Fuel gauge stuck at full on '98 Escort SE Wagon:

Discussion in 'Tech & Repair' started by idk999, Nov 27, 2011.


  1. idk999

    idk999 New Member

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    So I was driving back to my college today -- a four hour drive. While driving, I look down at my gas gauge and I see that it's shooting up to full, when I had a half a tank of gas. And not just full, but past full. It slowly, over ten minutes, went back to where it was, but then went back up again over three to five minutes, past full. It stayed there, and wouldn't come back down. I did some research, and found that Escorts apparently have this issue, with the fuel sending unit? The thing is, I really would like to fix this. I cannot mentally drive, keep track of my mileage and just magically hope that if I calculate how many miles my car should be able to drive per its MPG I'll be fine. I just can't do that and not be freaking out every trip to work, lol.

    Basically, I suppose my question is this. In a college parking lot, is there any way I can determine what the problem is -- whether it's the cluster, the fuel sending unit, etc? Might this be something I can fix in a college parking lot, if I were to order the part? And lastly, if I were to decide to take my car to a shop, how much might it be to fix this -- if you had to ballpark it?

    Thanks!
  2. LOWETGT

    LOWETGT FEOA Member

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    You can access the sending unit and wires under the rear seat. IDK wire color, but if you find the gauge sender wire and disconnect it, it should go clear F or E; same and oppoite if wire is grounded. This is a "full sweep" test for the gauge. I would assume that the resistor assembly on the sender or worn or the float can be damaged(tend to sink though). I would rec. getting a sender seal and ring kit from parts store. Odds are good that the old ones won't be re-useable. Replace sender.
  3. idk999

    idk999 New Member

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    Is there a fuse that I can take out, and do the same test that way? As in take the fuse out for the gauge -- if there is one, and see if the meter on the gauge goes down?
  4. idk999

    idk999 New Member

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    Update: I don't think it's the fuel sending unit anymore. There were three wires under the back seat for the fuel assembly... thing. I undid the ground, and no change in the gauge. Then I went ahead and figured I'd try unplugging each one individually. Did one, still nothing. Did another, and the car started for a second -- and then stalled. Musta been the power for the pump :D Fuel gauge still didn't move.

    So I'm thinking it has to be the cluster, right? One thing that I did notice, a while back I heard this sound behind the dash, but I could never figure out what it was. It was like something was shorting, but I couldn't really tell, so I ignored it. This was going on for at least a year, and it was intermittent. I don't know if it was with the weather, or what. Haven't heard it since (don't know if that's related -- could still happen again, because it is intermittent) but... I'm thinking something is loose. All the other instruments are working fine -- temperature, spedometer... how do I test the cluster, then -- the fuel gauge itself? How do I even get the thing out -- is it complicated? If so, is it at least possible in a college parking lot with just a multi-tool? :D
  5. idk999

    idk999 New Member

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    Anyone? Does this sound logical -- that it would be the cluster in this case?

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