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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you may remember that several months ago I posted about our Ascent stalling out unexpectedly while our teenage daughter was driving it. There were several guesses, but we never did find out what happened, and I wasn't in the car at the time.
Well, yesterday it happened to me. Was heading down the road and lost power completely, wasn't responding at all when I stepped further on the gas, and it coasted to a stop in the middle of traffic. I'd remembered that when it happened before it started back up and drove okay, so I waited a moment, crossed my fingers, then gave it a try and it started right up and was fine.
Strangely, the only common links between the 2 incidents I can think of, besides the basic description of what happened, is that both times it happened the car was low on gas, saying we had 20 miles left this time and I think it was at 20 or 30 miles left last time it happened. I was on fairly level ground, but I'm wondering where the gas intake dealy is, if maybe when it's low but not empty certain conditions can interrupt the gas flow for just long enough to make the care think it's run out of gas and thus stalls out? But when restarted the gas flow refunds its groove or whatever. As you can tell, I'm clearly not a "car guy" but curious if any of you have had that happen or could hazard a guess?
And I was lucky yesterday in that I was on a fairly mellow street without too much traffic behind me, but this same thing happening at the wrong time and place could easily be much more worrisome, so I'd love to figure out what's going on so this doesn't happen again.
 

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Some of you may remember that several months ago I posted about our Ascent stalling out unexpectedly while our teenage daughter was driving it. There were several guesses, but we never did find out what happened, and I wasn't in the car at the time.
Well, yesterday it happened to me. Was heading down the road and lost power completely, wasn't responding at all when I stepped further on the gas, and it coasted to a stop in the middle of traffic. I'd remembered that when it happened before it started back up and drove okay, so I waited a moment, crossed my fingers, then gave it a try and it started right up and was fine.
Strangely, the only common links between the 2 incidents I can think of, besides the basic description of what happened, is that both times it happened the car was low on gas, saying we had 20 miles left this time and I think it was at 20 or 30 miles left last time it happened. I was on fairly level ground, but I'm wondering where the gas intake dealy is, if maybe when it's low but not empty certain conditions can interrupt the gas flow for just long enough to make the care think it's run out of gas and thus stalls out? But when restarted the gas flow refunds its groove or whatever. As you can tell, I'm clearly not a "car guy" but curious if any of you have had that happen or could hazard a guess?
And I was lucky yesterday in that I was on a fairly mellow street without too much traffic behind me, but this same thing happening at the wrong time and place could easily be much more worrisome, so I'd love to figure out what's going on so this doesn't happen again.
If you do not want it to re-occur, make certain you maintain a higher minimum fuel level. 20 miles left suggests you let it down to about 1 gallon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you do not want it to re-occur, make certain you maintain a higher minimum fuel level. 20 miles left suggests you let it down to about 1 gallon.
Well, even the couple of times I've dared to let it down to where it no longer says any miles left (always think it's weird that it goes by tens but than after 20 it skips straight to nada, but whatever) if I fill the tank completely at that point it seems like there is still usually about 2 gallons left or so. But maybe that guesstimate is too unreliable to ever let it even get below 40 or 50, at least if that was what caused the stalling. Wish I knew for sure that was it, but I guess unless the same thing happens sometime with a half tank or more, then I'll definitely know it was something else.
For now, though, I'll stop for gas sooner and keep my fingers crossed.
 

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I'm of the same mind that if this appears to only be occurring when you are nearly empty on the tank, then it's related to that and I wouldn't risk the stall if it's preventable by more frequent refueling.
 
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Odd, I'd guess the pump pickup may not be in an optimal position. I regularly run to "---" miles remaining all the time (which of course I don't suggest) without issue. Though, hilly spots may make that impossible. It's pretty flat where I live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Odd, I'd guess the pump pickup may not be in an optimal position. I regularly run to "---" miles remaining all the time (which of course I don't suggest) without issue. Though, hilly spots may make that impossible. It's pretty flat where I live.
Odd, I'd guess the pump pickup may not be in an optimal position. I regularly run to "---" miles remaining all the time (which of course I don't suggest) without issue. Though, hilly spots may make that impossible. It's pretty flat where I live.
Do you think maybe my pump pickup might have been installed just a hair too high or something? Just enough to where my "empty" is a little sooner than other people's empty? Although I've run it to "..." miles left quite a few times as well without trouble, and when it stalled this time I was on an almost totally flat road. Puzzling and frustrating to not know for sure what's going on.
 

