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Auction Junkie
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at 2 trucks and both owners have or are having an issue with fuel gauge malfunction. Both have blamed a Fuel Sender/sensor on the culprit. Is this a big deal repair. Some time the gauge I'm told doesn't read when full or near empty. My 05 never had an issue. Was I just lucky. How problematic is this. Does low miles say below 40,000 cause this to not likely occur.
 

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Are they sure its not a stepper motor problem? I would look there before the fuel sending unit because it is in the fuel pump assembly in the tank
 

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Tech Support/Research
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If a faulty stepper motor has already been ruled out as the cause- and this should be confirmed before other repairs are attempted- then replacing the fuel tank sending unit requires dropping the fuel tank from the truck. The unit is removed and reinstalled from the top of the tank. It's hard to say how problematic a faulty fuel sensor unit is- it has occurred on our trucks but from my observation I cannot correlate it directly in relationship to mileage.
 

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GM issued special extended coverage because of issues with the fuel level sending unit. It covered the unit for 10 years or 120K miles which ever came first.
I doubt that the dealer would be able to help you out as you are past the 10 year mark easily.

If the distance to empty feature on the driver information center reads mileage that would seem to be correct the problem is not sending unit.

If there is a trouble code associated with the fuel sending unit - the problem might be the sending unit.

More information can be found here


I replaced my fuel pump and sending unit a year ago (pump noisy and didn't want to trust it). Draining the fuel tank took longer than dropping the tank. But then I did it at school with a lift, auto trans jack to support the tank and air tools.
 

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Auction Junkie
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks gents. Good info as I expected. If and when this problem developes on me or someone I know, sounds like tank has to be dropped and go from there. Highly doubtful any dealer would extend a courtesy warranty to cover this on an 05 or 06. Not a job I would want to tackle. Here's hoping I don't have to reach out.
 

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SSR Enthusiast
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Thanks gents. Good info as I expected. If and when this problem developes on me or someone I know, sounds like tank has to be dropped and go from there. Highly doubtful any dealer would extend a courtesy warranty to cover this on an 05 or 06. Not a job I would want to tackle. Here's hoping I don't have to reach out.
Note: A bad fuel gauge step motor does not turn on the "Low Fuel" indicator light but a bad sending unit will.
Ask the owners to put 5 gallons of gas in their truck and see if their low fuel light is on.
  • If the light is on with known fuel in the tank, it points at the sending unit.
  • If there is no "Low Fuel" light with 5 gallons known to be in the tank, it points at the gauge step motor.
 

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One of the SoCal Nuts
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Note: A bad fuel gauge step motor does not turn on the "Low Fuel" indicator light but a bad sending unit will.
Ask the owners to put 5 gallons of gas in their truck and see if their low fuel light is on.
  • If the light is on with known fuel in the tank, it points at the sending unit.
  • If there is no "Low Fuel" light with 5 gallons known to be in the tank, it points at the gauge step motor.
The initial complaint does not say if the gauge is reading high or low.
The info provided here is great to know but if the gauge is sitting on full or above empty and not moving the gas is not going to answer the question. In that case I would guess the stepper motor is the easier option. Right?
 

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The initial complaint does not say if the gauge is reading high or low.
The info provided here is great to know but if the gauge is sitting on full or above empty and not moving the gas is not going to answer the question. In that case I would guess the stepper motor is the easier option. Right?
Agreed, the OP stated "Some time the gauge I'm told doesn't read when full or near empty"...
No mention of the Low Fuel light, sounds more like the step motor vs sending unit.
Of course both/either can be intermittent as well.
 

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I'm looking at 2 trucks and both owners have or are having an issue with fuel gauge malfunction. Both have blamed a Fuel Sender/sensor on the culprit. Is this a big deal repair. Some time the gauge I'm told doesn't read when full or near empty. My 05 never had an issue. Was I just lucky. How problematic is this. Does low miles say below 40,000 cause this to not likely occur.
I have a 2004 SSR with over 162,000 miles. Seems that low mileage SSR's have more problems due to sitting? The moisture rises up & messes with grounds due to corrosion? So in my 100,000 mile experience with over 10 years repairing my SSR. Check all your grounds. Make sure no animals have eaten your wires & related tasty parts. Check frame to battery ground under right rear. It gets a lot of dirt, moisture & bumping around. The the ignition switch & check every fuse to be sure they are good using a ohm meter. I found that the cigarette lighter fuse can errors or no OBD2 output. If after checking all the obvious? Your speedometer & gauges all have a start sweep return to zero & then a message in read out. Is this happening. Is all the readings correct? Drive to a place, at school zones that are common today to have read out by radar of your speed. Is it correct? If a problem? Get in touch with US Speedo - Custom and Replacement Speedometer Parts, Repair, and Conversion They are reasonable & stand behind the repairs. If you are close to Flint Mi? Make appointment. Last thing I would do is drop gas tank. If the fuel pump sender etc? It was recalled by Chevrolet. But I did not notice a problem till after warranty for recall came & went. How much of a inconvenience is the reading on gas gauge? I had a problem & after checking all the obvious. It went away. So if you have deep pockets? Spend away. Thanks & now you can do what I get regularly on this page? Hate is a terrible thing. Grow up!
 

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I have same issue with fuel level sending unit. "Check Engine" light illuminated while on road trip to Pensacola (from Atlantic Beach). Used my ODBII reader that identified the code as fuel sender. When filled with fuel, I get the "check engine" light with the fuel level needle indicating "FULL". Occasionally, the needle drops to "0" and I get the "check fuel level" indicator light. Since the sender and the pump are separate systems (even though the sender is mounted on the pump), I have ignored the issue for the near term (no indication that pump is failing). I am using the "trip mileage" counter to track my fuel level, in case the sender fails completely, until I make time to drop the tank and replace the whole pump/sender combo. Waiting for the temps to get warmer again here in Florida ... 60 degrees is just too unbearably cold to be outside - HA!
 

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I have same issue with fuel level sending unit. "Check Engine" light illuminated while on road trip to Pensacola (from Atlantic Beach). Used my ODBII reader that identified the code as fuel sender. When filled with fuel, I get the "check engine" light with the fuel level needle indicating "FULL". Occasionally, the needle drops to "0" and I get the "check fuel level" indicator light. Since the sender and the pump are separate systems (even though the sender is mounted on the pump), I have ignored the issue for the near term (no indication that pump is failing). I am using the "trip mileage" counter to track my fuel level, in case the sender fails completely, until I make time to drop the tank and replace the whole pump/sender combo. Waiting for the temps to get warmer again here in Florida ... 60 degrees is just too unbearably cold to be outside - HA!
Carl I will trade you 29 degrees and 2" of snow on the ground for your awful 60 degree weather. What does the trip mileage use to know the when the fuel tank is empty or full to calculate its range? Just wondering how they all get together and know what to display.
 

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The trip indicator just counts miles traveled. With a full tank, before the fuel sender issue, I had been averaging 375-385 miles before I stopped for fuel. Now I use 375 as my max distance before stopping for gas. Leaves a fair safety margin before the low fuel light illuminates. For the most part, the system works fine just below full ... meaning once I start burning fuel, the check-engine light goes out and the fuel gauge reads accurately. Only having an issue when the tank is fully full or nearly empty. ohh ... and you can keep your 29deg ... I might get frostbite. HA!
 
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