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2015 Outback Limited: 16000 miles. Previous: '98 Outback: 160k miles (sold)
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Discussion Starter #1
Here in NJ I have had no electricity for three days, and I've been using a generator. I was looking forward to using the gasoline from the full tank of my '98 Outback, but I had no luck siphoning gas from the filler. The filler pipe has too many turns and obstructions for the siphon tube to actually reach the gasoline.

So here is what I finally did: Under the hood I disconnected the fuel return line. It is one of the three rubber hoses just behind the fuel filter, next to the brake booster. (The other two lines are fuel supply and vent.) It is connected to the metal pipe marked by a gray plastic sleeve. (The supply line is connected to a pipe with a blue sleeve, and the vent line is connected to a pipe with no sleeve.) I extended this line with another piece of rubber hose, long enough to reach my gas can. Then when I started the engine, all the fuel pumped to the engine, but not actually used, flowed into my gas can. It would fill about a gallon per minute.

This seems to be the least complicated and destructive way to get gas out of the car in pinch. I recommend staying inside the car, so you can quickly turn off the engine if something goes amiss.

Doug
 

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'18 3.6R Ltd
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Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.

I hope your power comes back soon. (A hurricane here zapped our power, a few years ago, for 3 1/2 days, as I recall, and that was 3 days too long despite lovely weather and not-too-cold-to-shower water.) HPH
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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So here is what I finally did: Under the hood I disconnected the fuel return line.
i hate carrying a gas can in the car for the lawn mower when i go to the country.this is a great solution.

i have tried disconnecting the supply line and adding a ''Tee'' to pump out fuel, but if the fuel pressure drops, because the fuel is going into the can, the engine dies. so to do it that way you have to restrict the flow amount into the can to maintain the correct fuel pressure.

but the return line is obviously already regulated and a great solution. i may invest in a permanent install with a ''Tee'' and a shut off valve.

thanks for the post and good luck with the rest of it . we lost power back in july for 4- 5 days due to a very odd and very powerful wind and thunder storm. lost all of the food in the freezer and fridge. cooked on the gas grill. still had hot water, but no AC. i think i'm going to replace my electric range with a gas one. usually it is the ice and snow that causes our outages.

hope you and yours are safe.
 

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2000 Outback Limited, Dual Range 5 Speed
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You could also use the supply line, and just run the pump.
 

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The family house in Ann Arbor we finally caved and put a natural gas powered Generator in. This was about 7yrs ago at that time the 10K unit was $7000 not including install and switching gear for the house.

Today Costco sells units as cheap as $5000 some of that including the install items. No fooling with fuel issues or having to scramble to get fuel before there isn't anymore.

The last major storm we saw while I was at the house - we had no idea the power was out till a neighbor came knocking on the door asking if she could put some food in our freezer. That time the power was down for three days we didn't even notice till about 3hrs after it had gone down and the neighbor came by.

The system gets serviced twice a year and runs once a month an automated systems check. Slick way to go!!! The only generator system I would even bother with.

In the sailboat world we are starting to use very slick Fuel cell technology for the long ocean races - silent compact power source the only down side is that the fuel is not something you can buy at the local gas station.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Awesome mod. I could see taking it a step further, putting a T on the line going to shutoff valve feeding a fuel rated quick-disconnect, and then making up a bit of hose with the other end of the qd on it.

I'm going to have to see if it is much different in my Gen 3 car.
 

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Little side tip about those gas engine generators. Don't fuel them when they are running! Don't ask how I know this. It wasn't pretty.

Same thing goes for the small outboard boat motors with the integrated fuel tanks don't fuel them while they are running. Again don't ask how I know this. LOL

I have used the return line on various boats over the years to pump fuel into a can for other use so seems this would be the smart way to pull fuel from a car also.
 

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Thanks so very much, my subie threw a #1 rod bearing and had over 1/2 tank of gas that I didn't want sitting there until I can fix it. Perfect solution!!!!!
 

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2000 Outback / 1992 Legacy
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I'm about to donate my 2000 Outback (H4) and didn't want to donate extra gasoline so I tried this method (thanks). Disconnected the return line, ran it into a container, then started the engine. After about 3 gallons of fuel, the return line stopped flowing into my container. The vehicle tank dropped below 1/4 tank, but the low fuel warning light never came on. The engine remained idling.

Stopped the engine and reconnected the return line to the tank, but now it won't start. The engine turns over and starts to catch, then dies.

Any tips? I can't imagine the fuel pump or injectors failed exactly at that moment. I can still hear the pump run for a few seconds when I turn the key. Have tried flooring the accelerator, and simply waiting for things to clear, but can't get it to start.

What would/could I have broken by messing with the return line? Is it possible I introduced air into the fuel line? Do I have to bleed the lines? Does this happen if the tank runs bone dry (which didn't happen)?

Thanks (& please help!)
 

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The fuel tank is more like two tanks connected together across at the top. The returning fuel flowing back to the tank is used by a venturi-type transfer pump in the fuel pump assembly to pull fuel from the left side of the fuel tank to the right side, where the fuel pump is located.

Because there was no returning fuel, the pump was drawing only from the right side tank. The level probably went down far enough that the pump was barely maintaining adequate pressure, as evidenced by the stoppage of flow into the container. When the engine was stopped, the pump probably lost its prime, and could not supply the engine to restart it.

The fuel gauge indication is based on the sum of two fuel level sensors, one on each side of the tank. The gauge wasn't indicating Empty, and the warning light didn't come on, because there probably was fuel remaining in the left side; the only problem was it couldn't be accessed because the venturi transfer pump wasn't working.
 

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Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense. So technically I ran out of fuel on one side of the tank (where the fuel pump is located)?

I pulled the fuse for the pump then cranked the engine (to lower the fuel pressure), then reinstalled the fuse and cranked again. Did this a few times and now it's working again. Maybe that was enough to push fuel around to prime the pump again(?).

For future reference, would the tank have ever "equalized" on it's own (just sitting there)? Or would putting gas back in the tank have been sufficient to prime the venturi side of the tank?

Thanks again for the help.
 

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Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense. So technically I ran out of fuel on one side of the tank (where the fuel pump is located)?

I pulled the fuse for the pump then cranked the engine (to lower the fuel pressure), then reinstalled the fuse and cranked again. Did this a few times and now it's working again. Maybe that was enough to push fuel around to prime the pump again(?).
I'm not sure what happened as a result of pulling the fuse etc. Nothing flows in the return line if the fuel pressure in the delivery line from the pump to the engine doesn't exceed the specified pressure at which the fuel pressure regulator opens the path back to the tank. (See attached which is typical.) When the fuel coming out of the return line stopped, that suggests the pressure in the delivery line had dropped below the regulator setting, but was still enough (perhaps not to full spec) to keep the engine running for a while. (I suspect it would have stalled soon after if it had not been turned off.) Perhaps some fuel did migrate back to the tank from whatever was in the return line, just enough to get the pump and the venturi going again.

[/quote]For future reference, would the tank have ever "equalized" on it's own (just sitting there)? Or would putting gas back in the tank have been sufficient to prime the venturi side of the tank?. . .[/QUOTE]

Not if the level in the left side is below the "hump" between the two sides.

Putting more gas in the tank would have enabled the pump to push fuel down the delivery line at full pressure, thereby causing the excess fuel to be sent back to the venturi pump, and that would then start the transfer process from the left side to the right.
 

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