Re: erratic fuel gauge

Remove and clean the fuel gauge. Algae or similar is impeding the movement of the float in the sending gauge.

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Do you know where in the service manuals it would tell me how to do this? How would you rate this on the messiness scale? And I don't get if, if the sender is messed up, why does cleaning the fuel gauge (I assume you mean I should take out the instrument panel?) fix that? Thanks, Richard

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No, he means the sending unit. What year/model do you have?

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1985 380SE US version

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No no. The sender inside the fuel tank. Big messiness.
The tank is behind the back seat and accessed from the trunk. Before you undertake this you might try some injector cleaner, it might just free up the float unit and spare you the job. A $5 or $10 experiment.
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I'm having a sticking problem with my floater in my tank as well. If memory serves me correctly, all I need to do is remove the first aid kit bottom panel, and then remove the sending unit, and then put in the new one. Is this correct. I have a W126 500SEL
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No, the cleaner will be fine with any injectors.
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I heard it on mbcoupes.com
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Even though we got it from the same place, it sounds right. Richard

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Doesn't the fact that the reserve light works properly mean that the float is working properly too? Also, since it works OK for the first 3/4 tank, doesn't that prove that it's in the gauge itself and not a bad connection? (I don't claim to be a MB mechanic, but I am experienced in troubleshooting electronic systems.)
I have a similar problem on my '91 300SE. Works fine until it gets to 1/2 tank, then can read anywhere from the correct level to 7/8 full. It never reads below the actual level, to my knowledge.
Is changing the gauge a big deal? Is a replacement fuel gauge available, or is it part of a larger assembly?
Jim Williams Norfolk, VA
On Sun, 27 Jul 2003 15:37:10 -0400, "marlinspike"

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The fuel guage on my '83 380SL has the same symptoms. When the tank is 3/4 full or more there is no problem. However, when it gets lower the guage sometimes jumps back and forth momentarily then settles again. I have cleaned the sender with no effect. I have also replaced the sending unit with a known good one but the guage still is erratic. I have checked the ground to the instrument cluster and all seems well enough. If anyone solves the problem please let me know.
Gary Campbell 1983 380SL
----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: alt.auto.mercedes Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 10:54 AM Subject: Re: erratic fuel gauge

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