Siphon 1998 Suburban tank-44 gals-Issac

Discussion in 'GM' started by phoebeisis, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Anyone out there able to tell me how I can siphon gasoline out of the 44 gallon tank on my 1998 Suburban?
    Isaac is one the way-looks wimpy by our standards- Cat 2 at best on the coast means Cat 1 in NOLA- or River Ridge(suburb 4 miles west of NOLA).I tried to thread a plastic tube line down the fuel filler-it went in maybe 15 inches-the stopped- but no gas- it came back not even wet.Any tricks to get a siphon to the actual fuel?
    Is there some anti siphon block down there-or some pollution control that blocks direct access to the fuel?

    Still we will certainly lose power for a while-
    it would be helpful to be able to siphon the 44 gallons of gas in the Suburban(yes I have 12 gallons in plastic cans-with Stabil in it-) We have a cheap generator-$350 years ago- 3700 watts peak.
    It uses 1/2 gal per hr at 1/2 max load-crude but reliable McCulla(sic) or B&S motor-no fancy Honda.
    REALLY REALLY NOISY engine- Someday I need to add another muffler to it!

    Any ideas?
    PS The Suburban is for evacuating-3 adults- 2 dogs 5-6 cats(depends)-the whole reason to put up with 12-13 mpg city mpg for 2400 miles per year(wife gets under 10 mpg in city trips-kills my tanks)-
    it was cheap to buy-reliable-easy to DIY fix-cheap parts readily available-extremely comfortable also
    We don't evac for Cat 1,2
    PPS I noticed the Fla Gov took a shot at Louisiana "we are a state that knows how to deal with Hurricanes"
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  2. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Good luck Charlie, enjoying the rain here in Miami.. and keeping a nervous eye on all my mangos, almost ripe.
  3. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I'm not sure if there's something there to block siphoning or not, but you can disconnect the fuel filter, and turn the key to the run position. That should utilize the fuel pump to pump it out of the tank.
  4. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Hoped you might answer-Great idea-for some reason that didn't cross my mind- but it should work fine. Guessing the pump can pump a gallon every minute??
    There is probably 36 gallons in the tank now-plenty of gas if we lose power for a week or so.

    You are in Miami?? Mangos- hmmm how far from ripe are they? How is your crop this year?
    We have a navel orange tree-perhaps 80 large oranges now-not bad not great
    I ate my 1st 1 week ago ago-no kidding 3"+ in diameter middle of Sept
    It was fallen-completely green- but I love oranges-so I just pick them up-scrub it-fridge it

    Can you eat an unripe mango?? Just add sugar-eat it?
  5. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I don't know what the pump rate is, but it would certainly be faster than a siphon, and no gasoline aftertaste!
  6. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Much faster than 1gpm if its fuel injected, my guess.. Not a bad way to store gasoline, better than those stupid plastic cans, safer and airtight so you dont lose your precious ethanol goodness. How about a T fitting with a hose and a petcock?

    Good crop if the squirrels dont get them first.. these are Keitt mangos, no fiber, small seed, large and ripen late in the season, august-october.. they dont change color when ripe so you have to keep an eye on them. Very sweet, fertilized by an old septic tank we took out years ago :) .. they will be all on the ground come Monday
  7. southerncannuck

    southerncannuck Well-Known Member

    Somewhat off topic, but if you ever have to siphon gas there's a better way that should leave you with no "gas aftertaste". Put the hose into the tank until blowing in it makes bubble sounds. Plug the tank opening with a rag as air tight as you can. Blow in the hose, (never suck) to pressurize the tank. Remove the hose from your mouth and place the tip in a can, lower than the original tank. The air pressure will push the gas through the hose.
  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    08Escape-yeah even sucking just fumes yesterday-distinctly NASTY!
    Using the fuel pump-much much better! Thanks!

    Herm-shoot-I would be picking those suckers right now-but if they drop-so what-just beat your neighbors to them!

    Southern Cannuck-clever idea-yeah the gasoline fumes-horrible-you can TASTE the poison.
    Body telling you-DON'T DO THAT!

    PS All the NOLA talking head weather people are overjoyed-new Isaac track really pleases them-dead on us-NOLA-but it is sissy hurricane-Cat 2 at best.Of course it will strip off my half assed roof repairs!
  9. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    It's kind of hard to describe, but if you have plenty of tubing you can feed into a reservoir it's not a problem to start a siphon.

    If you have plenty of tubing feed a bunch extra into the tank below the level of the liquid to be siphoned and let it fill with liquid. then pull the extra tubing out of the tank while keeping your end sealed (with your thumb?). If you have enough tubing so that you have trapped liquid that will come out of the partially removed tubing while the other end is still in the tank your siphon will start.

    We used to recover diesel for home use out of our oil/water separation/disposal drum with this method when the water froze in the winter time.
  10. I've done it with one of those pump bulb type siphon pumps. Gravity feed to a jug on the ground.
  11. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Yeah, an outboard fueling hose.. about $15 at walmart.. just cut off the end fittings and you are set..
  12. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    I have a bulb type setup
    On hose seems too short
    In any case I threaded a longer tube down
    BUT it reaches a BLOCK-just stops threading-maybe 15" or so in
    And it comes out dry-despite being at least 36 gallons- 3/4 full.

