Fuel gauge never goes below the F regardless of actual fuel level, when it is allowed to sit overnight the needle will lower itself to the right hand side of the full line, but then it is started it steadily turns clockwise another half inch. I was able to remove the clear plastic cover to turn the dial by hand so; when I turn the gauge down to empty by hand, then turn the key to "on" it steadily rises back to past full. it almost sounds like the level sensor is shorted out causing too much resistance in the circuit. looking for second opinion, or even some pointers on how to test the gauge (since I really don't want to drop the tank).
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Re: Fuel Gauge Issue
I know you don't want to drop the tank and I could lie to you, but the truth is that you have to drop the tank to check and fix this problem. It really is not as hard as you may think. Even easier if you are low on gas. Putting a full tank back up is a real challenge!
So, after you pull the tank down and remove the sending unit/fuel pump, get a ohm meter and set it to Ohms. Insert the leads one into each opening on the connector on the sending unit plug. Slowly raise and lower the arm with the fuel float on it and see if your ohms fluctuate. Also notice if there is any resistance on the arm as you move it up and down. This is how you check your problem. I have seen it many times before. A new sending unit will fix this problem, though if your ohms are fluctuating and your float arm is stiff, you can temporarliy fix it with a few squirts of WD40. It will start to hang up again after a while though.
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It could be any one or more of this list:
Fuel level sensor. Just because you replaced it once, doesn't mean it's still good.
Connection to fuel sensor
Broken wire between fuel sensor and gauge
Broken wire between battery and fuel sensor/gauge
This is a very common occurrence, the fuel sending mechanism is inside the fuel tank, attached to an arm is a float (a device that will rise to the top of the fuel level). When parked at an upward or downhill angle, the fuel will collect to the opposite side of the tank (liquids will go to a natural level) and cause the float to move the lever. As the lever moves it rubs along a winding of wires creating a different resistance along the way. This changes the amount of current that will flow through the fuel gauge and change the level indication. When you are on level ground it will take a short period for the fuel gauge to return to the correct reading.
Either the gauge itself, or the wire from gauge to tank, or the sending unit in the tank. Most of the time it is a problem with the sending unit.
They work like this: in the instrument cluster, a small voltage regulator sends low voltage through the gauge, into the wire to tank, and to the sending unit. The unit has a variable resistor that varies according to the fuel level, measured by the float arm attached to the unit. What it (the gauge) actually measures is resistance to ground-the current goes to a ground point after going through the variable resistor in the sending unit.
You can check if problem is the gauge or the sending unit by grounding the fuel gauge wire at the gas tank connector. Pull the electrical connector apart and locate the fuel gauge wire. Jumper that wire to ground on the frame while watching the fuel gauge needle for movement. DO NOT ground it for more than a split second, just touch to ground while someone watches the gauge. If the gauge needle moves at all (will probably go to full or empty), then the problem is the sending unit in the tank. The gauge is good, so is the wire from gauge to tank. I should mention that doing this test can possibly blow the meter (gauges) fuse in the fuse panel- why I said to do it just for a brief moment.
I would guess the fuel level sending unit is malfunctioning, deposits sometimes build up on the resistor pack, or there is and open circuit in the resister pack, does the fuel gauge needle do a full sweep from empty to full and back when the ignition key is turn to the run position? This is a cluster self check mode, if it fully sweeps than the cluster is ok, I would suspect it needs a fuel level sending unit which is located in the fuel tank as part of the fuel pump modual but usually can be serviced separately
I'm not sure I am understanding your question. The low Fuel indicator light comes on, depending on how sensitive it is set, when you have between 2 and 5 gallons of gas left in the tank. This also depends on how accurate your fuel level sending unit is reading the fuel level in the tank. The low fuel level light depends on the level of fuel in the tank itself but other than using that sensor it has nothing to do with the fuel gauge itself. The fuel gauge may or may not be accurately showing the fuel level.
Did the mechanic use an OEM replacement unit or an after-market unit? I think the original unit has a damping circuit to prevent immediate response when accelerating/stopping/cornering; the needle reacts slowly to changes in fuel level. If the new unit shows an immediate transient response, but settles back down to the actual fuel level, I'd just live with it.