Titan Fuel Tanks: An Easy Way to Spend More Time Driving and Less Time Stopping for Diesel

Sponsored article presented by  Titan Fuel Tanks.

 

It takes an average of 26 minutes to stop for fuel.” So says Mike DeFord, Titan Fuel Tanks’ marketing manager—and also NASA racer, autocrosser and longtime amateur motorsports scenester. “Like, from the time you pull off the highway, get parked, get fueled, find your way back to the road, then back to the on ramp and back on the freeway, 26 minutes. Think about how much time you’re adding to a trip of even 800-1000 miles if you’re having to make that stop every 250 miles.”

Even quick napkin math shows how inefficient that can be. Titan’s solution is simple but effective: Add more fuel capacity to stay on the road longer. 

Our friends from Nitto Tire told us they saved hours off their trip from Seattle to King of the Hammers, which is in the desert east of Victorville, California,” DeFord continues. “They cut what was a four- or even five-stop trip down to two stops. That just makes all their logistics operations more efficient.” 

Titan’s secret isn’t much of a secret: giant fuel tanks built from a lightweight, military-grade, cross-linked polyethylene that can be formed into nearly any shape. 

Most of the company’s lineup, which covers three dozen direct-fit replacement tanks for most popular modern diesel pickups (with four more on the way soon) nearly doubles stock fuel capacity. “We joke,” he continues, “although it really isn’t a joke because it’s entirely accurate, that with one of our tanks, stop range is determined more by the driver’s bladder than the tank capacity.” Titan has no official plans for an in-cabin urinal, but DeFord’s chuckle when we asked about it showed that this clearly wasn’t the first time someone pitched him the idea.

If replacing the stock tank with one twice the size sounds daunting, frustrating and fabrication-rific, Deford says not to sweat it. “All of our tanks are drop-in–well, technically lift-in–replacements. Drop your old tank, switch over any sending unit or pump, and our tank bolts right back into the same location with no fabrication.” Titan simply uses the unused space under the chassis or between the frame rails and fills it with more tank capacity. 

Using all that extra space is easier than ever, says DeFord, thanks to laser scanning devices. “Back in the day, we had engineers crawling under trucks for days, even weeks” he explains. “But now, with laser scanning, we can map out the exact fit in CAD and have a prototype—a better-fitting prototype, even—in a fraction of the time we could before. And you can even see that more streamlined development cycle reflected in our pricing.”

Indeed, most of the Titan lineup is in the $1200-$1600 range, depending on size and configuration. “And your factory warranty is unaffected,” adds DeFord. “We have a bunch of dealers that offer our tanks as options on brand-new trucks. If dealer service departments are willing to install and service them, and manufacturers are willing to not let them affect any additional warranties, I think that says a lot about what we’re building.”

Titan stands behind its tanks as well, offering a lifetime replacement warranty against damage to your tank. “If someone breaks a tank, we replace it, no questions asked,” DeFord explains. 

“Okay,” he continues, “there was one we didn’t honor, though: It had a couple of bullet holes in it. I think that falls outside normal use parameters.” 

So if you’re just doing normal truck stuff, or even outside-the-norm truck stuff that doesn’t include discharging a firearm into your fuel tank, DeFord concludes, you’re covered.

While most of Titan’s lineup is centered around replacement tanks for diesel trucks, it also includes a couple of universal options that are suitable for carrying gasoline. 

“Because of legal restrictions on EVAP systems and the like, directly expanding the capacity of a gasoline tank is tricky,” DeFord explains. “But we have products like our Sidekick, which fits over the wheel arch in the back of a truck, or the Trail Trekker, which mounts on Jeep spare tire carriers, or the Spare Tire tanks, or the cross-bed transfer tanks. 

“These are all sort of universal products that don’t connect directly to your fuel system,” he continues. “So they can be used as transfer tanks to extend your range—basically by putting a gas station in your truck bed.”

