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Old 03-06-2018, 12:23 AM   #1
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Fuel capacity

Anyone know what size tank my 40' 04 Thomas MPV-EF has?
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:36 AM   #2
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It all depends upon what size was spe'c'ed when the bus was built.

It could be anywhere from as small as less than 40 gallons to as much as 160 gallons.

There should be a builders plate somewhere on the tank or inside the fuel fill door that will have the size.

On a Thomas Type 'D' FE of that vintage the tank should be between the frame rails behind the rear axle.

You might be able to get a build sheet from Thomas using the VIN, the body number, and/or the chassis number. All of which are on the builder's tag above the right side windshield.

The build sheet will have all of the parts and pieces listed as to what was used to build that bus. It is very similar to the Line Setting Ticket used by IHC/Navistar/IC over the years.

I am not even going to attempt a guess because I have seen all sorts of different sized fuel tanks.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:42 AM   #3
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Anyone know what size tank my 40' 04 Thomas MPV-EF has?
The MVP had a 60 gallon standard tank and a 100 gallon option.

Mine has the 100 gallon.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:40 AM   #4
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Simple enough to measure and calculate if in doubt.
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:47 AM   #5
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Simple enough to measure and calculate if in doubt.
While I'm in Ga and the bus in Ok.? Trying to figure my ride home and far I'll get between stops. Looks like only one if it's 60 or larger.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:00 PM   #6
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Then it might be hard to figger without a build sheet. The tank size was very often an option. Big for country routes, smaller for city.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:07 PM   #7
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Then it might be hard to figger without a build sheet. The tank size was very often an option. Big for country routes, smaller for city.
I suppose I can ask the school bus shop, I'm sure they would know.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:11 PM   #8
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I suppose I can ask the school bus shop, I'm sure they would know.
Base your calculations on 60 gallons, and if you have 100 gallons it's just easier.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:15 PM   #9
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Base your calculations on 60 gallons, and if you have 100 gallons it's just easier.
100 gallons gets me home without refueling, I'm good with that.
926 miles at 9mpg should work if there's more than 50 miles in the tank when I pick it up.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:16 PM   #10
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100 gallons gets me home without refueling, I'm good with that.
926 miles at 9mpg should work if there's more than 50 miles in the tank when I pick it up.
You would be smart not to let the gauge fall below 1/4.

I made 2 x $100 fuel stops, both at regular gas stations, both easy although I was anxious the first time.

Clue: Work out which inside window the fuel filler is below. Makes it easy.
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Old 03-07-2018, 12:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
You would be smart not to let the gauge fall below 1/4.

I made 2 x $100 fuel stops, both at regular gas stations, both easy although I was anxious the first time.

Clue: Work out which inside window the fuel filler is below. Makes it easy.

That window tip was such a good idea. My first fuel fill stop, I was pulling forward and backwards till I remembered someone mentioned the window to use to align the bus on the pump.

I think someone else mentioned it recently, but if you stop at a truck stop and your fuel fill is on the passenger side, you have to get them to turn on the main pump (the one I stopped at didn't accept regular credit cards at the pump). then take the filler out of the pump, activate it, then place it on the ground and go around and use the slave pump, which has zero info about how much you are pumping. Its such an odd procedure, I checked with the woman working the truckstop side of fueling... and she had no idea of what I was talking about for filling on the other side. All she knew about was that there is a second nozzle for filling DEF.

After that first truck stop, I found it more convenient to just stop at a regular gas station with clearance for the diesel pumps. Although if you needed something for the bus, the truck stop has a much better chance of having it than a regular gas station, but usually at a premium price. I picked up a spare wiper blade at the truck stop just because mine didn't look great, but walmart would have been much cheaper.
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:10 AM   #12
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100 gallons gets me home without refueling, I'm good with that.
926 miles at 9mpg should work if there's more than 50 miles in the tank when I pick it up.
I would base my calculations on a 60 gallon tank with 40 gallons usable at 7 MPG.

We had two buses with 60 gallon tanks that sucked air at 42 gallons. To drop the tank to change the pickup wasn't worth the effort when the bus only used about 18 gallons of fuel every day. We just knew that we had to think in terms of 40 gallons and we never ran out after that.

