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Old 10-23-2019, 01:41 PM   #1
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96 Fleetwood Southwind (Chevy Chassis) Fuel Gauge Readings

Hi all,

I've got a multiple part question relating to our 29' 1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm with 454 on the Chevy chassis (P30).

The first, and probably main question is how is the fuel level gauge supposed to be read on this vehicle? The gauge is, in my opinion, weird and we can't seem to figure out what each level is supposed to read. We also seem to always sit nice and high above a 1/2 tank for ages and then plummet down to the point of being nervous we're about out of fuel. Every trip we've taken with the rig (admittedly only 4 of them) has had a moment of panic while we quickly try and find a gas station because our half tank now looks like fumes based on the gauge.

I expect the reading to change a bit when climbing, descending, and driving on the flat but it seems to be all over the place.

Here's what our gauge looks like:



I want to say that should be 1/4 of a tank but there are the additional little lines on the inside circle and when it's full the needle sits a bit to the right of the almost full circle on the right side.

So, that's the first question, how should I be reading this and what would make the gauge drop faster below 1/2 a tank vs above it?

Second question, and depending on what sort of explanation I get RE the reading of the current gauge maybe an unnecessary question: Can anyone see a reason why I wouldn't be able to wire in a second, auxiliary gauge to the existing signal wiring to give a more familiar (and hopefully more accurate) reading?

If I'm understanding things correctly, the gauges require switched 12v, ground, and sending unit signal. If I'm picking up that signal at the current gauge or in line somewhere does anyone see how that would create an issue? I believe the sending unit is where the resistor is housed and depending on the float level it will give a different voltage reading. (I think the range for Chevy's is 0 to 90 ohms of resistance right?)

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide on this, we're loving the rig but not loving the "emergency" stops for fuel every trip...
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:28 PM   #2
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Just realized this might be a better post for the workhorse / Chevy. chassis forum.

Any chance I can get a mod to relocate this thread? I don't want to double post or cross link posts (I'm assuming that's not allowed).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod6657 View Post
Hi all,

I've got a multiple part question relating to our 29' 1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm with 454 on the Chevy chassis (P30).

The first, and probably main question is how is the fuel level gauge supposed to be read on this vehicle? The gauge is, in my opinion, weird and we can't seem to figure out what each level is supposed to read. We also seem to always sit nice and high above a 1/2 tank for ages and then plummet down to the point of being nervous we're about out of fuel. Every trip we've taken with the rig (admittedly only 4 of them) has had a moment of panic while we quickly try and find a gas station because our half tank now looks like fumes based on the gauge.

I expect the reading to change a bit when climbing, descending, and driving on the flat but it seems to be all over the place.

Here's what our gauge looks like:



I want to say that should be 1/4 of a tank but there are the additional little lines on the inside circle and when it's full the needle sits a bit to the right of the almost full circle on the right side.

So, that's the first question, how should I be reading this and what would make the gauge drop faster below 1/2 a tank vs above it?

Second question, and depending on what sort of explanation I get RE the reading of the current gauge maybe an unnecessary question: Can anyone see a reason why I wouldn't be able to wire in a second, auxiliary gauge to the existing signal wiring to give a more familiar (and hopefully more accurate) reading?

If I'm understanding things correctly, the gauges require switched 12v, ground, and sending unit signal. If I'm picking up that signal at the current gauge or in line somewhere does anyone see how that would create an issue? I believe the sending unit is where the resistor is housed and depending on the float level it will give a different voltage reading. (I think the range for Chevy's is 0 to 90 ohms of resistance right?)

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide on this, we're loving the rig but not loving the "emergency" stops for fuel every trip...
My 89' Winnie on a P30 chassis has a gas gauge about the size of your temp gauge, and I don't trust it one bit, especially below 1/4 of a tank. To compensate I simply average my fuel economy on the safe side of 5 miles per gallon. A 60 gallon tank X 5 miles per gallon gives me an estimated range of 300 miles. At about 280 miles I start looking for a gas station.
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:17 PM   #4
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My 89' Winnie on a P30 chassis has a gas gauge about the size of your temp gauge, and I don't trust it one bit, especially below 1/4 of a tank. To compensate I simply average my fuel economy on the safe side of 5 miles per gallon. A 60 gallon tank X 5 miles per gallon gives me an estimated range of 300 miles. At about 280 miles I start looking for a gas station.

Thanks for the feedback, I'm still toying with the auxiliary gauge to see if that helps the accuracy but maybe 1/2 tank needs to be our new "time to find gas" level...


We've done close to 550 on a tank before without incident (I believe we've got a 75 gallon tank) but like I said, that ended up with some emergency searching for a station and some less than ideal ones at that! I don't like cutting it that close in the least.


If I go the aux gauge route and it helps I'll be sure to report!
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Old 11-14-2019, 07:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback, I'm still toying with the auxiliary gauge to see if that helps the accuracy but maybe 1/2 tank needs to be our new "time to find gas" level...


We've done close to 550 on a tank before without incident (I believe we've got a 75 gallon tank) but like I said, that ended up with some emergency searching for a station and some less than ideal ones at that! I don't like cutting it that close in the least.


If I go the aux gauge route and it helps I'll be sure to report!

Where was the needle pointing when you filled at ~550 mile range?


