Odd fuel gauge question(s).

Hi -
Two days ago, the fuel gauge in my '97 Dodge Ram stopped working - read empty, fuel light on, even though I knew I had plenty. So... I did newsgroup searching (this is a great group, BTW) and figured I was in
for a sender replacement. Today on the way to work, I, um, -happened- to drive across a traffic island to avoid a slowdown. When I landed, boing, the gauge started working again. What are the odds of this being a somewhat permanent fix? If it happens again, should I just drive willy-nilly over concrete barriers and save some money?
Thanks, -Scott (OK, the last one was facetious : -)
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The contacts are dirty or worn out on the fuel level float. They are open contacts and sometimes they get crudded over but most of the time they just wear out. You cannot just change the float it is integerated into the fuel pump. A new fuel pump is around $180.00 dollars. Coasty

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Actually, yes you can change just the float...about $40.00 for the part.
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But the actual contacts are likely part of the pump assembly.
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Max

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I don't think they are. I'd rather repair the part than replace it. Check out these repair procedures: http://www.dodgeram.org/tech/repair/fuel_sender/sender.htm http://www.dodgeram.org/tech/repair/fuel_sender/Huey_C-sender.htm
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On mine, the actual contacts were damaged and beyond repair. Think about it...the brand part is $40...why go through all the trouble to remove the tank and assembly, take time to try and machine something, and more downtime than necessary when you can be done in less than maybe an hour. But that all depends on your skill level.
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Either way, on the 97 either the tank is coming down or the bed coming off to get to that sensor.
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"Carolina Watercraft Works" < snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
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That is correct.
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Naw, just apply 120 VAC to the leads so that they arc the contacts back into shape.
Caution: the tank may remove itself.
beekeep

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"may remove itself"????
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Yes, violently. Wear ear-plugs.
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Ken

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ah, as long as hearing protection is all you need *grin*
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-Chris
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Since the truck is a DC voltage truck, Would not the 120VAC do more damage to the contacts?? You really should use 120 VDC instead!! :-)

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The external contacts are part of the pump housing and if that is where his problem is then the entire pump would need to be replaced or the housing modified. If you look at both links that you provided, you will see that the sending units in both links have internal connector tabs, not wires which indicates clearly that they are intended to be plugged into the internal pump housing existing wiring.
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"Nosey" < snipped-for-privacy@removethis.hotmail.com> wrote in message
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An interesting fix, and a welcome design.
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Max

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Nope, just 2 leads and you're done.
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Actually, in this case, Max is right. While the fuel sending unit can be replaced, in a 97 it still requires removal of the pump since the mounting screws for the sender are attached to the side of it and the connector is part of the pump housing so if it went bad..... How do I know this, because I just did it on mine (replaced the pump).
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HHmm....I must apologize then....I was assuming the '97 was the same as the '01. My bad.
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wrote:

Haven't done that on my truck, but recently did it on my T & C and I think it is the same.
Sensor/float assembly is attached to the fuel pump but can be removed and replaced independent of the fuel pump. The part that fails is the slide area that looks like a reostat. Can't be fixed is what I was told, has to be replaced. Hard part is dropping the tank to get it out, not changing it.
I'm told that certain gas additives might cause the premature failure, with shell gas in certain locations being suspect. Don't know if that is true or legend.
In your case I would wait a while. Could just have gotten stuck. Mine started giving intermittant bad readings and what finally got me to change it was the incessant ringing of the low fuel chime. I tried to find a way to disconnect the chime, but on the T & C at least it can't be done without cutting the wires and I was warned that it might cause other problems if I did that.
Frank
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my 2c worth:
I had the same problem with my old Fairlane -- I took it out in the Spring and found the gas guage not funtioning (piece in gas tank possibly had frozen down and broken off) but after a bit of driving around and the pot holes in downtown Hull, QC it started working
I agree -- wait until warm weather -- take the gas tank off later, give the tank, sender, and contacts a good clean, you may as well coat and paint the tank while you are at it, then troubleshoot. In the meantime, use the odometer to tell you when the tank needs topping up and keep it over half full
I am lucky -- my 86 ram has fuel pump under the hood, easily installed laying underneath and cost less than $50 CDN.
If I were looking at $180 for a fuel pump, I know an electric fuel pump is only $100 CDN brand new, fits up front, is easy to install, great for trouble-shooting etc. so I might look into whether to replace the fuel pump with that if it is the culprit
best of luck rach
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