Extending the Range of Your Vehicle

S4-E6-Auxiliary-Fuel-Tank

Extending the range of your vehicle is an important consideration if you drive a diesel-guzzling Super Duty like I do. I have a 2011 Ford F-250 Powerstroke, and this thing gets 17 mpg if I’m careful, about 15.5 all around (that’s calculated — don’t trust the Lie-o-meter). It grates me to think how much better the mileage — and environment — would be if it weren’t for absurd, counterproductive, and unconstitutional bureaucratic regulations. When a politician tells you he’s going to fix something, you can be sure he’s actually planning to break it. Then he’ll look at the mess he made and say “OMG!! See this mess?? We have to fix it!!!” LOL; the joke’s on us.

But whatever. This truck comes in three different fuel tank options; mine is the 37.5-gallon variety. At 15.5 mpg, that gives me a puny range of around 580 miles, but that includes my reserve. With the additional tank, I have nearly 1500 miles of range, but only theoretically; I’ve never tested it by actually running dry. When the auxiliary tank is “empty” and the transfer pump stops, there’s some fuel left in the tank that won’t transfer, but I don’t know how much. Also, the truck’s fuel gauge (which reports only the factory tank level) has a built-in reserve. In the end, I usually wind up stopping for fuel at around 1100 miles, when I still have over half a (factory) tank of fuel. Theoretically, I still have 290 miles of range, plus reserve, but I’d rather someone else tested that for sure.

I got the FTC60D (57 gallon) fuel/tool combo in diamond plate, with optional Zylstra black lining inside and out. Add the truck-specific installation kit and shipping, and the total comes to over $1800. Pricey, but competitive, especially in light of the superior quality construction.

Here are some of the quality features:

  • It’s made of 1/8″ marine aluminum, which means it’s more resistant to salt corrosion
  • Lined with Zylstra. This is a black polymer lining like Rhino, except Rhino is tacky, and Zylstra is hard and smooth. Rhino is fine for my truck bed, and does a good job holding toolboxes and coolers in place, but the hard lining is easier to clean inside the toolbox.
  • Has a flange weld seam, which means the weld is double-thick.
  • Stainless steel, full box length 3/16″ hinge pin — makes for a very rigid hinge.
  • Stainless steel T-handle latch and lock assemblies.
  • Powered fuel transfer (not gravity fed).
  • AFC Auto Fuel Controller mounts in the cab and allows automatic or manual transfer, and indicates fuel level in auxiliary tank.

The toolbox is 6 inches deep, so it’s not huge, but I was mostly concerned with extending my range. There are combos available with smaller fuel tank and larger toolbox, if you prefer. And, of course, there are larger tanks with no toolbox.

Fuel transfer is triggered when the factory tank is less than half full, and it stops filling at about four-fifths. That usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

When I received the kit, I got it all installed and went to the store to fill up, but it wouldn’t transfer. We figured out the pump was hooked up in reverse at the factory, so it was pumping air into the auxiliary tank instead of pumping fuel into the factory tank. It took 5 minutes to flip the pump around, and it has worked flawlessly since.

Finally, I need to mention their outstanding customer service. When you place an order, they will call you and go over all the details to make sure you understand precisely what you’re getting, and that you’re getting precisely what you need for your truck. Their communication is excellent, and they provide tracking. They coordinated delivery so I could be sure someone would be at the shop to inspect the tank for damage before signing off, and they followed up by phone to let me know it had been delivered and signed for.

You can’t find better retail service than that.

~Sno

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