Fueling Problem Solved ? (Issue: Pump Constantly Stops When Refueling)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by John Kinney, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. John Kinney

    John Kinney Junior Member

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    SHORT ANSWER:
    Turn pump nozzle to 3 o'clock and pump away.... it won't stop til it's full.... then gas pump will click off automatically.... sweet fueling bliss..... Ahhhhh.....

    LONG ANSWER:

    I may have solved the refueling issue on GENII Prii, a problem of the AGES, the curse of the GEN II. ;-)

    I have 2 second generation (GENII) Priuses (or Prii), it is an issue on both cars. One car has 135,000+ miles and the other 275,000+ miles.

    I live in western NY, and this has been an unsolvable problem for me. I have tried calling dealerships, I have Googled my "googler" off looking for answers, with no success. I have not even found a clue. Big problem for me, more than most, because I commute almost 1000 miles a week.

    Both of my cars (2005 and 2005) have issues when refueling (for YEARS now). The problem is the pump constantly "clicks off" from the very start of the pumping process. I mean this baby clicks off a hundred or more times, it's relentless, infuriating, if not down right maddening. Any who, I have read on Prius Chat that many others have the same issue. This is a very annoying problem, as you well know if you are one of the lucky chosen ones. To make matters even worse, the problem would only get worse in colder weather.

    From what I have gathered it is caused mainly by the rubber gasoline bladder in the Prius gas tank. It somehow stops the pump from working properly, causing it to think the tank is full. Probably caused by the hole on the gas pump nozzle. (SEE PHOTO) (SEE LITTLE HOLE NOT THE BIG HOLE)

    SEE PHOTO of SMALL HOLE in pump nozzle, NEVER saw it before right:

    [​IMG]

    I think the way it works is when the small hole inside the nozzle gets covered it shuts the pump off (FULL TANK STATUS), this must be a vacuum trigger mechanism of some sorts. So when your pumping gas and the tank fills up the air hole in the nozzle eventually gets covered up and BANG off goes the pump automatically, preventing any potential over filling of the tank.

    Like others I have tried many different things to prevent this from happening. In fact I know most of you are saying to yourself, "that wouldn't happen to me. I am an expert." Not so. Guess what Charlie, this problem is no respecter of persons. In fairness though, this is actually my only complaint of the GEN II. With this small problem put to bed, I have no complaints.

    I absolutely love the GEN II Prius, I have saved THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on my 190 mile daily commute. (95 miles each way at 65 mph averaging 44-47 MPH). It drives like a dream. I found this out when I had a loaner car last month.

    See my 2005 Prius needed an inspection, and I decided to replace the rear drums and shoes. They didn't really need it though. Anyways, the loaner was a 2 door Ford Fiesta. Driving this Ford Fiesta was no party. It drove like an M1 Abrams Tank. The worst car I have ever rode in. I was counting the minutes to get my Prius back.

    Back to the gas pumping dilemma.

    To solve this premature stopping, I have tried pumping very slowly. (Sometimes this technique will slightly help). I have tried pulling the pump out at different nozzle depths (Stopping every half inch or so). I have tried a myriad of other gas stations, and most pumps at those many different stations. I almost gave acupuncture and zen Buddhism a try. My Lord help me.

    One day for no reason at all, a Christmas miracle perhaps, I tried rotating the pump handle 90 degrees to the right. (3 o'clock). What are you KIDDING ME THE PUMP IS NOT STOPPING. I was counting the seconds, then at about 8.5 gallons, "CLICK", the pump stopped. I dropped to my knees. An angel choir could be heard.

    This technique, has worked for over 8 fill-ups now. I mean the tank fills up all the way, and only clicks off when completely filled. No jacking me around for half the day. Now if only I could find a way to keep the handle in that position so I could get in the car on freezing cold days while the pump is on. (I live in Upstate NY). This would completely solve the issue for me anyways.

    So again, try turning the gas pump handle to the 3 o'clock position while pumping. That is to your right rotated a quarter turn. Imagine the handle at the 3 o'clock position on a standard old fashion clock.

    I can't explain how this solves the problem other that to say, it must allow the gas to flow better down the neck of the gas tank into the inner gasoline bladder.

    If anyone knows why this might work, or the design of the neck of the gas tank. It might further give explanation to why this works so well. Unless somebody gives a better description of why it works, we will have to consider this an act of God.

    Please respond back with your test results.

    I think you will be surprised how it works, I certainly was.

    Merry Christmas.
    John Kinney


    UPDATE after about 1.5 years:
    Only have to turn the nozzle to the side if I am not paying attention now. See if I start filling the tank slowly for about 3 seconds. I can then gradually increase to full speed. But if I forget and quickly squeeze the handle really fast, then it may start this clicking off cycle (even with tank not filled.) That is when I have to turn the nozzle to the side (3 o'clock position) and pump for about 3 seconds. Then I can spin the handle down while continuing to pump. This has worked every time for 1.5 years.

