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Wrong reading on fuel gauge

My opel kadette 160is has a wrong fuel gauge reading. When it's just about quarter tank shown on the fuel guage, it's actually an empty tank.
Thank you.

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  • Len Jeffrey Aug 23, 2013

    My 2003 T-Bird read intermittently that the tank was empty only if the tank was under 1/4 full. I used an injector cleaner in the fuel tank. The problem went away after 1 week.

  • Anonymous Mar 12, 2014

    Opel kadett 140is 97model non start no fuel supply or spark

  • Anonymous Mar 30, 2014

    Fuel guage


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Normally this problem is due to a bad sending unit. The sending unit is the actual device which transmits the level of fuel in the tank to your fuel gauge. The most common cause is a stuck float. The device works by means of a flotation device, often made of a petroleum resistant plastic encasing a foam or cork "float, " which is attached to a light weight metal arm. The arm moves as the float raises and lowers with the level of fuel. This arm connects to a switch which increases and decreases resistance in the circuit. If the arm is stuck or if the float is allowing fuel in it you will get an inaccurate reading. A "logged" float (one filled with fuel) usually reads below the level, whereas an arm which is sticking will read above the level. Now, if the gauge has been reading this way since the car was brand new, the other likely cause is that the needle may have been improperly placed on the gauge at the factory, or the windings in the gauge may be under or over wound causing the inaccurate reading. If you are mechanically inclined you may be able to replace the sending unit yourself. Keep in mind this can be a dangerous procedure for a first time mechanic as it may involve removing the fuel tank from the vehicle. Some vehicles offer access to the upper portion of the fuel tank via an opening located in the trunk under the trunk mat/carpet or under the back seat. If this is the case removal of the fuel tank is not normally necessary, but you will still be working with the fuel tank. If you are able to do this procedure in the vehicle, keep in mind you will first want to disconnect power to the fuel pump and sending unit. You can disconnect the negative battery cable, but I believe on an the kadette you will need to obtain a special cable from your local auto part supply to maintain power to the ECU or PCM to prevent damage to the computer or loss of programming. At the very least remove the fuel pump relay and disconnect any fuse/relay related to the dash gauges prior to beginning this operation. Also be sure to remove the fuse for any possible ignition source inside your vehicle, such as dome and courtesy lights. Keep cell phones away from the work area as well. If you use a "trouble light" be sure it is marked as safe for use near fuel fumes. Keep doors or windows of the vehicle open to allow vapors to escape so you don't suffer any ill effects and to further reduce ignition hazards. If you must remove the fuel tank, practice good safety. Do not be under the tank at any time. Be sure to remove it with very little fuel in it. Go slowly and be sure you don't break any wires or lines. It is a very involved process and may be best left to a certified mechanic or at least one who is very experienced. Keep me posted and let me know if this helps!

Posted on Feb 01, 2009

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Hi I have a opel kadett 160is. It won't start with the key on 1st start just swings then if I run start it will start and there after it will start by key. Aswell very heavy on fuel and seems to not bable...

You have two problems, it seems. One is hard starting and the other is fuel gauge misreading. For the fuel gauge, remove the sender unit in the tank and see if it moves freely and gives a correct reading for the float full up and full down.
The second problem - hard starting. It is possible that the ignition coil is not working well. That will account for high fuel consumption as well. Please note that, not being there, this makes it for just a guess.
Check the ignition coil and see if it has a ballast resistor, that is a rectangular porcelain block with a coiled wire inside. Make sure it is conducting electricity and that the wires leading to it is in good shape.
Take the car for a 5 to 10 minute run and feel the ignition coil. It should be warm, but not hot.
Also check the spark plugs and replace them, make sure that they are the correct heat specification as specified by the factory.
Check the plug wires to make sure they are not cracked / frayed. If you have any doubt, replace them.
A final thought - you might have too much fuel entering the engine, which could mean flooding. This was a common problem on older cars. Petrol (gasoline) does not burn. It has to be turned into a gas. If you put a little petrol in a flat can and put a match to it you will see that the flame is only on the surface. It is very volatile, however, and changes to a gas very easily, but when you have liquid petrol inside an engine, it starts only with great difficulty.
Make sure therefore that, if your car has a carburetor, the float inside the chamber is working properly. A sticky float or a leaking needle valve can cause the symptoms you are describing.

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