SureTrack Community Fix: Running on Empty

Real Fixes from the SureTrack® expert information resource are documented issues from actual shop repair orders and community discussions. Read on to see how SureTrack can help you correct issues that are not easily diagnosed using OEM information alone. SureTrack is currently available free with the purchase of a current Snap-on® diagnostic software version.

When you have a gas gauge that doesn’t work and your testing leads you to an obvious cause and that doesn’t actually fix it, what do you do? You contact your fellow techs through the SureTrack Community for help. SureTrack community member bmaples had a Ford F150 pickup in the shop where testing showed the fuel sender to be defective but that didn’t fix the gauge reading empty. They posed the question to the community, and with the help of fellow community member DAG1365 and others, they were able to resolve the issue quickly.

The following Community Fix summarizes the interaction between members of the community that led to the solution.

2013 Ford F-150 XLT 5.0L

Fuel gauge not working, replaced instrument panel cluster.

Customer complains that fuel gauge doesn’t work.

Diagnostic Steps Performed/Parts Replaced
Checked to make sure tank had fuel in it. Fuel gauge needle at E and Low Fuel warning showing on dash. Module scan revealed P0463, Fuel Level Sensor A Circuit High. I can actuate the fuel gauge and it responds fine. Found open circuit at fuel level sensor. Dropped tank and found the small contacts for the lever sensor that sweep the windings missing. Installed new fuel pump module and still no gauge reading. Am I correct in leaning towards a bad PCM or a bad signal wire going to it? Customer recently purchased this truck and I can see where the harness has already been opened up at the PCM connector I need to look at. I retested new sensor and it’s ok. Any tips or guidance is greatly appreciated.

Best Answer from Community Member DAG1365
I would think if you can sweep gauge with scanner it is operating properly, did you voltage drop test wires from sender to instrument panel cluster (IPC)? if so would be sure connectors and solder joints on IPC are good, have had connection problems (solder joints) on some of these IPC.

I followed advice from my fellow community members, and the OEM testing, and service info says install a new IPC. IPC control module is in the IPC so the scanner was overriding the internal module and allowing it to work the gauge making me think it wasn’t the panel. I like this design better than the earlier Fords that wouldn’t start with the IPC removed. Thanks again for the help.

Replaced instrument cluster with used unit and fuel gauge works as expected.

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About the Author

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is the SureTrack Community Administrator and a Senior Applications Specialist at Mitchell 1 with over 25 years of experience with electronic repair data systems. Nick previously worked in the automotive dismantling and engine rebuilding industries.