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  • Electrical: Gas gauge reads low

    Recently the gas gauge on my '64 Champ has started reading about 1/4 tank low. The pic below was taken just after a fill up. When it's near empty, it reads below the E.

    Before crawling around under the truck like a reptile I thought I'd check with the experts as to a likely cause.
    Mike Davis
    Regional Manager, North Carolina
    1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

  • #2
    My guess is that the cork floats are saturated. I replaced the float in a 1963 champ with model a Ford floats I used 2 they are plastic inexpensive and you can use the original washer to hold them in place.

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    • #3
      The replacement Ford Brass Floats as shown and described on Bob Johnstone's Studebaker Webpage also work well.

      Since the Gauge does read it is very likely that The Dash Unit and Sending Unit work OK, so it's as said, just a sinking Float because the Shellac has been eaten off of the Cork Float by the Ethanol Fuel or Age.
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner
      SDC Member Since 1967

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      • #4
        Thanks, gentlemen.
        Mike Davis
        Regional Manager, North Carolina
        1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

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        • #5
          My 56 Commander Sedan reads half full when I fill it up, but goes to empty when empty, so still useable. So I took the sending unit out of the tank. It has cork floats, but they are still completely buoyant, I tested them in bucket of gas. I checked the ohms when the sender was out, moving it to different positions. When all the way up, it reads half full. I by passed the sender and the gauge read full. So I'm pretty sure its the sender, not sure how to fix it or replace it. But don't know what to do about it. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rafe Hollister View Post
            /Cut/So I'm pretty sure its the Sender, not sure how to fix it or replace it. But don't know what to do about it. Any ideas would be appreciated.
            Welcome to the SDC and to the SDC Forum Thom!

            The Sending Unit Screws have or had, Copper Sealing Washers under them and a Cork Gasket you will need.
            The New Sending Units are 1540262 at Studebaker International and some others.

            Studebakers have better Parts availability than Most, and probably ALL Orphans, and much better than many Older Year Models of current Makes.
            All of your Studebaker needs are here:

            https://www.studebakervendors.com
            Last edited by StudeRich; 01-14-2021, 05:23 PM.
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner
            SDC Member Since 1967

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            • #7
              Thanks StudeRich. I did make my own gasket, but forget if it had copper washers. Yikes! lots of info at that link. Sending unit is 150.00 at mystudebaker.com, but I'll look around for a better price.
              How did you know my name is Thom? I use Rafe Hollister as my forum name. I got it from a character on the old Andy Griffith Show, a back woods guy with a golden voice that shoed up on several episodes.

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              • #8
                It is in your user profile. No secrets in the computer age. Hee hee.

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                • #9
                  My first time here, No offense to the Stude suppliers but some parts are simply outrageous for my (our) pocket books. I know, I know, we are in this with eyes open, but hopefully this will help someone with fuel sending unit problems..If doubtful sending unit, simply in my case, a 1951 Stude Commander my gauge was all over the place, not fast response, as the gauge is not a fast responder, but simply would not show what I knew was in the tank. I removed the cover to the sending unit in the trunk floor and removed the screws holding the sending unit in the tank and lifted the sending unit out. Remember we have OPEN fuel cell here so ventilate well as you do this. Ground to the chassis the sending unit cover and leave the center wire connected, watch the gauge (helper great here) and move the sender float slowly up and down observing gauge. The reading should change on the gauge as you position the float. If gauge does not respond then check wiring, this could be the cause. If gauge responds, check the float unit itself, if it is cork then it most likely will have some weight to it as it is most likely fuel soaked from the shellac being deteriorated and the float doesn’t float anymore. You can get the Ford floats or any other jury rigged flotation device and do as others have done and attach the new floating device to the arm on your old sender and most likely you are in business. However, MY sender was 70 years old, and so was the Cork, so instead of going through this ordeal of checking out a malfunctioning gauge in the future why not replace the entire unit with a brand new 1946-1953 Jeep sending unit P/N 17724.01 anywhere and a gasket from VDO with a total price of about $37 on Amazon? Simplest and longest lasting repair and quite a lot less $$! The arm must also be bent down approximately 1.5” to get it to read correctly. I hate to jury rig with old parts that have already partially failed. Go for the replace! As a side note, the cover for the fuel tank sender will probably be a little tender. Replace with a 3” octagon electrical box cover after painting black. Will require 2 screws and corresponding holes. Don’t use a long drill bit and end up replacing the tank after ventillating the old!

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