Also, do NOT believe the fuel gauge until you have some experience with it. I have seen fuel gauges that were all over the map as far as being correct. I can remember one that when it was full it only ever got up to 3/4 full. It would stay there until you were down to a 1/2. At a 1/4 tank it would bounce between 1/4 and 1/2 and at 1/4 your were out of fuel. Another started at 5/4 when it was full and took a looooooong time to go down. At 1/2 you were really closer to 1/4 and from 1/2 down it dropped like a stone.

Also, you really do NOT want to be sucking fuel from the bottom of the tank. Running off of the top half will prevent sucking up too much crud off of the bottom.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:05 AM   #13
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We didn't know the size of our tank, and didn't trust the fuel gauge, so we just filled up and drove 350 miles and then refueled again just in case.. Each time the gauge moved up further and further so I knew we had more than 350 miles in between refills, but it felt better safe then sorry.

Truck stops and all are fairly easy to get in and out of off the interstate.

Sorry our trip didn't work out for you with the timing of the district, good luck on your trip home!

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Old 03-07-2018, 10:11 AM   #14
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Roger the "better safe than sorry" approach. Running a diesel dry gets WAY more complicated than running a gasser dry. Re-priming some rigs can be a nightmare.
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Old 03-07-2018, 11:31 AM   #15
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Roger the "better safe than sorry" approach. Running a diesel dry gets WAY more complicated than running a gasser dry. Re-priming some rigs can be a nightmare.
This is a shame because the first thing i usually do when buying a new vehicle is to run it dry to see exactly how accurate the gauge is and how far i can go past the fuel light, and how far past empty. When my truck hits empty I'm still good for another 40miles, 2+ gallons.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:30 AM   #16
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This is a shame because the first thing i usually do when buying a new vehicle is to run it dry to see exactly how accurate the gauge is and how far i can go past the fuel light, and how far past empty. When my truck hits empty I'm still good for another 40miles, 2+ gallons.
You could check the procedure for your particular engine. Some are easier than others. Years ago when I worked on Bradley's it was simple enough to open a plug to let the air out of the line and when diesel started coming out you put the plug back in. But I assume that was a simpler system as they had a second small tank that gravity fed the engine so not much pressure involved.

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Old 03-10-2018, 08:22 AM   #17
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3 or 4 hours is all i can take without stopping, unless it tops out at 75 prepare yourself for the most rude a$$holes you have ever dealt with on the road, very stressful. empty bus on rough roads, bring your teeth protector. bring a friend or two to help drive. good luck
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:54 AM   #18
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I suppose I can ask the school bus shop, I'm sure they would know.
Once you have the VIN number you can get the line set ticket or build sheet. It's not likely they replaced the fuel tank so it's almost certainly going to be whatever is on the build sheet.

I got my tank down to 1/4 on the gauge and ended up with lots of ick in the fuel filter bowl. It could have already been there I suppose, though, as I am not sure the mechanic checked that.

I think I would check the fuel filter at least and possibly replace the fuel filter before driving it home because that is so easy once you know how.

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Old 03-10-2018, 12:28 PM   #19
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Once you have the VIN number you can get the line set ticket or build sheet. It's not likely they replaced the fuel tank so it's almost certainly going to be whatever is on the build sheet.

I got my tank down to 1/4 on the gauge and ended up with lots of ick in the fuel filter bowl. It could have already been there I suppose, though, as I am not sure the mechanic checked that.

I think I would check the fuel filter at least and possibly replace the fuel filter before driving it home because that is so easy once you know how.

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Build sheet did show 100 gallon tank. I would not be opposed to dropping the tank and cleaning out the 14 years of crud. Then starting from empty I'll be able to determine relationship between gauge and tank.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:33 PM   #20
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Build sheet did show 100 gallon tank. I would not be opposed to dropping the tank and cleaning out the 14 years of crud. Then starting from empty I'll be able to determine relationship between gauge and tank.
I am considering doing that before going on a long trip, but I have a lot of fuel in it now. Seems like I should wait until it's pretty low. I also have to wait til my son can help me because I'm pretty sure I can't do it alone.

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