When all other systems are running optimally in a vehicle, the one thing that gnaws at us most is a gauge that we wish stayed as constant as the others: the fuel gauge.
The more it begins to stray toward empty, the more we begin to stare at it; and when driving on long stretches of highway for a cross-country trip, anxiety comes from seeing the fuel gauge inch closer to empty. We grasp at any way that we can stop its downward progress, from shutting off the A/C to dropping speed to coasting in neutral.
While we can’t delay the inevitable – pulling into a gas station to refuel – the good news is that we can shorten the number of times we have to do it. In the case of our dedicated SpeedVideo hauler, a 2016 Ford F-350, that good news comes in the form of a Titan Fuel Tanks 65-gallon mid-ship replacement fuel tank (PN 7020311).
As a substantial upgrade to the stock 35-gallon tank, this new unit will be a real boost to the range of our Super Duty. We’ve had it installed on the truck for some time now and have seen the advantages in having it, but first, let’s get into what makes Titan’s products so outstanding.
Background On Titan Fuel Tanks
Beginning in 2003, Titan Fuel Tanks set out to manufacture products that would match the reputation for long lifespans of diesel trucks. What the company found was that several OEMs made their fuel tanks in a way that was not conducive to long drive times.
Since that time, Titan Fuel Tanks has made significant progress and had remarkable milestones. “Six years ago, we launched our Super Series XL Replacement tanks which completely changed the business. From there, we went on to make the Spare Tire Auxiliary Fuel System, or STAFS, and it was a huge breakthrough. It offered a 30-gallon addition to trucks in the spare tire well, which often becomes useless when folks lift the vehicle and throw on larger tires.”
Throughout it all, the core tenet of Titan Fuel Tanks’ manufacturing process was its trust in cross-linked high-density polyethylene, also known as XLHDPE. Compared to what OEMs were using in their own fuel tanks – linear polyethylene – XLHDPE had several advantages, and still does today.
As Deford said: “Sheer strength is the biggest difference. The cross-linked polymer is leaps and bounds ahead of linear polyethylene or metal offerings. It doesn’t rust or corrode, nor does it crack or crush when hit. It also doesn’t conduct cold or hot temperatures as poorly as metal does, so everything inside stays fluid, as it should be.”
We began the installation by hoisting the F-350 onto our two-post Bendpak Ranger lift so we could have easier access to the underside. Because of the large, heavy, and awkward dimensions of the fuel tank, this step was a must.
Prior to getting the truck in for the install, we had done a fair bit of driving to consume as much diesel as possible. The remainder was still substantial, but we would deal with that when the time came.
The 3/4-inch vent line hose and larger fill hose were disconnected from the fill spout, but were left attached to the fuel tank. We let the sending unit be for a time, since we had difficulty removing one of the electrical connectors. This forced us to disconnect the sending unit as a whole and leave it attached to the truck.
It was here when we needed to get a support to hold up the tank, and we did so using a rolling toolbox and several stacked 2×4 planks. It was a heavy mother, no doubt, as it took two people to get it situated and ready for removal.
Once we had it properly supported, we went after the straps holding the tank to the truck. We lowered it down by hand, moved it out from under the truck, and then put it on the ground. The sending unit and its parts were still underneath the truck, held in place by the hard lines they were mounted to.
Once we had access to the tank, we could more easily disconnect the pump in the tank, and then remove the sending unit that was still hanging from underneath the truck. There was still some fuel left over in the tank, which we extracted using a hand-powered pump and poured into the remaining fuel canisters.
We could finally lay the two tanks side by side and really appreciate the differences between the two. The stock tank was certainly smaller, being shorter in length and height, but having more or less the same width.
However, we could easily see where Titan Fuel Tanks had gone above and beyond the design, as it bulged outward in places where the stock tank was narrower, thus maximizing the amount of volume that could be filled up with diesel fuel. The front end of the Titan tank had an “L” shape to it, molded so that the tank would not come into contact with the DEF canister at the front of the truck.
After we were done comparing the two tanks, we removed the fill hose and vent line hose from the original one and put them on the matching holes on the Titan tank. The nyloc nuts holding the sending unit flange were removed, as was the top flange. The sending unit was removed from underneath the truck and placed into the hole exactly as it was positioned before. The top flange was put back on and then the nuts were tightened down to 20 ft-lbs of torque.
We wondered, now that the tank size was almost doubled, if the fuel gauge or “Distance To Empty” display would need recalibration. Deford said the fuel gauge would read correctly, but the DTE display would need a reflash. “You can do this through a Ford dealer,” he said. “Alternatively, many aftermarket tuning companies have parameters to handle this as well.”
Next, we installed the fill hose on the nipple and the 3/4-inch vent line hose on the corresponding elbow, securing them with hose clamps. We took the new tank straps and used the bolts that held the stock tank in place to mount the Titan tank to the truck’s undercarriage.
Flexible bushings were placed onto the tank straps, along with shims to make sure everything mounted good and tight. Next, we installed the front tank support assembly, starting with the lower piece, which went on the inside bottom lip of the frame. We loosened the body bolt and then placed the upper mount piece over the bottom piece, and then put another bushing just above the bottom piece. The bolt was then tightened and that was that.
Finally, we attached the fill hose and vent line hose to the fill spout just as they were before. We double-checked all of the bolts before lowering the truck back to the ground, and then poured in as much diesel fuel as we had lying around in canisters. Voila! We now had a Titan Fuel Tank installed and ready to put to use.
Real World Effects
After driving the truck around for several weeks now, SpeedVideo associate Sean Cook has had firsthand experience with what a difference the Titan tank has made compared to the stock tank.
I can travel much farther and stay on the road longer without worrying about where I’m going to stop, or how many stops I need to make, or how much time I have to factor in with all of the fuel stops. – Sean Cook, SpeedVideo F-350 driver
For a real-world example, SpeedVideo was recently deployed from here in Murrieta, California, to a drag racing event in Noble, Oklahoma – 1,355 miles of driving. “We only had to stop four times for refueling,” said Cook. “Compare that to the stock tank, which we used on a trip from Houston, Texas to Murrieta; we had to make at least 12 stops during that trip.”
With a significant cut to the amount of refueling stops necessary for any journey, it’s made the lives of the SpeedVideo crew a lot easier. If you are ready to take the leap for less refueling aggravation and superior range, then check out Titan Fuel Tanks on its website, and don’t forget to follow the company on its Facebook page as well.