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  #1  
Old 08-24-2004, 10:18 PM
mrspike mrspike is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 325XIT
Angry Messed up fuel gauge

Hello all - I have a 2003 325xiT and everything has been great....except today. My fuel warning light came on yesterday, and I drove my car to work today, thinking it'll last me another 30 miles at least. However, my fuel gauge didn't really move too much since yesterday, while the warning light was still on. I trusted the fuel gauge and kept driving on the freeway, until all of a sudden the engine started to lose power and I had to pull over to the shoulder with my last drop of gas. The engine died, but my fuel gauge was still showing 1/8 of the tank full!!!!!!

I called the BMW roadside assistance and somebody showed up in 30 minutes to bring me gas (good BMW service by the way), but I was very frustrated as I could not trust the fuel gauge. I have noticed from time to time that when I first start the car, the fuel gauge would show more gas than I remembered when I turned off the car previously, then drop back to the right level after some driving. Does any of you have this problem at all? I have an appointment with BMW in couple of weeks to check this out, but thought I'd pop this question for some feedback....
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2004, 10:42 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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It`s probably safest to assume that most fuel gauges give you a "suggestion" of how much fuel remains, rather than an "absolute" amount....A long time ago, my friend`s father imparted some wisdom on us....he said "Y`know, it costs the same to drive your car with a full tank as on empty"....."Howzat???" we replied....he then explained that if you filled your car up once, then every time the gauge hit the halfway mark, you put in a few bucks worth, (of course, gas was a lot cheaper then), you would always have (more or less) a full tank. I have used his strategy ever since, and in several instances (trying to get home in a raging snowstorm, when a normally 45 minute drive took 4 hours) having the extra fuel was a comforting thought.

Regards,
Bob
  #3  
Old 08-24-2004, 11:39 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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Mein Auto: E60 525i E46 318i
Not that we have snowstorms in Sydney - but I notice that with mine also. A few times, I just drive until it touches empty (0/1) or at least a few mm above 0, and I manage to get 61.5L into the tank!!!!! note I have a 63L tank!! so 1.5L will last probably a few kms!!!

DONT TRUST THAT DIAL!!!

My old accord was better, I fill it up, and it would stay FULL then 3/4 for most of the week, then eventually hit 1/2. From 1/2 to E, it was VERY FAST!!!

Full -> 1/2 maybe 350kms
1/2 -> Empty 100kms!!!!!!!!!!!
  #4  
Old 08-25-2004, 03:27 AM
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johnf johnf is offline
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Location: Bremerhaven, Germany
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob
A long time ago, my friend`s father imparted some wisdom on us....he said "Y`know, it costs the same to drive your car with a full tank as on empty"
A full tank is heavy and the added weight will increase your fuel consumption. Since the added weight might be ca. 20 kilos / 50 lbs averaged between fill ups, it won't be much. You might still notice, however, if you pay more than $5 a gallon for fuel.

I don't let the tank get too low because of the in-tank fuel pump. It gets noisy and tends to burn out when you take away its coolant and lubricant.
  #5  
Old 08-25-2004, 04:44 AM
e46shift e46shift is offline
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they should check your fuel sending unit. sometimes gas high in sulfur ruin it.
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  #6  
Old 08-25-2004, 05:28 AM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspike
Hello all - I have a 2003 325xiT and everything has been great....except today. My fuel warning light came on yesterday, and I drove my car to work today, thinking it'll last me another 30 miles at least. However, my fuel gauge didn't really move too much since yesterday, while the warning light was still on. I trusted the fuel gauge and kept driving on the freeway, until all of a sudden the engine started to lose power and I had to pull over to the shoulder with my last drop of gas. The engine died, but my fuel gauge was still showing 1/8 of the tank full!!!!!!

I called the BMW roadside assistance and somebody showed up in 30 minutes to bring me gas (good BMW service by the way), but I was very frustrated as I could not trust the fuel gauge. I have noticed from time to time that when I first start the car, the fuel gauge would show more gas than I remembered when I turned off the car previously, then drop back to the right level after some driving. Does any of you have this problem at all? I have an appointment with BMW in couple of weeks to check this out, but thought I'd pop this question for some feedback....
I suspect you have a sending unit problem. Let's hope the dealer doesn't have to cut into the carpet to get to it, like the Z3 model.
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  #7  
Old 08-25-2004, 06:06 AM
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JamesSpot JamesSpot is offline
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Go see the Dealer - your gage is broken

1. My gage is amazingly linear compared to other cars I have owned.
2. Between the DTE and MPG on the trip computer, the instantaneous MPG gage, a linear fuel gage, resetting the trip odometer, and a low fuel warning light, I think the BMW gives a pretty good idea how far it can go.
3. I figure that I get at least 20 mpg in normal driving - so the first 320 miles are easy - it only gets interesting if you want to stretch it on the highway to something more than 450 miles between fill-ups.
  #8  
Old 08-25-2004, 08:15 PM
Jspeed Jspeed is offline
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The faulty fuel level sender is a common problem. Go have it replaced.
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  #9  
Old 08-25-2004, 08:28 PM
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Jever Jever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlau
Not that we have snowstorms in Sydney - but I notice that with mine also. A few times, I just drive until it touches empty (0/1) or at least a few mm above 0, and I manage to get 61.5L into the tank!!!!! note I have a 63L tank!! so 1.5L will last probably a few kms!!!

DONT TRUST THAT DIAL!!!

My old accord was better, I fill it up, and it would stay FULL then 3/4 for most of the week, then eventually hit 1/2. From 1/2 to E, it was VERY FAST!!!

