Fuel gauge & other dash panel woes

Fuel sending unit replaced by dealer cuz needle sticks @1/2 mark, ($750). Still sticks! Take back, they say I hit a big bump, and reset FSU. I ain’t buying it. It still stick, works when it wants to. Noticed other things; temp gauge freaked out once, fribulating like it was hav’g a heart attac. Odometer fades, can hardly see it, then it is back bright again.

Take it back to dealer. They say “oh!” & work on it for 2 days. They say we gonna replace the pc card for the dash, no charge on labor, $65 for the card. Amazing they have it stock!?! this is a 1998 Nissan. STILL DOES IT! fuel gauge, odometer and once in a while the temp gauge goes weird. Once the battery light and the brake light came on stayed on for 2-3 days. Brakes =ok, Fluid = ok, E-brake =ok, batt=ok, alternator =ok False signal I think, related to the gauge problems?

My experience is that older nissans have problems with elec connectors. I think this is maybe a connector problem. I think design defect on the floppy(flimsy) PC card and the connectors that go to them.

What do you think? I have more data if needed.


Oh yeah, forgot this stuff: 1998 Nissan Frontier, 2.4 liter F.I., 5 speed, 2 door, regular cab, basic model with A/C & Power Steering.

The symptoms sound similar to ones that a friend of mine was having with a Ford F-150. Dealer did all reasonable checks and found nothing. Turned out to be a shorted diode in the full wave bridge rectifier of the alternator. Alternators turn out AC voltage, cars run on DC voltage and the rectifier is what changes the AC to DC. When one of the diodes short it causes a ripple known as noise in the voltage that is not detected by normal test equipment. Ask your dealer/repair shop if they have access to an oscilloscope to check the DC voltage for ripple/noise. If you have any electronics geeks near by they can do this for you.

Similar seaflake’s suggestion make sure the dashboard instruments have a good ground.

Every dealership has a copy of The Great Big Book of Excuses To Tell Customers. Service managers and mechanics are required to take a polygraph test to ensure they can look you right in the eye and lie like a rug. Try telling them, “This is a real humdinger of problem, but I know you guys are super-mechanics and if you can fix it, I will personally call your corporate headquarters and tell them what a great dealership you are.”