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Our 2003 Windstar was recently totaled in an accident (everybody's ok). This happened the day after we filled the tank.

Before we hand over the car to the insurance, we'd like to get the fuel out of the tank to use in our new car. I tried siphoning the tank with a siphon pump but I can't seem to get the hose to go all the way into the tank.

Can anyone explain why this method doesn't work, and/or what workarounds I can use to recover the fuel?

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I edited your question to remove your request to retag (after I added the tag you requested), but you'll need to approve my edit to remove the tag request. Thank you! –  jmort253 Mar 27 '11 at 1:20
    
I like my older cars. Two different idiots pumped gasoline in my brother's diesel on two separate occasions. Both times, we were able to siphon the gasoline out without any problems. –  jmort253 Mar 27 '11 at 1:24
    
@jmort253 Pulling a fuel line and jumping the fuel pump is quicker, though not as convenient to do at a gas station without a disconnect tool handy. –  Mark Johnson Apr 12 '12 at 4:52
    
@MarkJohnson - We may have done that too. That's what the forums recommended in order to keep from hurting the engine. –  jmort253 Apr 12 '12 at 5:04
    
@jmort253 Yup, whatevermakeforum(s).com/net/org. That's where I learned this technique. –  Mark Johnson Apr 12 '12 at 5:16
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is a trap for lack of a better word to describe in a lot of filler necks to prevent siphoning of the fuel. On the back side of where you put the fuel in you should see two hoses, one large and one small. Take the small hose off at the filler neck and use that as the entry point to put the hose in.

The picture below is a typical fuel filler neck, you can see where the hoses attach, you can pull either of them off, but depending on the fuel level pulling the large on off may spill fuel.

enter image description here

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Most modern vehicles have anti-siphon devices and check-valves in the fuel filler neck. You may be able to lower the tank and remove the pump/fuel lines. There's also a good chance that you'll also stir up the crud that will be in the tank in the process.

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As others have pointed out, modern cars have anti-siphoning provisions. Here's an alternative:

Pull the fuel pump fuse while the engine is running and let it die. That will suck the fuel out of the lines. Disconnect the line after the fuel filter and aim it at a container. Locate the fuel pump test lead up in the engine bay and jump the pins together to run the fuel pump and pump the gas out. Have somebody watching the container so you don't overfill it.

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+1. Thats a clever idea. –  Krom Stern Apr 12 '12 at 5:22
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