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Old 01-14-2002, 03:02 PM
lrg lrg is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,163
Low Fuel Warning Light

The low fuel light on my '85 td never seems to come on. When I start the car the light will go on so I know the bulb is good. Also, when I shorted the wire at the tank the light on the dash lights up. I just never see it come on in normal use, no matter how low the tank gets. I once even drove around with a gallon of diesel in a can in the back to see if the light would go on if I ran the tank really low. After the gauge read into "reserve" and well below empty I couldn't take it anymore and filled it up, but the light never went on. My wife has run it out on hills (we live in S.F.) when she's parked on a steep hill with a very low tank and couldn't restart (I suspect the intake was high and dry) but even then no light. Do I have a bad sending unit? The actual gauge works fine. Any thoughts here would be appreciated.


1987 300D Turbo 175K
2006 Toyota Prius, efficent but no soul
1985 300 TDT(130K miles of trouble free motoring)now sold
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Old 01-14-2002, 04:22 PM
Gregg B
Posts: n/a
Same thing on my 83 300d light goes on w/key, but doesn't go on w/low fuel. Unless there is an easy fix I intend to live w/it. My fuel guage works, but I prefer using the trip odometer as an indicator of fuel quantity.
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Old 01-14-2002, 04:47 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,105
on my 83 300SD it has come on at strange times. It would come on with my battery light when my alternator was going, and then it came on when my guage read 1/4 for no apparent reason at all. I filled it up and figured out i had 3 gallons left! I've since run it down to 2.5 or so left and the light never came on??? oh well,
83 300SD.......sold
96 integra SE....sold
99 a4 quattro....sold
2001 IS300.......sold
2002 330i.........current.
2004 highlander limited....current.
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Old 01-14-2002, 05:16 PM
jcd jcd is offline
village idiot
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 1,102
Mine Works, but I only "tested" once

Got caught with no diesel station in sight.

I NEVER go more that 300-350 miles between fill-ups. My thought is keep the fuel fresh and turning over and never suck out the last of a tank. Whether gas or diesel, I have always thought that only bad things happen when the tank runs too low.

Forget the light, and manage the fuel by the trip odometer.

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Old 01-14-2002, 08:15 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,373
Both of my MB lights go on when starting the car. However, only one seems to function with low fuel. I did the same by putting a couple of gallons in trunk and trying to run it out. A stupid thing to try I know but with the hand pump, I thought I'd be ok. After driving forever, I too gave up and just fill er up. At least we know that the thing will run forever on the last few gallons.

'84 300DT 298k (Aubrey's)
'99.5 Jetta TDI IV 251k (Julie's)
'97 Jetta TDI 127k (Amber's)
'97 Jetta TDI 186k (Matt's)
'96 Passat TDI 237k (Don's
'84 300D 211k Mint (Arne- Undergoing Greasecar Conversion)

'82 240D 229k (Matt's - Converted-300DT w/ 4 speed
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Old 01-15-2002, 04:42 AM
Posts: n/a
Mine is always back-lit. I noticed the guage to be non linear. It drops off fast and slows as I get towards1/4 tank. I have run it down to R and stil have 4-5 gals left.
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Old 01-16-2002, 11:31 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 854
I have the same problem on my 240d, the light is always on, and the gauge reads just under half, when it's empty.

Apparently the sending unit in the tank gets gummed up by algae and sends false readings. Pull the first aid kit housing to access the gauge thingy and try cleaning it...

1981 300CD (Benzina)
1968 250 S (Gina) 266,000 miles!
1983 Alfa Romeo GTV6 (Guido)
1976 Jaguar XJS-saved a V-12 from the chevy curse, what a great engine!
1988 Cadillac Eldorado (better car than you might think!)
1988 Yamaha Venture (better than a Wing!)
1977 Suzuki GS750B
1976 Yamaha XS 650 (sold)
1991 Suzuki GSX1100G (Shafty Gixser)
1981 Yamaha VX920RH (Euro "Virago")
Solex Moped
1975 Dodge P/U camper

"Time spent in the company of a cat, a beer, and this forum, is not time wasted!"
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