    NOTE:
    For what it is worth. I also learned that the PRIUS with the bladder in the gas tank should never be over filled. I stopped doing this. Over filling can cause damage to the bladder. So when the gas pump clicks off after it's "full" do not force more gas into it. This is supposedly the safe thing to do.
     
    #1 John Kinney, Dec 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    john, you may have just solved the 64 million dollar question. happy Christmas!(y)
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Does your method defeat auto shutoff? Or just dampen it?
     
  4. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    I've been turning the nozzle to 90 degrees also. Too early to say impact.
    My wife doesn't do it so mixed results.

    I think it still works auto-shut-off but you maybe up to another gallon in there
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    interesting that not everyone has this problem. i'm surprised toyota was never able to isolate the issue, or maybe they just didn't want to spend the money.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    If people are doing things with the nozzle position to defeat auto shut off, maybe this becomes a liability issue for Toyota?
     
  7. John Kinney

    John Kinney Junior Member

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    It completely solves it for me.
    In fact if you forget and start pumping in the normal up and down position, and it stops right away. Turn it a quarter turn to the right (the left is blocked by the "gas door"), and keep fillin' like a villin'.

    I am unable to get the pump to stop prematurely.

    Thankfully it still does that "auto" click off when the tank is full.

    Then you can put more gas in until it over flows, no joke, I mean Niagra Falls style.
    Funny thing is I used to do this when I first got the Prius, trying to maximize my range or driving distance if you will.
    I learned quickly that the inner "rubber" bladder would aggressively spit back out lots of gas at some point.
    Just like a baby you ate too much, projectile vomiting.
    It will continue coming back out to for several seconds.
    (very embarrassing and dangerous)

    This overflow is way more than your thinking.
    This happened 2 or 3 times until I learned my lesson finally.
    I know, my wife tells me all the time, I am not a very smart man and stubborn and overweight to.
    ;-)

    Merry Christmas

    P.S. - This site is great. I was able to help my mechanic figure out the rear brakes on my Prius II. If you know what I'm talking about, it is no average "weekend warrior" task. Toyota built in some safeguards that my mechanic (non dealer) was not aware of. The auto shutoff to the braking system during servicing. It was no big deal and simple we used this site to figure out the issue. In case you wondering I was just replacing my rusted rear brake parts from the western NY winters and the salt damage.
     
    #7 John Kinney, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  8. CrazyLee

    CrazyLee Member

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    I think everyone has has the gas regurgitation problem at sometime or other. Last week I was filling my 02 Prius and found out if I held the nozzle just short of it falling out I could get to take fuel. When it clicked off I pulled out the nozzle. Seconds later I heard glug-glug sounds and the gas started to flow out the filler. I was startled at first and the I jammed the nozzle back in to stop the flow. I have to fill the car tomorrow so I'll try the 90Deg thing. I will also hold the nozzle in after a click off and try to hold back another glug-glug.
     
  9. John Kinney

    John Kinney Junior Member

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    Good to hear of another that was surprised y the "gas regurgitation" issue.
    I would say a good 1/4 gallon has come out on me before, maybe more.
    It's the worst when, like you said, you are trying to really fill the tank up.
    You he "gurgling" and then about a second later it comes "flowing " out.
    It flows out just like a bowl in the sink that you are filling with water, you tilt the bowl slightly and it gushes over.

    The worst scenario for me was about 2 years ago. It was on the NYS Thruway, and come home from work on Friday.
    I wanted to fill the tank up for the weekend. I keep putting more and more in, and I was ready for action.
    This time I would beat the regurgitation of gas, and put the cap on real quick.
    The timing was perfect, but with the pump in my right hand I had to use my left the screw the cap in.
    I fumbled with it 2 or 3 times, and it then exploded out like a garden hose with your thumb over the end.
    All over my hand, sleeve, side of the car, pavement.

    The was one of the last times I tried to get that extra 1/2 gallon of gas in the tank.

    I was just researching this a little bit more.


    Metal Gas Tank

    [​IMG]

    Bladder inside metal gas tank



    [​IMG]

    (US/CAN market only)
    Reduces vapor volume and loss
    Stiffer and hard to fill in cold weather



    From this thread: "All North American Classic and 2G Prius have the bladder-equipped fuel tank. This includes Canadian models."

    This explains why many Prius owners may not experience the noted issues, there are 2 different gas tanks, with bladders and without.

    I will say that with an extra can of gas in the car, I have used almost all the 11.9 gallons of gas.
    I went until the car first "lost power" then pulled over, and put in about 4 gallons.
    This was just experimental.
    From the time the fuel gauge started flashing until I ran out of gas I went another 65 miles at about 63 miles an hour.
    Car started without any problem this time.

