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 Post subject: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Year and Trim: 1992 K5 Blazer 4WD
My fuel guage is not working properly. It always stays past the full mark even when it is bone dry.

When my grandma bought this car with 4000 miles the fuel gauge has never worked. She never saw it as a problem and didn't even bother to get it fixed.

There are a few things i know are the problem such as....

1. Fuel Sender
2. Fuel Sender Arm
3. Wiring

The instrument cluster works flawlessly except for the fuel gauge...please help

ps...i know i have to drop the tank to do this...if their are any other possible problems please feel free to tell me.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:36 pm 
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Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
Year and Trim: '97 SSEi
My experience comes from a similar (99) Buick Regal 3800 II. On that car the fuel gauge stuck is a sender unit which is "sort of" part of (an attachment to) the fuel pump. The fuel pump and sender are located in the tank. I believe you need to drop axle components to drop the tank and access the parts. The consideration then is that if the sender isn't working, good chance the pump is also old enough that you may wind up needing to change that soon and a large part of the job is labor.

My retail price on gauge only was $413 or $696.50 for gauge and pump. I think the labor on either or both was about $150 of the whole amount so a lot of what you're paying for is time spent getting in there. I think the Bonneville is likely similar. And that is what I think I know. Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:09 pm 
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No axle components will need to be dropped. First off, there are no axles on the rear of an H body. Secondly, only the exhaust is in the way, and it's fairly simple to drop that out of the way. You want the tank mostly empty to do it, and 2 people are better than 1.

You'll need a new pump seal (top of the tank) before you start, and you need to troubleshoot to determine if it's the sending unit or not before you begin.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:17 pm 
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how do i do that. The cluster eventually moves around but it never gives me an accurate reading. If it ends up being a wiring issue than i will buy an after market fuel gauge.

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1997 Bonneville SLE...(SilverStreak)...Totaled...1/25/13...Gone but not forgotten.
1992 K5 Blazer...(Grayson)(Big Bertha)...4x4...383 SBC...500 hp...more mods to come


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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:23 pm 
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ScanGauge II is MUCH easier to wire in than an aftermarket fuel gauge. It plugs into your OBDII port, and is pretty accurate. Mine's within half a gallon of fuel used. $150 thereabouts. Same price as a new sender. http://www.scangauge.com/

It's an option if you don't want to address the problem itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:30 pm 
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i would like to get this issue fixed honestly...i can drop the tank and replace the sender...but how do i truly know if it is the problem. As i said the gauge at times goes to the halfway mark but then slowly goes past the full mark as the car warms up.

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1997 Bonneville SLE...(SilverStreak)...Totaled...1/25/13...Gone but not forgotten.
1992 K5 Blazer...(Grayson)(Big Bertha)...4x4...383 SBC...500 hp...more mods to come


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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:12 pm 
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Location: Oregon WCBF'04, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11 Survivor
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PP, considering the sheer number of pretty serious problems you have with your car, you should already have a service manual of sime type that will clearly detail the troubleshooting procedures for most (if not all) of your problems. I suggest for the budget-minded drivers you get the Chilton's manual. Costs about 20 bucks. The BEST you can buy is a full set of factory service manuals. They typically show up on eBay for under 50 bucks a set, and cost over 200 new.

Someone will chime in shortly on your fuel sender troubleshooting. I won't, as my 93 and 95 are somewhat different in setup, and I don't have the manual for my 97 Buick.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:58 pm 
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I had a similar problem with my '97 Olds LSS, which likely had the same tank setup as your '97 Bonne. The gauge would read full when I topped off the tank, then drop to empty after a few miles. Then it would go back to near full and drift down almost normally except it would never drop below a quarter of a tank until the next time I filled up. The problem was indeed the sensing unit, but I never worried about it. I just reset the trip odometer with each fill-up and made a point of topping off the tank every 225-250 miles.

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Last edited by human on Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:18 pm 
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I can only say that my '92 was recalled for a similar problem with the sender/pickup. The dealer installed a new sender/pickup. It did not fix the problem. I've lived with it since the car was new in '91. My dad had a '51 Ford pickup truck that had the same type issue too. I don't think this kind of problem is uncommon, but it is very annoying. - BC

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:18 am 
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Even a new fuel sender won't cure the problem. I had to replace mine due to the lines rusting out 2 years ago. The replacement was inaccurate from Day 1, and has gotten worse. Tonight it indicated a quarter tank gone after 80 miles. Filling up at the same pump used for several previous fillups showed 3.6 gallons used, not the 4.5 gallons the dash gauge would lead me to believe. It also will rest on E with 5 gallons left in the tank.

OTOH, my ScanGauge is accurate to within a few tenths of a gallon. It said I used 3.8 gallons to travel that 80 miles.

Try throwing a few bottles of Chevron Techron or Gumout Regane in there. It could be fouled, and that will help it get un-fouled. It's far cheaper than dropping the tank to replace the sender. Guaranteed you'll need new rubber fuel hoses if you drop the tank due to rust.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:04 pm 
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On the 97+ H bodies the PCM reads the fuel sender and then sends a signal to the fuel gage on the dash... There cold be a problem from the sender to the PCM wiring to the Cluster... Hard to say...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Giving everyone an update on my fuel gauge. It still stays at the full mark but when it gets to below a 1/4 a tank it will read correctly. My mechanic says it is my fuel sender but i wanted to get everyone's opinion if it is or not.

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1997 Bonneville SLE...(SilverStreak)...Totaled...1/25/13...Gone but not forgotten.
1992 K5 Blazer...(Grayson)(Big Bertha)...4x4...383 SBC...500 hp...more mods to come


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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
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I've had two other GM's with the 3800 series engine etc. Each of them needed new fuel senders at least once during my ownership tenure. Cheap part; hell to get at (unless you're very properly set up and experienced I suppose). When mine were replaced it was a considerable labor cost. If I recall correctly, in the Buick I never replaced and just ended up being attentive to the trip odometer. Wound up selling the car before that faded too much, at times it wasn't full brightness so I was going to need to do something soon! (sold the car). It seems very likely to that it is the sender. If you don't do your own work you should consider the sender and fuel pump as they are both connected and labor is the same for one or both.

I've heard that sometimes replacing the sender means handling the pump and that increases the odds if it's aged, that it is more likely to fail soon too. My cost on the Buick Regal would have been $423 to replace the level sensor and $696 for sensor and pump. Probably straight retail costs, you may be able to do better but you know there are always trade-offs.

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:04 pm 
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My mechanic quoted me $300 parts an labor to get it replaced IF i took it to him with the tank almost empty...lol

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1992 K5 Blazer...(Grayson)(Big Bertha)...4x4...383 SBC...500 hp...more mods to come


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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:58 pm 
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PLAGUE PHANTOM wrote:
My mechanic quoted me $300 parts an labor to get it replaced IF i took it to him with the tank almost empty...lol

Sounds like you have an honest and reasonable mechanic, is that fuel pump too or just the level sensor?

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 Post subject: Re: Wacky Fuel Gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:46 pm 
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It includes sender and pump

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