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1957 Buick: Fuel Level Sender Fix


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Hello Gents,


After running out of gas two times in one month....I need to fix this....


1957 Buick Super. 

I redid the fuel tank and installed a new level sender in the process.

I used a classic instruments SN-36 sender. 0 - 30 Ohms.


Here is a picture of the sender.



Long story short:  After getting installed and hooking up the wire, I get no reading on the fuel gauge in the dash. So I attached a ground wire between the fuel tank flange and the chassis (ground paint for clean contact).  Still, no reading. 


I am now moving on to the dashboard and cluster.

The mechanical gauges in the dash work (water temp, oil press) and also also generator gauge works.

But I have no backlighting and no speedometer/trip meter/odometer. 


Could the gauge be the culprit? I am hesitant to tear into the cluster.

Is 0-30 Ohm even the correct range for the factory gauge?


Maybe I will just mount an aftermarket fuel level gauge somewhere inconspicuous....


All Input welcome!


(PS, this car is for sale).





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What was the issue with your original sender?  Did the swing arm shape AND length match the original sender?  Did you bench check the new sender (hooked up and moved the swing arm manually to see if it worked the fuel gauge in the cluster) prior to installation?  Just curious.


I'm not sure what the spec resistance is for that fuel gauge indicator system, but it looks like the sender you purchased is somewhat "universal" in nature, due to the adjustability of the float arm length.  From what I've seen of factory senders, the float arm is quite a bit longer AND has some bends in it, rather than just an adjustable straight arm.  I believe the factory floats were brass tube floats rather than the one on your unit?  It might also be that "the swing" on your sender is not compatible with your tank shape?


I know on my '77 Camaro that the fuel gauge system gets its voltage feed from the volt gauge circuit on the cluster.  Perhaps that earlier Buick is similar?


If possible, make sure the sender works for your tank and application prior to getting the cluster out.  Make sure that all issues point in that direction first, which means getting things verified at the back of the car first.


Please keep us posted on your progress.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Per my recollection, the 57' is the standard 30 ohm range that was used till 64' (barring a couple exceptions). Have you performed a basic continuity test on the gauge? At the gauge, ground the sending unit post, the gauge should read empty. Isolate the sending unit post (at the gauge) and the gauge should read full. If nothing happens, the gauge has lost continuity somewhere and can be repaired or replaced. Often they lose ground connection through the mount plate.

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