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Auxiliary Fuel Tank Issue?

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Back in September I bought a 5th wheel for my GF and I to use occasionally in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area. She still has to work for another year or two and can only get up to a week at a time off. A month later I purchased a 2019 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD. My first Diesel.

This past spring, in anticipation of our first trip, I installed a 40 gallon, gravity fed auxiliary fuel tank. I used the recommended install kit and it was an easy process. I tested it by filling the primary tank and put about 10 gallons in the auxiliary.  I didn't need the extra fuel to go from Frederick MD to Ocean City but I thought it was pretty cool to travel over 100 miles pulling the 5er before the fuel gauge dropped below full. Anyway, I thought I was good to go.

Last Wednesday I filled both tanks for a 260 mile trip to a COE Lake Campground in West Virginia. Those mountains did a number on my mileage. By the time I pulled into the campground, my fuel gauge had just nudged from the full mark. Again, everything worked fine.

Now for the issue: Yesterday, on the way home I was set with both tanks full and we must have been about an hour into the trip when I noticed my fuel gauge read empty! The low fuel warning light wasn't on just the gauge was as low as it can go. We pulled into a rest area and checked the auxiliary tank and it was full. I also shut off and restarted the truck but the fuel gauge returned to empty. With nothing more to do we continued our journey home.

About 100 miles from home the check engine light came on and approximately 50 miles from home I noticed the fuel gauge read full again! This morning, the check engine light remains on (of course) and the fuel gauge is just a bump below full.

My email from OnStar reads: "An issue with the Engine and Transmission System in your 2019 Chevrolet Silverado has been detected. Please service your vehicle within 7 days."

I have a Thursday morning appointment at the dealer. In the meantime, I'd appreciate any thoughts on what may have happened to make the gauge hiccup.

Thank you,

Al

 

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Al, Before spending money at the dealer why don;t you take the truck to an Auto store and have them read the codes. It's free. Might save you some $$$.

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5 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Al, Before spending money at the dealer why don;t you take the truck to an Auto store and have them read the codes. It's free. Might save you some $$$.

Thanks! I didn't know one could do that. You mean like Autozone? 

 

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Update: I took SWharton's advice and went to my local Advance Auto Parts, about 5 miles from home. They found a single code "P0461" which in short states: "The P0461 code indicates that the voltage input signal at the fuel level sensor is incorrect and does not match the actual amount of fuel in the car’s gas tank. The P0461 code means that the car’s computer has detected a discrepancy between what the fuel gauge reads and the actual amount of fuel in the tank. Fuel level in the tank is read in voltage, usually around 5 volts. If the reference voltage reading varies from what the manufacturer has preset into the computer, it will set a code."

This page goes into much more depth: https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/diagnostic-trouble-code-dtc-p0461-fuel-level-sensor-circuit-range-performance-by-valerie-johnston

On the way home, about a mile from the house, the check engine light shut off. 

I called the auxiliary tank manufacturer to see if I the tank I purchased could be fitted with a transfer pump and of course, it cannot. The guy I talked to guessed that the fuel gauge came back to life when the auxiliary tank ran out and my main tank started dropping. I got the impression he's heard this problem before. He suggested starting out with the auxiliary tank closed and then open the valve when the main tank gets to 3/4 or lower. I guess the gravity feed rate is pretty slow. I got another trip coming in late August so I'll give it a go.

Thanks,

Al

 

 

 

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Al,

You didn't say what brand of fuel tank you put in. Most all tanks are gravity, but I don't really believe that you can't put a transfer pump on it. I have a 60 gallon auxiliary tank I ordered from RDS, and an electric fuel pump from Summit Racing connected to it.

I have it connected to an up fitter switch and it hasn't affected anything.

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I had a 2011 F350 which would do something similar. I would take the truck fuel fill cap off  a few moments . Problems would correct itself. Kind of like burping a baby or filling at the filling station

Clay  My aux tank was 40 gal

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12 hours ago, Larry Burkett said:

Al,

You didn't say what brand of fuel tank you put in. Most all tanks are gravity, but I don't really believe that you can't put a transfer pump on it. I have a 60 gallon auxiliary tank I ordered from RDS, and an electric fuel pump from Summit Racing connected to it.

I have it connected to an up fitter switch and it hasn't affected anything.

Hi Larry,

I have the RDS 40 gallon shown here: https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_541559_541559?cm_mmc=Housefile-_-RECEIVED-_-707-_-CONF

I purchased it through Northern Tool and that's who told me that I could not use a transfer pump on it. But I think you are correct and that I should be able to. I'll give RDS a call. 

Thanks,

Al

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If the fuel gauge reads full for too many miles the truck will assume the reading is false. My '03 GMC used to do this all the time. Once the gauge moved it will start working again just fine. So you can turn off the transfer tank so the truck will actually use fuel and the level will go down and open the valve to top the tank back up. or just know you have fuel and ignore it. 

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