I have an 80 series diesel with standard fuel tanks.
The gauge of the main tank stays on half full permanantly. This is the case if the tank is full or completly dry.
On the rare occasion, it will work on corragated roads etc.
Could someone please shed some light on whether this could be a bad earth or sticking float?
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It has to be the sender unit in the tank, or the gauge in the dash, or the wiring between them. In most cases, it is the sending unit-they are quite fragile often. Usually best to replace them (not very expensive-just difficult to get to.) The sending unit will be located with the fuel pump inside the tank. They are removed as one single unit.
There is a way to test if the dash gauge itself is working properly. You have to find the wire going into the fuel tank that is from the gauge, then with key on, ground that wire to the frame-you can use a jumper wire into the fuel tank electrical connector. When the wire is grounded, the gauge will definitely move to one place (either half full, or full-but it moves and stays there). If you see that, you know the sending unit in the gas tank is bad. Do not ground that wire for more than a couple of seconds, it is lo0w voltage, but it may cause a shorting problem.
if you have 2 fuel gauges working of a tank switch there may be some resistance in the circuit of the second circuit that increases the reading of the gauge. Personally I have the tanks balanced out with a levelling hose between them the the gauge reads the capacity left in the tanks IE full-- both tanks-- full, 1/2 both tanks 1/2 With the way you have it set up then if one gauge is faulty and shows full when it is empty you can find yourself in a spot of bother when you need the other tank
This may not help or you have probably already looked at this.
Some times they put a manual fuel switch under the drivers seat to swap from main tank to reserve it might pay to have a look.
sounds like you have a restriction in the fuel inlet pipe,( maybe air locking) also your tank sender unit neads replacing to fix you gauge fault, or it maybe that it has something that is not alowingf it to move freely inside the tank, have a good look inside when low on fuel. through the hole where the sender is fitted.
very common. The sender in the gas tank is the problem.
It will need to be replaced some day
Both my gas tanks do the same thing in my F250. 1 tank stays full all the time and the other drops from full to about a half tank when I get to half a tank and then works so so till empty.