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PrntRhd
Premium
join:2004-11-03
Fairfield, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to aannoonn

Re: Fuel Gauge Gone Haywire In My Chevy Venture Minivan

Please note the OP's Venture van was produced before the US EPA and several Canadian provinces required a 90% reduction in sulfur levels in fuel. This means the sending unit was designed for higher sulfur levels than today's fuels unless it had been replaced earlier in the vehicle's life,
If the OP's Venture was damaged by high sulfur levels, it was due to illegal fuel, and not what a reasonable consumer would be looking for when purchasing fuel, cheap or not.



aannoonn

@optonline.net

said by PrntRhd:

Please note the OP's Venture van was produced before the US EPA and several Canadian provinces required a 90% reduction in sulfur levels in fuel. This means the sending unit was designed for higher sulfur levels than today's fuels unless it had been replaced earlier in the vehicle's life,
If the OP's Venture was damaged by high sulfur levels, it was due to illegal fuel, and not what a reasonable consumer would be looking for when purchasing fuel, cheap or not.

Then why did GM redesign their fuel sensors?

Regardless, a Google search shows lots of similar problems with GM vehicles of that era.


Xstar_Lumini

join:2008-12-14
Canada
kudos:2
reply to PrntRhd

said by PrntRhd:

was due to illegal fuel

What do you mean illegal fuel? Homemade?


aannoonn

@optonline.net
reply to No_Strings

The quality of the gas has everything to do with this problem. (Read that sentence again.) If a major brand can have these problems, just think about how many problems the off-brands will have and that they never admit to!!

I bought 600 gallons of gasoline from Lukoil in a one year period, then my catalytic converter died. Coincidence? Maybe. But I won't go to Lukoil anymore.



No_Strings
Premium,MVM,Ex-Mod 2008-13
join:2001-11-22
The OC
kudos:6

I read it twice. You said "Do you use cheap gas?" and implied that such fuels routinely contain damaging quantities of sulfur. Your examples of contamination are not "cheap gas" and are from many years ago.

I'm sure your automotive expertise and Google fu exceeds mine, but sometimes ... usually, the simplest answer is the most likely.


PrntRhd
Premium
join:2004-11-03
Fairfield, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast

3 edits
reply to Xstar_Lumini

said by Xstar_Lumini:

said by PrntRhd:

was due to illegal fuel

What do you mean illegal fuel? Homemade?

Not directed to you at all.
I meant non-compliant fuel.
Fuel that does not meet the legal regulations set forth by the various government agencies.

I was responding to aannoonn's assertion that high sulfur levels were the cause of the OP's sending unit failure, something which he has NO physical evidence of to support his theory. You won't win any damages in court without some samples of the non-compliant fuel or other supporting evidence. A news report is not sufficient evidence.

Annoonn,
A failed sending unit is not sufficient evidence to prove high sulfur fuel caused the failure...you need much more than that.
Sending units can fail for many reasons, only one of which is high sulfur fuel. Sending units fail, get over yourself.


Vchat20
Landing is the REAL challenge
Premium
join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH
reply to Xstar_Lumini

Quick question to the OP just to clear up one thing crossing my mind: With regards to the 'low fuel' warning light, is it not coming on when the needle is at or below where it would trigger before? Or will it still continue to light in those cases?

I am not sure how Chevy's systems were designed in that era but in the 98 and newer Dodge's the dashboard was completely digital (still analog gauges but fed by a single digital feed from the ECU) and in the case of the fuel gauge and low fuel light the service manual clearly pointed out that once the ECU saw the level reach 12.5% it would trigger the light and associated warning chime in addition to the gauge resting perfectly on the 1/8 tank mark. I know it is a completely different make but if the Chevy's are in any way similar (ie: Low Fuel light and gauge fed by the same data) and the symptoms are the two do not agree, could be somewhere outside the tank causing it.

Just food for thought. Probably not even the case and rare if it is, but worth verifying symptoms.
--
I swear, some people should have pace-makers installed to free up the resources. Breathing and heart beat taxes their whole system, all of their brain cells wasted on life support.-two bit brains, and the second bit is wasted on parity! ~head_spaz



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to aannoonn

said by aannoonn :

I'd give better than 50-50 odds that your problem is caused by sulphur in the gasoline. The only solution is to replace the fuel sensor. Try hard, and maybe you can get GM or the gasoline company to pay for it or maybe give you a gas card (so you can buy more contaminated gasoline from them).

