1996 LH Fuel Level Sensor

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Bob Shuman, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. Bob Shuman

    Bob Shuman Guest

    The fuel gauge on my son's '96 Eagle Vision TSI (3.5L, 90K miles)
    occasionally loses sanity and shows "empty" when it is not. I am guessing
    that this is likely caused by a dirty or defective fuel sender. The FSM
    seems to show this is relatively easy to access through a cover behind the
    rear seat in the trunk.

    Before I open this up, I was hoping to get a few simple answers from someone
    who may have already had experience with a fuel sender on this vehicle.

    My questions:

    1. Will I need a new access cover gasket or can the old gasket be re-used?

    2. Can the fuel sender unit be cleaned/repaired or should I plan to acquire
    a replacement in advance?

    3. Can the fuel inlet strainer be cleaned or is it a replaceable part?

    4. What other work is appropriate when the fuel sender module is removed?

    Thanks in advance for all responses since I'd like to plan before executing
    since at this point the intermittent fault is just an annoyance and does not
    affect drivability.

    Bob Shuman, Jul 25, 2007
  2. Bob Shuman

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi Bob...

    Not a mechanic, just an old retired electrical guy, but for whatever
    little it may be worth...

    My 94 lhs was sorta like that when I got it 2 years ago... anytime the
    "honest" level was below 2/3 of a tank or so it would intermittently
    suddenly drop to zero, the yellow light would scare me, and the OH would
    get all confused...

    Didn't matter much if at all to me; wintertime trips once a week or so
    of a couple of miles to the Dr, bank, grocery store, so I could hardly
    run out. Summertime a few trips to the lake of 180 miles round trip,
    so I couldn't run out then, either.

    But the interesting part... after a few of those lengthy trips
    the durned thing somehow magically fixed itself, and has been perfect
    ever since.

    Suggestion that your son perhaps switch gas types for a while, see
    whether it might work for him too. Meanwhile, if he'll reset the
    trip odometer each time he fills up, and of course knows of the
    problem, he shouldn't be able to run out either :)

    Just a suggestion.

    Take care.

    Ken Weitzel, Jul 25, 2007
  3. Bob Shuman

    Steve Guest

    IIRC, its reusable
    I hate to say anything is "not repairable" because with enough
    determination you can about do anything... but.... Its bottled up pretty
    Now you're taxing my memory! I think its a removable filter.

    To add more info, I only opened mine up when it was time to replace the
    fuel pump, and a new screen and sending unit were both part of the fuel
    pump package. I honestly don't know what components can be bought
    If this were a vehicle where you have to drain the fuel and then drop
    the tank, I'd say do EVERYTHING (including the fuel pump). But is really
    so easy on the LH cars that you could open it up and have a look around
    before buying ANY parts. Take a look and decide what you need.
    Steve, Jul 25, 2007
  4. Bob Shuman

    Duncan Guest

    Check to see if you have a short in the sensor wires. ( 1 hot, 1 ground). A
    good place to look is at the wire connectors right at the fuel pump. Does
    the intermittent fault only happen in wet weather?; When you hit a bump?
    When it's acting up, will wiggling the wires fix it?ect....
    I've seen more than a few people spending $200-$300 for new fuel pumps for
    various vehicles (Chevy Blazers in particular) when they only had a short in
    the wire connectors.
    Duncan, Jul 26, 2007
  5. Bob Shuman

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Thanks to Steve, Ken, and Duncan for their replies. These all seem to
    re-confirm that the root cause is likely the fuel sender rheostat wiper
    either being dirty or not making solid mechanical contact.

    I will plan to double check the connector and wiring and clean the contacts
    when I remove the unit. I'll also attempt to clean the fuel strainer if
    that is possible and not replace the fuel pump since this is fairly easy to

    I will also plan to re-use the existing gasket (which was my biggest
    question since I wanted to purchase the parts in advance if they needed

    Bob Shuman, Jul 26, 2007
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