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GAS GAGE 38 BUICK


LAS VEGAS DAVE
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I just finished the overdrive installation on my 38 special. The gas gage worked before I started on that project but after I let the car off the jacks and before I started on any of the electrical hook up to the newly installed overdrive the gas gage quit working. It stays pegged above the FULL mark. Today I disconnected the ground side of the gage terminal and only left the hot side hooked up, I thought the gage would not register but even with the ground wire disconnected when I turn the ignition on and the other terminal becomes hot the gage instantly pegs itself again. I think this means that the gage itself is shorted and is now broken. If there is someone on here that is knowledgeable about this year gas gage and can tell me if I am assuming correctly or not I would appreciate it.  Also would like to know if the gas gage removes seperatly from the instrument cluster or if all the gages are in one piece. I am thinking of getting any 6 volt gas gage and connecting it to the two wires that are on my gage and see what happens . Hopefully one of you knows something about these gages and can explain about them to me.  Dave

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I haven't grounded the tank to the frame with a redundant wire yet but I have determined the wire from the sending where it disconnects from the short sending unit wire to the gage is not broken, I will do the wire to the frame from the tank and also check that the short sending unit wire is not open. I bought a working gas gage as I think thats the problem and I got an old gage cluster to see exactly how the gage it self attaches to the cluster. It will be a week or two before those parts are here. Meanwhile I will make the other tests you guys suggested and hopefully find a simple fix. 

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The short wire going to the sender is not grounded and either is the the terminal on the top of the sending unit, the tank seems to be grounded but it isn't easy to get the ohm meter to sound its continuity beep, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't, maybe the ground isn't to good. I guess I ought to add a ground strap from the tank to the frame before I condemn the sending unit. I have proven that the gage is fine so its down to a bad sending unit or a broken wire or the tank isn't grounded to the frame good. I found another 38 Buick sending unit and when it gets here I'll test it with an ohm meter. I don't want to lower the tank until I have a good sending unit in my hand in case I need it.

Edited by LAS VEGAS DAVE (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I obtained a 38 Buick sending unit and it works, but there is a problem. The sending unit I got is different from the one I took out and unfortunately the mounting holes do not line up with the holes in my gas tank. The sending unit that was sent to me has a gear that is connected to the float arm, this gear turns a rod that leads to the little housing with the coil in it. The unit I took out of my tank does not have the gear or rod and instead the float arm leads to a similar housing directly. As I have said before my car was from the Lewis Jenkins collection. I was told that Lewis put a new gas tank in the car when he got it as the old one was gummed up pretty bad, that was back in 1982. He also put in a new fuel pump. I am not sure if it is an original tank or another one, I thought it was original and seems to be as the fit is perfect. I also thought the sending unit I received was a stock 38 Buick one as the sender is very knowledgeable about the 38 Buick. In any case the best thing I could do was to ship my sending unit to a fellow by the name of John Wolf in Ohio to have it repaired. He was recommended to me by another member as the guy who repairs gas sending units. If anybody has replaced their sending unit in a 38 Buick maybe they can tell me what the one in their 38 looked like. I notice that the different models had different size tanks so maybe they had different sending units, mine is a Special. I also know that the sending unit was definitely different in a 39 than in a 38. The goal is to have a working gas gage but my curiosity would like to know the reason for why the sender that was sent to me is different from what I have. In the end the car will have a working gage regardless if I ever know the answer about the differences.

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I talked to John Wolf in Ohio today and he has already looked at the sending unit. Something was broken in the coil part of the unit and he said he will fix it on Monday. This guy has a nice website and does beautiful work on gage restorations. If you would like to look at his work just put his name in Google. Hopefully I will get the sending unit back next week and reinstall the tank. All the gages will be working so I think my next project will be to repair a ding in the drivers door and a patch of missing paint on the rear fender. I guess if I get a burst of energy after that there is a heater fan motor that moans and groans as it turns, maybe that will be another project. 

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