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Do you think maybe my pump pickup might have been installed just a hair too high or something? Just enough to where my "empty" is a little sooner than other people's empty?
That was the thought that just occurred to me, honestly...if it's positioned different for any reason, it could certainly cause wonkiness. This could be real "fun" for someone to investigate given that access to the inside of a fuel tank is, um...what it is.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That was the thought that just occurred to me, honestly...if it's positioned different for any reason, it could certainly cause wonkiness. This could be real "fun" for someone to investigate given that access to the inside of a fuel tank is, um...what it is.
Yeah, how would they even be able to figure that out? Can't exactly drive your car through a CAT scan or MRI to take a look in there to see what's going on, so short of removing and opening up the gas tank... And unless the evidence more definitely shows that's what's going on, that seems a bit much to ask Subaru to do on their dime.
 

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…that seems a bit much to ask Subaru to do on their dime.
For a safety related issue a bit too much to ask doesn’t exist. With the fuel pump recalls out there already they should almost be proficient at this type of thing anyway.
 

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Yeah, how would they even be able to figure that out? Can't exactly drive your car through a CAT scan or MRI to take a look in there to see what's going on, so short of removing and opening up the gas tank... And unless the evidence more definitely shows that's what's going on, that seems a bit much to ask Subaru to do on their dime.
I could definitely see that being more of a last resort sort of thing to do and they'd probably just start replacing those components before disassembling like that - unless they are aware of something specific to look for, IMO.

For a safety related issue a bit too much to ask doesn’t exist. With the fuel pump recalls out there already they should almost be proficient at this type of thing anyway.
I agree, that it's not too much to ask for this sort of problem.
 

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I could definitely see that being more of a last resort sort of thing to do and they'd probably just start replacing those components before disassembling like that - unless they are aware of something specific to look for, IMO.



I agree, that it's not too much to ask for this sort of problem.
Either is maintaining sufficient fuel in the tank. This is something that was first stressed to me 48 years ago.
 

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Either is maintaining sufficient fuel in the tank. This is something that was first stressed to me 48 years ago.
Based on what @TheRaven is saying, he's not running it bone dry to the point it's indicating 0 miles to empty. If he were, then yeah, there is onus on the driver to maintain a minimum level of fuel - I agree with that 100%, too. So, It seems like there's obviously an issue with the fuel delivery system or maybe the calibration of the fuel gauge, but no one should have to treat 20-30 miles to empty as being essentially empty, IMO.

Personally, I usually fill up a little earlier, but that's partially because our last SUV ran diesel and finding good quality diesel fuel isn't always a given.
 

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Based on what @TheRaven is saying, he's not running it bone dry to the point it's indicating 0 miles to empty. If he were, then yeah, there is onus on the driver to maintain a minimum level of fuel - I agree with that 100%, too. So, It seems like there's obviously an issue with the fuel delivery system or maybe the calibration of the fuel gauge, but no one should have to treat 20-30 miles to empty as being essentially empty, IMO.

Personally, I usually fill up a little earlier, but that's partially because our last SUV ran diesel and finding good quality diesel fuel isn't always a given.
In all vehicles the fuel gauge is an estimate. At 20 miles your vehicle seems to suggest that you are at 1 gallon (based on MPG). that in my opinion is way too low under any circumstances. Greater chance of running out of fuel. Greater chance of picking up residual contaminants in the tank. Greater chance of burning out the fuel pump. In my opinion it is not obvious that there is a problem with the calibration or the fuel delivery system. It would be a problem if an owner were to have those expectation of a very accurate fuel gauge and run it low due to the reasons I listed above. It is NOT hard to maintain a higher level of fuel in your tank and it benefits the vehicle and the household in case of emergencies.

It is simple regardless of the accuracy of the individual unit... do not let it get that low, period, ever.




 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
In all vehicles the fuel gauge is an estimate. At 20 miles your vehicle seems to suggest that you are at 1 gallon (based on MPG). that in my opinion is way too low under any circumstances. Greater chance of running out of fuel. Greater chance of picking up residual contaminants in the tank. Greater chance of burning out the fuel pump. In my opinion it is not obvious that there is a problem with the calibration or the fuel delivery system. It would be a problem if an owner were to have those expectation of a very accurate fuel gauge and run it low due to the reasons I listed above. It is NOT hard to maintain a higher level of fuel in your tank and it benefits the vehicle and the household in case of emergencies.

It is simple regardless of the accuracy of the individual unit... do not let it get that low, period, ever.




