dirty fuel tank?

Posted on 2016-08-17
Last Modified: 2016-08-17
I have a 2004 Ford E350 van.  I travel on gravel roads to get home and I am having an issue with filling up at the pump.  I start to fill and at about 1 or 2 dollars it stops.  Then I start it again and it stops a dollar or 2 later again.  This happens until I get a full tank.  I talked with a guy and he said it is because there is dirt or gravel somewhere in the mechanism where you fill.  He asked me right away if I travel on alot of gravel roads.  Another guy said this is not true.  Here is another piece of info.  I bought buick regal about a year ago and it was just fine filling up and now it is doing the same thing as my van.  Stops every couple of dollars.  Is there any reason to believe that the gravel and dirt is contributing to my problem?
Question by:mkramer777
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 41759375
I don't have an answer for you, but just tossing my experience in the mix.    I travel on gravel roads often and have all my life and i've never had that issue.    

Hopefully someone will chime in with experience with that specific issue, i haven't seen it.    

I work with a bunch of mechanics and will ask later in the day if they have any idea.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41759389
Since it happened on two vehicles, I wonder if you are getting water in the gas tank from where you fill up. You should not, but then again, dusty roads do not affect a good gas tank.

Possibly the tanks have rust pinholes allowing the dust in.

Author Comment

ID: 41759393
I fill up at many different locations.
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Expert Comment

by:Scott C
ID: 41759459
My guess would be that something is causing splash back in the pipe going down to the fuel tank.

This sometimes happens to me when I put the nozzle all the way in.  If I back it out an inch or two I have no issues.

I've seen this on many cars.

The nozzle will detect "back pressure" and stop.  This is what keeps gas from going all over the place when the tank is full.

You can test this with a gas can.  As soon as the level of the gas touches the nozzle the gas will stop...pull it out a bit and you can fill up the can the rest of the way as long as you keep backing the nozzle out.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41759466
If one pumps slowly, then splash back will not normally happen. I have learned over the years to pump in an orderly fashion and nary a problem any more.

Author Comment

ID: 41759478
I have tried these things as well.  It is very hit or miss that it helps.
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

tailoreddigital earned 500 total points
ID: 41759480
I just asked a pro and he said that something in the "e-vap" system is clogged.    The tank can't breath so it triggers it to stop pumping.   He said that he's seen this many times.      He also asked if you went to different gas stations and I mentioned driving on gravel roads.  He felt very confident that something in the e-vap system is clogged.

He mentioned that it could be the canister, or one of the e-vap lines.

So it does appear to be related to the dust of the gravel road and likely affected both vehicles.

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