When you’re hauling your horse, does it seem like fuel prices are the highest just as your fuel gauge goes to “E”? Then just after you fill up, do you find significantly cheaper fuel down the road? I’ve coasted into fueling stations on fumes, because I trusted my truck’s computer to tell me how many miles to empty.
Fuel prices can vary dramatically state to state. I avoid buying fuel in California and Ohio, but buy as much as I can hold in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
Along some stretches in the large Western states, fueling stations can be 100 miles apart, so if you don’t keep track of your fuel level, it can get tense as you watch the road signs telling you how far it is to the next town.
An answer to this dilemma is to replace your factory fuel tank with an after-market fuel tank. (You’ll maximize your truck-bed space by replacing the factory tank rather than adding a tank inside your truck bed.)
One brand I recommend is Titan Fuel Tanks (800/728-4982; www.titanfueltanks.com). The tanks are made from high-density, military-grade, cross-linked polyethylene. The tank’s seamless, one-piece design is stronger than factory tanks and is designed to carry the extra fuel weight.
Titan’s tanks are available in different sizes; I picked the large, 60-gallon tank. With this size tank, which adds 20 more gallons (160 pounds), it’s like carrying an extra passenger. But now I have the luxury of waiting until I see a station where the fuel is cheaper than what I might’ve found up the road.
A savings of 10 cents per gallon on 50 gallons saves you $5. A savings of 20 cents a gallon (which is common, especially if you cross state lines), saves you $10 per tank. These savings add up. An added benefit: You don’t run out of fuel, nor worry about whether you might not make it to the next fuel station.
My son and I installed the tank in an afternoon. It looks more complicated than it is. You’ll need to jack your truck up high enough to slide the old tank out and the new one in. Just a few hand tools and a floor jack will do the job.
Note that there are two straps that hold the tank to the truck; these are new, heavy-duty straps that come with the tank. Disconnect the fill and breather hoses, and one electrical connection, and that’s it.
The hardest part is transferring the fuel pump and float to the new tank. My old tank had a screw-on hold-down ring. The Titan has a flange and O-ring that bolt down for a more secure attachment. The factory ring can easily rip the O-ring.
Titan’s design is better.
H. Kent Sundling (a.k.a. Mr. Truck; www.mrtruck.com) is a well-known automotive journalist, reviewing trucks, trailers, and accessories for magazines and websites. He travels the country test-driving new trucks, towing trailers, and reviewing horse-trailer manufacturing facilities.