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Low fuel level bad for pump?

 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject:  Low fuel level bad for pump? Reply with quote

On a gun forum where I'm a member, any topic can be discussed in the general section. Even non gun related. Car problems are discussed, & people have mentioned that driving with the tank low on fuel can cause the pump to run hot & fail. They feel the gas in the tank keeps the pump cool by being submerged in gas, so to always keep the level above 1/4 tank. Any truth to this? GARY

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:27 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I always thought this was a fact, it just makes common sense. Running very low on gas will cause more stress on the pump, making it hotter and burn out. Especially when you keep trying to start a car with no fuel. Gas also keeps the pump cool. Not sure if I know anyone that ever said this was false.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:52 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

This is indeed a fact. GM vehicles are famous for this. If at all possible, do not left your fuel tank go under 1/4.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Frank4202 wrote:
This is indeed a fact. GM vehicles are famous for this. If at all possible, do not left your fuel tank go under 1/4.


Truth. It's even worse with my Malibu. I can't let the tank drop below 3/8s because the gauge is wildly inaccurate at low levels.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:22 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Yes this is fact for almost all fuel pumps in side the fuel tank.

Had to replace 2 pumps in the neighbors VW Passett because she ran it out of gas twice. Lucky, that pump is accessable from the access hole in the trunk.
I hope the neighbot learned a lesson at $300 a pump.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:55 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

It may be fact but I regularly run all of my vehicles almost right to empty before filling up and I've yet to have a fuel pump failure in 10 years of driving (all four GM cars are still in the family with over 200k on them). Of course, if you run out of fuel it's hard on the pump. That's called cavitation and is tough on pretty much any pump not designed to operate in spite of cavitation.

I'm not convinced that using a volatile fluid like gasoline to cool pumps is a sound concept.

But I also don't buy another common theory that running your tank to the bottom is a bad idea because of accumulated sediment. Your fuel intake is always at the bottom of the tank, anyway.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:30 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Well I understand the concept of the pump sucking air being bad for the pump. I was more concerned with the belief that as long as the pump is submerged by the fuel, thus keeping it cool, this is better than the pump being above the fuel & overheating. GARY

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

While I don't rush to buy fuel when it starts to get low, it's impossible to argue that it probably does offer a cooling effect to some extent. Will it prolong the life of the pump? Maybe. I've just never seen a pump fail on my cars and almost always run them low (our tanks are 64 litres, I add 60-61 litres to the tank at most fill-ups)

Realistically, parts can fail at any time, depending on individual conditions, manufacturing or material defects, etc. I doubt that there are any reliable studies on the topic, so I just go by my own experience.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:13 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I'm only asking because in my 30 year career as a GM partsman, I sold hundreds of tank mounted electric fuel pumps, while I sold maybe 10 mechanical engine mounted fuel pumps. Now some of the fuel pumps were purchased because GM only offered the fuel level send unit as part of the entire tank unit, so I really don't know how many pumps actually failed. But I sold 3-5 a day. GARY

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:07 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Low fuel also allows dirt/rust to sucked in by the pump...
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:01 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

guinnessfan wrote:
Low fuel also allows dirt/rust to sucked in by the pump...


Now i'm confused about this. Cause Lingenfelter said,

Lingenfelter wrote:
But I also don't buy another common theory that running your tank to the bottom is a bad idea because of accumulated sediment. Your fuel intake is always at the bottom of the tank, anyway.


Do all fuel tanks have the the intake at the bottom? Or is the pump on the actual pump itself? Im not too experienced in fuel/fuel pumps & tanks but would like to learn more. Isn't anything bad sucked up in the tank just taken out by the fuel filter? So that dirt sludge in the tank doesn't really need to be taken account of if you run low, just that the pump needs to work alot more.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:25 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

All tanks feed from the bottom. Otherwise You'd be sucking air at 1/2 a tank, with 1/2 a tank of Unreachable useless gas. The Fuel pump it self though isn't necessarily there, just a pickup. And most cars (at least now) have a Sock on the pickup to prevent picking up Debris. On the 06+ Imps, thats the only fuel filter we have.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:44 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks Hemi!

Sediment will fall to the bottom of the tank, and the pumps always pull fuel from the bottom of the tank. It's a fact of life and whatever fuel filter you have (an external filter on the 00-05 models) is just a component that has to be serviced from time to time.

Not sure how you would service a hose sock inside the fuel tank though, that sounds like a pain in the ass - maybe it's another "maintenance free" part on the 06+ models, just like the sealed transmissions?

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