Getting a fuel sender to move freely
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    1. #1
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Oct 2017
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      53

      Getting a fuel sender to move freely

      Hi all,

      After fixing my fuel gauge and filling my tank, I noted that my needle didn't move as I thought it would. I pulled the fuel sender. Externally, it looked fine, but the arm wouldn't move. I opened the top plate to find the inside was coated with white powder (calcium build-up of sorts?).

      I scraped as much as I could with a flathead screwdriver, and eventually got the arm to break free, but it's not a smooth movement. I sprayed liquid wrench inside and it moves a little better, but not much. I left some liquid wrench pooled up in there overnight, only to find it's still not moving freely. If I move the arm up (to mimic a full tank) and let go, the arm does not fall down on it's own. I need to shake it a little vigorously for it to fall. I could see case where my gauge reads full, then goes to empty when I hit a large pothole.

      Has anyone experienced this before? Any solutions for fixing it? I had thought about putting some CLR in there, but I don't like to mix chemicals (CLR and Liquid Wrench residue?) without knowing if there'd be any adverse reactions.

      This is what it looks like after being treated with liquid wrench:



      At $100+ for a new one, I'd like to fix this if possible.

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    3. #2
      Member
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      May 2013
      Location
      Saskatchewan, Canada
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      The housing looks to be aluminum / pot metal and I suspect the white powder is aluminum oxide - essentially the aluminum version of rust. I suspect the operating arm is steel and if it pivots on an aluminum / pot metal 'bearing' in the housing there has likely been galvanic action at that point leading to a rough surface and sticky operation. Is it possible to disassemble and clean / polish the pivot point? If so, after clean-up reassemble with a liberal application of a non galling compound on the pivot and then try and seal up so that moisture can't cause the surface corrosion in the photo. A coating of lubricant on the inside won't hurt.

      If you can't disassemble then clean off the WD40 with brake cleaner. CLR is an acid of some ilk - I don't know what. I don't know whether it will work on aluminum so you will need to do a little research to find a suitable remover. If you find something that works, you will have to treat the cleaned surface to prevent the reoccurrence of the corrosion.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    4. #3
      Junior Member
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      Oct 2017
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      Quote Originally Posted by 142 Guy View Post
      Is it possible to disassemble and clean / polish the pivot point?
      Not without a serious risk of breaking something in there. That brownish coil thing would need to come out, and I fear that would break.

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    6. #4
      Junior Member
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      Oct 2017
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      Good news. I fixed this in 13 mins.

      I'm working from home today and have some training videos I need to watch. I had this just-crazy-enough-to-work idea I thought I'd try. As I sat here and watched my videos, I'd just move the arm back and forth. The idea being that as I can't get any abrasives in there, just by rubbing the parts back and forth repeatedly it should wear off any corrosion build up. By 6 minutes in to my video I could feel it working. By 13 minutes, the arm was so smooth it dropped freely on its own.

    7. #5
      Member
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      May 2013
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      Saskatchewan, Canada
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      Can't argue with success. Spray something like Fluid Film in there to try and prevent future corrosion.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    8. #6
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Apr 2016
      Posts
      305
      RJ8;

      Good Work!

      I agree with 142G...the white powdery residue is aluminum and/or zinc oxides from oxidation of the pot metal...

      The brown coil is somewhat delicate resistance wire and will not survive much in the way of mechanical insult, but LIGHTLY abrading the slider contact area (with a pencil eraser) can help with a scratchy or intermittent contact...

      I also agree with your surmising the Float pivot got bound up in the housing by that same oxidation (and non-movement)...once you freed up the action, I'd flush out the residue with carb-cleaner and replace it with my good old friend ACZP... Apply with a toothpick or thin out with a light oil and apply a drop and let it seep into pivot...working it in by simulating Float action cant hurt...I expect this would be the one and only time you need to do this operation...

      Cheers

    9. #7
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Oct 2017
      Posts
      53
      Thanks! I'd got everything hooked back up before I'd read the above comments. I cleaned it out with carb cleaner and then put some 3-in-1 lubricating oil in there to prevent any future build-up. Seems to work just great. Again, a fill-up should give me more confidence in the calibration, but seeing as where the float was stuck when I pulled it (near the bottom) and where the gauge was pegged (near the E) - regardless of if it calibrates to F when the tank is full isn't of much concern to me. I just want to know when I'm going to run out.

      So it's all back in and looking good. I POR15'd my tank over the summer, but never hit the sender for fear of locking the bolts in. Glad I didn't



      Also, if anyone is looking for a nice trunk mat, I found this carpet at Home Depot. It's got a rubber backing and is rigid enough to hold it's own shape pretty well. Looks pretty nice and $15 got me enough to do the whole trunk.


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