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Old 01-08-2011, 05:19 PM
yumanoid yumanoid is offline
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Question 1990 E350 fuel gauge not working dual tank /MPG?

I bought a 1990 E350 7.3IDI cargo van with a camper turtle top and the fuel gauge doesn't work. The guy I got it from said that he thinks he remembers one tank not registering at the gauge first and then a while later the other tank also not registering. I'm trying to eliminate any wiring or ground fault possibilities before I do any tank dropping to check floats, but have no manual and no idea which wires are which and how to test things. Thanks for any thoughts, help, or direction to electrical / tech manuals for the diesel IDI. It seems to suck down fuel too. Only 175 K miles on it, runs strong, but getting like 12 mpg. I think it can do better, but what needs tinkering? I want to work the kinks out before doing a camper conversion and maybe installing a plastic or aluminum tank and all the veggie oil stuff.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:30 PM
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If thats a cargo van, then 12 MPG isn't entirely out of line depending on how you are driving it and what your gearing is. Cube vans are big, heavy and wide with all the aerodynamics of a brick. However, the condition and correct tuning of the fuel system will make a big difference. In general, the injection system only lasts about 100 000 miles. It will not drop dead at that point but will begin to gradually run worse as time goes on. How consistently it was maintained also plays a roll. If the PO wasn't running a fuel lubricity supplement, it will not last much longer than the 100k mark (if it makes it).

As for the fuel tank, if its registering consistently at some levels and consistently blank outside of that, its likely the sending unit in the fuel tank itself.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:46 AM
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thanks

The fuel gauge does not register anything at all, ever, no matter which tank, fuel or no fuel it always shows empty.
And thanks for weighing in on the mpg thing - I'd just heard and read about 20mpg and thought . . . wishful thinking perhaps.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:00 AM
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What does the gauge show?
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:26 PM
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Done deal: the floats in both tanks were drowned at the bottom of the tank. Easy fix with junk yard parts - thanks to no salt and sunny California, no seized, rusted bolts! The MPG thing still concerns me though - seems it must be able to do better than 11-13mpg at 55-60 on the freeway with a totally empty van. It has a high top on it, but it looks very aerodynamic the way it slopes back. No idea what the gearing is - any idea how to tell? And any way to improve it for better mileage? I don't care about power, I'd rather show up at my destination late without friction burn on my wallet.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:59 PM
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Thanks for the update.

For the fuel economy issue, you can try to locate a good diesel mechanic to have the timing checked. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to find some one that knows these engines. There are some members in cali that might have the equipment, but I'm not sure how close they are to you.
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1986 F150 Ex cab Lariat rollercam 5.0L on LPG AOD trans 3.55 gears 390 000Ks
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:08 PM
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Thanks David - yes, I've discovered already that it's tough to find a mechanic for this beast. Surprised me, I figured they were common enough . . . Thanks for the timing tip. Injection pump timing I'm assuming? I've heard or read the way to do it reliably is with dynamic timing equipment, but then someone told me it was going to be impossible or very expensive to find anyone willing to touch my IP. I'll keep asking around. Thanks again.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:17 AM
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There is one other way to time it by ear and thats how many guys do it.

When the engine is cold and the cold timing advance/high idle is on (assuming it is working properly), there will be an extra rattle that makes it sound noisier almost like an early powerstroke. Its a louder "Clacky" sort of knock.

When the timing advance shuts off, the extra noise more or less disappears. This might get you close, but likely won't be ideal.

Go too advanced and internal damage can happen at worst, or more likely, your glow plugs will stop working. I had my truck a little too far ahead and several glow plugs stopped working over the course of a few weeks.

Make sure you have a very accurate mark on the injector pump and drive gear housing before moving anything in case you have to go back to where you had it.

Rotating the injector pump to the passenger side will advance the timing, while rotating to the driver's side will retard it.
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1986 F150 Ex cab Lariat rollercam 5.0L on LPG AOD trans 3.55 gears 390 000Ks
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:53 PM
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My motorhome 1987 E350 Class C 26ft. gets 11-12mpg with the right conditions, 100% highway driving, cruise control @ 60mph.

It's got a complete fresh fuel system about 40-50k ago and timed. Made a huge difference in power and mpg!


With 175k on yours, i'm pretty sure it's still got it's original injectors, IP etc. It be time for some new ones!
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1987 Ford E350 26ft. Motorhome, N/A 6.9L Diesel, C6, 3.54, 289,000km/180,000 miles.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:53 PM
 
 
 
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