View Full Version : Fuel tank

08-16-2013, 07:30 PM
Does anybody know how many gallons the '02 plastic fuel tank will typically hold when full?
And how many gallons are left when the getting empty light comes on?

08-16-2013, 10:27 PM
Probably 100 liters (26-point-smidge gallons)
..but: the "default" tank in Europe is 70 liters

If you post your VIN and your email address (or permission to post the file there) to this "show me your VIN" thread, sailquik will send you the "what Mercedes built into YOUR Sprinter" list... which includes the fuel tank size.
Thread: http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25620


08-17-2013, 01:01 AM
If you are in the NAFTA region (USA/Canada) there is only one factory installed fuel tank that I have ever
seen on the data cards for our Sprinters.
Tank Capacity is 100 liters (26.4 US Gallons).
Usually the fuel light comes on in the T1Ns with 2-4 gallons left in the tank.
This is somewhat better than the NCV3's in the NAFTA region....they all turn the "get fuel" light on @ ~20 gallons used,
so 6.4 gallons (>120 miles @ 20 mpg) is left in the tank.
This usually occurs in the NCV3's in the 350-400 miles traveled range (depends entirely on your mileage which depends
entirely on what your load is, and how you drive your Sprinter.)
If I remember correctly the T1N 3500 I had would go until about 3-4 gallons left in the tank.
Best way to check how far you can go is to get a 5 gal. reserve can of diesel fuel, drive it say 420 miles (until the low fuel light
comes on) then write down the odometer reading.
Fill up at your next opportunity (I always fill mine right to the edge of the fuel filler neck which adds perhaps 0.5-0.75 gallons to the 26.4 gallons).
So, the amount you put in the tank tells you how much you've used.
Subtract the amount you've used from the 26.4 gallons and you will know at approximately what # of miles your fuel light comes on, and about
how much you have left in reserve.
Then calculate your mileage (with a calculator to at least 3 decimal places).
Multiply the mileage you are getting times the amount of fuel you had left in the tank to determine about how much farther you could have
gone before running completely out of fuel.
Due to the issues with getting fuel back up to the pump in the '02-'03 OM-612 (no in tank lift/booster pump) it is never a good idea to run
these models out of fuel completely.
For the OM-647 (Model years '04-'06) and for the later NCV3 V6 (OM-642) you won't have the re-priming the fuel pump issues as these
Sprinters have the electric lift in the fuel tank, but it's potentially harmful for any common rail fuel injected to be run out of fuel.
Before you can get the engine shut down completely, the pump has the possibility to run dry and that's really bad for the pump.

08-17-2013, 03:18 AM
Thanks for your responses.
I requested a datacard and see that I have a 100 litre tank.
In the past using Sailquicks' methods I've always figured, conservatively, I have 2 gallons and need to find diesel within 40 miles. I ran till the fuel light came on. I drove 20 miles more and filled up with fuel figuring I have 1 gallon+ remaining. The well known station's pump charged me for 26.8 gallons. 100 litres equals 26.4 gallons.

Once when I first owned my Sprinter, sometime in '03-'04, I ran late at night and looked hard for a diesel pump after the light came on knowing I was pressing my luck. I turned into a an established truck stop and filled up 28.3 gallons.

So, if 100 liter tank is correct, and no extra gallon of fuel is in the filter and pump then do you suppose these fuel pumps are highly inaccurate?

Curious isn't it?

08-17-2013, 03:40 AM
26.8 gallons could easily fit in the 26.47721 gallon (100.00 liters) if you fill up the filler tube.
The tank capacity does not include the filler tube AFAIK.
28.3 gallons is a little less believable, but certainly not impossible if the tank was bone dry and the
fuel pump was picking up the return fuel flow as fast as it hit the bottom of the tank.
Or, as you suggest, the meter on the truck stop fuel pump could have been reading a little more than
was actually being dispensed.
This is why it's good to look at the state/county weights and measures agency stickers on the fuel dispensing pumps
to see if they are up to date.
Hope this helps,

08-17-2013, 04:26 AM
So, if 100 liter tank is correct, and no extra gallon of fuel is in the filter and pump then do you suppose these fuel pumps are highly inaccurate?
There is another thread specifically devoted to that as a rant topic...


08-17-2013, 03:33 PM
This is a relevant topic for me as well. I think the 26.4 US gal capacity claimed by MB is inaccurate, for whatever reason. Last month I stuck in 26.5? Gals and from my experience with my fuel gauge(which I admit is quite subjective) I did not coast in to the pump on fumes. I think it holds over 27 gals. As sailquik points out, filling it to brim adds alot more also, even though I think it has a short filler tube it is worth something. I have found that if I fill the last gal or 2 very slowly I can get almost 1 gal more in than if I go full throttle. By filling slowly near the end I assume it lets as much air as possible burp out of the tank. Also, I am trying to avoid blasting off a vent line with too much pressure. I would recommend this "max fill" method only if you are jumping right back on the freeway due to the possibility of venting or leaking out of one of the points on top of the tank that we see discussed often.
The bigger issue all of this variance in tank topping off raises is, trying to accurately determine fuel mileage. One tank I get 27mpg, the next 24, hmm. Then I remember I just removed the fuel nozzle when it auto-clicked off when I filled it for my tank that got 24mpg, and didnt trick an extra gallon into it like I did to get 27. Thus the variance we see when we compare our mpg as a group.
Just my opinion, at least.