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Re: Fuel guage sometimes read empty when there is gas in...
Check that there are no holes in the float. If the fuel is getting into the float, it will give a false reading. Another thing is to check the ground on the float sensor. If it's not connected tightly, it will create a false reading too.
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A loose connection on the sending unit could cause the problem but also moisture in the tank in cold weather could also be a factor in which i would add fuel line antifreeze to a full tank of fuel..........Hope this helps you out.
It could be a bad fuel gauge in the dash unit, but....
Usually it's "The bad".
The fuel level sending wipe arm and windings on the fuel sender wear and send erratic readings.The only cure is a replacement fuel gauge sender.
The check engine light should not be related to the erratic fuel readings.
If you have over 200,000kms or 120,000 miles on your van you need a new fuel pump anyway,so have a complete assembly put in which will have a new fuel sender on it.
1.If the needle on the guage is stuck. you can try tapping the guage to see if the needle moves or turn the ignition on and off a few times to see if you can get it to move. If the guage drops to empty when you turn off the ignition you know that its not the guage. (note that the guage does not drop to zero when ignition is off with all cars of this age).
2. The problem could be with the sensor in the fuel tank itself. Rocking the vehicle up and down from the rear (you will need help doing this) may free the sensor level indicator ball in the tank.
open circuit in the fuel level sensor. mounted in tank. as the fuel level in the tank starts to drop the arm will move past the dead spot on the sensor and the gauge will start reading again.i dont recommend diy replacement of the fuel level sender.