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Old 06-20-2010, 06:29 PM   #1
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This is how diesel naive I am!

I recently bought my first FW and a diesel pickup to pull it. Until now, I have never gone far enough from home that the 34 gal. tank did not do me.

I have been told several things and don't know if they are true. Can anyone share some wisdom?

1. RVs are not welcome at the truck fueling areas of truck stops.

2. Even if you do stop at a truck island, the fuel nozzles are high volume and will not fit into the stock pickup truck necks.

3. There is considerable hassle arranging to pay (if you get past 1 and 2) because you are a "private" party and need to leave your credit card at the office.

Is there truth to any of this and, if so, what is the best way to get around it?

I can see that maneuvering around the diesel pumps on the car islands will be impossible for me in most locations.

All help is welcome and appreciated.
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
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My experience so far

I am a new diesel driver as well (about 18 months now).

I will try and answer from my perspective

"1. RVs are not welcome at the truck fueling areas of truck stops."

Not true IMO. Cash (or credit) is king everywhere. I have always been serviced with a smile everywhere. Been to the West coast once and south to the Keys once.

"2. Even if you do stop at a truck island, the fuel nozzles are high volume and will not fit into the stock pickup truck necks."

Not True. The DIESEL fuel nozzles are ALL the same. The pumps may be higher volume but I love that. Tops off my little tank in no time at all. They are supposed to be bigger than the tiny gas pump nozzle so you don't mix them up. You can put a skinny unleaded gasoline nozzle into your diesel (BAD BAD BAD) but you can't put a diesel nozzle into an unleaded gasoline tank.

The only issue is making sure they have Ultra Low Sulphur diesel and not "Low Sulphur" which is bad for our engine.

"3. There is considerable hassle arranging to pay (if you get past 1 and 2) because you are a "private" party and need to leave your credit card at the office."

Partly True. Just about everywhere you have to either "Pre-Pay" with a fixed amount (my local Coastal); just fill up on credit using the reader (my local Hess) or; leave your driver's license or credit card to make sure you don't drive off after a fill (Pilot and a few others). Even at Pilot and everyone else you can pre-pay for a fixed amount of fuel and then pump.

"I can see that maneuvering around the diesel pumps on the car islands will be impossible for me in most locations."

Biggest issue by far. FINDING the triple damned pumps can really be a hassle. I have deplaned my copilot on more than one occasion so she could scope out which island had the diesel pump before we pulled completely in to the station or rest stop. They REALLY should mark them better.
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for that help. I have been largely grounded the last six months with warranty issues on my Sabre (don't get me started but this may be my last Forest River product!) so I have not ventured far from home. Next week I will head out for about a 2000 mile round trip to Colorado (I decided that if the thing does completely fail on me I may just leave it by the side of the road and find a motel!).

At least my Dodge Ram has been working flawlessly and it doesn't even seem to notice it is pulling a trailer (except for the milage, that is). Fueling up is a problem in any case and I am thinking of getting an auxiliary tank just to avoid the stops.

I may try training the poodles to sniff out the diesel islands to see if I can get in on the car side. They could then just sit in the road and save the space while I get lined up.
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:25 PM   #4
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I agree with what herk7769 stated.
I also have yet to NOT maneuver in and out of any fuel station I've come across. A truck towing a fifth wheel intimidates many people, especially when you pull up close to them. They usually move so I can get by.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:01 PM   #5
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I just returned from picking up my 5th from MN and travelled thru ND back to home. I found that each station can be different. If the pump lanes are close to the building then most likely they have truck pumps around the side or back...they may even have signs that say trucks/rv's.

As far as the size of the nozzles on diesel pumps they are NOT all the large high flow ones. They should however be a different color. Most i saw were green while regular fuel was black....up here they are yellow.

I have filled up in the truck lanes with and without the 5th. Truckers know you won't be there long with the size of tank we have. I just make sure that if I am pulling the 5th that I go to a station that has a large enough lot to get in and out even if the station is busy.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:59 PM   #6
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One workaround. Assuming your setup can handle it, get a bed mounted auxiliary tank of sufficient size that your total available amount of fuel will take you further than the maximum number of miles you will travel on a given day. (Might want to include an extra ten gallons or so above your estimated need to cover getting stuck in traffic for hours at a time.)

Example: A 30 gal. truck tank plus a 40 gal aux. tank = 70 gal. 70 gal. @ 10 mpg gives you a 700 mile range or 600 miles with a 10 gal. reserve. Unless you have two drivers (or a death wish) that should resolve your problem.

Drive to your destination for the night, unhook and fuel up without a problem even in the car lanes.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:31 PM   #7
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Don't have a bladder that big

We try to stop every 2 hours for a break and plan our trips to be no more than 4-5 driving hours per day. That works out to almost a half tank and we fill up.

I carry 10 gallons of Diesel in 2 5 gallon cans in the bed. If we stop somewhere and can't refuel for ANY reason (wrong diesel type - not so much these days, can't find a station with diesel, or impossible to get to the pump - low overhead), I just top off from the cans. That will get us to the campground every time.

Once we set up camp our first trip is to the local diesel station. The campground always knows where the best (and cheapest) is located.

We do our shopping or go out to dinner; refuel and fill cans if needed and we are ready for another day.

WARNING! Empty cans LOVE to fly around under the 5th wheel due to the air flow. ALWAYS tie down empty cans. FULL cans won't but tie them down too as they are harder to walk off with.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:46 PM   #8
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I am using the "auxiliary can" technique at the moment. I have a set of four 5 gal containers that are held in place by an after market cargo bar at the front of the bed. I also found a thing called a "super siphon" that I use to fill from them right from the bed of the truck. If you have not seen these things, they are great.

Super Siphon Hose

You can buy them at lots of places online.

I do plan a bed-mounted Aux. tank as soon as Transfer Flow Inc. figures out how to work with the 2010 Ram. It seems Dodge changed a bunch of things for 2010 and the electronics of the fuel management system was one of them! I just won't have it for this trip.

We also plan on some Walmart camping from time to time so having the extra fuel will make life easier all around. Thanks to all.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:57 AM   #9
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One thing you might want to keep in mind if you have to use the car islands is the height of your 5er. Some of the older stations have very low canopies and you don't want to crunch the roof. As far as the prepay deal, since my card got hijacked a few years ago, card company told me to never leave my card with an attendant. Been leaving my license ever since, and if they give you a problem I either drive to the next station or have the boss stay inside to pay. Not sure about carrying extra fuel in containers, would have to stop and pull over to do it anyway. Gotta figure something out though- new truck only gets 9 mpg towing and has a 30 gal. tank
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:39 AM   #10
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I've pulled a 5th car trailer and can tell you the best place to stop is the truck stops by far. With a 5th your pretty much a mini semi and if they can get in there so can you. The only real trick is that depending on which side your fill hole is on your rig you may have to lift the far side fill nozel, flip the lever and set it on the ground to turn the other side pump on.

Also, I have made the mistake of putting high test unleaded into my tank because sunoco is the only station on the east coast that uses a yellow cover on the unleaded nozzle. If you catch yourself in the first couple of gallons and you wern't empty to begin with a couple cap fulls of 30W motor oil (per gallon) will tame the unleaded and bring it close to the consistency of winter grade diesel. Truckers used to put a couple of gallons of unleaded in the 50 gal diesel tanks during the winter to keeep it from gelling. The only thing to watch is your temparture gage as you will run a little hotter until you dilute the unleaded out. DON'T FALL FOR THE $500 YOU NEED TO PUMP YOUR TANK GARBAGE THAT THE SERVICE STATION WILL TRY TO FEED YOU!
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