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Fuel gauge doesnt display correctly then does

 
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mltno
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject:  Fuel gauge doesnt display correctly then does Reply with quote

Ok so im using a 04 impala ls, with about 93k miles.
So a couple months ago i noticed after filling up and turning car on my fuel did not show full even though it was, when i got home i turned the car off and back on and it reflected correct.

Just a couple weeks ago i turned my car on and it started shaking a lot and seemed like rpm was up around 1, after minute it was fine. Well as i was driving I looked down and my fuel showed way below E. I got home and it took about 3 times on/off for it to show correctly. I might be being paranoid as well but it seems my mpg has also dropped noticeably.

At this point im not sure if these are symptoms of fuel level sensor, dirty fuel filter(cant remember last time i replaced), or even spark plugs(never replaced) matching one or all of these symptoms ?
My issue is i have just bought a new car, it would be nice to keep this but if this will be to expensive to fix, my thinking is i better trade it in quickly before this issue is persistent every time i turn it on and will get noticed @ trade in.
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:25 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Can't help you with the shaking, but the fuel gauge issue certainly sounds like a bad fuel level sender. Pretty easy to replace if you don't mind playing in the fuel tank and your car has the access panel in the trunk.

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Frank
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:49 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

The most common issue with the fuel gauge not reading properly is the fuel level sender, but the stepper motors in the cluster have been known to go bad as well. If the needle ends up in a position that it should never be in (ie way above full, or way below empty, depending on where it ends up) or if it does weird things on its own it could be the stepper motor.

If you take it to someone with a high end scan tool (like the dealer), they can read the % to empty using the scan tool. Alternatively, another good way to diagnose if it's the stepper motor or the fuel level sender (which is attached to the fuel pump) is to use your drivers information center (if you have one) to display the distance to empty. If it reads something other than low fuel when the needle is on E, then you know it is the stepper motor in the cluster rather than the level sender.

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IffyG
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:55 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

You can also check for a fuel level sender code with a cheap OBDII scanner. When mine was on the fritz it set a code, but didn't trip the MIL light.

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98ss
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

The level sensor is like 32 bucks and some change from napa. It takes like 30 minutes to change.
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Frank
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:05 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

98ss wrote:
The level sensor is like 32 bucks and some change from napa. It takes like 30 minutes to change.

...if he has the access door for the fuel pump in the trunk. It got "deleted" somewhere around 2003 IIRC. He may have to drop the entire tank to get to it.

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QuickNick
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:26 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Frank wrote:
98ss wrote:
The level sensor is like 32 bucks and some change from napa. It takes like 30 minutes to change.

...if he has the access door for the fuel pump in the trunk. It got "deleted" somewhere around 2003 IIRC. He may have to drop the entire tank to get to it.


Hmmm....Now I'm going to have to dig in the trunk of my 2004 just so I know!

mltno-GM is famous for having bad stepper motors in gauge clusters as Frank stated. Mine had a bad speedo that would slowly go down after a little driving time. Shut it off for a couple seconds & it worked again for a little bit. Rather than try to fix it or send it out I just bought a new/used cluster (with all the gauges) and its fine. Just something to think about before dropping the tank. You can swap in a cheap junkyard cluster to see. A good scanner/phone app will also help if you have access-I'm just thinking "cheap & easy first." Also, change that fuel filter!
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mltno
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:48 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

thanks for the info,
cluster seems to be probable culprit as it just started to display more symptoms, speed would begin at 50(as if it was 0)and everytime i on/off it would go down 5mph and also rpm starts a little below 1.

I have a bluetooth obd2 scanner i will try when i get the chance just to see what if any codes are thrown on this and shortly once fuel is low will check dic

I will check junkyard for one as mentioned as it seems to much work to repair this.
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Chamber
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:26 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

The stepper motors are available on Amazon for $14.00 for a set of 6: http://www.amazon.com/Instrume.....per+motor.

I replaced mine quite a while ago, and it is pretty easy, if you have some basic (very basic) soldering abilities. As I recall, it took more time to remove the cluster from the dash than it did to r/r the steppers.
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