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Old 08-23-2011, 01:11 AM   #1
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Default Fuel gauge stuck

I've been very happy with the mpg with my camper van. So we've been driving around a lot. Not thinking, I noticed the fuel gauge was on 1/2 tank for a while and I mentioned to my wife that it would probably drop off to show a 1/4 tank soon. The next day we're driving along and suddenly the fuel gauge dial starts bouncing around showing empty and then full and then empty again. It had been stuck on half. I checked the trip meter and it has been 778 kilometers (483 miles) since I filled up........... I got to service station and put 107 liters of diesel in (28.26 US gallons). I reset the trip meter when I get fuel - just a habit.

I think my tank capacity is 31 US Gallons or 117 liters. So that would mean that I had 10 liters or 2.64 US gallons of fuel left. Maybe 70 kms or 45 miles left in the tank.

Hopefully the stuck gauge will fix itself but in any case I'll be looking for fuel when the trip meter shows 600 kms or around 400 miles at the most.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fuel gauge stuck

My wife's car, 2003 Cavalier Coupe, which gets really limited use, and just sits in "hot standby" mostly, has
had a similar intermittent problem. I think it's the lack of use, no sloshing fuel around in the tank, to move the
mechanical float, or whatever mechanism, that causes it. After we had the SUV fail earlier this summer, and
we drove the Cav more often, it started working again, after a week or two. We do try to keep it full of gas,
when not in use. Don't know if that helps, but tank/parts corrosion worries me, too.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fuel gauge stuck

It has been quite a while since I worked on cars and there has been a lot of changes made but back then (over 25 years ago) most of the time when a fuel gauge didn't work it was due to a bad ground on the tank or gauge, depending on how it was wired and also where it goes to the frame. Rust was the cullprit.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fuel gauge stuck

Hmmmmmm, rust at the ground? On the outside of the tank? How could that explain why ours seems
to "fix itself" after a week or so of regular driving?
Maybe road debris/water (can't recall if we had any rainy weather, ut it's possible) cleaned it up a bit?
I just figured some corrosion inside the tank, caused the moving parts to stick, as there's almost always
moisture in there with the fuel, that gets cleaned up as the gas sloshes around.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fuel gauge stuck

The stuck-then-bouncing fuel gauge problem never happened again. I've taken the fuel down to 1/8th of a tank and it was steady.
I think this van sat unused for a while before I bought it so maybe something was gunked up.

You have to like it when things fix themselves
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fuel gauge stuck

True. Like my fuel pump screech from a few years ago that went away.
I forgot to mention it a while back after we started getting ready to travel, but we took it on a short haul and it reoccurred. I tried adding some fuel stabilizer and some premium to see if it just needed something to clean out the fuel filter, and it went away again after a few hundred kms of driving.
I think I'll get the fuel filter replaced soon, as it's probably what's causing the pump to struggle.
Like your van, ours also sat for a long time without any real usage.
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