Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  Tank Level Gauge Not Working

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Tank Level Gauge Not Working
playinghooky posted 10-18-2010 11:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for playinghooky   Send Email to playinghooky  
The [fuel tank level] gauge on my new to me 1991 Outrage 17 is not functioning. What steps should I take to troubleshoot the problem? If it does need a new gauge where would I be able to purchase one?
L H G posted 10-19-2010 12:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I had the same problem a year ago on a 35 year old Whaler I purchased.

First, you check the gauge. It's easy to do, and I did it, but don't remember the process. I'm sure you can get the information from Teleflex or someone else here. New fuel gauges are about $25. if needed.

If the gauge is good, you confirm that all the wiring is correct and connections are good from the tank sender to the gauge.

If wiring is good, you have a bad fuel tank sender, and have to replace it. That's what I had to do, and it was an easy installation. There are several styles available, but I would try to find one similar to what you are replacing. Teleflex and Moeller make them.

Then, after you replace the sender, you should determine how the new sender reads. With the boat in the water, and near empty, fill it up, recording the gallons taken at each gauge increment. That way you will know exactly how much fuel you have at any reading. With boats, you should not be guessing that function.

jimh posted 10-19-2010 08:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Are you certain the fuel tank level gauge is electrically operated? Many Boston Whaler boats use a magnetically linked fuel tank level gauge.
L H G posted 10-19-2010 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I guess I have no clue, as the poster did not indicate. At least now he knows what to do with an electrcial remote gauge setup.
playinghooky posted 10-19-2010 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for playinghooky  Send Email to playinghooky     
I have no idea what type of fuel tank level gauge I have (either electrical or magnetic). How would I determine this?
LHG suggested that I first check the gauge. What is the process for checking the gauge?
jimh posted 10-19-2010 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You can deduce the method of coupling between the tank level sender and the gauge, either electric or magnetic, by the distance between them. The magnetic link only works for about 1-inch. Electric gauges are usually located much farther away from the sender.
sisukas posted 10-20-2010 12:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for sisukas  Send Email to sisukas     
One of my gauges didn't work when I bought my 1983 REVENGE. I simply removed the gauge and used a magnet to move the needle around. Once I did that it worked fine all fall. It was a cheap fix, try it if you have a magnetic gauge.
tom976 posted 10-20-2010 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for tom976  Send Email to tom976     
I replaced mine in my conquest...

Take a look at the top of the gas tank via one of your ondeck hatches.

Basically it was two screws to remove the magnetic piece. Its about the size of a silver dollar. It has two wires coming out of it. Unscrews and pops out pretty easily.

PeteB88 posted 10-20-2010 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
My 95 Outrage 17 has two fuel gauges - one installed in the console dash w/ Boston Whaler logo and the other directly on the top of the fuel tank accessible by round cover in the floor. The do not read the same. The dash gauge is weird and I do not trust either one of them. I am not aware of a calibration procedure. I have the habit of filling up the fuel tank every time I launch the boat - I trailer most of the time.

It drives me nuts. Buckda suggested I run 25 miles and fill the tank and calculate fuel burn. Instead I decide to buy a fuel flow meter which I will install before next boating season.

If there is a calibration procedure that'd be great. If I could stick a dip stick in the tank that'd be fine.

Phil T posted 10-20-2010 07:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
I have a 1991 model and the gauges are the same. On my boat, both the sight gauge and dash gauge do match.

I would start by looking at the sight gauge and verify it works by adding fuel. For the dash gauge, pull and inspect the leads on the sender and the gauge on the dash.

This past spring I removed my console and deck to move the battery and do the hoses. While exposed, I replaced all the ground bonding wires as well as the gauge wires.

I have photos in a project album here:

jimh posted 10-20-2010 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Most electric fuel gauges use a standarized resistive sender. The sender resistance varies in proportion to tank level. A current passes though the gauge and the sender. The gauge indicates tank level in proportion to the current flowing through the sender. There are only four elements in the circuit:

--the source of the current, usually the battery via some sort of secondary power distribution through the engine, and via an ignition key switch;

--the meter

--the sender

--the wires that connect the devices

You can generally test the meter by connecting to battery negative the pole of the meter that normally connects to the sender. This should cause the meter to read full scale, typically.

The sender can be checked by disconnecting all wiring to it and measuring its resistance.

The wires that connect the devices can be checked for continuity and shorts.

The source of the current can be checked with a multimeter.

RMS posted 10-27-2010 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for RMS  Send Email to RMS     
I also have an Outrage 17, 1993 vintage. The boat is new to me this year and the electric guage is strange. It reads E when full, and when the tank is about half full, the guages jumps quickly all over the range, from E to F. It is frustrating not knowing the fuel level and this matter is on the list of off-season repairs. Anyone know why the guage would act in this way? Thank you, Bob
jimh posted 10-27-2010 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To produce erratic readings, in an electric fuel tank level gauge system the most likely component to suspect is the fuel tank float sensor, assuming that the electrical connections themselves have already been carefully examined for any intermittent connection such as easily occurs in low-voltage and low-current circuits like these when moisture is present and the conductors oxidize or corrode.

If the dial indicator on the meter shows "E" when the tank is full, it sounds like there is an incompatibility between the fuel tank level sender and the meter. The fuel tank level sender is just a rheostat. The meter may not be properly configured to work with the sender.

If I owned a boat with an electric fuel tank level gauge, I would consider modifying the sender to use an electronic sensor. There is an article in the archives of this forum in which I have given information about alternative fuel tank level senders. See

Fuel Gauge Sender: Electrical

RMS posted 11-01-2010 08:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for RMS  Send Email to RMS     
Thanks for your thoughts on this matter. When the matter is resolved, I'll post back on the fix. Bob

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.