There’s another use for these add-on fuel tanks, he adds: “We’re really seeing a lot of interest from the motorsports community in using these tanks as race fuel carriers. We’ve seen racers adding auxiliary tanks to their truck beds, or to their trailers, and being able to carry all the race fuel they need for a weekend without having to constantly fill or carry 5-gallon jugs around.” 

It’s a safe, easy way, DeFord explains, to haul race fuel to the track. “Even if you’re just using it to haul pump gas. Maybe you can get 93 octane locally but are heading somewhere where all they have is 91,” he continues. “Or you run E85. Or you just don’t want to constantly be lugging jugs all over the place. We’ve seen some really cool integration by racers into their rigs—in enclosed trailers, open trailers, truck beds. The cool thing about these universal transfer tanks is they give you a lot of options.”

And every Titan tank—whether it’s custom-matched to your truck’s dimensions and nestled right in the OEM location or it’s a universal-fit auxiliary model—carries the same lifetime warranty and undergoes the same rigorous process of torture testing before it’s available to the public. 

“Even though we can go from a scan to a prototype in about five days with the laser setup we have, the testing process still takes a while,” DeFord notes. “Tanks get dropped from every angle, hit, speared—any way they can get damaged during normal use—and we duplicate, analyze and tweak the design if necessary. So the customer is getting something that’s built beyond the standard of what any state DOT requires and that’ll be able to take whatever punishment they can throw at it safely.”

Well, maybe almost every possible type of damage. “Okay, maybe not a bullet,” he adds. “Please don’t shoot your tanks.”

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Comments
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bumpsteer
bumpsteer New Reader
7/20/20 3:26 p.m.

So, one big part of FMVSS testing (and one reason why fuel tanks don't take up all available space) is fuel tank intrusion/puncture in a collision. Have they done anything to address that?

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
7/20/20 4:36 p.m.

26 minutes ???  Wait, what ?? That includes lunch, right ?

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
7/20/20 4:54 p.m.

It only hurts to buy one, was $1400 at one I looked at the last time, then having to fill it, at $2.40-3.00/gal. I'd rather have a bed tank.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/20/20 5:03 p.m.
300zxfreak said:

26 minutes ???  Wait, what ?? That includes lunch, right ?

If you're running with a logbook, you realize that this isn't really all that inaccurate.

This is for a normal fuel stop, not trying to prove that you can totally decelerate, exit the highway, get in front of a pump, fill your vehicle, do a load check, pee on the tire and grab a drink before peeling out and getting back to the onramp and accelerate back up to speed all in under 37 seconds. It takes a lot longer than you think, especially when you're dealing with larger quantities of fuel found in the sort of vehicle that can carry an oversize tank of diesel.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/20/20 6:21 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

And also when you have to go in to the Love's to get the pump turned.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/20/20 7:12 p.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

And also when you have to go in to the Love's to get the pump turned.  

Oh, man, don't get me started.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/20/20 7:37 p.m.
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing said:

“Our friends from Nitto Tire told us they saved hours off their trip from Seattle to King of the Hammers, which is in the desert east of Victorville, California,” DeFord continues. “They cut what was a four- or even five-stop trip down to two stops. That just makes all their logistics operations more efficient.” 

So...They saved "hours" by cutting a 4-5 stop trip down to two? I mean, "hours" would suggest at very minimum 2 full hours (if not more), so by cutting 2 or 3 stops that means they were making minimum 40-minute stops and maximum 60+ minute stops. 

I mean, if they just made five 25-minute stops, they would have done it in the same time.

Just sayin....those guys were clearly not in a rush anyhow ;)

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/20/20 7:57 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

We have basically the same rig, so you're not really hitting any car diesel pumps either.  I got a loves card and i still have to go in first.  Got their app, still have to go in.  My pilot/lying J card won't turn the pumps on most of the time.  It's more than mildly annoying.  They have a 52 gallon one for the ram, i'm curious how much of that is usable because my truck leaves 6 gallons in the tank when the range is on oh crap find a fuel pump according to what goes in and what the factory claimed capacity is.  Back in the day i could get a suburban tank and add it to a 73-87 chevy truck and add 40 gallons of capacity with a transfer pump.  I'd throw the spare in the bed for a 40 gallon tank that fits where the spare goes

Rodan
Rodan Dork
7/21/20 3:04 a.m.

