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  • Fuel System: Gas Gauge Wiring

    53 Commander Coupe original engine and 6 volt positive ground electrics. Hoping someone out there could give me some helpful advice regarding the wiring of my gas gauge (not the tank sending unit, but the gauge itself). The gauge has 2 terminals- one on the top and one on the bottom. It was my understanding that the 2 red and black wires (one from the main wiring harness and one for the tank sending unit) attach to the upper terminal (the top one) and the other 2 wires (one white and black and the other one red and yellow) connect to the accessory terminal of the ignition. All of my wiring is good, I just recently installed NOS sending unit and gauge. Yet my gauge still sits at empty and does nothing despite the tank being about 1/3 full. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you. Al.
    Studebaker! If you're lucky enough to own one, you're lucky enough!!!

  • #2
    Should have added that I thought the white and black wire went to the upper terminal (the top one) along with the yellow and red wire.
    Studebaker! If you're lucky enough to own one, you're lucky enough!!!

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    • #3
      Sorry. Losing my mind here. 4 wires. To which of the 2 terminals do they go? I'm sure the 2 red and black wires go to one; and that the other 2 (one white and black and the other yellow and red) go to the other. But which goes to where? Sorry for the confusion. Senior moment.
      Studebaker! If you're lucky enough to own one, you're lucky enough!!!

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      • #4
        Hi, Al. Check the wiring behind the instrument panel for a white wire with black stripe, it should go to the temp gauge “ign” terminal and then on to the ignition acc terminal. You should be able to use a test light at the fuel gauge terminal to check for 6 volts with the ignition switch on. The other terminal has from the factory, a black wire with red stripe that goes directly to the sending unit on the tank. Attach a jumper wire on this terminal at the gauge and attach to a good ground. The gauge should now read full after a few seconds. If not and you have power from the ign on the other terminal, then my best estimation is you have a faulty gauge.
        This black wire with red stripe goes to the insulated terminal on the sending unit on the tank. Use a jumper wire from the sending unit insulated terminal and connect to ground. The gauge should go to full after a few seconds. If it does not go to full, but did when grounded at the gauge, then the wire from the gauge to the sending unit is open, cut, or otherwise not conducting power to the gauge/sending unit. If this is the case, I would simply run a separate wire all the way from the gauge, after disconnecting the original black with red stripe wire and connect the new wire to the terminal on the tank sending unit.I have always been leery of the gas tank gettting a good ground, so I have run a #16 gauge wire from one of the mounting screws on the tank sending unit to a good frame ground.
        one other thing, if the gauge does not read correctly when you have done all of the above, remove the sending unit, and check that the float arm is not “stuck”. This can happen sometimes and I found the little tabs that limit the travel of the float arm is allowing the arm to move too far and then “catching” on the contact on the sending unit. Simply and carefully move the tabs after freeing up the arm to limit the travel and not allow the arm to go too far and catch on the internal rheostat in the sending unit.
        Hope I have not been too elaborate, but a lot of things could cause what you are experiencing, and I believe I have covered them all in this rather lengthy dissertation.
        Hugh

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        • #5
          When two wire colors are shown, the first one is the primary color. The wire from the sender should be black/red. It should be the only wire in the car so marked. It must be by itself, and it goes on the top post. The bottom post gets the other three.
          D 'N Q RACE ENGINES

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          • #6
            Hello Hugh and Dwain. Thank you so very much for your responses. Both are super helpful. I will get back to my project sometime tomorrow and keep you posted.
            Studebaker! If you're lucky enough to own one, you're lucky enough!!!

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            • #7
              Hello again and a special thanks to Hugh and Dwain. I read and reread your answers and took your advice. Including a new ground wire for the tank sending unit. While I was at it, I added an additional ground wire from the dash to the body based on the advice I got a couple of months ago about the value of additional grounds. So now I have a working gas gauge. Won't be sure if it's 100% accurate until I fill the tank, but I do know that it's close enough for what I need.
              Studebaker! If you're lucky enough to own one, you're lucky enough!!!

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              • #8
                Al, so great to know you didn’t have to remove either the tank/sending unit, or the dash in order to get to the culprit. As usual, the simplest fix is the most overlooked problem. I am really thrilled you could decipher our collective comments and apply the proper “fix”. I would very urgently recommend you carry a 1 gallon gas can full, of course, until you establish the accuracy, or lack of accuracy of the fuel gauge. That advice from an “experienced” troubleshooter, who has run out of gas two times while “checking the accuracy”. One time with the wife aboard!!!
                Great news from you, good luck with your project. Hugh

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                • #9
                  Hate to bother you guys again, but a problem has developed that maybe someone could help me solve. The fuel gauge works when I turn on the defroster, but the defroster has stopped working altogether. It was working before I "fixed" the fuel gauge problem. Compounding my frustration is that my battery is in frequent need of recharge, suggesting that I might have an open circuit draining the battery. Again, not a problem before but very much a problem now. I am recharging now and will be reinspecting my previous work sometime tomorrow. I will keep you posted, but if anyone has any thoughts, please let me know. Again, sorry to be such a nuisance.
                  Studebaker! If you're lucky enough to own one, you're lucky enough!!!

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                  • #10
                    Al, it sounds like you have the Fuel Gauge Power wire connected to the always Hot terminal of the Ign. Sw. this Will drain the Battery, but you SHOULD see the gauge always reading the fuel level!

                    The Defroster wire must have gotten disconnected or connected to Tank Sender side of the Fuel Gauge?
                    The Wire from that Fuel Sender that SHOULD be connected, usually has a Red Tracer.
                    StudeRich
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
                    SDC Member Since 1967

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