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Old 01-13-2003, 07:33 AM
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Question 1996 C-280 Fuel Guage

Dear Friends:

I have a 1996 C-280 with an intermittant fuel gauge. Sometimes it reads accurate, more often when the tank is full; however, most of the time the needle is at the bottom of the guage.

What is the weak link in this system? The sender? How hard is it to change senders?

Thank you,

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Old 01-13-2003, 08:10 AM
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Many times on the W202 chassis the needle will stick to the "rest" pin. Try tapping on the dash pad above the cluster if it stays at empty.
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Old 01-14-2003, 08:21 PM
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Unhappy Fuel Guage

Dear MB Doc:

That is not the problem, as I have watched the needle fall from the FULL mark to the bottom rest position.

Any other ideas?


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Old 01-14-2003, 09:42 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Location: Knoxville, TN
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The common fault here is the fuel tank senders. There are two in the tank and are only available from the dealer last time I checked. Don't quote me on the price, but I think I remember them being in the $200 range for the parts. If you do a search, you should be able to find more discussion on the matter.
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Old 01-15-2003, 12:04 PM
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Try a search on this topic, there's TONS of info. Very common MB problem...many cars seem to develop this problem. I even contacted VDO (the makers of the gauges) about it and they denied there is a fault on any of their gauges.

There's been two main suggestions -

1) Fuel gauge sender unit - as mentioned above.

2) Gauge itself faulty - bad solder connection, etc.

You can try removing and cleaning the sending unit (search for instructions on how to do so, there's plenty), this sometimes fixes it. You could purchase a new unit which might do it, however it could also be the gauge.

FYI...all of the Mercedes I've owned have had this problem, from my 1971 250 sedan to my current 1989 300E. Not sure what I'd do without my trip meter...
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1989 300E - 333,000 Km - sold
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