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Unread 08-06-2004, 07:36 AM   #1
AgentZed
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Gas gauge madness, can dealer fix?

I know TJ gas gauges are notorious for reading less gas than you really have. But mine is getting worse and I need it fixed.

Currently, I can drive for 5-10 miles AFTER the low gas warning light comes on and still only put 14.5 gallons in when I fill up. That mean that there are still 4.5 gallons in my 19 gallon tank -- or almost 1/4 tank left!

Anyone had any experience getting the dealer to fix the TJ gas gauge issue?

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Unread 08-06-2004, 07:53 AM   #2
igofshn
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I have almost 5 gallons when the light comes on. I don't understand what the big deal is. If you want to know how far you can go drive it til it runs out, then you'll have an idea, or just keep filling it when the light comes on.
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Unread 08-06-2004, 08:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentZed
I know TJ gas gauges are notorious for reading less gas than you really have. But mine is getting worse and I need it fixed.

Currently, I can drive for 5-10 miles AFTER the low gas warning light comes on and still only put 14.5 gallons in when I fill up. That mean that there are still 4.5 gallons in my 19 gallon tank -- or almost 1/4 tank left!

Anyone had any experience getting the dealer to fix the TJ gas gauge issue?
The low fuel light is not a warning that you are about to run out of gas. It is a warning that your fuel level is getting low. The owner's manual says you will have approximately 4 gallons of fuel left when the warning goes off.
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Unread 08-06-2004, 09:46 AM   #4
AgentZed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igofshn
I have almost 5 gallons when the light comes on. I don't understand what the big deal is.
On previous vehicles I've owned, the low gas warning came on at a more reasonable level -- like 1 to 1.5 gallons remaining. At that level, you still have a comfortable safety margin, yet do need to heed the warning and take action soon to obtain more fuel.

But on my TJ, the low gas warning comes on when the gauge says 1/8th of a tank, even though there is really 1/4 tank left (4.5 gal). Plus the needle goes to flat empty when there is still 1/5 of a tank left (3.5 gal).

I do a lot of work with user interface design. I know from experience that a 'warning' that comes on prematurely is more harm that help. It is the old story of 'crying wolf.' What am I to do? Fill up 20% more frequently than necessary? Or ignore the warning and increasing my risk of running out of gas?

Or, in other words, what is the point of having a 19 gallon tank if you can never use more than 15-16 gallons of it before all your gauges tell you that you will be running out of gas any second now. I don't have time to track miles and make estimates of when I am *actually* low on gas -- that's what the frikin gauge is supposed to be for.

The TJ's grossly inaccurate fuel gauge and worthlessly premature low gas warning really are a severe disservice to TJ owners. Being unable to safely access the last 3 - 4 gallons of fuel on board, 15-20% of the cruising range of the vehicle is wasted -- all due to a poorly calibrated gauge.
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Unread 08-06-2004, 10:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentZed

The TJ's grossly inaccurate fuel gauge and worthlessly premature low gas warning really are a severe disservice to TJ owners. Being unable to safely access the last 3 - 4 gallons of fuel on board, 15-20% of the cruising range of the vehicle is wasted -- all due to a poorly calibrated gauge.

Agreed.
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Unread 08-06-2004, 11:04 AM   #6
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Be glad it is like that when mine hits about a 1/4 tank it is out of gas. found that out the first week i had it in the biggest intersection in Norfolk .. during rush hour not a good experience.. i would give anything to just see the gas light come on other then right when i start it. took mine to dealer they want 300 dollars to fix it.. oh well at it to the list of things to do.
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Unread 08-06-2004, 11:54 AM   #7
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you could use miles on the tank of gas as a gauge to accompany the gas gauge, between the two you could get a good estimate. i can get roughly 320 miles on a tank of gas
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Unread 08-06-2004, 12:02 PM   #8
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Personally, I like having it come on with 3 gallons left. I'd rather see that light and be given enough time to find a place to stop than have to sweat 16 miles hoping for a gas station. Come travel some backroads in Oklahoma and Arkansas with me -- 1 to 1.5 gallons won't get you to a gas station. When I used to get 26 miles to the gallon on a car, 1 to 1.5 miles was an adequate warning. But at 15 to 16 miles to the gallon, I'll take that extra margin of comfort.

That being said, I don't trust a light to tell me when I need gas -- I use the gauge and my mileage. As long as I don't rely on it, it can't cry wolf. In other words, when it comes on it gets my attention. I've been stranded three times too many by an ex-wife that absolutely refused to use the gauge and relied on the light. I have a 1/4 tank rule... when it hits 1/4 tank, start thinking about gas. When I hit an 1/8th of a tank I get nervous -- it doesn't matter what I'm driving. Anyway, 3 gallons out of 19 is about 16% remaining, which is a hair over an 1/8th of a tank... which is right where my light comes on.

