Why does my van lose almost all power after the first half tank of gas?

Asked by Dec 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM about the 1996 Dodge Ram Van 3500 Extended Cargo RWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The maxi van (3500) runs perfect on the top half of each tank of gas. When it gets under
half tank it runs, but barely, losing almost all power. I've added some fuel additive to
absorb water over the last few years. It used to only do this when you would get down to a
quarter tank, but now it's doing it when it gets down to half. Any suggestions?

1 Answer

40

I had exactly this same problem and it was fixed by replacing the fuel pump. My theory was that when the pump overheated it's pumping efficiency was greatly reduced, starving the engine of fuel. The pump is inside the tank so when the tank was full the gas cooled the pump and worked perfectly. As the fuel level went down the cooling effect was less and the pump couldn't keep up. At less than a quarter tank the van would actually stall after running for 5 to 10 minutes. Let it cool down and you'd get another 10 minutes of driving. Fill 'er up and all was well down to a half tank. Several dealerships and garages missed this and I finally had to figure it out for myself.

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