Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby uponone [OP] » May 4th 2011, 3:25am

Ok, this is a new one for me and I am hopping someone can help me out.

All of the Astros I have owned have had the vibrating fuel gauge needle problem, but what just happened is too weird!

I have a 99 Astro van. The other day I was driving along and all of the sudden my fuel gauge needle begin rotating full 360 degree turns. It went on like this for about 15 minutes and them dropped to well below empty. It has not moved from there since. Even when I start the van it does not move.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the problem is? I am hoping it is a bad ground or fried gauge. The fuel pump and sending unit are only a year old so I am keeping my fingers crossed that is not the problem.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Chris
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Re: Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby NY Safari TONKA » May 4th 2011, 6:30am

Try this and see if anything changes...turn Van on and push at different places on your gage panel...like in one spot at a time keeping your eyes at the gage that does not work...just push the panel...(Do it with lights OFF then with lights ON)... :think: Let me Know if it moves
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Re: Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby uponone [OP] » May 4th 2011, 8:17pm

NY Safari TONKA wrote:Try this and see if anything changes...turn Van on and push at different places on your gage panel...like in one spot at a time keeping your eyes at the gage that does not work...just push the panel...(Do it with lights OFF then with lights ON)... :think: Let me Know if it moves


Hi NY Safari TONKA,

Thanks for your post. I just tried what you suggested but no luck getting it go again or even move around. I did have a better look at the needle though and noticed it is still vibrating despite being about 1/2 inch below empty. Also, it does drop further below empty when I first turn the key. Once the van is started it returns to its original below empty position.

Chris
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Re: Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby exoticautodetai » May 4th 2011, 8:20pm

Check fuses maybe
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Re: Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby RECox286 » May 4th 2011, 9:41pm

Pull the fuel pump/fuel level sender connector apart, and see if you are getting a 5v signal on one of the contacts (truck side) with the key ON. If yes, then take the truck to a place that can put a variable resistance on the fuel gage to see if it is the gage or the sender.

The connector can be found by tracing the wiring that comes from the fuel pump and runs along with the fuel and brake piping towards the front of the truck. The connector should be in the vicinity of the drivers' door.

Bob

BTW: these trucks have a bad history of problems with fuel level sending units. The ethanol seems to not be a good influence on the resistance wire of the sender.
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Re: Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby uponone [OP] » May 5th 2011, 3:05am

exoticautodetai wrote:Check fuses maybe


I had a look at the fuses and upon visual inspection they appear ok. I am going to check them with my multimeter to confirm that.

RECox286 wrote:Pull the fuel pump/fuel level sender connector apart, and see if you are getting a 5v signal on one of the contacts (truck side) with the key ON. If yes, then take the truck to a place that can put a variable resistance on the fuel gage to see if it is the gage or the sender.

The connector can be found by tracing the wiring that comes from the fuel pump and runs along with the fuel and brake piping towards the front of the truck. The connector should be in the vicinity of the drivers' door.

Bob

BTW: these trucks have a bad history of problems with fuel level sending units. The ethanol seems to not be a good influence on the resistance wire of the sender.


Hi Bob,

Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try that out tomorrow when I have some daylight. At first I though you meant I needed to drop the tank to get to the connector, which I would love to avoid! Any idea as to the resistance values on the gauge? 0-90ohms? I could use my variable power supply and a trim pot to test it out but I do not know the values. Also, Is it 12 or 5 volts there?

Chris
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Re: Weird Fuel Gauge Problem

Postby crgastro » May 5th 2011, 8:57am

i will be almost certain that your problem is the IP "cluster" the one in my 98 has been acting up since 2004 or 2005 it did not even have 90k on the odo. mine likes to spin 360 degrees both ways so i just go between 250-300 miles then refuel. about $500 from the dealer last time i checked a few years ago and was for a new one, $300-400 to get a good remaned one installed with the proper miles on the odometer. might have to have it replaced now that the oil pressure gauge is getting twitchy.
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