Long Range Fuel Tank

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 13:27
ThreadID: 141986 Views:4088 Replies:10 FollowUps:3
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We presently own a 2017 hilux ute and are looking at a larger or second fuel tank. Installation is relatively easy but all the suppliers I have talked to said that the larger tank size will make the computer controlled fuel gauge and other functions useless. Is there a way to possibly reconfigure the computer?
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 14:35

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 14:35
We have one on our hilux, as soon as the gauge starts to fall you read it as normal, so if it reads half then that half is half of the standard size tank.
AnswerID: 636843

Reply By: RMD - Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 14:43

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 14:43
The installers/suppliers of any Long range tank should already know exactly what the fitting of such a tank will cause. ie, they must know and therefore can alert you to ALL or any changes. If not, they haven't done much research before flogging their product. The simple fitting of an AUX tank and either gravity or pump feed to main tank won't change a thing, but will provide extra fuel reserve.
I don't know IF the OE tank gauge system is programmed with a fuel volume and related sensor position, but it seems most Tank providers don't go to much OR any trouble to ensure a reasonable detection of the larger volume by attempting to have the sense ability over all their tank volume. They do have changes on shape and so accurate detection/linearity is hard to achieve. They simply fit the sensor to their tank and any lower sense volume or above sense volume is not detected. It would be hard to find someone who can reprogramme the fuel computer to detect the changes the tank has created. The use of a SCAN gauge via the OBD port can be made to monitor fuel use fairly accurately. Most just accept there is a difference and learn what it now does.
AnswerID: 636844

Reply By: Kazza055 - Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 18:06

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 18:06
I have a Long Range Tank on my D-Max and find that until the fuel gets down enough ( about 1/3rd) the gauge, distance to empty start working correctly at this point.

No big deal, I know I have a range of around 1,000k and 550k towing.

Normally I start looking for a topup once it gets to 1/4 of a tank.

I could use the Scangauge11 to give me an accurate figure but it doesn't worry me that much.

The LRT is one of the better accessories I have added, especially for towing. My old tow car was a Challenger and I need to refuel at 200-250k with the van on the back.
AnswerID: 636847

Reply By: Member - Core420 - Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 18:08

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 18:08
You can reprogram your ECU to account for the larger volume. But unless you have the tools to do it yourself, it's going to cost you. So I decided to learn from experience.
My OE tank was 85 liters, my long range tank is 145 liters. After I fill up I zero my trip meter and drive. At some stage the fuel gauge starts to move away from full. The car computer display says remaining range is X (based on the original 85 liters) and my trip meter has recorded Y. Add X+Y and thats my total range. So far it's worked fine.
AnswerID: 636848

Reply By: Member - FSH00 - Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 21:03

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 21:03
When filling the tank for the first time get someone to help you note down how many litres is being taken at intervals in relation to the tank gauge movement e.g. empty mark, fuel light going out, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full & then beyond, or at any intervals you feel needed, that way you will know exactly how many litres you have left at the marks chosen & what is actually left in reserve when the tank gauge hits empty. Also good to do this when getting familiar with a new boat ??
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AnswerID: 636853

Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 22:14

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021 at 22:14
I agree that is a good advice and a sensible thing to do at the outset. The maker of the tank is using the same sensor unit as original and will have calculations as to the volumes of their tank at empty, low fuel light, 1/4, 1/2, 1/3 and full AND will also know the additional fuel above the full sensor position. They must have, they computer designed it after all. Therefore, they should be able to impart that knowledge to every customer and apart from some small variations/errors all volumes should be then known by the buyer/fitter of those tanks. Apparently or rather obviously, they don't bother. Your way can complete what they won't.
FollowupID: 914789

Reply By: cookie1 - Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 08:10

Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 08:10
I do a fair bit of long distance remote travel so fuel capacity and quality is very important to me.

I have the Long Ranger tank which has given me a total of 273L capacity, I use a Scangauge with Distance to Empty set so I have a good idea of my range, it isn't 100% exact but gives a really good indication.


AnswerID: 636854

Reply By: Alan H11 - Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 09:05

Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 09:05
A slightly different response, and perhaps irrelevant.