Definitely agree as far as all the reasons it's good not to let the gas get to go, and that's pretty much how I've driven for the nearly 40 years I've been driving. Unfortunately our present situation is we're a 1 car family and have a ton of driving to do each week, and with $ being tight running it lower than ideal has been next to unavoidable at times. What's odd, though, is that the times I've filled the tank completely after running it to "..." it's taken about 17-17.5 gallons to fill it up, and I think maybe there might have been 1 time a few months back where it was 18 gal to fill. And if our Ascent tanks are 19.3, then I've usually got around 2 gallons left even when at "..." and closer to 3 gallons left when it says "20" left. So that's why I'm not 100% sure that it's actually the problem, and obviously there's such a small sample size that it makes it hard to say there's a pattern, esp with quite a few times running it to "..." with no problems, and neither of the times it stalled out was it at "..." yet. I know the first time it happened there were a lot of battery related guesses, but all seemed okay there and Subaru didn't find anything, so... Anyway, for now I'm gonna try my darnedest to not let it get below 50 or so miles left, and hopefully it never happens again. And if it does happen again, even with 50 or so miles left, then I'll be convinced that it's probably not gas related at all.
 

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I'd say you are tempting fate. I can count on one hand the number of times I have ran ours below ~60miles to go.

However, if you are saying it says 20 miles to go, but you are putting in a full tank that has a 2gal delta for capacity, I'd find that interesting.

In this exa.pke though the old advice of a doctor comes to mind: if it hurts when you touch it, stop touching it [if it only stalls with <50miles to go (or less than 2 gal of gas), stop that]

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In all vehicles the fuel gauge is an estimate. At 20 miles your vehicle seems to suggest that you are at 1 gallon (based on MPG). that in my opinion is way too low under any circumstances. Greater chance of running out of fuel. Greater chance of picking up residual contaminants in the tank. Greater chance of burning out the fuel pump. In my opinion it is not obvious that there is a problem with the calibration or the fuel delivery system. It would be a problem if an owner were to have those expectation of a very accurate fuel gauge and run it low due to the reasons I listed above. It is NOT hard to maintain a higher level of fuel in your tank and it benefits the vehicle and the household in case of emergencies.

It is simple regardless of the accuracy of the individual unit... do not let it get that low, period, ever.
I don't disagree with most of what you say, however, we all know @TheRaven isn't the only person letting their fuel level get that low on a normal basis. If there wasn't an issue in his case, we'd be seeing this issue come up way more often, IMO.
 

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I don't disagree with most of what you say, however, we all know @TheRaven isn't the only person letting their fuel level get that low on a normal basis. If there wasn't an issue in his case, we'd be seeing this issue come up way more often, IMO.
My guess is that for many, they realize the answer is simply to not let the fuel level get so low, so they do not bother to report a single incident that they had control over. Whether the funds for a few gallons are spent today or tomorrow will not change the expenditure itself, just the theoretical cash flow (particularly if it is put on a credit card). If finances are that tight for whatever reason, maybe curtail the driving to a minimum, sell the vehicle and purchase a less expensive car until finances change.

consider that if fuel is not added when it is that low on evening #1, than you will certainly not be able to get to the gas station the next morning or at least the risk is significantly greater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My guess is that for many, they realize the answer is simply to not let the fuel level get so low, so they do not bother to report a single incident that they had control over. Whether the funds for a few gallons are spent today or tomorrow will not change the expenditure itself, just the theoretical cash flow (particularly if it is put on a credit card). If finances are that tight for whatever reason, maybe curtail the driving to a minimum, sell the vehicle and purchase a less expensive car until finances change.

consider that if fuel is not added when it is that low on evening #1, than you will certainly not be able to get to the gas station the next morning or at least the risk is significantly greater.
One other thing that has me wondering is that the only time in my life when I've for sure run out of gas was back in 1983 when I was 16 years old, and the car was dead dead dead, wouldn't restart, and I had to walk a mile or so to a gas station, buy a gas can and a gallon of gas, walk back to my car to put enough gas in to then drive back to the gas station to fill the tank. And pretty much every single running out of gas story I've ever heard of is just like that. The car is dead, and it won't restart until gas is back in the tank. But both times it's happened in our Ascent it has started back up with no problem, and driven a few miles to the nearest gas station without incident. And each time it was around 17-17.5 gallons to fill it back up, not the 19.3 the tank holds. So where is that other gallon and a half or 2 of gas? And what made it unavailable, thus stalling the car, then magically reappear and let the car restart and drive a few more miles? Just doesn't seem to make logical sense to me, but I can't figure out anything else either. Seems like out of gas means out of gas, so a fill up would be 19.3 or pretty darn close, unless the stall happened on uneven terrain with the gas leaning away from the intake. But I was on a very flat street. So I find that extremely puzzling if it was indeed simply a matter of being too low on gas. Like I said earlier, though, I'll try and keep it fuller and if it happens again with half a tank or whatever, obviously the gas thing could be ruled out. And if I do let it get low and it happens again with about 2 gallons left in the tank, I'll definitely want to figure out why and where those 2 gallons are hiding, or why my tank doesn't hold 19.3 like everyone else's.
 
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