If there's one downside to modern HD diesel trucks that we've found, it would have to be the painfully low capacity fuel tanks. Sure, some manufacturers have offered upgraded tanks over the years; however, the vast majority of them have remained smaller than their gasoline counterparts. Current-generation trucks have given up space to accommodate the diesel exhaust fluid tank, and older diesels, such as our 2002 Chevrolet Silverado
2500HD, only offered small volume tanks. Thankfully, the good folks at Titan Fuel Tanks have a solution for nearly every truck's fueling needs, from extra-large underbed storage to in-bed transfer tanks, and even custom auxiliary tanks.
Speaking of our 2002 Silverado 2500HD, it arrived from the factory with only a 26-gallon fuel tank. It was painfully small for our intended use for the truck. So, we gave Titan a ring and ordered up the company's 52-gallon replacement underbed tank (extended-cab, short-bed trucks can fit a 39-gallon tank and crew-cab, long-bed; trucks get a 62-gallon replacement).
Titan's Super Series XXL replacement tanks are constructed of heavy-duty crosslinked polyethylene and arrive complete with a powder-coated crossmember support bracket, steel strap set, rubber bushings, and vent hoses with rollover safety valves.
| With 52 gallons of fuel onboard we now have a theoretical highway range of more than 1,000 miles. While the fuel gauge will remain correct, any distance to empty calculations done by the driver information center will be inaccurate.
Some trucks, such as our LB7-equipped 2002, require additional hardware to mount the fuel sending unit. The tank for our application was only 2 inches deeper than the factory tank and hung down only one extra inch below where the factory tank shield was. Titan constructs its tanks right here in the United States, and it offers a limited lifetime warranty.
Installation is fairly easy and can be done in the driveway. An extra set of hands and a couple good floor jacks are a necessity. Titan has heard of people swapping their tank in less than an hour, but in our experience, it's going to be best to plan a full day for when things get tricky. While it's not necessary to remove the truck's bed for this install, we did for ease of access and photography.
| It's not necessary to remove the truck's bed for installation. However, we chose to for ease of access and photography. With four people, removing the truck bed is a very easy process.
| The factory fuel tank size for 2001-2010 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickups with the Duramax diesel engine was a mere 26 gallons. The factory tank resides mostly under the bed, on the driver side of the cab.
| On the fuel-sending unit of our LB7-equipped truck, we found fuel supply and return lines. On newer trucks there may also be a vent line. Removing these fittings requires a special fuel line tool that can be found inexpensively at any auto parts store.
| After removing the fuel supply and return lines, we carefully unhooked the wire harness for the fuel level sending unit. Duramax trucks of this vintage don't have a factory lift or supply pump, so we didn't need to worry about that. If you're working with the bed on this will be one of the more difficult steps.
| Removing the fuel-sending unit is simple and requires just a light tap from a mallet on a screwdriver to release the lock ring. Once the ring is loose, lift it up and over the hose connections and set it to the side.
| It'll take a light wiggle to get the sending unit to come loose from the tank. Once loose, it can be lifted straight up and out, paying attention to not damage the fuel level sending unit or float.
| Despite our attempts to drain the tank, there was still a fair bit of fuel left at the bottom. And that green tint shows us that the previous owner didn't keep up on his fuel additives. Because diesel weighs about 7 pounds per gallon, you'll want your factory tank as empty as possible before starting.
| Titan's XXL underbed fuel tanks get most of their added storage from adding additional length. The tanks ship in a large box via standard shipping and weigh approximately 45 pounds. So, your FedEx driver will hate you, but not for very long.
| Propped next to the factory fuel tank (right) you can really see the size difference between the two. You'll also notice that at this point we had also already installed the factory fuel sending unit into the Titan tank using Titan's "LB7 kit", which is extra.
| The first step in the installation process of the Titan tank is to hang the new rear support strap. These straps slot into the provided factory mounts on the frame, and then the other side bolts into place once the tank is installed.
| Next, the new Titan tank gets slid into place and lifted up with the rear going first. It's possible to either slide the tank into the steel straps or fit them to the tank and lift both into place. Getting these rear straps to fit correctly gave use the biggest headache.
| Once lined up, we used a pair of floor jacks and a few pieces of wood to gently raise the tank into place so that we could secure the rear strap bolts and the front crossmember. We also reattached the fuel feed and return lines and routed the new vent lines at this point.
| Because of the added length of the tank, a new powder coated steel crossmember is provided to support the front. This crossmember slips over the frame rail's lower lip and secures in place with a set screw.
| With the new Titan fuel tank installed we now have double the fuel capacity, making long towing adventures exceptionally easy. Now the only worry is how long our bladder can make it, not the truck.