    On another occasion I was trying to get to my favorite gas station. (Really cheap gas, because it's on the Indian Reserve off Pembroke exit 47 on I90 (Western NY) .

    Almost exact 2 miles from the exit it started to loose power.
    Very obvious because it just intermittently starts surging and coasting.
    45 seconds later the RED light on the dash comes on and I am with power.
    I put car in NEUTRAL while rolling (you do this by hold gear shift knob to the left for about 2 seconds.)
    I rolled about a third of a mile.
    I couldn't start car right away.
    I waited about 1 minute with everything off.
    Just for the heck of it I did the ODOMETER BUTTON, turn of, HOLD ODOMETER BUTTON, while starting RESET. (Usually for resetting OIL CHANGE LIGHT.) You can look this well documented procedure anywhere.
    I then tried starting car, it started.
    I drive another third of a mile.
    Red light came on, and I was in some kind of "BATTERY ASSIST" mode.
    I made it about a third of a mile this way.
    I actually coasted in NEUTRAL right up to the gas pumps. (not the Indian Reservation, never made it that far.)
    Getting car started again was the same as stated before, very difficult.

    I would not recommend running out of gas unless you have spare gas.
    PS - Carrying gas is very dangerous, especially if you get into an accident.

    Long and short, I got about 65 miles after the flashing FUEL GAUGE.
    There people that say the bladder type gas tank has only an ounce of fuel left at the flashing FUEL indicator are incorrect.
    I would guess the TOYOTA gas reserve at that point is about 1 to 1.5 gallons.
    That would mean a minimum of 40 miles of driving.
    In my case 65 miles.

    Take it for what it's worth.

    Additionally I have run my 2005 Gen II out of gas 3 times total.
    Twice being careless, and once experimental because of all the driving that I do. (1000+ miles a week).
    When I performed the experiment, I had extra gas (4 gallons).
    I put fuel in as soon as the car lost power the first time.
    Car started normally.

    In the other CARELESS episodes, I waited until the RED light came on and kept going using BATTERY mode. (VERY SLOW and SCARY).
    In both of those cases it was difficult to get car started, but within 5 minutes it was running again.
    If anyone knows how to better start a "OUT OF GAS" Prius I would be curious to know the proper procedure.

    BTW: I realize this type of behavior has to be maddening to some, but I have learned my lessons over time. I have not run out of gas in over a year now, maybe 2 years. I have gone passed the blinking FUEL GAUGE over 20 times though. Each time I have gone over 25 miles with ease.

    My final guess would be that there is 1.5 gallons reserve FUEL after blinking FUEL warning. Or about 60-65 miles.
    All of this would only come into play with any GAS BLADDER Prius (North American Model).

    I write this in case someone is really in a "JAM" someday, and must keep driving passed the flashing WARNING.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i still think some are broken/defective. i never had an issue in my '04 and '08. and some people report having a filling problem, after owning the car for many years.
     
  11. John Kinney

    John Kinney Junior Member

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    Just out of curiosity, are yours CAN / US models ?
    These would have the GAS TANK BLADDER.
    Apparently non CAN / US models don't have this problem. (No Bladder)

    You could be right about being broken, I brought both of my Prii used.
    One of mine (2005) definitely has had some body work done on the drivers side.
    Maybe an accident damaged the gas tank bladder.

    BTW: The following thread is amazing, it shows every part of the gas tank. (If you care)
    the gas bladder: exposed! | PriusChat
     
  12. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Or you could just let the tank vent for 60 seconds. This has worked perfectly for 6 years now.
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    we're in the usa, u.s.models, bought them all new.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Maybe Toyota should take a brake from unexpected acceleration remedies, take a look at gushing gasoline? :eek:
     
  15. scotttyb68

    scotttyb68 Junior Member

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    I leased my first '08 Prius and it had the filling problem, then I bought a used '08 Prius and it has the same problem, I wish Toyota would redesign the tank and maybe offer free installation if you want the new tank. I love Prius, but it is annoying.
     
  16. GregP507

    GregP507 Senior Member

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    When the little hole (vent-tube) is blocked by gasoline (like when the tank is full) it restricts the inflow of air into the shutoff mechanism, allowing a vacuum to build up, thereby triggering the shutoff mechanism. The vacuum is created by a venturi-tube in the fuel-flow stream, and when enough vacuum-force builds up, an actuator disengages the nozzle.

    If the filler-neck is bent a certain way, it restricts the fuel flow and blocks the vent tube, That's why rotating it part of a turn works.
     
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  17. John Kinney

    John Kinney Junior Member

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    That is a great explanation, thank you.
    Interestingly enough, now that I have refueled several times with the nozzle rotated, it doesn't seem to happen as much anymore.
    Unless it is really cold. (20 degrees F or below)

    I had to rotate it just one fill-up in the last 5 fill-ups, and that day was about 15 degrees F.
     
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