fuel gauge is going nuts - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 12-10-2007, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default fuel gauge is going nuts

I baught another 97 SSEI last week. Previous owner neglected to tell me the gas gauge had a mind of it own, and I ran it out of gas the next day after buying it. Filled it full and it said full and stayed pegged and read correct until about 3/4th tank, and then it started acting funny. When you first start the car it will register the correct fuel level, and then after you start driving it will slowly start going up until it registers 3/4 to 7/8th tank on the gauge. It goes up faster when moving that just sitting and warming up. It will stay showing the wrong amount until you shut the car off, and if you let it sit for like 5 minutes it will start at the correct reading again and do the same process over. ANd once the gauge goes up it will not come back down until you shut the car off.

Any ideas why it'* going nuts? Is my sender bad or what?
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:38 AM   #2
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Mine does something similar every once and a while. I know I only have a quarter tank and the gauge will go up to half/three quarters and stay there. Only does it once and a while. I wanna say bad gauges are a problem with our cars, but idk. I just keep track of my mileage. Once it starts reaching 360-380 miles I fill up. I know I can make it to 400, but I just like to be sure that I won't run out.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:06 AM   #3
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You guys have faulty sending units. They're located inside the fuel tank and cost about $300. Fixing the issue involves dropping the tank.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vital49
You guys have faulty sending units. They're located inside the fuel tank and cost about $300. Fixing the issue involves dropping the tank.
dammit, not this one too. I hate dropping the tanks on these cars as the bolts are rusted and usually have to be torched and the fuel lines never come off without damage. Well I guess I'lll have to do it eventually.

Mike
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:25 PM   #5
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yeah thats another problem i got ....i keep track of the mileage to but i run out at 190 of a full tank of gas......nasty
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:26 PM   #6
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Default Can be fixed, most likely

I've had 5 of these "H" chassis cars, 3 of which had this kind of issue. I've NEVER had to replace one yet. Drop the tank, pull the sender/pump unit. You'll note the float, when moved up and down, moves an arm up and down a coil of wire, which changes the resistance in the circuit. I can never remember which way it goes, whether the resistance goes up or down as the float rises. Doesn't matter really.. carefully clean that coil of wire with brake clean and a rag, and lightly polish the sweeper arm with a very fine sandpaper, make sure everything is clean. Maybe even give it a little more pressure by bending the sweeper. Check all other connections in the circuit (under the car) for the nice green cheesy stuff.. If you're real nuts like me, you can even take the time to calibrate the guage... I hate how it can be skewed, like when it says you have half a tank and you can put in 11 gallons in an 18 gallon tank. You can CAREFULLY remove windings on that sender, while putting in measured amounts of fuel in the tank while sitting on a workbench, and get it exact.. Messing around with this plus gently bending the float arm can get the thing real accurate.. Personally, I like it on "F" when the tank is full, not past "F".. and when the low fuel light just begins to stay on while sitting level at a red light, I have EXACTLY 2 gallons in the tank. At this, when the needle is on half, I have exactly half a tank of fuel..
If the car is older and it has been on a steady diet of bargain gas, you'll have varnish built up on that sender.. I always run a decent brand of gas, and I have never had to clean injectors etc.. and once I get the sender for the guage fixed up the way I like it, I've never had another problem with funny gas guages. The fun of buying these cars used is you have to clean up everyone else'* laziness and cheapness.. A few cents extra per gallon for a good brand of gasoline is 10 times cheaper than reduced fuel mileage and the subsequent bottle of injector cleaner when stuff is all varnished up. Just my 2 cents worth.. Mike
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can be fixed, most likely

Quote:
Originally Posted by TROYPORT
I've had 5 of these "H" chassis cars, 3 of which had this kind of issue. I've NEVER had to replace one yet. Drop the tank, pull the sender/pump unit. You'll note the float, when moved up and down, moves an arm up and down a coil of wire, which changes the resistance in the circuit. I can never remember which way it goes, whether the resistance goes up or down as the float rises. Doesn't matter really.. carefully clean that coil of wire with brake clean and a rag, and lightly polish the sweeper arm with a very fine sandpaper, make sure everything is clean. Maybe even give it a little more pressure by bending the sweeper. Check all other connections in the circuit (under the car) for the nice green cheesy stuff.. If you're real nuts like me, you can even take the time to calibrate the guage... I hate how it can be skewed, like when it says you have half a tank and you can put in 11 gallons in an 18 gallon tank. You can CAREFULLY remove windings on that sender, while putting in measured amounts of fuel in the tank while sitting on a workbench, and get it exact.. Messing around with this plus gently bending the float arm can get the thing real accurate.... Mike
Thanks Mike. I had previously asked about cleaning the sender unit as I had done with other cars; but no one answered that post. Seems a waste of money to buy a new unit when cleaning the old one fixes the problem.

-sp4149
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:10 PM   #8
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Default No promises..

... I have never had to replace one, but I certainly can't say for sure what you're gonna find. You have to drop the tank anyway, so you might as well try to fix it, save yourself some cash maybe. The worst thing that can happen is you have to drop the tank again, but the second time everything will be all broke free and cleaned up and all the bolts will be coated with anti-seize... you can have the sender out in under an hour the second time.
This is the kind of things I do after my daughters are in bed, heck, the alternative is watching television or just hanging around the house.. and the money I've saved which has gone to better things like braces, glasses, dance classes and swim team dues for our girls... money much better spent.
Certainly, if you have no time to spare ( I too can remember the days of spending evenings chasing the ladies, ah to be young again) then maybe just dropping in a new sender is the way to go. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:01 PM   #9
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Check out this info for cleaning your sender:

http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=71718

I didn't know this procedure would work for 92-99 or else I would have suggested it earlier.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:06 PM   #10
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Default There ya go..

Pretty much the same thing, but different.. Same idea, but the sender looks different, and you have to drop the tank. Maybe I should reconsider buying my Mom'* 2000 SSEi, if I can tweak the fuel guage without dropping the tank!! Sweet!! Mike
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