I have the Titan 55gal tank in our Ram dually and love it.  In-bed aux tank was a non-starter because of our slide in camper.  While "saving hours" may be a bit exaggerated, it's given us a lot more flexibility about where/when to get fuel.

Big tank is big... cheeky

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 6:34 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
300zxfreak said:

26 minutes ???  Wait, what ?? That includes lunch, right ?

If you're running with a logbook, you realize that this isn't really all that inaccurate.

This is for a normal fuel stop, not trying to prove that you can totally decelerate, exit the highway, get in front of a pump, fill your vehicle, do a load check, pee on the tire and grab a drink before peeling out and getting back to the onramp and accelerate back up to speed all in under 37 seconds. It takes a lot longer than you think, especially when you're dealing with larger quantities of fuel found in the sort of vehicle that can carry an oversize tank of diesel.

Still, 26 min?  Unless you spend a lot of time searching for fuel, that's excessive.  If you are doing other stuff like eating, peeing, and/or pooping, then iMHO that does not count to the time.  For me, if I had to do any of that, then getting fuel is a bonus.  

Which is why i'm totally ok with a fuel tank that can only do 300 miles at once- that's a long time to go between stops.  Maybe it's just me, but driving and doing #1 at the same time seems, well, complicated.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/21/20 8:10 a.m.

Like I said, try logging it on a real road trip with a diesel truck. And that's from "cruising speed to cruising speed". Takes longer than you think unless you are purposefully trying to set some sort of personal record, and you can't do that on every stop.

I agree that human bladder capacity may not automatically get upgraded when the Titan tank is installed. That's one reason why my roughly 4 hour time between stops is okay and I'm not looking for a bigger diesel tank :) 

ojannen
ojannen Reader
7/21/20 8:29 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

I had a baby and stops have become more frequent and somewhat longer because we have to take turns using the bathroom.  30 minutes is now a fast stop for us.  Orlando to Atlanta went from one bathroom break and one fuel stop to four full stops.  It adds at least an hour to the trip.  The first time, I traveled with the baby, I was really confused when we showed up two hours late.  He did manage to poop four times in three hours so that didn't help.

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
7/21/20 8:54 a.m.

In reply to ojannen :

Per the African proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone."

I definitely see the advantage of a bigger tank. It's less useful if you're not towing, or you're towing a very light, aerodynamic load. When you're looking at <10MPG, every extra gallon is welcome.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 8:56 a.m.
ojannen said:

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

I had a baby and stops have become more frequent and somewhat longer because we have to take turns using the bathroom.  30 minutes is now a fast stop for us.  Orlando to Atlanta went from one bathroom break and one fuel stop to four full stops.  It adds at least an hour to the trip.  The first time, I traveled with the baby, I was really confused when we showed up two hours late.  He did manage to poop four times in three hours so that didn't help.

I agree with that.  

But, IMHO, the additional time to go to the bathroom, eat, etc- should not count toward the time it takes.  If that HAS to be done, you will have to stop even if the tank isn't empty.  

The time should be deceleration to stop, fill, drive away and cruise.  Unless there's some kind of bladder and bowel compensation devices on the vehicle- for all passengers.

 

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
7/21/20 9:00 a.m.

I average right about 20-25 minutes if I can pull in right to a pump and start filling up the 25 gals the Avalanche takes when I stop. This includes a quick walkthrough the store, even if I don't get a thing: helps with dvt prevention, an attempt at peeing, and then getting back on the road. It's 45 minutes easily if I stop and have the family along. I always have to grab whatever the truck stop has for fast food. We eat inside, berkeley the mess the kids leave in the back seat.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
7/21/20 9:56 a.m.

