erratic fuel gauge ... :( - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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erratic fuel gauge ... :(

my 06 Commander started doing something strange (~76000 km). I would fill up and the gauge wouldn't return to 'F'. Turn off and restart and it would be fine. Now, upon starting, it has started (the last 1000 kms) to light up the low fuel warning light, show 'E' (even trip computer says 0kms) until I drive for several seconds then it returns to normal. Chrysler is saying that it needs a new fuel pump unit (sending unit, seal, etc.) which will run about 1200.00 to repair.

I'm very pleased about this.

If I'm not experiencing any performance issues, can I just put up with the 'inconvenience' of the gauge, or is it inevitable that the pump is on its way out? I can order a unit from the U.S. for much less and get a trusted independent mechanic to do the replacement ... do you guys have any online parts dealer preferences that I could check out?

Thanks very Much!!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 01:57 PM
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Fuel pumps aren't very hard to replace. Lol the hardest part about it is dealing with a full tank of gas! So do the tech a favor and don't fill the tank before bringing it in for service.

Definitely get a few quotes from independent shops. Even over here, I used to save customers a good 400-500 bucks on this type of service. $800 was usually the average price depending on how much the pump cost and what type of labor was involved..... some vehicles are very easy and can be done in an hour or two; others get more complicated and even require removal of some suspension components. Haven't done one on a commander but I have been under mine to determine my "game plan" for dropping the tank for my skid plate install and it looks pretty easy.

-Matt
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, an independent quoted me three hours because of a tow package and skid plate (otherwise it would be two hours) ... if I go that route it would save me about 800.00!!! Just Crazy.
Thanks!
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 07:08 PM
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There is an article in the latest Popular Mechanics about this. From what I read, this is caused by the amount of alcohol present in our gas, some places up to 10%. The alcohol corrodes the electrical contacts in the fuel pump sender. This corrosion can cause an intermittent connection between the float arm and the resistor, the reading of which shows up on the gas gauge. PM suggests not taking it to a dealer, but to shop around for a good independent shop.

BWTM. GM sells a product called Fuel System Treatment Plus, pn 8861011. This product contains an additive that is supposed to prevent this corrosion. It has been known to reverse the corrosion. PM suggests trying this before spending a lot of money; plus it is a good fuel system cleaner too. The article did not state how much to use nor how long one would expect to see results. It makes sense to me to spend a little now to hopefully save a lot in the long run. If you should try this, let us know if it works.

This would not apply to a FlexFuel vehicle, as these are designed to operate with E85 (85% alcohol).
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the heads up!! My Jeep doesn't have a 'Flex Fuel' badge so I guess it doesn't need the 85% ... I will try this just in case I can save money without repair!
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by jeepanzee View Post
Thank you for the heads up!! My Jeep doesn't have a 'Flex Fuel' badge so I guess it doesn't need the 85% ... I will try this just in case I can save money without repair!
Just as a FYI, a flex fuel vehicle doesn't have to run on E85, but it is designed to be able to run on it, to avoid problems like yours and in other places in the fuel system.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Just picked some up. You put it into an empty tank in between oil changes ... I'll let you know if it works.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jeepanzee View Post
Just picked some up. You put it into an empty tank in between oil changes ... I'll let you know if it works.
Thank you. 3 - 5K seems like a long time, depending on how often you change your oil. I can understand using it this way if one is trying to prevent the problem. But since you are trying to eliminate the problem, is it possible to put it in more frequently?
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 11:30 AM
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A lot of the Flex Fuel vehicles also recommended in the O.M. to get a special motor oil from the dealer to use, if you were going to use E85. Leads me to believe that E85 is NOT as easy on the engine as gasoline.

Yes, its NOT that hard to get alcohol to burn in your motor, the chemistry works out that the O2 sensor will respond the same way also. But, you need to burn almost twice the volume of alcohol as gasoline to get the same power (meaning half as much MPG), so E85 or pure alcohol will likely need larger injectors. Alcohol is much harder to get a cold motor started than gasoline, that is the biggest reason why E85 still has 15% gasoline, to help start a cold motor. And requiring special oil for E85 makes me suspicious its tough on the motor as well, at least on the motor oil.

The big problem is the damage the alcohol will do to the fuel system parts. I hadn't hard that E10 gasohol was damaging fuel level sensors, but I could see how it could be true.

Personally, I don't risk it, I stick with Gasoline, unfortunately now a days, all you can get is E10.

Definitely verify your engine is definitely flex fuel. I had a flex fuel mini-van and it clearly stated it on the build sheet, in the O.M. and decals underhood. Don't assume your motor is flex fuel, when you see no verification, and try to use E85, you could end up very sorry. Maybe NOT right away, because the motor may run fairly well, but 20k miles down the road you could find all sorts of problems it created.


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 12:22 PM
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I simply refuse to buy E85 because our politicians have mandated so much of it being used (and have subsidized it with billions of taxpayers dollars) that its driven up the price of corn and conversely affected food (and other commodity) prices. You would be amazed at the list of 1K+ foods that are processed with a corn ingredient or by product. Sorry, not trying to politically rant here but corn was meant to be food not fuel and add to that the fact that burning E85 gives off even more CO2 emissions than the same amount of gasoline I'll stick with gas. I've also taken the badge off the back of my Commander because I not only thought it was an ugle badge (yellow and green???) but I didn't wish to advertise an issue that I simply think is absurd and a waste of time, money, and corn.
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