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  Electrical Fuel Gauge Stops Working

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Author Topic:   Electrical Fuel Gauge Stops Working
padrefigure posted 08-21-2009 05:38 PM ET (US)   Profile for padrefigure   Send Email to padrefigure  
Last week, my electric fuel guage stopped working on my 1984 Outrage 22. I would appreciate any advice in trouble shooting. I have done the obvious--remove the beckson plate and confirm that the wires are still connected to the sending unit and checked continuity from of the wiring from the sending unit to the gauge. The mode of failure was pretty simple. I filled up with fuel and ran about 53 miles offshore. The seas were 1-2's so I was able to comfortably maintain 3500 rpm and speed in the low 20's. After fishing a wreck and diving a rig, we began trolling back to port. That's when we noticed that the gauge needle had stopped registering. It sounds trite, but it just quit in the beyond empty position. (No, we were not out of fuel--still well over half a tank.)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

number9 posted 08-21-2009 06:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for number9  Send Email to number9     
Sounds like possibly a power interruption to the gauge. At the positive or ignition terminal to ground you should have 12 vdc with ignition on. At the sender terminal to ground you should have a lower vdc reading indicating the gauge is providing a small current to read the resistance of the sending unit.
http:/ / www. moellermarine. com/ sites/ moellermarine/ files/ Gauge%20a nd%20Sending%20Unit%20Wiring%20Diagram%20and%20Industry%20Recommendation s. pdf
jimh posted 08-21-2009 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In terms of an electrical circuit, this cannot get much simpler. We have a source of voltage, the battery. We have a device to measure current, the fuel gauge. We have a circuit element which controls current flow, the fuel tank level sender. They are hooked in series. This is about as simple as an electrical circuit can be. How can we help?
jimh posted 08-21-2009 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is the circuit:

[Battery Positive]---->[Meter]--->[Rheostat]--->[Battery Negative]

Where I have drawn "--->" there are wires, connections, terminals, posts, and so on.

The [Meter] is the fuel level gauge.

The [Rheostat] is the sender unit on the fuel tank.

The [Battery] is the boat's battery and its distribution circuits.

Check all seven elements of the circuit. It should be quite easy to find which one is causing the problem.

L H G posted 08-22-2009 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I recently had the same problem. Most likely you need to replace the fuel sender in the tank. It's not a difficult job, and both Teleflex and Moeller make a replacement sender. You only have to know the depth of your tank to buy the proper size. West marine carries a good selection of all the different types.
padrefigure posted 08-29-2009 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for padrefigure  Send Email to padrefigure     
Turned out to be the sending unit. I removed the old unit and one of the wires was broken. I replaced it with a Moeller unit from West Marine. For the record, the tank in my 1984 Outrage 22 is 12" deep, requiring the shorter sending unit. Thanks as always for the help.
jimh posted 08-29-2009 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thank you for the follow-up with the information on how the problem was remedied.

If original, the fuel sender lasted for 25 years. That is not bad for an electrical device immersed into a fuel tank.

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