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Fuel Gauge Freaking Out. Need Help!

I have a 2004 Chevrolet Impala. The fuel gauge is not working properly and I’m not sure what could cause the problem. I’m not sure how to explain this clearly, but it seems like the whole gauge was tilted to the right, so that when the tank is full, the arrow reads way above the “full”, and when the tank is empty, the arrow is in the middle between “empty” and “full”. Any ideas what could cause this issue?

Edit: Sometimes, when I turn the key on and off multiple times, the gauge gets reset to normal, but after a few days it goes back to being defective.

The fuel gauge is connected to a mechanism in the gas tank that has a float. While it’s not doing the same job, it’s kind of like the float on the valve in the back of a toilet. In your case it could well be stuck for some reason. A Chevy expert on this forum can tel you if there is anything an amateur mechanic can do to fix it.

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Hey, thanks for the reply. I added an edit to my question, but basically when I turn the key on and off again a few times, the gauge is back to normal for a while. I doubt that there would be anything stuck, because just turning the key resets it. Any other idea?

The problem is most likely with the drive motor in the instrument cluster for the fuel gauge.



I had those stepper motors, fuel guage always worked, but temp, tach, speedometer and oil pressure all eventually went out. vs $500 for a new cluster, I replaced the stepper motors, soldering involved for $22 with new bulbs and solder. been fine ever since.

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Do you know if there is a way of verifying for sure that it is the cluster that is the problem?

If you can read a schematic and a multimeter, and get the schematic diagram and the specifications from the dealer, you can verify that it’s the cluster and not the sending unit. But if you could, you’d be helping us answer questions rather than asking this one, so I think the best thing is to try to find a replacement instrument cluster from a boneyard and trying it.

From the dealer’s parts guy you can request an “exploded view” drawing of the instrument cluster installation. On a 2004, there’ll be some “pop-out” garnish pieces and the cluster will be held in by a few screws. The electrical connections will be via a “ribbon wire” plugged into the back of the cluster. Your odometer readings are in the Body Control Module (BCM) rather than the cluster itself, so you need not worry about the odometer.

Some nylon “auto body” levers, less than $10/set, will make removing the garnish pieces without damaging the other pieces a lot easier. They’ll be an invaluable investment.

Post back with your progress. We do care.

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If you get a replacement cluster ir would need to be reprogrammed. The quote for new cluster on 03 trailblazer was $300, then $200 for programming. If you can live with the guage, probably 3 or 4 months it will die. The speedometer I remember was sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes bouncing around. Stepper motors are cheap and some online services are not unreasonable in comparison, but if you can solder like I said 22 bucks parts and a couple of hours of my time to replace all the stepper moters

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Thanks guys, I have decided to live with it for the moment, because it does not always malfunction. If ever it decides to fail on me, I will definitely try to solder a stepper motor and post back with the result!