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Jay Champagne
Jay Champagne, Toyota Master Diag. Tech.
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience:  Toyota Dealership Shop Foreman, Hybrid Certified, ASE Master Cert. 13 Yrs. Toyota Experience.
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what causes a gas tank to collapse and how to prevent it.

Customer Question

what causes a gas tank to collapse and how to prevent it.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  John D replied 8 years ago.

HiCustomer my name isXXXXX


I can help answer this question but first I will need some background so I can understand rational behind the question.


Being a cautious person, I will need this first, and


Thanks for using Just Answer


John D

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi John I have had my tioo 4yrs. My son replaced the fuel pump 2yrs ago and everything worked fine. It went out last fall so took it to dealer said tank had collapsed. I paid 1600. have driven it less than 2000 miles and now they tell me it has collapsed again from something I keep doing but they have no idea what or why just want another $1600. I have the first tank they gave me because i did not believe them. Call me double skeptic now. Run a mail route with this as a back up vehicle probably 50,000 mi per yr otherwise mild 10 acre farm use. Female and very easy on them also. Thanks!
Expert:  John D replied 8 years ago.

OhCustomer I sympathize with your situation and I understand your distress.


Tell me, is your fuel tank metal or a compressed fibre?


The reason I ask is to determine the flexibility of the material used in the construction.


Most newer tanks are a fibre, not a metal. This is partly to reduce cost but it is also partly to reduce weight and ribs in them are there to provide strength.


So, can you tell me if the tank you kept has any visible signs of collapse when looking at it from all angles?


Also, do you have the original paperwork from the first collapse, one that includes a Toyota Part Number?


Did they also replace the charcoal cannister in the engine compartment, or say anything about it in the paperwork or verbally when they gave you a diagnosis.


Collapse of a gas tank is a seldom heard of thing, I have had tanks that leaked, never one that colllapsed.


The way your fuel system is supposed to work is pretty simple if you forget about the car running.


The gas is stored in the tank where the pump sends it to the injectors under pressure where it is vaporized and injected into the engine. The unused gas, there's always more being pumped than your engine can use, is allowed to flow back to the tank and the gas vapors are sent to the filter cannister under the hood where they are recombined and sent back to the tank too. All this happens without you know what's going on because your engine is a closed system that only takes in air thru and intake system that measures the amount of air that enters.


If you got all that then you will understand that in order to collapse a solidly constructed fuel tank that is made to exacting specifications you would need to be pulling a vacuum supplied by the operation of your engine and the pressure of your fuel pump that was strong enough to cause your tank to fail.


Something sounds fishy here.


Could it be the dealer???


AnywayCustomer get me the answers to these questions so I can try to figure this out for you. Like I said, this sounds a little fishy. Strange or odd anyway.


Let me know, and


Thanks for using Just Answer


This is one of the really good questions.


John D


P.S. Write me AFTER your route. It's late and I'm going to sleep in tomorrow.. jdm

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hi John, I have been gathering info. The tank I kept is completely crushed end to end opposite side of sending unit hole,looks a bit like an ocean curl wave. # XXXXX it was 73-9-84, sending unit which my son installed appeared okay #0T0308 on it. It is metal. I think the invoice for the replacement tank is in the pickup inside their shop. Will try to get there tomorrow but may be Tues With Easter here and family arriving. No cannister was mentioned in my discussion with them and I usually write it down when we talk but could not find those notes. Did find invoices where 95 T-100 fuel pump quit 10-15-08 let it set at farm and it and 95 RHDJeep were both towed in for fuel pump replacement 11-5-08. 11-12-08 starter went out on Jeep and was replaced again 1-07-09. I drove the Jeep and a 95 Dodge DAkota all through christmas smaller easier for work. The last I drove the Toyota in my log book was 8-22-08 mileage 400120 , had an oil change done 1-07-09 invoice mileage 401629 difference of 1509. Drove it 2-5&6 on rt for about 400 miles more than that ,200 per day to work rt and home other micsc so less than 2000 miles on the replacement tank. Have had numerous electrical problems after they work on vehicles but they are the closest to me for repairs. Use to be real good until they built their new palace. I think they are trying to get it paid for on my back! Sorry a little frustration...

Expert:  John D replied 8 years ago.

Hey uralrat, fuss away if you want and it makes you feel better.


Have by chance seen the crush or collapse on the last tank?


If so, is it also metal and does it look as bad as the original?


I was just going back over our conversation and I was thinking that your son could probably change the fuel tank by himself, if you wanted to order one. Hasn't he already done a fuel pump before. The labor, dropping the tank, etc., is about the same.


They aren't that difficult to do except for the weight when they're full of gas, the rest of it is just paying attention to the little details, like putting the hoses back where they belong and making sure the hoses aren't kinked and the vapor cannister in the engine compartment gets changed and the clamps and padding are in place to protect the tank.


This is the only added expense I would recommend because it is the only thing that I can see, aside from a clogged return line from the injectors. Since the return line carries the unused fuel back to the tank and helps keep the pressure balanced, it makes sense to change it while you are doing the rest.


I was wondering why site business was slow today, so when you mentioned Easter, I woke up.


Since my kids are grown now, with families of their own, I lose track of holidays.


Anyway, let me know what you find or decide, and wait til after the holidays if you need.


You'll need to re-open your question and I'll be gone all day Tues myself due to a medical check up in a nearby city. Kind of an opportunity to see the sights and do a little shopping too.


