Running out of gas: bad for the motor? fuel pump? Is there a failsafe in the ECU?
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This is a discussion on Running out of gas: bad for the motor? fuel pump? Is there a failsafe in the ECU? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I ran out of gas yesterday, and I dont really want to talk about it. What I do want to ...

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    Registered User Wrinkleboi's Avatar
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    Running out of gas: bad for the motor? fuel pump? Is there a failsafe in the ECU?

    I ran out of gas yesterday, and I dont really want to talk about it.
    What I do want to talk about is whether or not this is harmful to the car in any way, especially the motor.
    I have tried to search for this but havent found any hard info on the matter. General concensus agrees that consistently running your tank very low will wear out your fuel pump faster since it won't be submerged in cool gasoline and will run hotter and wear faster.
    Aside from that I cant find any info on the subject, and am interested to hear fact about the subject, not guesses or opinions on running your car with the gas light on. I'm not as worried about the fuel pump as I am about leaning out the AF mixture and causing detonation in the motor.
    So thanks in advance,
    Bryan

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    Registered User scotts05's Avatar
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    i ran out of gas on my wrx once. police officer had to get mesome 93.
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    Registered User Kush's Avatar
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    I would assume there would be a fuel pressure cutoff switch somewhere within the system, but I'm not totally sure.
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    i think it is against the law to run out of gas in delaware....haha
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    Registered User Wrinkleboi's Avatar
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    hmm... anybody know a concrete answer on this one? i may call the dealer tomorrow to see if they have any idea, but that probably wont work so if you have an answer in the meantime please share...

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    Registered User JOHN91709's Avatar
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    i have ran out of gas in an older car, and i messed up the fuel pump. i haven't done it in the suby though.
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    Registered User Yossarian's Avatar
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    My bro once ran out of gas, so he put some in and the car still refused to start. He took it to the shop and they found that the fuel pump was broken. Would be one hell of a coincidence. Keep in mind this was a pontiac(pos). I know it's not concrete, but I would say that it's not good for a pump designed for a liquid to run something much less viscous, like air.

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    Registered User AKESREX's Avatar
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    Well, I had a nice response all typed out and it got lost when I hit submit
    Antway, most modern FI fuel pumps are a turbine design. They don't like to
    suck air. Some are cooled by being submerged in fuel and almost all require
    fuel flowing through them while they are "on" to keep them cool. Some car
    makers (GM) it is the kiss of death for the pump when you run out of gas
    the third time. (and on the second time around, the pump was damaged, just
    not permanently)
    As far as the engine, I think there's a pressure switch. And I do know for
    sure that using cheap gas seems to pull timing and remove boost - probably
    as a warranty protection deal. I assume the same process would be in effect
    when you run out of gas.

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    Registered User 20wrx02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrinkleboi
    hmm... anybody know a concrete answer on this one? i may call the dealer tomorrow to see if they have any idea, but that probably wont work so if you have an answer in the meantime please share...

    you must tell us how many miles did you get after the fuel light indicator went on !!
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    Registered User flyingpertyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20wrx02
    you must tell us how many miles did you get after the fuel light indicator went on !!
    i notice there is a little under two gallons of fuel left in the tank after my fuel light goes on...

  12. #11
    Registered User Wrinkleboi's Avatar
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    i usually go like 30 or so miles after the light goes on before i start to get a little nervous. to be honest the only reason i ran out of gas this time around is because i wasnt paying attention and running errands all over the world with no time to go out of my way to get to a gas station.
    anyways, just bumping this to see if anyone else has any input with rock solid info on this matter...
    thanks

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    Registered User scotts05's Avatar
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    how many gallons does it take to submerge the fuel pump in my wrx?
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    there's a low gas light on wrx/sti's?? i haven't gone that low, i have run out of gas before with no problems...as far as something concrete, i don't know of any study done...sorry

  15. #14
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    the fuel light turns on when theres + - 2.3 gallons left, so you could feasibly drive 50 miles or more after the light turns on before you actually run out, i wouldnt recommend it tho, i usually go 10-20 miles after it turns on before i fill up and can never get more than about 14.5 gals on fuel in( tank is 15.9)
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