AM
 
 
 
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