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Easy fuel filling

Even if the price of petrol at the pump really stinks, at least your hands won’t after you have finished filling up your car.

All thanks to engineers at Ford who have developed the so-called Easy Fuel capless fuel-filler system, a novel design that uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap.

Ford’s plans to offer the Easy Fuel system as standard equipment across the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury product lineups. It will be launched on the 2008 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer and will be joined by the all-new 2009 Ford Flex, Ford F-150 and Lincoln MKS this summer.

When Ford measured customer response to the system in focus group studies, 75 percent of women and 67 percent of men expressed a particularly high interest regardless of demographic or vehicle segment. ‘People noted that it was very useful and a time saver and considered the fact that their hands didn’t get dirty to be a major attraction,’ said Pamela Wylie, Ford technology planning manager.

According to Annette Huebner, a Ford product planning analyst, Easy Fuel has produced several unexpected benefits that customers may also appreciate.

‘With Easy Fuel, you don’t have to worry about that dangling petrol cap scratching your vehicle’s paint anymore,’ she noted.  In addition, customers who have arthritis don’t have to struggle to open or tighten a cap every time they’re at the pump.

Here’s how it works: the spring-loaded flapper door is held closed by two latches that can only be released by a standard-size unleaded fuel nozzle.  When the proper nozzle is inserted into the filler neck of the system, the latches release, and the nozzle pushes the spring-loaded flapper door to the open position. When the nozzle is removed, the flapper door is automatically forced closed by the spring.

The fuel filler pipe is then completely sealed, which prevents fuel vapour from escaping and helps reduce evaporative emissions.

‘Every time a fuel cap is either lost or not screwed on properly, that equates to evaporative emissions entering the environment,’ said Brian Aitken, a Ford fuel systems supervisor. ‘With Easy Fuel, these scenarios are no longer a problem.’

The new system also has a patented mis-fuelling inhibitor to reduce improper fuelling and siphoning.

The inhibitor consists of a fuel nozzle detector that guides the nozzle to the opening.  If a nozzle or foreign tube of a different size - a diesel nozzle or plastic hose, for example - is placed in the filler neck of a gasoline-powered vehicle, the latches will not release.  For a diesel-powered vehicle, the inhibitor will keep out the smaller gasoline nozzles.

To protect the fuel filler neck from dirt, dust and debris, Easy Fuel relies on a flexible rubber seal in the body housing. The system also comes with a plastic funnel, which is stored with a vehicle’s tyre changing kit, in case someone runs out of fuel and needs to add a gallon or two from a portable container.

‘Because fuel cans are not standardised in terms of their nozzle, we needed to make sure customers could easily get fuel into the system if they ran out,’ said Aitken. The funnel is the same diameter as an unleaded fuel pump nozzle for a petrol-powered vehicle.

Readers' comments (15)

  • How will the easy fuel system respond to fire?

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  • Its a gimmick. I use our diesel tank at work to fill up my car. With this contraption I cannot get the nozzel in the filler orifice. I made an adapter but I can only tell when the car is full when I see diesel draining from the overflow pipe all over the floor. I have tried the funnel but again I end up with more diesel on the floor than in the car. Be warned!

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  • My wife's Fiesta has this system and it works exactly as advertised. If it stops misfilling it must be a good thing and having no separate cap is a bonus.

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  • Wife's car has this system and we couldn't get any fuel in the tank due to the neck protection system. We went another garage with a new type gun and it worked, straw poled all the local garages only a 30% sucess rate, um! now booked into tghe dealership for filler neck change.

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  • I have a "58" reg Focus Diesel and would like to know where you can buy these Funnels as my car didn't have one when I purchased it 9 months ago

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  • I would like to know how easy it is for someone to syphon petrol from the tank if the outside flap doesn't lock?

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  • I constantly get an air lock when filling the tank resulting in the pistol stop pumping diesel. I remove the pistol to release the air in the tank and what little has been loaded spews out over the side of the car.Any idea how I can get around this?

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  • Can I get the youtube reference to have look of it, i.e. how it works?

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  • I have a 2010 Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.6ltr diesel with the `Easy Fuel Capless Fuel System` which my brochure said would prevent anyone puting the wrong fuel in the tank.... Two weeks ago I inadvertantly filled up with 20litres of Petrol. Please be aware!

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  • Iv'e got a ford focus 1.8tdci, i have used the funnel to put some injector cleaner in my capless easy fill tank.can someone tell me since removing funnel the spring loaded flap wont lock back.

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