Question about 1997 BMW 318

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1997 BMW 318iS manual coupe - fuel warning light stays on

The fuel gauge warning light remains on in my '97 318iS manual coupe after I filled up with fuel, it is possible that I over filled it. When I've accidentally done this in the past the low fuel warning light has come on but usually turns off after about 50km of driving. On this occasion it has done over 350km and not turned off. The car has been stopped and started many times during this 350km period.

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  • Michael Jan 07, 2009

    yes,,, it's the low fuel warning light.

  • Michael Jan 07, 2009

    No; the fuel gauge indicate empty.

  • Michael Jan 07, 2009

    Sorry, I should have clarified my last comment;
    The fuel gauge does normally work Ok, however in it's current condition with the low fuel warning light on it indicates empty when the tank has fuel in it.
    As originally mentioned the gauge has done this before when I've accidentally over filled the tank but it usually restores itself after about 50km's of driving.
    Prior to the last fuel-up the gauge was working correctly, now the car; has more than 1/3 fuel remaining in the tank, gauge is still indicating empty (as it did prior to being filled at last fill-up), and low fuel light has remained on since being filled 350kms ago.

  • Michael Jan 10, 2009

    I believe you will need to try to reset the fuel gauge and therefore it's low fuel warning light.
    Try refilling the tank through a couple of fill-up stages. After each stage; cycle the ignition key on and off a couple of times.
    It may also help to drive a few miles between each filling stage, make sure you don't overfill the tank during this process.
    The Body ECU's (electronic control unit) on the E36 BMWs often do flaky things and it's not uncommon to confuse the fuel gauge low fuel warning system on these models; e.g.; when the low fuel warning light is on and the car is overfilled the gauge doesn't always reset itself. 

  • Anonymous Feb 04, 2009

    My 318is fuel tank is full but the low fuel light is on.How can i determine what the fault is?

  • Julie Louis Feb 21, 2009

    My fuel light is on all of the time, and my temp gauge is way off too. Sometimes, it says I'm way below E and my car is super hot. it jumps around, however it feels like, it's just never right.

    The problem is that the gas tank is actually full, and I live where it's cold, my engine is not running hot, I checked.

    Oddly enough, the speedometer and RPM gauges are working fine.

    What's up? Please help!

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    u need to replace the fuel tank sending unit, the fact the fuel warning light works means the guage is ok.

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010


  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    what is the fuel warning light, do u mean low fuel light?

  • richard Jul 05, 2013

    take your fuel pump out it is behind drivers side under back seat and look at the wires one ofthem have broken



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The last comment added to thread should work OK.

Posted on Jan 10, 2009


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