How to Repair a Car Gas Tank Float

by Editorial Team

Your vehicle is a modern day marvel of technology and mechanics. Most automobile parts have been drastically redesigned since the days of Henry Ford’s Model T. The vehicle fuel tank has remained relatively unchanged, though. It still contains a fuel sending unit that uses a float mechanism to relay fuel level information to a gauge in the dash. These floats are designed to last a vehicle's lifetime. Despite the design and the manufacturer’s best intention, the floats do sometimes wear out and need replacing.

Step 1

Disconnect the vehicle's battery. Remove the negative side battery cable by loosening the retaining bolt with a wrench and twisting the cable free with your hand.

Step 2

Expose the fuel sending unit. The sending unit is located in the top of your vehicle's fuel tank. You can access the fuel sending unit through an opening under the rear seat. Remove the rear seat bottom by pushing the seat down and towards the rear of the vehicle. You will feel the seat track pop free of the mount

Step 3

Pull the seat up and out of the vehicle and sit it to the side. Remove the access opening cover by pulling the carpeting back to expose the vehicle floor. Remove the retaining screws with a screwdriver. Remove the cover and set it aside. You will see the fuel tank sending unit retainer on the top of the fuel tank.

Step 4

Remove the sending unit. Unplug the wiring harness from the connection on the sending unit and set it to the side. Remove the bolts on the sending unit with a wrench. If the vehicle is equipped with a screw-on type retainer, place a screwdriver into one of the slots in the retaining ring and strike gently with a hammer in a counterclockwise direction. When loose, remove the sending unit from the tank. The float is connected to a long wire-like lever, requiring you to snake the unit out of the tank at angles.

Step 5

Replace the sending unit. Slide the new sending unit into the tank. You may need to snake it into the tank at differing angles until it is completely in place. Reassemble in the reverse order.

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