Ran out of gas - still gas in the tank...
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This is a discussion on Ran out of gas - still gas in the tank... within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; This was really weird. My wife and I are moving from New York to Colorado right now. I'm towing our ...

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    Ran out of gas - still gas in the tank...

    This was really weird. My wife and I are moving from New York to Colorado right now. I'm towing our snowmobile and the car (2002, stock) is performing great. Towing is no problem - and I was surprised that engine temp hasn't fluctuated even the slightest. Total load after cargo and trailer is probably close to the Subaru max - 2,000 lbs.

    Today we were in South Dakota. Running about 75mph, 5th gear. Terrible gas mileage with a headwind. 106 degrees out. Car running good but burning a ton of gas. I had filled up at Phillips but was burning gas faster than previous tanks (the headwind, etc had me down to about 12 mpg). With just under 1/4 tank left all the sudden the car lurched a few times and lost power and I had to pull over. No lights came on - nothing. So I checked the oil - added about 1/2 Q of Amsoil (it needed some) and then started it up. This time the low gas light game on - I got about another 2 miles and it totally died.

    Wife drove me to BP - I got a 2 gallon tank and got the car to the station. But when I got there I only put in 11.5 gallons. Add the two I put in (that's 13.5) and I should have room for 2 more if I was totally out. Can't figure the whole thing out. Wondering about vapor lock since it was so hot out. I slowed down a bit and started running 4th gear more. Hopefully tomorrow's trip will be better.

    Any theories on this? Overall I'm very very impressed at how well the car has towed. My old Jeep and truck with heavy duty cooling would have risen in temp. The Subie didn't budge.

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    YOU ARE MY HERO

    How did you manage to be able to pull a trailer with your subaru? I like the idea of being able to tow stuff. Expesialy a snowmobile. I figure I have the horse power of a large truck but how does the rear springs hold up under load?

    Sorry to hear about your problem do you have a means of checking the fuel pump.

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    Probably overloaded and it changed the angle of the dangle and there was more gas in the back part of the tank than the front where the pick-up is...As for the Temp gauge not moving that's because even tho my water temps vary from 80*C/176*F to 96*C/204*F the stock temp gauge never moves;
    '02 WRX 4EAT, 311,000KMs/194,500Miles, Sold. Best car I ever had. '09 STi stage 1, hope this one will be good too...

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    Registered User rr1911's Avatar
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    the tank only holds 13.5 gallons of gas
    then 1 gal for reserve
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxdrvr View Post
    Probably overloaded and it changed the angle of the dangle and there was more gas in the back part of the tank than the front where the pick-up is...As for the Temp gauge not moving that's because even tho my water temps vary from 80*C/176*F to 96*C/204*F the stock temp gauge never moves;
    Hey your that guy with the sceince expiremnt going on under your hood
    Do you have any links other than pictures of your work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Not-EWRX View Post
    YOU ARE MY HERO

    How did you manage to be able to pull a trailer with your subaru? I like the idea of being able to tow stuff. Expesialy a snowmobile. I figure I have the horse power of a large truck but how does the rear springs hold up under load?

    Sorry to hear about your problem do you have a means of checking the fuel pump.
    Well I put a class 1 hitch on there - bought an open air utility trailer from Home Depot and threw the sled on it. The rear springs seem to hold up well - until you load the trunk and the back seat with lots of stuff. Now its riding low - but I guess sometimes that's the cost of moving.

    The car actually tows the thing quite well. I made the mistake of not slowing to 65/70 yesterday in 4th gear - was definitely pushing 5th too hard.

    Don't think it is a fuel pump issue - car is running good again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rr1911 View Post
    the tank only holds 13.5 gallons of gas
    then 1 gal for reserve
    I've put over 14 gallons in many times - thought it was 15.9?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxdrvr View Post
    Probably overloaded and it changed the angle of the dangle and there was more gas in the back part of the tank than the front where the pick-up is...As for the Temp gauge not moving that's because even tho my water temps vary from 80*C/176*F to 96*C/204*F the stock temp gauge never moves;
    I was wondering where the pickup is. I'm definitely overloaded (not good to admit in this forum eh). The problem actually occurred over the crest of two different hills - so I'm betting the combined angle of the hill plus the angle of the tank because of the weight in the back were causes. I wonder if I even picked up some crud from the bottom of the tank.

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    Registered User 96accord's Avatar
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    Where at in South Dakota did you run out of gas?

    Could have stopped at my aunt and uncle's house depending on where you were? lol

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    Registered User jaqattack02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseMan View Post
    I've put over 14 gallons in many times - thought it was 15.9?
    Same here, and I'm pretty sure you're right. If it was a 14.5 gallon tank then my car must be a freak, because I've put more than 14.5 in it before.
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    Registered User 96accord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaqattack02 View Post
    If it was a 14.5 gallon tank then my car must be a freak, because I've put more than 14.5 in it before.
    lol

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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    The fuel tank is 15.9 gallons.

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    You should post pics of your subi and snow beast some time. It will make me happy

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    Registered User farBeyondDriven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rr1911 View Post
    the tank only holds 13.5 gallons of gas
    then 1 gal for reserve
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex View Post
    The fuel tank is 15.9 gallons.
    Yeah, my owner's manual says 15.9...

    I had the same problem though. The 2nd week I had my WRX the gas light came on, only drove maybe 25-30 miles max before it started putting (my old car had a 2 gallon reserve so I was used to that). However, when I pulled in the gas station I could only fit about 14.1 gallons in there? Where the hell is this extra fuel hiding? And I had nothing in my trunk and wasn't towing anything.
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    Update

    Here's an update - thanks all for your response. Requested picture of scooby + sled is below.

    RE: running out of gas - I'm thinking more and more it was a heat related fuel expansion issue - i.e. vapor lock. Now that I think about it - a while before it happened I smelled gas fumes. Thought I was just dreaming things but it must have been. I think the gas expanded and combined with 106 degree heat and everything else I think it was starting to boil and vapor lock. A fresh tank of gas / different type of gas may have made the difference for the rest of the day.

    South Dakota was certainly hard on the car. I tested the oil before I left NY and am having it changed now. I will have it tested again to see a before / after - and will post the results. I am running Amsoil - have about 12 on the oil now (tested fine around 9k).


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