Question about 1989 Ford Bronco

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Fuel Gage 1989 Bronco full size (302) My fuel starting reading empty last night with a full tank of gas. Once the key is turned off it reads a quarter of a tank,but once the key is turned on it reads empty. Could it be anything else other than the sending unit?

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The analog gas gauge is an electrical meter movement and while they rarely fail, they can. Most gauges in the last few decades do not return to 'E' with the power off, they just hang out wherever they happen to be when the ignition is turned off; yours isn't doing either.
The sender is a variable resistor that controls the current flowing through the meter and most (there are exceptions) will be at maximum current with a full tank of gasoline. When this is failing, normally the reading will at first be erratic (the wiper of the sender is losing contact intermittantly) then it will go to one or the other extreme, depending on how the sender is wired. To have one fail instantly is pretty rare.
Before replacing anything, I would check wiring and connection plugs to make sure it isn't a matter of corrosion causing one or the other lines to cease conducting. Since there isn't much current flowing here, a bad connection can cause it to quit conducting.
You should have the wiring diagram and a multimeter to check continuity.

Posted on Jun 27, 2009

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