Do you really need a long range tank? I'm wondering because we went through this decision a while ago and came up with the answer (in our case) - no.

If you routinely cover more Km than you can handle with the standard tank then it's a good idea, however if it's infrequent then using separate fuel cans may be a better option.

We didn't want to take up the space and add the weight of a long range tank because the number of occasions on which we have actually needed more than the standard tank range is very small (SW Bolivia, Simpson, Salar de Uyuni, GRR, NW Tanzania, and that's about it in the last decade). So we carry light fuel cans, fill them only when starting the trajectory where we need the extra fuel, drain them into the main tank as soon as possible, and give them away to a deserving cause (local fire brigade in Australia for example) when we've passed the area where extra fuel was needed.

Just a thought, if irrelevant to your situation ignore this...
AnswerID: 636856

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 12:20

Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 12:20
Like you say Alan, depends if you need it.

I personally have no problems justifying mine with towing the van. My wife actually told me I had to have one after using the Challenger and running on fumes quite a few time.

Now with the LRT in the D-Max I can get to most my destination in WA on the one tank or drive all day crossing the big paddock only filling up every second day.

In the 7 years I have had the D-Max, it has well and truely paid for itself.
FollowupID: 914795

Reply By: Stevemac - Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 22:31

Friday, Jun 18, 2021 at 22:31
Don’t know about Hilux but ARB have a 140L “Frontier” tank for a Ranger that Ford will calibrate after installation. Mate has done it and works as orig gauge. Costs $150 for the Ford dealer to make them compatible.
AnswerID: 636859

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Jun 19, 2021 at 07:49

Saturday, Jun 19, 2021 at 07:49
Hi Pushy,

First world problem. It wasn’t that long ago when vehicles did not have a computer assisted fuel gauge, or even a resettable trip meter, you just took note of the gauge position and the kilometres/miles travelled.

I have a 180 Ltr. ARB Polytank, plus the original 95 Ltr. main tank. The gauge does not start dropping until I have travelled approx. 550 Kms. I get approx 2,000 kms out of a tank when not towing, and depending on road and weather conditions, between 1,200 & 1,400 kms when towing my 2.5 Tonne caravan.

The distance to empty is really the only thing that will no longer “work”. The gauge will still register as the level in the tank drops, it may take a while for the gauge to actually start to move, but the low fuel warning light will still indicate when you are getting very low. It will only take a couple of “tank fills” for you to work out what your fuel range actually is, it is not that difficult really.


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AnswerID: 636860

Reply By: Stevemac - Saturday, Jun 19, 2021 at 13:22

Saturday, Jun 19, 2021 at 13:22
Only thing is with a bigger tank, you actually have more fuel left due to expanse of the tank base. ie: a remaining 50mm depth on a bigger tank means more fuel than on a smaller one. Probably a good thing as you are going to be on the “safe side” of guesswork. Used to do it with my old defender and got by ok. Prado was better with a factory 180L tank so now looking to more or less replicate that system with Ford calibrating ARB tank. Can always chuck a few Jerries in when necessary but not usually required. Some great advances in informative dash gadgetry, original and aftermarket.

The ARB Frontier tank can be re-calibrated to you existing fuel gauge after installation.
AnswerID: 636866

Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Jun 19, 2021 at 14:45

Saturday, Jun 19, 2021 at 14:45
A re calibration of the fuel gauge! does that allow for any fuel above the normal sensor fuel position which is not normally sensed until dropping to the normal FULL position? Only the fuel usage calculated by the ECU can work out any above, but may be able to be added to read of distance to empty reading I suppose. I can't see the normal sensor knowing what is above it and it is still drowned until dropping to Full level. Just like any tank sensor does.
Also, as you mentioned, the expanse of tank and therefore, volume of fuel below the normal Empty sensing is good as mentioned, but since there is a wide area, although you have fuel in there, it may not be at the pickup when you need it and a bit hard to rely on it even though you can hear the sloshing.
It would be good to know how the whole LR tank is recalibrated from full to reserve amount empty!
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