We had the 50 gallon tank in our E450 which gave us 400 miles to bone dry. Stopping at 300-350(to give a buffer) to fuel wasn't terrible because it wasn't the most comfortable seat and switching drivers was always welcome. I like the concept of a huge range, and love my 400+ mile range in the XJ, but it can be more than needed.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
7/21/20 10:01 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

Which is why i'm totally ok with a fuel tank that can only do 300 miles at once- that's a long time to go between stops.  Maybe it's just me, but driving and doing #1 at the same time seems, well, complicated.  

It's true that you're still going to be making stops, but with the larger tank, they don't all have to be fuel stops.  And if you don't have to get fuel, you have more flexibility in where you stop.  That bathroom break can now be at a rest area or scenic overlook instead of a busy truck stop.  Much more pleasant.  I'm usually traveling with my wife and our dog, so no stops are short... LOL

Another factor is that out here in the Southwest, it can be a long way between fuel stations if you're off the interstate.  And the place you stopped last year may be out of business this year, suddenly adding 50-100 miles to reach the next station.  That's gotten better in the last decade, but it's still a reality.  The stock tank in our truck was only 32 gal... at 8mpg and keeping a 50 mile reserve, that's about a 200 mile range. Even having an extra 100 miles in the tank is a big stress reliever and adds a lot of flexibility when you're getting 8-9mpg.   

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/21/20 10:03 a.m.

Regardless of the time savings, not having to stop for fuel when towing is helpful from a PITA standpoint. This is less true for diesels since most most gas stations that sell it (and all truck stops) are set up for larger vehicles, but when you're towing a big trailer with a gas vehicle, you have to plan ahead and find stations that are big enough and/or configured so that you can get in and out of there. Most truck stops are pretty good, but you can't always find one of those when you're running low. If I have to answer nature's call, I can always stop at a rest area.

Unfortunately, nobody seems to make larger auxiliary tanks for gasoline vehicles. I'm assuming it's a safety thing of some kind, since gas is more volatile.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 10:55 a.m.

In reply to Rodan :

Well, if stopping and time matters so much, then one should be multitasking when getting fuel.  If timing doesn't matter, yea, I'll stop, get gas, get some picnic stuff, and head to the next nicest rest area to have a picnic.  

But the premise of getting this massive tank is all about time.  

What's interesting- all of the previous vehicles we've gotten to pull our stuff with got 15mpg when pulling our Alfa.  Now that we pull with an SUV, we are getting into the refill quickly timing, but I'm still ok with that, as breaks are needed.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/21/20 11:04 a.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

 

Unfortunately, nobody seems to make larger auxiliary tanks for gasoline vehicles. I'm assuming it's a safety thing of some kind, since gas is more volatile.

Gasoline tanks are part of the EVAP system, and messing with emissions controls on modern cars is a no-no.

As for stops and whatnot, I also think there's some geographic and convenience considerations with the larger tanks. I normally stop every 3-4 hours whether I need an immediate fillup or not, but with a smaller tank and travelling mostly in the more densely packed eastern part of the US, I cna pretty much take my pick of places to stop whenever I need to. But out west where stuff is further apart, with a smaller tank sometimes you may have to make a stop before you really need to, or at a busier, less-accessible intersection, because you may not have the opportunity for a while. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/21/20 11:21 a.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Ah, that makes sense.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/21/20 11:30 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:Still, 26 min?  Unless you spend a lot of time searching for fuel, that's excessive.  If you are doing other stuff like eating, peeing, and/or pooping, then iMHO that does not count to the time.  For me, if I had to do any of that, then getting fuel is a bonus.  

Which is why i'm totally ok with a fuel tank that can only do 300 miles at once- that's a long time to go between stops.  Maybe it's just me, but driving and doing #1 at the same time seems, well, complicated.  

 

Pretty much in agreement here.  250-300 miles is 4-5 hours of drive time.  I'm gonna need to take a break, stretch my legs, get some food and drink, "return the cores", etc.  Heck, I might do that between fuel stops.

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