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Fuel Tank Selector Valve

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Replacement RF38420001 Fuel Tank Selector Valve - Sold individually
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$79.08
AC Delco U7000 Fuel Tank Selector Valve - Sold individually
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$77.46
Product Details
Notes : Motor Driven; Will not work with Quick Disconnect Lines
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Fuel Tank Selector Valve Brands

Fuel Tank Selector Valve Guides

Fuel Tank Selector Valve: Important Things to Know

Summary

  • In some vehicles, particularly in Ford trucks and big rigs, more than one tank is used to store larger volumes of fuel. A fuel tank selector valve regulates the flow of fluid in the main tank and the auxiliary tank to meet the operating engine’s fuel demands.
  • The fuel tank selector valve on Ford trucks fail in different ways and show different symptoms, but the more common ones that were reported by owners revolve around these issues: only one tank is working, the selector valve is not responsive during starting time, the other tank has no fuel, and the tank is overfilled with fuel.
  • Symptoms of a bad fuel tank selector valve include leaks from either tank, fuel coming out from the rear due to built-up pressure, and overflowing fuel when filling up the rear tank.
  • Every part of the fuel system, from the tank that stores fuel to the injectors that spray fuel into the engine, needs to be in sync for the fuel system to perform well. Once the fuel tank selector valve fails, this will compromise fuel delivery and undermine the whole system, which can lead to complex failures and costly repairs down the road.
  • A replacement for a faulty selector valve costs around $30 to more than $80.

Fuel is basically the lifeblood of any internal combustion engine—mixed with air and burned in the cylinders to generate power. In some vehicles, particularly in Ford trucks and big rigs, more than one tank is used to store larger volumes of fuel. A fuel tank selector valve then regulates the flow of fluid in the main tank and the auxiliary tank to meet the operating engine’s fuel demands.

What is a fuel tank selector valve?

Some vehicles are equipped with dual tanks, a main tank and an auxiliary tank. On a dual tank fuel system, tanks typically have individual filler ports or pipes, while in other configurations, a mechanism is used to branch multiple filler pipes from one filler port into each of the fuel tanks. The fuel supply lines or pipes are arranged so that fuel can be drawn from the main or the auxiliary tank. In some systems, a fuel transfer pump, which transports fuel from the auxiliary tank to the main tank, is used to draw fuel from more than one source. Fuel transfer can be manually or automatically activated.

With several ports on the selector valve, this device is designed to hook the fuel lines—a return and a supply line—to separate tanks. This is connected to a remote operating switch that is easily accessible from the driver’s side. When the switch is turned on or off, this sends signals to the valve and the tank will either open or close. Other than regulating fuel flow through the lines, the valve also lets you choose which tank will feed fuel to the engine.

Why is the dual fuel tank setup used?

Ford trucks in the 1980s through the latter part of the ‘1990s were equipped with a dual tank fuel setup. Multiple fuel tanks are also used by big rigs and working trucks. This system allows increased fuel storage capacity on-board.

Back in the day, trucks had smaller fuel tanks that can mostly carry 60 to 80 liters in range since most drivers do not cover long distances. During those times, this fuel storage capacity is sufficient. But as more roads were developed and people started traveling longer distances, there became a need for a larger fuel capacity of the vehicles, so they would not run out of fuel on long stretches of roads without overnight gasoline stations or filling stations nearby or along the way. Some vehicles, particularly trucks, were then built with two 60- to 70-liter tanks.

Today, more recent Ford pickups and other trucks offer the same fuel storage capacity with a single tank. The front tank is still in the same location, placed on the driver’s side, forward of the rear axle. If the old dual tanks were shallow, the single tanks were made deeper to hold more fluid. The switch to a single tank also came when the Ford trucks used larger tires. Because of the wider tires, a second fuel tank will no longer fit. Single, deeper forward tanks with almost the same fuel capacity as the dual fuel tank systems became a standard for the later Ford models, including the Super Duty lineup.

What are the common Ford fuel tank selector valve problems?

The fuel tank selector valve on Ford trucks fail in different ways and show different symptoms, but the more common ones that were reported by owners revolve around these issues:

Only one tank is working

Once the valve malfunctions, the fuel tank may not close or open properly. If the other tank is not working well, you have to check the valve switch. It is also possible that the wire is loose or the small motor is busted.

Selector valve is not responsive during starting time

This is a common problem for second-hand Ford trucks. If the Ford fuel tank selector valve is broken or missing, the vehicle will run through the front tank only, and sometimes, the car will not start at that. In this case, you have to replace the valve.

Other tank has no fuel or is not supplying fuel

A bad selector valve may cause the switch between fuel tanks to fail. In this case, you may also have to check the rear pump to see if it is running and replace either the valve or the pump.

Other tank is overfilled with fuel

This problem is commonly linked to a malfunctioning selector valve. Fuel from the rear tank goes to the front one, which leads to overfilling. Instead of rebuilding the valve, it is better to just replace it.

Symptoms of a bad fuel tank selector valve include leaks from either tank, fuel coming out from the rear due to built-up pressure, and overflowing fuel when filling up the rear tank.

Why should you replace a defective fuel tank selector valve?

If the engine is not fed with the needed doses of fuel to run under varying operating conditions and loads, this can result in almost every imaginable engine performance troubles such as poor throttle response, rough idling, and stalling. Every part of the fuel system–from the tank that stores fuel to the injectors that spray fuel into the engine–needs to be in sync for the fuel system to perform well. Once the fuel tank selector valve fails, this will compromise fuel delivery and undermine the whole system, which can lead to complex failures and costly repairs down the road.

How much is a fuel tank selector valve replacement?

A replacement for a faulty selector valve costs around $30 to more than $80. Beware that the price is just a rough estimate and, therefore, may change from time to time.

When choosing a valve replacement, make sure that it is a direct fit, so it can be installed easily. The easy way to do that is to have a more focused search based on your vehicle’s specifications. Take note that some valves may not work with quick disconnect lines and may not be applicable for systems with in-tank fuel pumps. Meanwhile, some valves are available for vehicles without fuel return lines and with 12 volt systems. Go over the product details carefully and see what is actually included in the kit.

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