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      08-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #1
bigbacon
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really slow gas guage

03 3.0i just in case but

this morning I had to fill up with gas, no problems drove where I needed to go and on my way back home, had to fill up again.

This time though, i start the car and the guage doesn't move to full like it normally does. It VERY SLOWLY starts to creep up but never makes it to full (like half way between 7/8 and full.

It too about 25 miles of driving (gas station to home) for it to get there. Has never done this before.

So question is, broken sender, bad wiring? I ask about the wiring because I had my Nav screen replaced this morning and I have no idea if they oculd have messed something up in the dash while the screen was out.

car drove just fine other wise I would have been stopped on the side of the road somewhere if fuel wasn't getting there correctly.
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      08-25-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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well it isn't the cluster at least, self check it swept just fine.
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      08-25-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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This problem is still occurring after 3 trips and "fixes" to BMW with a X3 we own. They say it's the fuel sensor inside the tank that's the problem...but have yet to fully fixed it.
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      08-25-2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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guess I'll live with it until spring and take the car in and see about getting a bunch of stuff fixed under my extended warranty.
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      08-27-2012, 08:01 AM   #5
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This happened in my car a couple times when using Chevron gas... Switched to Shell Vpower and no problems in the 4 years since. Something with the techron or just dirty gas affecting the sensor I thnk.
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      08-27-2012, 08:27 PM   #6
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never thought gas would really make a difference, I just pick a station i am near when needing gas, put in 93 and drive away
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      08-27-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
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NORMAL. The fuel level sensor is a tiny strip of metal with an arm and a float attached. Over time the sensor gets deposit and oxidation and the contacts don't move that well. It's a problem that plagues ALL BMWs at one time or another with increased age and mileage.
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      08-27-2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
NORMAL. The fuel level sensor is a tiny strip of metal with an arm and a float attached. Over time the sensor gets deposit and oxidation and the contacts don't move that well. It's a problem that plagues ALL BMWs at one time or another with increased age and mileage.
So you're saying that my 2002 325xi with 135k miles when I sold it should of had the problem. As well as my dad's E90 w/94k when sold and his current E92 with 50k miles and my sisters 06 X3 in addition to he 05 X3 we had prior if the 2009 X3 with 43k miles on it had the problem?

That's hard to believe.

I'll add, our gas gauge doesn't move for hours. If you fill up in the morning, it would be a blessing if the gauge would read correctly by the commute home.
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      08-28-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
The HACK
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Eventually, YES. My E30 318is started showing symptoms at ~175,000 miles on its second sensor. My E46 323ci started showing it AFTER I sold it near 120,000 miles. My friend's E46 325iT had been battling the problem since 45,000 miles, our Z4 3.0i had this show up shortly befor we turned it in at the end of lease. Every single BMW I have had or owned by friend has had this "problem" eventually needing a replacement sensor or cleaning of the contacts so far, except the MZ4 Coupe but I expect that to happen eventually too.
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      08-28-2012, 09:32 AM   #10
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Right after I bought my car about 3 months ago I had the same problem after filling up. It happened on the trip back from the purchase (Boston to Cincinnati). Hasn't done it since.
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      08-28-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Eventually, YES. My E30 318is started showing symptoms at ~175,000 miles on its second sensor. My E46 323ci started showing it AFTER I sold it near 120,000 miles. My friend's E46 325iT had been battling the problem since 45,000 miles, our Z4 3.0i had this show up shortly befor we turned it in at the end of lease. Every single BMW I have had or owned by friend has had this "problem" eventually needing a replacement sensor or cleaning of the contacts so far, except the MZ4 Coupe but I expect that to happen eventually too.
I guess can understand the fact that it will happen eventually. Even though I've never heard of anyone on the our ohio board, e46f, bimmerforums having this problem with the E46 when I owned it.

How can a sensor go bad like this then after it's gone in for replacement 3 times and within the same year period it magically goes bad again?
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      08-28-2012, 07:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kgolf31 View Post
How can a sensor go bad like this then after it's gone in for replacement 3 times and within the same year period it magically goes bad again?
I don't know, but back in the late E36 and early E46 era, they made some changes to the sensor design to alleviate the problem. From what I understood, the contacts were changed from copper to gold to prevent the corrosive effect certain gasoline detergent has. My friend with the E46 325iT that has had multiple sensor failures before 50,000 miles gave up and started to clean the contacts of his sensor on a regular basis as part of his "maintenance" plan and so far, it's worked out pretty well for him.

The high rate of failure could be related to the Cali-Crap-Gas we're forced to use here too. I was never given a real explanation as to why they fail at such a high rate, only that the gold plated sensors should last much longer than the copper plated contacts.
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No way I'd ever take my BMW to the track.
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Then why do you have $3,000 worth of suspension mods on your car?
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      08-30-2012, 07:48 AM   #13
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so it is just a shoddy design?

I haven't owned a car yet, that has ever had a problem with the gas level and all cars I've owned were old the day I bought them and had semi-high miles (75k+)
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      11-22-2012, 02:32 PM   #14
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Dr HACK - how does one "clean the contacts of his sensor " ? Mine is acting up.
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      11-29-2012, 11:24 AM   #15
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Sensor Cleaning

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Originally Posted by Petrosexual View Post
Dr HACK - how does one "clean the contacts of his sensor " ? Mine is acting up.
I had an issue with my 04 E85 with the fuel guage. Read about dropping the tank and pulling out sending unit and cleaning contacts with steel wool. Sounds like a pain so I dumped some Chevron Techron Fuel Cleaner in the tank and filled up with 93octane and problem went away.
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