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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.
It is curious. It could also be gunk clogging the filter. I used to use kroger fuel centers with my other vehicles until I experienced similar problems. I then changed to top tier and never had a problem. All my current vehicles have been using this fuel and never had a problem.

Have you checked the fuel filter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
It is curious. It could also be gunk clogging the filter. I used to use kroger fuel centers with my other vehicles until I experienced similar problems. I then changed to top tier and never had a problem. All my current vehicles have been using this fuel and never had a problem.

Have you checked the fuel filter?
I haven't. All I know is that it's whatever one Subaru uses, and my car is only a year old and it hasn't been replaced yet. When do those usually get replaced?
 

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I haven't. All I know is that it's whatever one Subaru uses, and my car is only a year old and it hasn't been replaced yet. When do those usually get replaced?
It is early to replace, but you can check it to see if some bad fuel caused some clogging. It may be on maintenance schedule chart.
 

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Another question, when you have stalled at 20mi to go, how long from when you stall to adding gas? If you always fill up right after the stall you are confirming it's due to out of gas.

Now, if you restart then drive another 20 miles that would be interesting to know too.
 

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t'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
This is why I still think that this is a fuel pickup anomaly in your particular vehicle...like the pickup point is either too high or otherwise positioned differently than "normal".
 
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Greater chance of burning out the fuel pump.
Don't rule this one out. Fuel pumps are cooled by the fuel they're bathed in. It's possible it's getting heat soaked and may have a thermal cutoff.
Personally I never go beneath 1/4 tank or 1/8 if I'm really pushing. Anything less than that is "emergency reserve" fuel in my mind.
 

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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.
The costs of changing vehicles is typically never recouped by getting a more fuel efficient vehicle.

Take it from someone who was in the used car business during the 70's gas shortages. Muscle car owners stood in lines to trade in their beauties for toyotas and hondas. Lost money on the sale and lost money on the buy. To make matters worse, we put the guzzlers in storage until the crisis was over then in many cases, sold the car back to the original owner. Lose again. More judicious use of the vehicles like car pooling would have made things less painful.

Back on the subject of fuel left in the tank, I don't think that the in- tank pumps place the pickup in the lowest point of the tank intentionally. I think every recent vehicle I've owned or rented has had a gallon or two remaining well after the low fuel light came on.
 

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Don't rule this one out. Fuel pumps are cooled by the fuel they're bathed in. It's possible it's getting heat soaked and may have a thermal cutoff.
Personally I never go beneath 1/4 tank or 1/8 if I'm really pushing. Anything less than that is "emergency reserve" fuel in my mind.
I did not know about thermal cutoff. Good point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Just a theory. I don't know enough about fuel pumps to say for sure.
Definitely appreciate all guesses and theories, and I'll probably be taking the car in again soon for service, so will pass along a few of these theories and see what they think.
 

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I think if you carefully break down the behavior for them like you did here for us, they may find good value from the ideas that folks have had.
 

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I'd also be curious to know how long you drove the car before you experienced this. Was it from a cold start out of your driveway or long after the car had been warmed up and running at optimal temperatures?
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I'd also be curious to know how long you drove the car before you experienced this. Was it from a cold start out of your driveway or long after the car had been warmed up and running at optimal temperatures?
Both times it was after the car had been driving for at least 10 or 15 minutes.
 

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Fwiw... 34k miles, 1,800 gal, 120 fill ups and running down to DTE --- often.... I've never put more than 17.7 gals in.

Fingers crossed for a logical fix that restores your confidence.

I may have missed it above, but were any trouble codes recorded/pulled that might clue into the stall?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Fwiw... 34k miles, 1,800 gal, 120 fill ups and running down to DTE --- often.... I've never put more than 17.7 gals in.

Fingers crossed for a logical fix that restores your confidence.

I may have missed it above, but were any trouble codes recorded/pulled that might clue into the stall?
Nope, they didn't find any trouble codes.
 

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Nope, they didn't find any trouble codes.
To me, that's another pointer toward the theory that it's a physical anomaly that's causing you to "run out of gas", as it were...but again, I'm speculating. I could be wrong, but I doubt a code would be thrown for "running out of gas".
 

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In tank fuel pumps depend on the fuel to keep them cool as well. When you run low it can affect the cooling and allow them to heat up. Maybe it has an internal safety that shuts it down when getting hot. Try to keep at least a quarter tank full and see if it happens again. If it does you have a different problem.
 

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Don't rule this one out. Fuel pumps are cooled by the fuel they're bathed in. It's possible it's getting heat soaked and may have a thermal cutoff.
Personally I never go beneath 1/4 tank or 1/8 if I'm really pushing. Anything less than that is "emergency reserve" fuel in my mind.
In tank fuel pumps depend on the fuel to keep them cool as well. When you run low it can affect the cooling and allow them to heat up. Maybe it has an internal safety that shuts it down when getting hot. Try to keep at least a quarter tank full and see if it happens again. If it does you have a different problem.
ECHO.......Echo.......echo........ Lol. 👍
 

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I would be all over my dealer's service department, not waiting for the next scheduled appointment. Losing the engine while driving is a major safety issue. Having to restart the engine in the middle of a traffic lane is unacceptable.

Many here have suggested various reasonable ideas. I would lean toward misplaced fuel pick up. I also wonder about fuel contamination (water, dirt, or something else) or some sort of intermittent electrical fault. I'd ask the service department if anybody checked the fuel filter the last time it was in for service when they checked the codes because of this problem.

As for gauging how much fuel remains, that cannot be known by us in the field using the wide variety of commercial gas pumps around the country. We are supposed to stop pumping whenever the automatic shut ff activates, but that is imprecise. It is also designed to be far from a full tank in order to leave space for fuel to expand as it warms up fro underground tanks. If I am getting immediately back on the road, I do not worry about leaving room for fuel expansion because I am using the fuel up right now. So I keep pumping gasoline and often get an extra full gallon or two into an already "full" tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I would be all over my dealer's service department, not waiting for the next scheduled appointment. Losing the engine while driving is a major safety issue. Having to restart the engine in the middle of a traffic lane is unacceptable.

Many here have suggested various reasonable ideas. I would lean toward misplaced fuel pick up. I also wonder about fuel contamination (water, dirt, or something else) or some sort of intermittent electrical fault. I'd ask the service department if anybody checked the fuel filter the last time it was in for service when they checked the codes because of this problem.

As for gauging how much fuel remains, that cannot be known by us in the field using the wide variety of commercial gas pumps around the country. We are supposed to stop pumping whenever the automatic shut ff activates, but that is imprecise. It is also designed to be far from a full tank in order to leave space for fuel to expand as it warms up fro underground tanks. If I am getting immediately back on the road, I do not worry about leaving room for fuel expansion because I am using the fuel up right now. So I keep pumping gasoline and often get an extra full gallon or two into an already "full" tank.
Lots of good advice, Larry. Appreciate it. And interesting thought re: pumping the gas to "full". Unfortunately I live in Oregon, which has a goofy rule against pumping your own gas. So it's always the gas attendant pumping the gas for me, so that adds one more variable to the mix.
 
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