help i dont know what to do with my e36

I have a e36 compact 1996 1.6 when i turn the ignition on the fuel guage goes to the full position for about 5 seconds and then plummets to the empty position and stays there the light never comes on and i
dont know if this is a common fault but would be grateful if there is anyone out there who can shed some light on this as i dont know if its the sender unit or the instrument panel or what!!!!!!
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I'd be inclined to check the connector at the fuel tank/sender unit. It could be in the trunk or under the rear seat cushion.
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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One of the common faults that can result in the symptom that you describe is an intermittent connection in the instrument cluster. Try giving the face of the cluster a sharp rap with your knuckle to see if it causes any movement of the fuel gauge needle. Another indication that the problem is probably in the cluster is if it behaves differently after being parked with the sun on the dash. I suspect the gauge first because I've had several of them develop this intermittent indication. I could be wrong though because mine always indicated tank full when they stopped working although the warning light still came on when the tank was empty. If that's the problem they can be fixed by disassembling the cluster and cleaning the connections or you can buy rebuilt clusters on Ebay.

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Normal in many cases.

Probably a loose connection, although I replaced a sender once and it was the gauge!
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