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Fuel light comes on early

1801 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  PDSF
Hey all, I searched the forum and most people who have fuel light problems seem to have the opposite one. My light comes on early, before the gauge reaches the "E" level. This just started happening recently. It takes about 11.5 gallons (about 210-220 miles) at this point. I would rather drive the remaining 50 miles before filling up, but it is nerve wracking to drive with the light on. I have only run out of gas once and the gauge was way below the E mark...but I'm still nervous :icon_confused: Any ideas why this would happen? Is there a separate sender for the light? The gas gauge appears as accurate as it ever was. TIA for all responses.
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Hmmm... your low fuel light has started to come on early, and your engine cooling fan is misbehaving.

I wonder if there's some other problem in your car's electrical system...

Bad ground/common connection? Battery dying? Voltage regulator going bad? Don't have any other good ideas at the moment...:confused:

The legacy does the same at about 12 gallons, my foz turns it on around 13-13.5, I wouldn't worry about it too much unless it gets much worse.
Hmmm... your low fuel light has started to come on early, and your engine cooling fan is misbehaving.

I wonder if there's some other problem in your car's electrical system...

Good eye Jim :biggrin: Yeah, I almost posted the two together, but they seem so completely unrelated. Anyway, the rest of the car works perfectly and has since I bought it, which is why I post so rarely here. I did drain the battery to zero a couple of months ago (interior light left on for a week) which could more or less coincide with the behavior. But the AAA guy ran a comprehensive test on battery health at the time and it passed easily. It's possible I just coincidentally have two bad sensors. Just wondering if anyone else had seen these issues.

Yeah, draining a car's SLI battery all the way down is not a good thing. :icon_sad: OK... If the battery, alternator, and voltage regulator all tested OK, then it would be worth checking the battery's connection to a common point. Try this with the headlights and other loads on, as the high current will reveal any bad connections in short order.

The combination of a weakened battery and a winter start may have caused a voltage dip short enough to befuddle the computer. You might therefore try just resetting the car's computer by disconnecting the battery ground for ~10 minutes, and then reconnecting.

Jim / crewzer
When I had my '01 I swear I remember reading in the manual that the fuel light comes on with 2.5 gallons left which should be before it reaches E.
I'm going to side with the electrical aspect of things related to low battery. Did you charge the battery after getting the boost?
If not give it a charge preferably with a low amp charger and do what crewzer said reset the computer. Make sure you disconnect the battery before charging! Also bleed out any reserve power once you've done that, with the key on: press the brakes, turn the lights on, turn the radio on, honk the horn etc etc. This will bleed off any reserve power left in the controls.
And while the battery's charging, you can go over all the grounding points as mentioned.

Good luck we'll be waiting to hear the results here.
Thanks all. I'll try it this weekend if I can and post the results. And no, good dog, I didn't charge the battery after even though I knew I should. Well, it starts every time, why bother?? :shrug: San Francisco winters don't exactly test a battery and I haven't been to Tahoe this year. Also, jkoppee, 2.5 gal sounds just about right, but I'm filling up with 11.5 and IIRC the tank holds 15.7.
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