My gauge is pretty accurate. If yours is bugging you, have it checked out. I have trouble believing DC goes out of their way to spec crappy gauges for a single model of their entire product line.
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Unread 08-06-2004, 02:18 PM   #9
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thank god im not the only one who has this issue. i also noticed the gauge isnt linear in realtion to the miles driven, the firts 1/4 on the gauge take me like 40 miles the second 1/4 like 50 miles, the third 1/4 goes about 100 miles or more. then the next 1/8th goes like 30 and the fuel light goes on. is this normal too?
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Unread 08-06-2004, 02:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lokua
thank god im not the only one who has this issue. i also noticed the gauge isnt linear in realtion to the miles driven, the firts 1/4 on the gauge take me like 40 miles the second 1/4 like 50 miles, the third 1/4 goes about 100 miles or more. then the next 1/8th goes like 30 and the fuel light goes on. is this normal too?
lokua
Gas gauges don't always work linearly. The float only go so high and until the fuel drops far enough for the float to actually move you won't see much movement in the gauge.

There's also some electronics in the computer that 'smooth' the fuel level on the gauge... it samples the level and gives you a reading on a moving average. This keeps your gauge from flopping all around and going nuts on hills and bumps.

Pretty much the shape of the tank, the terrain, the harshness of your ride, and the amount of fuel you're carrying all impact what you see on the gauge. It's not perfect, but for the most part it works.
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Unread 08-08-2004, 01:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentZed
On previous vehicles I've owned, the low gas warning came on at a more reasonable level -- like 1 to 1.5 gallons remaining. At that level, you still have a comfortable safety margin, yet do need to heed the warning and take action soon to obtain more fuel.

But on my TJ, the low gas warning comes on when the gauge says 1/8th of a tank, even though there is really 1/4 tank left (4.5 gal). Plus the needle goes to flat empty when there is still 1/5 of a tank left (3.5 gal).

I do a lot of work with user interface design. I know from experience that a 'warning' that comes on prematurely is more harm that help. It is the old story of 'crying wolf.' What am I to do? Fill up 20% more frequently than necessary? Or ignore the warning and increasing my risk of running out of gas?

Or, in other words, what is the point of having a 19 gallon tank if you can never use more than 15-16 gallons of it before all your gauges tell you that you will be running out of gas any second now. I don't have time to track miles and make estimates of when I am *actually* low on gas -- that's what the frikin gauge is supposed to be for.

The TJ's grossly inaccurate fuel gauge and worthlessly premature low gas warning really are a severe disservice to TJ owners. Being unable to safely access the last 3 - 4 gallons of fuel on board, 15-20% of the cruising range of the vehicle is wasted -- all due to a poorly calibrated gauge.

When my light comes on I've got between three and four gallons left. At 17 mpg (that's a high average for me), that gives me between 51 and 68 miles to find a gas station. If it came on when only one or two gallons are left, I'd have between 17 and 34 miles to get to a gas station. I'd rather have a warning light pop on and still have 50 miles or so, instead of about 20, to find a filling station. Especially since the nearest one is about 12 miles away. And like someone else mentioned, the user's manual tells you that when the warning light comes on, you have approximately 3 gallons of fuel left. With 3 gallons, you shouldn't be running out of gas any second, even with the crappy gas mileage.

When the gauge is on E, I can usually squeeze in 17 or 18 gallons of gas. On any car I've owned, the gas gauge has never been dead-on accurate. If you have three or four gallons left when the needle is below E, the sending unit is probably bad.
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Unread 08-08-2004, 06:21 AM   #12
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On the trail the gauge reads anywhere from near-full to near-empty, and all while on the same hill! Should I be nervous?! ;-)

Seriously, I think two words apply here: common sense. If you disagree with your guage -- or your guage disagrees with you -- then assume responsibility and be authoritative about your gas issues. Remember when you put gas in and how much driving you've done. This should be one of those little things that's second nature and tucked away in the back of your head anyway. Hell, you might even be calculating your gas milage at every refuel anyway because you're a TJ owner, you know the milage sucks, but you just did an engine mod of some sort and are hoping mpg will be better. ;-)

Personally I refuel about every 3 days, regardless of where the guage is. I do a pretty fixed amount of daily driving. And, if I happen to pass a station that has some dirt cheap gas I'll probably stop no matter what. Fuel is still pretty damn expensive in the north east, especially in NY.

It's safe to say there can be a number of factors that influence when to refuel but I don't believe it is safe to rely on JUST the gauge or, even worse, JUST the idiot light. It's your Jeep. Get to know her well!
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Unread 08-08-2004, 01:20 PM   #13
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The guage is so prone to irregularities that I use the trip meter instead of the guage. At about 170 miles, I start thinking "gas station"

For those complining about the 15 gallon tank. According to some writeups I've seen, you can mod your TJ take to hold more by shortening the filler tube.
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Unread 08-08-2004, 06:23 PM   #14
customjeeptj
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Does anybody have an autometer guage installed in there jeep or any other aftermarket guage's for fuel
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