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 Fuel Gauge not working
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Author Previous Topic: Alpha speedo tube Topic Next Topic: Airmar Transducers  

Chriznat20

RO# 17066

Posted - Mar 19 2012 :  19:56:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I bought a 97 Four Winns Vista 278 with the independent gauge cluster (NOT the VDO one piece automotive looking dash).

The gas gauge needle sits on E when no power is supplied. When I turn the keys to ON, the needle actually goes down 1/8" below E.

I figured the sending unit mightve went bad so I went and pulled off the red wire and grounded it. This should make the gauge jump to F but it didnt do anything at all except move around 1/8" below E.

Did I just diagnose a bad fuel gauge or is there something else I should check before replacing it?
1997 Four Winns 278 Vista
T-4.3GI, Kohler 4cz23 Genset
185 hours as of 10/21/13
"Lucky Fox III"

Homeport: Michigan

rnbenton

RO# 31163



Posted - Mar 19 2012 :  22:52:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
First thing to do is remove, clean and securely replace the ground wire on the gauge. Any time I have ever had a gauge problem it's the ground wire.

Bob


Key West 196 Bay Reef, 150 Yamaha
USCG 50 Ton MMC, Tow Assist Endorsement


Edited by - rnbenton on Mar 20 2012 06:08:47

Homeport: Palm Coast, FL Go to Top of Page

Cam

RO# 1558



Posted - Mar 20 2012 :  06:06:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rnbenton

First thing to do is remove, clean and securely replace the ground wine on the gauge. Any time I have ever had a gauge problem it's the ground wire.

Bob




+1



" If you think nobody cares, try missing a few payments " (author unknown)

Homeport: Bentley Yacht Club- Staten Island, NY Go to Top of Page

rawidman

RO# 25110

Posted - Mar 20 2012 :  07:02:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Chriznat20

I bought a 97 Four Winns Vista 278 with the independent gauge cluster (NOT the VDO one piece automotive looking dash).

The gas gauge needle sits on E when no power is supplied. When I turn the keys to ON, the needle actually goes down 1/8" below E.

I figured the sending unit mightve went bad so I went and pulled off the red wire and grounded it. This should make the gauge jump to F but it didnt do anything at all except move around 1/8" below E.

Did I just diagnose a bad fuel gauge or is there something else I should check before replacing it?


You didn't diagnose a bad fuel gauge, you only eliminated the sender as the problem. There shouldn't be a "ground" wire on the gauge, current passes from the hot side of the gauge, through the wire to the sender, through the sender (a variable resistor), and to ground.

Grounding the terminal (on the gauge) that leads to the sender should cause the gauge to read full (grounding the other terminal should blow a fuse). If it doesn't, you either have a defective gauge, or the power to the gauge is not what it should be.

Don't get confused by the power and ground to the gauge light.


Ron
2000 Camano Troll

Homeport: Charleston, SC Go to Top of Page

rnbenton

RO# 31163



Posted - Mar 20 2012 :  07:16:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rawidman

quote:
Originally posted by Chriznat20

I bought a 97 Four Winns Vista 278 with the independent gauge cluster (NOT the VDO one piece automotive looking dash).

The gas gauge needle sits on E when no power is supplied. When I turn the keys to ON, the needle actually goes down 1/8" below E.

I figured the sending unit mightve went bad so I went and pulled off the red wire and grounded it. This should make the gauge jump to F but it didnt do anything at all except move around 1/8" below E.

Did I just diagnose a bad fuel gauge or is there something else I should check before replacing it?


You didn't diagnose a bad fuel gauge, you only eliminated the sender as the problem. There shouldn't be a "ground" wire on the gauge, current passes from the hot side of the gauge, through the wire to the sender, through the sender (a variable resistor), and to ground.

Grounding the terminal (on the gauge) that leads to the sender should cause the gauge to read full (grounding the other terminal should blow a fuse). If it doesn't, you either have a defective gauge, or the power to the gauge is not what it should be.

Don't get confused by the power and ground to the gauge light.



Maybe on your boat it's that way. My gauges have both a hot and ground wire and it's always been the ground when I have had a problem.

Yes, I know the difference between the gauge wires and the wire to the gauge light.

Bob


Key West 196 Bay Reef, 150 Yamaha
USCG 50 Ton MMC, Tow Assist Endorsement


Homeport: Palm Coast, FL Go to Top of Page

alien1952

RO# 32487

Posted - Mar 20 2012 :  18:33:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Try it this way
using a remote ground attached to the - battery post,
touch the sender side of the gauge, should go to full.if not check panel grounds,main ground buss

touch the fuel sender wire at the tank ,gauge should read full if so, the tank ground wire is bad



Homeport: nj Go to Top of Page

Chriznat20

RO# 17066

Posted - Mar 20 2012 :  20:17:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok heres what I did tonight. I worked 13 hours today didnt have too much energy to commit to this..yet.