There are times when you should quit when you're ahead (well OK, maybe you were never really ahead either) and this is one of them. High-sulfur issues from 8 or 9 years ago don't mean a damn thing today. You can search Google all you like, but you still won't know what you're talking about.

I can tell you beyond your 50-50 odds, more like 95% that this is NOTHING more than a failure of the fuel level sensor, and has NOTHING to do with sulfur contamination. The issue sulfur caused was due to the oxidation and subsequent inability of the copper sweep inside the sensor to conduct electricity, which left the gauge in an almost static state and it didn't move.

A wandering gauge as the OP describes was NEVER a symptom of the sulfur issue. Your postulation that he should seek reimbursement from GM and the gasoline supplier is downright laughable. So next time when you are cluless either do a better job trying to be a technician via Google, or just stay out of the topic, which would be my choice.


Xstar_Lumini

join:2008-12-14
Canada
kudos:2
reply to Vchat20

said by Vchat20:

Quick question to the OP just to clear up one thing crossing my mind: With regards to the 'low fuel' warning light, is it not coming on when the needle is at or below where it would trigger before? Or will it still continue to light in those cases?

Just food for thought. Probably not even the case and rare if it is, but worth verifying symptoms.

The needle never reaches below 1/4th so maybe thats why the warning light does not trigger? Is the warning light controlled by the needle going below the last line?


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

reply to Xstar_Lumini

Shimmy under the van just behind the drives seat you'll see the several wiring harnesses plugged under the van. Unplug the 8 wire harness and use a multimeter to test the resistance between the purple and black/white or black/orange wire. For '97 the reistance should be 1 ohm (empty) - 88 ohms (full). For '98 and later vehicles it should be 40-250 ohms. Any values outside of that range indicates a bad sending unit.

If the values are within that range, then i would move up to the wiring harness that's under the dash and retest there. I had a broken, corroded wire just under my right foot in my Montana minivan that produced the exact same problems that you describe, but so did a broken sending unit. Also common is corrosion at the wire harness. Make sure the terminals are clean and are a tight fit. If they are loose you can use a fine dental pick-like tool to bend the connectors back out in the plug. A bit of dielectric grease can help keep the moisture out if this was the problem.

To replace the sending unit, you'll have to drop the tank. There are a few evap lines you need to remove as well as detach the gas line IIRC. 3 straps hold it in and they are fairly easy to remove and reattach. Obviously make sure the take is empty as a full tank weights a few pounds. Once the tank is dropped the sending unit and pump come out as a module by unscrewing the retaining ring holding it down.

The sending unit is available from the dealer for around $100 online. I never found just the sending unit locally, it was always part of a pump assembly. The entire assembly ran around 400 and if you have a high mileage vehicle and the pump has never been replaced, you might consider replacing everything.



Xstar_Lumini

join:2008-12-14
Canada
kudos:2

said by cdru:

Shimmy under the van just behind the drives seat you'll see the several wiring harnesses plugged under the van. Unplug the 8 wire harness and use a multimeter to test the resistance between the purple and black/white or black/orange wire. For '97 the reistance should be 1 ohm (empty) - 88 ohms (full). For '98 and later vehicles it should be 40-250 ohms. Any values outside of that range indicates a bad sending unit.

Thanks buddy I'll do that, there's lots of kids that drop McDonald's cups full of coke just behind my seat on the floor, maybe they wet it or maybe they pulled something with their feet? I see lots of wires sticking out at the back on the floor under the driver's seat.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

said by Xstar_Lumini:

Thanks buddy I'll do that, there's lots of kids that drop McDonald's cups full of coke just behind my seat on the floor, maybe they wet it or maybe they pulled something with their feet? I see lots of wires sticking out at the back on the floor under the driver's seat.

Not likely the problem is inside the vehicle there. The wire bundle goes from under the dash along the plastic trim on the edge of the driver's door floor back behind the driver's seat. While not impossible, the wires are in a large bundle in a channel so aren't subject to wear right there. It's much more likely it's the connector on the other side of the floor that's exposed to water spray whenever it rains and all winter.