Full -> 1/2 maybe 350kms
1/2 -> Empty 100kms!!!!!!!!!!!
My Honda was like that too. Never failed, I'd get like 200 miles on a tank still reading full and then somehow the next 100 miles drained the tank. Odd.
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  #10  
Old 08-25-2004, 08:41 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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[QUOTE=johnf]A full tank is heavy and the added weight will increase your fuel consumption. Since the added weight might be ca. 20 kilos / 50 lbs averaged between fill ups, it won't be much. You might still notice, however, if you pay more than $5 a gallon for fuel.

I seriously doubt that 50 lbs. will ever be noticed in everyday street driving....and when/if fuel hits $5 per gallon, I`ll probably be riding my bicycle a bit more (not exactly a bad thing....), and lose a few pounds to help compensate for the extra fuel....

Regards,
Bob
  #11  
Old 08-25-2004, 08:47 PM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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The gauge and OBC are very accurate... only when the senders are accurate. The E46's left-side sender has a tendency to become flaky (mine did). When it does, it reads fuel (erratically; my sender output was very bouncy) in the left tank, when in fact it's empty.

It took me about a week to notice that something was wrong, since I normally run the tank down pretty dry between fillups. I started driving around with the cluster in diag mode showing fuel levels, and the left sender would always become 'bouncy' after it became empty (the car siphons gas out of the left and into the right tank). And when filling up, the left sender didn't increase its reading linearly as gas went into the left tank.

I think I caught mine before it could get worse. Others who've had this problem seemed to have more acute problems, like the tank never reading completely full, or, more often, showing obviously more than it has.

Had the dealer replace the left sender, and everything was back to normal.
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  #12  
Old 08-25-2004, 09:26 PM
kurichan kurichan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesSpot
1. My gage is amazingly linear compared to other cars I have owned.
According to the gas gauge, my last (non BMW) car would go 200 miles on the first half of the tank, then 120 on the second half. BMW's fuel gauges are GREAT. Something must be wrong with yours.
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  #13  
Old 08-25-2004, 09:42 PM
mrspike mrspike is offline
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Thanks you guys for your comments! I'll definately mention the sender problem when I take my car in. I'll post an update after that! I'll have to make sure I don't run my gas tank low before then......
  #14  
Old 08-26-2004, 07:35 AM
watsi watsi is offline
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Location: Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 320i
I'm having same incorrect fuel gauge problem

I have noticed my fuel gauge behaving erratically. One day it's at 1/2 tank, the next it's at 3/4. Sometimes the needle doesn't move even if it should have. I'm starting to get worried that I'll hit empty with my pants down. I think it started happening a month ago. And my car's only 2 years old.

After reading this forum, I'll go get it replaced the next chance I get.
  #15  
Old 11-01-2004, 03:09 PM
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missing23 missing23 is offline
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I have a fuel gauge problem now...thought something was odd when I had about 180 miles on the tank and it had barely moved off FULL...was thinking I had invented a 'fusion' car...
  #16  
Old 11-01-2004, 03:15 PM
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SergioK SergioK is offline
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Mein Auto: HP2Sport - R1200GS - F30
I had my fuel senders replaced two weeks ago. I 'almost' ran out of gas but thought it odd to be at just under 1/4 tank with a total of 380 miles traveled on one tank. I usually get about 325-350 per tank and always clear the trip meter at fill up.
  #17  
Old 11-01-2004, 04:28 PM
robj213 robj213 is offline
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I had my fuel sending unit replaced at about 2000 miles and I am at almost 18k now and it's been fine since then!
  #18  
Old 11-01-2004, 04:57 PM
Lanc3r Lanc3r is offline
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reminds me of the Seinfeld episode - Kramer test driving a Saab convinces salesman to see how far they could get without running out of gas - Hilarious. Having owned several Bimmers, Ive noticed they all had different points of no return. I agree u could have a faulty/stuck sending unit. But, at least u know where the point of no return is on your X.
  #19  
Old 11-01-2004, 04:58 PM
schreck schreck is offline
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Haha, it happens in my Ford Contour. I'll have no gas at all, but when i turn the car off it says i have like 1/4 tank. POS
  #20  
Old 11-01-2004, 05:11 PM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlau
DONT TRUST THAT DIAL!!!

My old accord was better, I fill it up, and it would stay FULL then 3/4 for most of the week, then eventually hit 1/2. From 1/2 to E, it was VERY FAST!!!

Full -> 1/2 maybe 350kms
1/2 -> Empty 100kms!!!!!!!!!!!
One magazine (don't remember, probably CAR AND DRIVER) ran an article about the psychology of gas gauges. If they come off Full too quickly, people complain about bad mileage (I just filled it, and look, its already used some...). Also, they design them to rush quickly to zero after 1/2 tank to scared people into stopping soon for gas. Most modern cars can drive for some time on E also. In my truck, the fuel light comes on with almost a 1/4 of the 35 gallon tank left. My Saturn was the worst, though.
My Saturn's gas gauge, during an experiment while carrying extra gas can during my normal commute:
0 - 70 miles -> Full
140 miles -> 3/4
200 miles -> 1/2
300 miles -> E
350 miles - still going.
400 miles - still going.
450 miles - ok, finally ran out of gas. 12.0 gallons to fill, which made sense, since it usually took 8 gallons to fill it at 300 miles. In that car, I drove more off the trip meter than the gas gauge. On long highway trips, I'd note when I hit E to figure out when to stop for gas.
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  #21  
Old 11-02-2004, 10:46 AM
phita23 phita23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspike
I called the BMW roadside assistance and somebody showed up in 30 minutes to bring me gas (good BMW service by the way)

How much did it cost to have someone show up?
 

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