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Old 09-03-2015, 10:32 AM   #1
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2002 Winnebago Journey 36DL Fuel Tank

Fuel tank float gauge 2002 Winnebago Journey
I have a 2002 Winnebago Journey 36 dl. The fuel tank is full and the gauge reads empty. It has been fluctuating for the past 1500 miles or so. It would do ok between 3/4 and 1/2 tank but when it got to 1/2 tank it would go close to empty.
I would pull over to fuel and it would only take 22 to 25 gallons. then would only show 3/4 full.
Finally the other day on a short trip it went to empty and will not move.
I filled it so I know its full.
My question is how to get the float out of the diesel tank? looks like it is on the top of the tank, do you have to drop the tank for access?
On a side note when I turn the ignition on I see a slight movement in the dash gauge so I'm thinking that is working.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:58 AM   #2
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Yes, drop the tank to access sending unit. I would do this with a very close to empty tank.
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Old 09-04-2015, 08:20 AM   #3
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My wife's cad does exactly the same thing. I have elected to reset the trip odometer and fill up at 200 miles rather than fix the sending unit.
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:27 AM   #4
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Several years ago mine did the same thing. I used the odometer and filled up every 400-500 miles. After several fill ups and trips it started to work again and have had no further problems.

Before spending any money I'd give it a couple of fill ups and trips to see if it will work again. Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2015, 10:42 AM   #5
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I had a similar problem a few years ago ... my ignition switch was "loose" (you could actually jiggle the switch) ... I made a little gizmo that helped me tighten the bezel ... the switch is now tight ... and the erratic fuel gauge problem disappeared ...

I think it must have been a faulty ground somewhere.
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Old 09-05-2015, 11:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie2 View Post
Fuel tank float gauge 2002 Winnebago Journey
I have a 2002 Winnebago Journey 36 dl. The fuel tank is full and the gauge reads empty. It has been fluctuating for the past 1500 miles or so. It would do ok between 3/4 and 1/2 tank but when it got to 1/2 tank it would go close to empty.
I would pull over to fuel and it would only take 22 to 25 gallons. then would only show 3/4 full.
Finally the other day on a short trip it went to empty and will not move.
I filled it so I know its full.
My question is how to get the float out of the diesel tank? looks like it is on the top of the tank, do you have to drop the tank for access?
On a side note when I turn the ignition on I see a slight movement in the dash gauge so I'm thinking that is working.
Charlie,
Before that last 1500 miles, had you been having any issues with it? In the old days, as in oh, say, DECADES ago, the actual float at the end of the float arm was made with two halves of thin, brass cup. The two were soldered together and a slight groove was inset, all the way around the middle for the end of the float arm to reside in.

Now, what can and did happen to many, many of those floats was, they developed a broken solder joint which would lead to a pin-hole. And, over time, that would lead to infiltration of the fluid, which, was gasoline for the most part, into that float. Well, as you can imagine, it no longer FLOATS. Thus indicating an EMPTY tank, no matter if it was full or not.

Since gas, or diesel if that was a diesel tank, is the same weight all the way around, and the float was beginning to fill up, to the point it was full, then the float materials i.e. brass and solder, just sunk to the bottom AND STAYED THERE.

Now, is that what's happening to yours? Not sure. Not sure what your float is made of and or, how it's designed. But, I do know one thing. While it surely would be a pain in the a$$ to do the work, I'd do one of two or three things.

1. I'd take a few small trips or, one longer one, OUT and BACK, that would use up, 90-95% of the fuel in the tank so that you could raise the coach and empty what's left.

2. Find or acquire a couple of nice clean 55 Gallon drums and, again, raise the coach and empty the tank.

On many of the diesel coaches, there is a drain plug in the tank. Now, for sure, as stated, it would be a pain to do this process but, look at it this way. You do the pain in the a$$ job of emptying it, ONE TIME. Then you pull the tank. Get the sender out and, figure out what's wrong with it. If it's obvious, fix it. if not, you can set up a couple of jumper wires and, ground it and, turn the ignition on and, move the sender up and down the resistor housing and have an accomplice inside the coach, telling you what the fuel gauge is doing.

It's one of those things that, the repair is nothing. It's the labor and logistics of what's involved in getting to the fix, that's the problem. Been there done that a zillion times. Many of my repairs are a shear pain to get to and put back, the broken part but, the repair has been simple.

Now as for your gauges "moving" when the ignition is turned on. In the older Freightliner days, as in around '03 and older, the gauges in some coaches would "tickle" a bit when the ignition is turned on. That is a test to make sure that the "system" for gauge control, is activated and, it working. Your coach, has what's called the VDC or, Vehicle Data Computer that is mounted, (normally) on the frame, close to the engine.

It receives all data from the engine ECM, trans TCM and, ABS module and, translates it, then sends it to the gauges for you to see what's going on in and with the engine etc.

And, part of it's operation is to "test" those gauges when the ignition is turned on. So, what you see in the MOVEMENT in the gage needles during ignition startup, is normal.

The later ones, as in around '04 and a year or two beyond, the gauges would dip to below the "off" position to "initialize". (The same test) And, the latest test and initialization is, a full sweep of gauges from the lowest point to the highest point, prior to engine startup.
Scott
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Old 09-05-2015, 02:17 PM   #7
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Scott, very informative. Pretty sure I will end up dropping the tank which will probably not get done for a couple of months. I promise I will post the final fix.
Thanks everyone for your wisdom.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:22 PM   #8
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Just to update we drove 1,000 miles Dec 26, and 27 watched mileage and filled at 500 miles each time. No problems. Trip was flawless.
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Old 03-19-2016, 03:30 PM   #9
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Charlie, you didn't indicate that the problem has been repaired, and so you may intend to drop the tank. Before you do, you may be able to determine if the sender is the problem, by gaining access to the wire going to the sender.

Generally speaking, (and this can be conformed with Winnebago tech support), if the sending unit wire is grounded (to the chassis), the fuel gauge will read full. If the wire is open (not connected to anything), the gauge will read empty.

I don't know if it is that way on our MH, but it is that way on boat fuel tanks. Might be worth a call, as thee could be a break or corroded connection in the wiring
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