How to Replace the Sending Unit in a Nissan Pathfinder

by Rex Molder

The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder uses an electronic sending unit to provide the driver with information about how much fuel remains in the tank. This unit is attached to the fuel pump/filter assembly, which is located inside the gas tank. The sending unit and fuel sensor may be detached from the pump/filter assembly and replaced separately, but you have to remove the fuel tank to do so. This is not a highly complicated task but it's time consuming and will require mechanical skills.

Ensure that the vehicle is cold. You'll likely be working around spilled gasoline, and a hot vehicle might be a source of ignition. Make sure the fuel tank is less than half full.

Remove the fuel cap.

Open the hood and locate the fuse panel near the battery. Remove the fuel pump fuse, which is fuse number 48 (15A). Start the engine and let it idle until it dies. Attempt to start it a few more times to ensure there's no fuel left in the lines. Turn off the ignition. Disconnect the negative battery cable.

Loosen the lug nuts on the rear driver's-side wheel and raise the rear driver's side with a jack. Remove the lug nuts and remove the wheel.

Follow the fuel filter hose to the point where it enters the fuel tank. Loosen the clamp and remove the hose from the tank.

Remove the propeller shaft. This is the rear part of the driveshaft. Place the vehicle in "Neutral" to allow the shaft to rotate. Place a mark on the propeller shaft flange yoke and the final drive companion flange yoke --- this is where the shaft connects to the rear axle. The marks will facilitate realignment when you reassemble it. Remove the bolt connecting the two flanges; rotate the propeller shaft out of the way.

Place a floor jack underneath the fuel tank. Place a block of wood between the jack and the tank to prevent damage. Raise the jack until it supports the tank. Remove the fuel tank straps by taking out the three bolts that hold them in place. Be careful that the tank doesn't shift when the straps are removed.

Lower the jack enough to give you clear access to the fuel pump/filter/sending unit. This is the unit that protrudes upward from the top of the gas tank. Disconnect the electrical connector that attaches to the fuel pump and fuel level sensor.

Disconnect the EVAP hose from the fuel pump/filter module.

Disconnect the fuel line from the top of the pump/filter module. This line uses a quick-disconnect fitting. Press the two plastic tabs on the side and pull the line off. Move the fuel tank out from under the vehicle.

Take the locking ring off of the fuel pump assembly with the locking-ring removal tool. Lift the assembly out of the gas tank. Be careful not to damage the float arm when removing the unit.

Disconnect the sending unit harness connector from the top of the assembly. Pull the fuel sensor up out of its hole near the bottom of the unit. Slide the sending unit assembly out of the groove near the bottom of the fuel pump unit.

Replace the sending unit and reassemble the unit in reverse order.

Connect the negative battery cable. Reconnect the fuel pump fuse and turn the key to the "On" position without starting the vehicle. Repeat this several times to prime the fuel lines. Start the vehicle and let it run a few minutes. Turn it off and check for leaks around the work area.

Items you will need

About the Author

Rex Molder began writing professionally in 1999 and specializes in automotive, technology and travel articles. His articles have appeared at iPad- and SEO-related websites. Rex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian studies from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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