Let me know and I'll think about this over the weekend, and


Thanks for using Just Answer


John D

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hi John, Went to dealer today and got a repair history on -T-100, by their records from fuel tank replacement 11-25-08 till oil change 1-7-09 it had been 99 miles plus 2 rt days since of 400 + or- maybe 100 msc miles. His hands were shaking pretty bad while printing the pages. (guilt?) Then I asked to see the 2nd collapsed tank so he took me out North of the building where they had it parked. The tank is metal ( told them at time of repair I could not afford a new one and they called back with this used one so I authorized the repair) It is collapsed exactly as the 1st tank about 2/3 as severe. Went to Autozone to price tank case needed and pick up gas cap wind blew off and broke for Dakota. Mentioned situation as reason for parts price and Manager stated that he had heard simular stories. Guess this covers all you requested. Yes my son is willing to do the repairs but I should not have to pay when they did the damage. Shawn said today while looking at collapsed tank that I must have run over something in the pasture. I replied their is nothing in my pasture which would have caused that and that it had onlly been on the route 2 days otherwise at home or general road driving. Does Toyota have a customer service representative and where would I get the number? That was how I found this web site , while looking. Thanks for your help. Hope your medical appointment goes well and you enjoy your outing.

Expert:  Jay Champagne replied 8 years ago.

Hi I'd like to offer some addtional help here. Could you possibly upload a picture of the old damaged tank, you say you kept it? I am at a Toyota dealer and have never heard of this and cannot even think of how this could have happened by itself. This is a very durable steel tank with a steel guard under it. I can's see anyway that vacumm inside it could have caused it to implode. Are there any signs of external damage? You say you spent $1600. that seems high, that was with a USED part? Do you have a breakdown of parts vs. labor charged? Is the damage in the center/ bottom of the tank?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
graphicgraphicgraphicHi ,I took pictures,#1 is 1st tank that was replaced 11-25-08 #2 & #3 are the underview of the current tank still on the pickup. I asked for copy of repair and was given a history. I did find my notes and the fuel pump was $308.21; filter$9.21; 2nd filter$37.94;original tank quote $622.81 (used $300.) went with used.Labor $288.75 /Total quoted $1424.39;Total billed $1449.52. I quoted in error on the $1600. I t was another time. Reviewed other vehicles '95 Dodge Power Steering Box replaced 10/24/08 --Leaked all fluid out Sat.4/12/09 barely finished route deliveries. Also left cv axle/pittman arm replaced 10/24/08 believe it went out Sat 4/12 called Son to alert them but made it. Vehicle still there. vehicle traveled 11.586 miles on these repairs. Never had one wear out that fast in 30 years on the same vehicle 20 years on the same route. Hope the images are okay, Had to call youngest son to help. At least now I know how. Hope this answers enough questions. I need to move on this to have vehicles back in operation. Your statements have left me wondering which way to go after I receive your advice. If you ever need a mystery shopper for car repair. I can handle the job. Lots of experience. Thanks ...Customer
Expert:  Jay Champagne replied 8 years ago.

Glad you got back to me, I'm very interested in this one.

The pictures didn't make it. Looks like you had the right idea, click on the tree icon in the toolbar, click browse, find and select the pic to upload. The format needs to be jpeg, gif, or png. And smaller than 1mb.

My main concern here is that the damaged was caused by an outside force. This could be something the truck hit/ranover, or possible damage when a shop lifted the truck. The fuel tank is located right next to where they would put the rear lift leg/pad. If they hastily lifted the truck, it's possible the pad ended up under the tank, which WILL damage it. It will be dented from the bottom.

If I'm unable to see the pics you will have to decide for yourself if this is a possible scenario.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

graphicgraphic H i Jay, My pics were 1.9 mp so I retook them at a lower mp with my digital camera from my computer screen and am uploading again. I feel it was damaged from the lift. It travels the full length of the gas tank end to end and facing drivers side has an arch left to right nearly end to end. I have driven this same pickup at least 100 trips over the same roads for the past 4 years. I have a one million mile safe driving award from the Post Office. My vehicles are my job and I am extremely careful with them as my rhd jeep bought 5/08 has 225,000 miles ,'95 Dodge bought new has been around once on the odometer and has 480,000, and the T-100 bought about 4 years ago has 401,000. The oil is changed every 2-3000 miles and want to retire in about 2 years then buy a nice car/pu? I also have an '02 4dr Dakota that only has 90,000 on it as I use it for personal mainly and backup when absolutelly necessary. I would never do anything so foolish as to hit or travel where damage would occur. Are you able to give me a customer service rep.#? #1 pic is tank on p/up #2 is 1st tank replaced that I asked for the part. Thanks for the help. Sorry it takes so long but I usually do not finish feeding animals till 9ish...

Expert:  Jay Champagne replied 8 years ago.

Hello again, for some reason the pics aren't making it. But regardless if the tank is dented in right in the bottom it is from outside damage. You are confident it didn't happen when you were driving so you may have to go after the dealer.

Toyota customer service is 1-800-331-4331

It will be your word against theirs unfortunately.

Best of luck.


Jay Champagne, Toyota Master Diag. Tech.
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience: Toyota Dealership Shop Foreman, Hybrid Certified, ASE Master Cert. 13 Yrs. Toyota Experience.
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