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Old 06-20-2015, 04:03 PM   #1
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fuel gauge is acting up

1995 E350 SMB

I've found a little about this on a few forums. My fuel gauge is reading all over the place. At first I though the float was hung in the wiring, which it can do when full (and float is at top, closest to the wiring). This, of course, is not easy to verify. I'm not so sure that's my problem though. It goes way past full (pinned to the right) sometimes when I fill up or start the van, but sometimes it moves up and down and seems to be inaccurate judging by miles driven on a tank. I've heard this can be a bad ground, but how would I check it? Would it most likely be the ground point at the tank (meaning in the wiring plug at the top of the fuel pump), or on the other end? Anyone have any idea where the ground point or wiring runs from the tank? Is there a way to probe the fuel sender wiring without dropping the tank?


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Old 06-20-2015, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

My Impala SS was doing similar and it ended up being the sender. It's a 96 with less than 20K miles on it and sits quite a bit. My buddy who owns a shop said rust caused it to fail. Has your van ever been in weather that can cause rust

But hell that might not be the problem and I hope somebody with better knowledge than me will shoot you in the correct direction.

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Old 06-20-2015, 08:47 PM   #3
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

Lol my Impala SS reads over full and is empty at 1/4 but it's a 66
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:22 PM   #4
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

Mine acts weird, too. Every time I turn the SMB on, it races to the far left side of the gauge.


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Old 06-20-2015, 09:49 PM   #5
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

I am convinced that the older the vehicle the more the inconsistency shows up in the fuel gauge. Our 89 has two fuel tanks and a switch under the dash to change tanks. On fill up neither tanks shows full on the gauge even though there is gas in the filler tube. In addition there is 1/4 or more in the tank when the gauge reads empty. Have gotten use to it but it bugs me.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:36 AM   #6
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

Similar issue here too, '00 E250 5.4 gasser motor with original fuel pump and sender, 275K + miles!

At about an honest 1/4 tank and a few miles later needle drops to below E, no other symptoms or engines issues. Filling tank doesn't "cure" this until a bump or rough road seemingly jars the float back to life, suddenly all is working perfectly once again.

Following an EVTM schematic tracking the fuel pump's wiring harness connector ground would be easy enough. "Flexing" the chassis wiring connector while the meter is in continuity mode might reveal intermittent short--the task then tracing where along that wire run the damaged conductor has failed.

Mostly though this sounds like the sending unit inside the tank hangs up momentarily. If the wring to the pump is sound with no shorts the only way to cure this is replacing the pump and sending unit---requires dropping the tank.

Something that might work but would take a while to be noticeable is using Techron Concentrate as recommended: 20-24 oz added to a full tank (22-25 gals) every 3K miles or so. Even though this is a good all around practice for fuel system health it could positively affect your sending unit issue.
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:25 AM   #7
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up


I could never get my gauge to work right with the sending unit Aero sent with their tank. I took it by Aero when I was down there on a trip in March and Jake put a Ford unit back in that I had and extended the arm to reach all the way down. Works great now. Do you have the in house unit they used to use or a Ford unit? My understanding is that Jake is using modified Ford units now.
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Old 07-02-2015, 05:29 AM   #8
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

Given your fuel pump issues, I wonder if there's not a common cause between the two problems?

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Old 07-02-2015, 06:55 AM   #9
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Re: fuel gauge is acting up

Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Given your fuel pump issues, I wonder if there's not a common cause between the two problems?

Yeah they are a combined unit --- but maybe you just have a bad ground to the pump/pickup or something?


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