My dash looks exactly like yours. At the mid point I've filled many times and it always was 30 gallons. So I'm sure my tank is 60 gallon more or less.


Mileage is anywhere from 8-10 on the highway at ~60mph. If in traffic 6-8mpg.


For the P30 owners out there tell us about your dash temp gauge and what readings you see under diff. conditions? That gauge is not the most accurate.


Two examples of my dash temp gauge along with T stat reading using IR gun...


https://www.dropbox.com/s/1g7tqhth3u...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0




https://www.dropbox.com/s/9v74r8uuni...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:39 PM   #6
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Where was the needle pointing when you filled at ~550 mile range?


My dash looks exactly like yours. At the mid point I've filled many times and it always was 30 gallons. So I'm sure my tank is 60 gallon more or less.


Mileage is anywhere from 8-10 on the highway at ~60mph. If in traffic 6-8mpg.


For the P30 owners out there tell us about your dash temp gauge and what readings you see under diff. conditions? That gauge is not the most accurate.


Two examples of my dash temp gauge along with T stat reading using IR gun...


https://www.dropbox.com/s/1g7tqhth3u...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0




https://www.dropbox.com/s/9v74r8uuni...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0
I'm on my 3rd mid 90s P32 coach in 8 years. My 95 Challenger the temp gauge was very close to what my scanner was reading. It always ran right about 200 and that's where the fan cycled. My 98 Daybreak was way off but on the low side. It only showed about 170 when it was really 200 or a little more. This 96 Challenger shows about like my first Challenger, but I haven't put my scanner on it. I've put 2000 miles on this summer and it runs great. I'll be rebuilding the front end come spring, and a tune up. Every one of these with the small HEI distributor has been hard on caps and rotors. I usually replace them every other year and only use brass terminal caps. I averaged 9.6 to 9.8 this summer with a generator running. My Dolphin on a w22 only got around 7 mpg in the same conditions. I like the smaller coach much better. My late wife liked the bigger coach better that's why we had the Dolphin.
My fuel gauge works pretty good too. On mine 1/2 on the gauge, it'll take 40 to 45 gallons. I'm ready for a break long before that. I had a couple 500 mile days this summer, won't be NO more of them, for this old guy.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udidwht View Post
Where was the needle pointing when you filled at ~550 mile range?


My dash looks exactly like yours. At the mid point I've filled many times and it always was 30 gallons. So I'm sure my tank is 60 gallon more or less.


Mileage is anywhere from 8-10 on the highway at ~60mph. If in traffic 6-8mpg.


For the P30 owners out there tell us about your dash temp gauge and what readings you see under diff. conditions? That gauge is not the most accurate.


Two examples of my dash temp gauge along with T stat reading using IR gun...


https://www.dropbox.com/s/1g7tqhth3u...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0




https://www.dropbox.com/s/9v74r8uuni...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0

The times it's crept up on us and all of a sudden seems low I'd say we're right around where the red line and black circle are in this:





The unnerving part is how quickly it goes from well above 1/2 (or what I think should be 1/2 based on the gauge layout) to looking like almost nothing. We've put a ton of fuel in when we stop after one of those, I want to say close to 70 gallons so I'm fairly sure that we were flirting with disaster at least once.


Temp gauge doesn't seem to do a whole lot but the thing also runs great. The one that gets me of the aux gauges is the oil pressure. It just sorta sits there at the same spot regardless if we're coasting, accelerating, cruising, etc... Probably something else I should look into but given the low mileage of our rig I'm not super concerned.



Our mileage is similar, at least when we're towing the Jeep. We haven't put enough miles on the rig to really understand where the mileage falls yet and I think every trip we've done took us over some sort of mountain so that remains to be seen.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:26 PM   #8
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I'm on my 3rd mid 90s P32 coach in 8 years. My 95 Challenger the temp gauge was very close to what my scanner was reading. It always ran right about 200 and that's where the fan cycled. My 98 Daybreak was way off but on the low side. It only showed about 170 when it was really 200 or a little more. This 96 Challenger shows about like my first Challenger, but I haven't put my scanner on it. I've put 2000 miles on this summer and it runs great. I'll be rebuilding the front end come spring, and a tune up. Every one of these with the small HEI distributor has been hard on caps and rotors. I usually replace them every other year and only use brass terminal caps. I averaged 9.6 to 9.8 this summer with a generator running. My Dolphin on a w22 only got around 7 mpg in the same conditions. I like the smaller coach much better. My late wife liked the bigger coach better that's why we had the Dolphin.
My fuel gauge works pretty good too. On mine 1/2 on the gauge, it'll take 40 to 45 gallons. I'm ready for a break long before that. I had a couple 500 mile days this summer, won't be NO more of them, for this old guy.

The distributor is something I just tackled this past summer. Removed it for tear down and replaced the ICM, pick up coil, cap, rotor, ignition coil and wire cleaned the metal stator.


I'd already replaced the plugs and wires roughly 15K ago. I use high temp socks over the wires. Run Autolite Copper plugs. It adds a piece of mind while out on the road replacing all this stuff.


Pick up coil shot...(Original coil) with just over 50K on it.



https://www.dropbox.com/s/7v3r2hi4q0...B1%5D.jpg?dl=0
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