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Fuel gauge not working

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Old 09-26-2011, 03:25 AM   #1
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Fuel gauge not working

Hey guys so I have a problem with my fuel gauge. It only reads full at first I thought it was a stuck float and thought it had to fall down one day. Well here I am 6 months later and still a fuel gauge stuck at full. I called the auto parts store they said it's my fuel sending unit and I'm looking at $400. So any ideas on what to do? This thing is dipping into my lowering money. Thanks
Old 09-26-2011, 04:46 AM   #2
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

You may just have a wiring problem... If there is a short in the wiring and that gauge is being fed power at all times with the key on it will stay at full regardless of the actual contents of the tank or position of the float. Get a wiring diagram and test the signal wire at the tank and then at the back of the gauge if you can before spending zillions on a new sender...
Old 09-26-2011, 03:02 PM   #3
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Thanks for the info I'll take a look
Old 09-26-2011, 04:06 PM   #4
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Rock auto would be a better choice if you do need to replace the sending unit. Its about $200 cheaper.
Old 09-27-2011, 08:16 AM   #5
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Before you spend that money drop the gas tank and check the wiring inside the tank to the sending unit. Another thing you can do is what I do. When I put in a new fuel pump I also put in the new gauge wiring harness but the gauge is like yours since. Always on full. I think I screwed it up myself but I don't want to pull the tank again so I just live with it that way. I always carry two gallons of gas with me and fill up when I get gas. Each time I fill up I set the trip odometer and I know I can go about 320 miles or slightly more on a fill up. I have no problem doing it this way although that is a bit redneck. Just never be without a can of gas in the back, nobody has ever stolen my can of gas either, I'm a little surprised with that. Been driving for over two years with it like that. When I put a new bed on the truck, the old one has a rust problem then I will pull the pump and gauge sending unit and fix it.

Another thing, if you carry gas with you never and I mean NEVER carry it inside the cab with you. Better to let someone steal it than have it inside during an accident.
Old 09-28-2011, 05:56 PM   #6
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

they cant just tell you 'its your sending unit' without even diagnosing the problem. it could be something as minor as a wire clipped somewhere. mine didnt work on the truck when i got it. and since my whole gauge cluster is electronic i pulled it out because alot of my gauges didnt work.. turns out the windshield leaks and water got on the wire tape on the back of the gauges and the copper croaded/melted in two. im pretty sure if you have a open sending wire it will make it read full, then if you connect it to ground it should go to empty.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

another thing.. theres a plug ontop of the sending unit.. unsure of your year.. mines a 93 and i can get to it and unplug it. if you can unplug it (one should be for the pump and the other should be the sending unit. these are both positive that run through the pump and sending unit then to ground. if you can figure which wire is which you can ground that gauge wire.. if your gauge goes to empty then you know its in the tank/sending unit. if nothing changes it from that wire forwards.
Old 10-05-2011, 12:46 AM   #8
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

my fuel gauge didnt work wen i bot my s10 the first thing i did was replace the gauge cluster and it wrks now i got mine from junk yard for 10 bucks
Old 10-22-2011, 05:20 AM   #9
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Thanks I haven't been to worried about the cluster since a buddy and I are getting ready to swap out my interior for the 2002. And I'll give it a shot to unplug it and see what happens. Thanks for the help guys
Old 10-22-2011, 05:31 AM   #10
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

mine is the same way. I am sick of this truck. It used to be a little wonky. now it is full-on fecked. Keep updating the thread. Hopefully you find out the issue.. and help a brother out.

-Nathan
Old 10-23-2011, 03:48 AM   #11
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Will a 2002 4.3L 4wd non vortec fuel pump work in my 1997 2wd 4.3L vortec motor?
Old 10-27-2011, 11:26 PM   #12
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

IMHO, buying a used fuel pump is asking for trouble.
when i do mine, ill do it once. the first time, and get it over with.
you can buy just the pump, and put it on your bracket assembly.
if ur wanting to fix the gauge and then sending unit is bad, then
you'd be lookin for something like this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/97-02-Chevy-...#ht_1822wt_949
Old 10-27-2011, 11:35 PM   #13
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

If the level sensor is bad, you might be able to replace the sensor by itself without replacing the whole tank unit.
Old 10-27-2011, 11:48 PM   #14
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-FUEL-LEV...#ht_2286wt_881

$60 on the whole assembly is a steal, mines $277 for my 93 =[
Old 10-28-2011, 02:56 AM   #15
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

for $65 bucks how long do you think it will last. I saw that same item but thought for 65 bucks somethings gotta go wrong with it.
Old 10-28-2011, 03:17 AM   #16
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

my friend has a 97 and he had the same problem. replaced the sending unit, fuel pump, wiring... the whole nine yards. turned out to be a chip under the dash in a box on the wiring. not sure what its called but i happened to have an extra one and his problem is solved
Old 10-28-2011, 11:00 PM   #17
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

like i posted above, if you unplug the gauge lead at the tank and ground it, it should go to empty. if it does not, the problem is from that wire up to the gauge. if it does go to empty then its from that wire back to the sending unit. simple 2 minute test. make sure the grounds are good though so you dont get thrown for a loop.
Old 10-29-2011, 01:48 AM   #18
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Sounds good then when I pull the bed to do my leafs and put in the C notch I'll check that out. Thanks for all the help I'll let you know
Old 10-29-2011, 11:54 PM   #19
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

someone post pics of this. I am not sure i understand what you are saying..
Old 10-31-2011, 03:30 AM   #20
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