    So there is something in the filler line that "catches blocks it"

    Maybe I'll try again-giving the line a few twists when it stops-see if I can get it past whatever is blocking it.
    PS 988 millibars- just 65 mph winds- not very impressive pressure or winds
    Really Bads ones are 930 or less.
  13. Topher

    Topher Captain

    There is a safety/roll-over valve towards the opening of the fill tube to the fuel tank. In the event the vehicle turns over, it's a flap to slow/stop backflow of the fuel. I would have expected the valve to be further down than 15", but that might be the thing you're feeling.

    And so you and others know, the fuel tank isn't able to be "air-tight sealed" like a couple of users have suggested earlier. This is because there is a fuel tank vent valve that stays open so the carbon cannister ("Evap Cannister") can recover fuel vapors from the fuel tank to be used during steady state cruise.

    Why are you pulling the fuel out of the Suburban? I hope not to store it that way. Doing so leaves a large are for air in the tank, which allows condensation to occur, which in turn allows water to gather at the bottom of the tank and can cause corrosion on your fuel pump/sender. Your tank should be plastic IIRC, so the tank itself shouldn't rust, but the pump inside the tank can, which causes noise/reliability issues with the pump motor and the level sender over time.
  14. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member


    Thanks for response.
    I see a flap-right where the pump nozzle is put into the tank-spring loaded flap-closed except when it is pushed open.

    I didn't actually have to get fuel out of the Suburban-we were able to buy it locally after the 1st 24 hrs.

    Frequently after hurricanes gas stations are WITHOUT ELECTRICITY- so they can't pump gas.This can last a long time-days-weeks.
    Deliveries of fuel are also a problem
    And lines can be hours long.
    So gasoline after a hurricane is kinda iffy
    Having a safe 44 gallon reservoir I can access is a big plus
    The generator I used burned 6 gallons day-many use much much more.
  15. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    $24 worth of gas everyday to generate a couple of bucks worth of electricity..
  16. southerncannuck

    southerncannuck Well-Known Member

    I think that if I still lived in South Florida i would convert my Honda inverter to propane. It would be a lot easier to store fuel for the hurricane season. Heck, I might still do it.
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member


    Yep-cost me $20 a day more to get the pitiful amount-maybe 10 KWHr- we used.
    We would normally be using 40 KWHr during that time of year-and it would cost about $3.80

    Yeah-cost $20 extra for 4 days!!
    And many many folks have MUCH bigger generators-using maybe 2/3 gal/hr- $60/d for electricity!
    We bought 31 gallons-used about 20 gallons-over 3.5 days-the unused 11 gallons got dumped in Suburban moved the gauge maybe 1/5 tank!!

    $80 for 3.5 days worth of electricity!!!
    This was a reasonable efficient 3500 watt coleman Tecumseh-running an AC- half time running fridge-TV radio one light
    PS S-CANNUCK- right propane or triple fuel generators are the hot ticket-too pricey for me- I sold our generator within hours of power returning-needed the $$ and generator would never be worth more.Might get a 3000 watt Honda for future hurricanes-it can run a small window unit-and a fridge TV light radio- 1700 steady watts- 1/2 load-we actually only ran the fridge 1/3 of the time-AC was run 20 hrs/d
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Topher:

    You know your tank construction and thanks for adding.

    Charlie, no pun intended but did you ever get to the bottom of this? As a backup fuel supply source, it is a good idea if you can get the fuel out of there?

  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Turned out I never had to use the Suburban fuel.
    In a pinch-the early suggestion by I forget who-to just DC near the in line fuel filter-hold a wide mouthed funnel under it-and turn the key to get the battery powered fuel pump to pump it out
    WOULD WORK BEST.It would be blasting it out-1 gal/min so might be messy-splash-hence the wide deep funnel
    Didn't look like there was ANY WAY TO ACTUALLY SIPHON IT

    Topher-the "BLOCK" might have been more like 20-25" past the opening
    There is also a spring loaded flap right where you put the nozzle in
    But you are referring to an antibackflow "thing" that would have to be well below the charcoal canister vapor "opening"
    Yeah-NO WAY to siphon.

    And YEAH IN NOLA- EXTREMELY HUMID- I keep that tank filled- fill it -every 110 miles-which if the wife drives is 8 gallons-drop in bucket in a 44 gallon tank
    In a really bad situation-Katrina type maybe with DOA vehicles that hadn't been flooded TOO HIGH-but filled with useful gas

    I suppose you could literally DRILL a hole in the tank!! CAREFULLY!

    Yeah-OBVIOUS problems with that approach-careful of sparks -BOOM- PLUS how will you reseal the tank-while gasoline is POURING OUT-not likely to have 44 gallons worth of containers(I have pretty close 35 gallons or so)
    But I could picture considering that drastic sort of thing--I think there are patches that are supposed to be able to seal wet gasoline-
    or maybe a gasoline proof gasket material coating some sort of stopper-maybe fashion a plug of gas tank plastic??
    In any case-plenty of problems with that approach- but in the pinch-might work to get you some gas
    get a junk yard replacement tank after emergency is over-
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  20. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I remember watching an Apocalypse type of tv program (lots of them on nowadays) where someone was using a screwdriver and a hammer to drain fuel out of abandoned vehicles.

Share This Page