I went with my multimeter and OHM'ed out the sender. It read 130 and some small change OHM's.

I again, grounded out the red wire that was connected to the sending unit and goes to the gauge. I do this by physically removing the nut on the sender and touching the red wire to ground. When I do this, the gauge moves from E to below E maybe 1/16" and thats it.

So I know the sender is working as I have (1/3 tank?) 130 OHMs at the sender. But when I ground out the gauge, it does not move like Im told it should, which would be to F. It actually goes below E more.


1997 Four Winns 278 Vista
T-4.3GI, Kohler 4cz23 Genset
185 hours as of 10/21/13
"Lucky Fox III"

Homeport: Michigan Go to Top of Page

bobalong

RO# 19429

Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  08:37:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So it sounds like you have eliminated the sending unit by using an OHM meter. If I were 90% sure the gauge was bad I would buy a replacement and before I comitted to dash removal of the old one, hot wire the replacement in, and see if it works. If it does. . . . .you know what to do, if it doesn't . . . .


I just reread the above posts, first try what alien said, no luck then go to my plan.



Edited by - bobalong on Mar 22 2012 08:44:40

Homeport: Sutherrrn Indianannna Go to Top of Page

rawidman

RO# 25110

Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  08:46:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Before buying a new gauge, I would ground the terminal on the gauge that the sending wire connects to. It's possible to have a problem with this wire and grounding the terminal at the gauge eleminates the wire when testing.

Another thing: You bought a 15 year old boat and the fuel gauge doesn't work right. There's no logical reason the needle would move backwards when testing so there's a possibility that some previous owner wired something wrong.

The path of current should be 12 volts from the ignition switch to the gauge, a wire from the gauge to the sender, and ground at the sender. The gauge is just measuring current from the battery through the gauge, through the wire, through the sender (a variable resistor) and to ground. It measures current but displays in a percentage of a full tank of fuel.


Ron
2000 Camano Troll

Edited by - rawidman on Mar 22 2012 08:51:21

Homeport: Charleston, SC Go to Top of Page

alien1952

RO# 32487

Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  18:36:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
without using a remote ground from the battery, your testing is useless.
FIRST ground the sender lug at the gauge using the remote ground
SECOND ground the sender wire at the tank using the remote ground.
both should show a FULL reading
THIRD ground the tank using the remote ground
report back with the findings



Homeport: nj Go to Top of Page

bobalong

RO# 19429

Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  20:45:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I love it when somebody is explicit with their instructions, one , two, three, Alien you are methodical. . . a good approach. . .


Homeport: Sutherrrn Indianannna Go to Top of Page

alien1952

RO# 32487

Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  20:54:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Did I say cut the BLUE wire or the RED wire?????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Oh,BBBBBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM



Homeport: nj Go to Top of Page

Sandy

RO# 1159

Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  21:30:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The sender ohms reading sounds pretty close if the tank is 1/3 full and the sender is US standard 240 ohms empty to 33 ohms full. But, FWIW, if the previous owner or someone erroneously mismatched a Euro /metric fuel gauge ( 10 ohms empty 180 ohms full) with a US sender, grounding out the sender wire to test the gauge would push the gauge needle below empty , which is the opposite effect one would expect on a US standard gauge. It may be that the wrong sender had been installed. Or the guage could well still be bad.

Sandy

Homeport: The Vineyard Go to Top of Page

Radioactive

RO# 3238



Posted - Mar 22 2012 :  22:42:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
<< "Fuel Gauge not working" : Seems perfectly normal to me. >>



Bill

"No matter where you go, there you are." -- Buckaroo Bonzai
"There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - Kenneth Grahame

Homeport: MS Gulf Coast Go to Top of Page

In the know

RO# 20824

Posted - Mar 23 2012 :  07:51:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Radioactive

<< "Fuel Gauge not working" : Seems perfectly normal to me. >>





Ditto. I wouldn't spend 10 seconds trying to fix a fuel gauge. Heck, my last boat didn't even have them.


--------------------------------------------------------

The enemy of society - the HUTAL

Homeport: The Ocean State Go to Top of Page

Chriznat20

RO# 17066

Posted - Mar 31 2012 :  11:45:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Poked around today, was able to get the gauge to function. I haven't had time lately to diagnose
but I used the tips from here and started running remote wires to the gauge and sender.

Turns out the sending unit ground was bad. Ran a new ground and all is well. Thanks to everybody who contributed!


1997 Four Winns 278 Vista
T-4.3GI, Kohler 4cz23 Genset
185 hours as of 10/21/13
"Lucky Fox III"

Homeport: Michigan Go to Top of Page
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