It's gonna take me about 3 weeks before I do it. I just ordered my 5" drop for the front and next week imma pick up my 3" leafs for the rear to pair with my 4" blocks. So as fast as the suspension source can ge me the kit is as fast as I can get the pics. I see what your saying Michanic and I'll check that soon as I get the bed off.
Old 10-31-2011, 10:51 AM   #21
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

@ n8rsk8r, my truck is a 93, it has a side sadle gas tank on it. i can access the plug from the side of my driver side wheel well. its a little black plug. there are two of them, one for the fuel gauge and one for the fuel pump. the fuel pump will have power going to it. so take out the fuel pump relay or the fuel pump fuse to keep from popping the fuse. then ground the fuel gauge wire going into the cab (or to the front of the vehicle). make sure your grounding it to a good surface. you grounding it should make the gauge read empty when grounded.
Old 10-31-2011, 03:04 PM   #22
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

I am going to go through checking all the connections and also grounds. Something I have been needing to do for some time. I did get to alot of the grounds when I did the last bit of work to the truck (trans out and back in). I am thinking there is corrosion at the wires for the fuel pump.s Thanks, I will try to see if it is the same for 98+.
Old 11-01-2011, 02:20 AM   #23
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Yah my fuel pump/sending unit is right under my bed so there's no way I can get to it without the bed being off.
Old 11-03-2011, 12:01 AM   #24
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

i've read alot on these trucks that its easier to pull the bed then it is to drop the tank..
Old 11-03-2011, 01:26 AM   #25
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Hey guys, first post, just bought an 89 Black Standard Cab 5 Speed S15 2.5l Vin E last week. Not sure how many prior owners on it, but apparently the guy who owned it previous to the guy I bought it from, swapped out the gas tank for a 20gal one. Fuel gauge has not worked since. Fuel gauge reads empty no matter what.

I am planning on pulling the bed tomorrow and seeing if i can track down the issue (or do I even need to?) Where should I start? The dash? the tank?

Another quiestion is, I'm not sure what size tank this truck came with to begin with... but if he reused the fuel pump assembly in the larger tank, could that be a part of the issue? If that's even possible?

And another question, does anyone know if I have a low fuel "dummy" light? If so it's not working, anyone have a picture of that particular dash with all the dummy lights lit? Not sure if I have blinker lights either, I have the left and right blinker "tick-tick-tick" but no lights flashing.... any help is appreciated!
Old 11-03-2011, 02:02 AM   #26
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

check the ground wire next to ur tank mine did the same and it was my ground wire
Old 11-03-2011, 02:53 AM   #27
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Quote: Originally Posted by zeek624@yahoo.com
check the ground wire next to ur tank mine did the same and it was my ground wire
yours read empty no matter what you did? tank full or empty? (just want to make sure as all the other fuel gauge issue threads I have read, their gauges were reading all the ranges above empty)

Where exactly is this notorious ground wire you and others speak of? Is it black like most ground wires are? When I was under it trying to track an oil leak the other day, I saw what looked to be a pinkish colored wire coming from the tank area up towards the cab...could that possibly be my sending unit +?
Old 11-04-2011, 04:01 PM   #28
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Found the ground wire, it's nice and solid, located just in front of the drivers side rear tire, on top of the frame rail. I really wish this damn fuel gauge would just work.
Old 11-09-2011, 03:02 AM   #29
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

Yah so I ended up picking up a new fuel pump from a guy on craigslist it worked out cuz I also got his center console because I'm pulling my bench out for 2 buckets and a console. I also am swapping my interior out from my 97 to a 03 including the cluster that's gonna be the fun part!! So I shouldn't have any more gauge issues unless something was wrong with my wiring. Cant wait let the fun begin.
Old 06-17-2013, 06:12 PM   #30
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

my problem is different my shows empty all the time even when it is full. Also put a new fuel pump and sending unit still reading empty. The truck is a 98 extended cab. I also put a instrument cluster into the truck because my had a error on it.
Old 06-18-2013, 03:07 PM   #31
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

check the wiring
Old 06-20-2013, 04:28 AM   #32
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Re: Fuel gauge not working

I have a similar problem as well, mine doesn't read full or empty all the time. But it is off. When the tank is full it's WAY over the full mark on the gauge, and when it's empty it shows still a quarter tank or so on the gauge. Not quite sure what the deal is, I just put a new pump on it a few months ago and just put on a new tank. Could it just be an issue with the gauge? Or is it something like a bad wire somewhere?
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