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If your Fuel gauge is not working you may need a new fuel sensor or floater that tells the amount of gas in the tank which that is located in the tank so you would have to remove your gas tank and replace it some sensors or floaters may also be on the fuel pump.
1) Check the ohms reading from the sending unit. On the fuel pump there is a sending unit that sends the signal to the gauge for the level of fuel. On most cars you can get it separate from the fuel pump. Its either the sending unit that is messed up or the cluster.
2) As for the car not starting right away, go to link below:
(sidebar) I'm not a mechanic, but I play one on FixYa !!!
check the connection for the fuel pump at the right rear wheel just above the control arm. the connection gets corroded and causes the fuel pump and gauge not to work. if the plug looks good then most likely the fuel fump assembly is bad.
More than likely a floater issue!! This is located within the gas tank and mounted to the fuel pump. It sends a unique signal depending on the amount of fuel within the tank determining fuel gauge readings. Its very possible the unit is defective causing improper gauge readings.
hey the reason your gas gauge is going from full to empty is that your fuel pump which is in the gas tank has a sensor that relays how much gas the tank has in it, the sensor is gone bad and will have to be replaced. And your engine light problem is probley due to putting gas in the car while it is running, my wife has a 2005 malibu and we have had the same problems with her car hope this was helpful
Have you changed the fuel filter? Did it die while driving, or just wouldn't start? Don't use starting fluid on a gas engine! It will cause a lot more problems than it solves. Ether, starting fluid is made for diesel engines... not gas, not ever. If it won't start, it isn't lacking ether. It's lacking gas, air or spark.