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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD)

VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old August 26th, 2001, 22:31   #1
Tomkins
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Default Does running out of gas damage the engine?

I'm not really trying to gain permission to wait until the last minute to fill-up my car. Only trying to verify what I was told about diesel engines and running out of gas.

I've heard that the diesel fuel actually lubricates certain parts of the engine and that running out of gas can cause damage to these parts.

If anybody could shed some light, I would greatly appreciate it.

--Tom
2001 Silver Golf GLS TDI
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Old August 26th, 2001, 22:36   #2
TDI2some
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Western WA
Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

I'm not sure. It sure is DAMN hard to start after you run out. Almost have to purge the system before it will. It makes sense though when you think about how the fuel lubes the intake tract.
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Old August 27th, 2001, 01:02   #3
RC
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tomkins:
[QB]...running out of gas.
...running out of gas.
[QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I sure hope you are not putting "gas" in your TDI! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

After having gasoline powered vehicles for so long it was difficult for me to switch from the term "gas" to "fuel" when refering to the liquid that powers this fine vehicle.
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Old August 27th, 2001, 04:07   #4
Joey B
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

[img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] Thanks for the info, I'm on empty and was wondering what would happen, I'll not let it go empty.
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Old August 27th, 2001, 04:42   #5
SkyPup
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

When you run out of diesel fuel it will hurt the fuel pump and injectors due to lack of lubrication while cranking to get fuel into the injectors. It is not good to let the pump run dry, this should be avoided.
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Old August 27th, 2001, 06:24   #6
banzai
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: East Overshoe, ME
TDI(s): NB TDI
Fuel Economy: 47 all the time
Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

I have had several cars with no "gas" gauge-
only ran out of gas once- when I was trying to run tank low to drain it!

I saw an engine/car catch fire when someone was trying to prime carburettor- car was a public nuisence anyways!
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Old August 27th, 2001, 09:43   #7
Jasper23
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

So is it bad to change your fuel-filter also?
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Old August 27th, 2001, 10:27   #8
mickey
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

No. It's not harmful to the engine. When you turn off the key you've basically "running it out of gas."

A gasoline engine misfiring as the tank empties can damage the catalytic converter, but I don't think that applies to a TDI.

You will have a lot of trouble getting it restarted, though. All that cranking isn't good for the battery or starter motor, and probably isn't the friendliest thing for the injector pump either. If you run out of fuel, pull the "hairpin" on top of the filter and pull out the temperature control valve. Don't disconnect the hoses. Pour straight Power Services additive, or some other good fuel additive, directly into the filter and fill it up. That will reduce the cranking time needed to get the engine started. It'll still need a minute of cranking or so. (In 10 second intervals, with 10 seconds "rest" between them.) And it'll run rough and probably "kill" a few times until things get working again.

-mickey
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Old August 27th, 2001, 10:30   #9
mickey
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

I would disagree with SkyPup on one thing: Without fuel in the pump and injector lines the injectors won't function. Therefore, running out of fuel cannot harm them. They're forced open by fuel pressure.

Running the pump "dry" is a concern, but it won't be completely "dry". Still...it's not good for the injector pump by any means.

-mickey
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Old August 27th, 2001, 19:55   #10
naturist
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Bro Jerry's hometown, Virginia
Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

As others have noted, running a VW TDI out of fuel is a bad idea, for all the reasons noted.

It should also be noted that older/other diesel engines will be more sensitive to this issue, though few will be less sensitive. On a lot of other diesel engines, running out of fuel is a major catastrophe, requiring replacement of fuel pumps and injectors. I know because a friend of mine foolishly ran a farm tractor dry, and it cost $600 for a new fuel pump to get it running again. And that was 10 years ago. I shudder to think what it would cost today.

Ask any long-haul trucker with some experience: those guys do NOT run out, if they get that close, they shut 'er down and hike instead, if they can't raise help on the CB.

While you won't kill your injectors or fuel pump on a VW TDI, as they make minimal use of fuel for lube, their lives will not be lengthened at all either!
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Old August 27th, 2001, 21:55   #11
Driv'n EZ
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

I ran my TDI engine for 6 miles without any fuel and it didn't cause any noticable harm. Damm, this car gets great fuel economy. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
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Old August 28th, 2001, 14:27   #12
weedeater
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Location: Reston, VA
Fuel Economy: 54/43/38
Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR> I ran my TDI engine for 6 miles without any fuel <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I hope it was all downhill! [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
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Old June 26th, 2002, 15:54   #13
**DONOTDELETE**
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Join Date: Dec 1969
Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

I bet it was all uphill...

Is there a pump in the tank? The dealership said that could be fried if you ran out of fuel.

Someone said once the pump isn't strong enough to self-prime. Do the injector lines have to be bled if one runs out of fuel? I sure wouldn't want to run out of fuel... [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]

[ June 26, 2002, 15:59: Message edited by: je ]
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Old June 26th, 2002, 18:41   #14
solstar
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Join Date: Apr 2001
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Fuel Economy: avg
Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

it used to but not any more-- that's the beauty of mechanical fuel injection vs electronic fuel injection- priming fo the mechanical system is messy and not so with electronic system! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
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Old June 26th, 2002, 18:55   #15
**DONOTDELETE**
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Default Re: Does running out of gas damage the engine?

What used to - no pump?

I would really need to prime this thing if it were dry!
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