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I may have to replace the fuel pump on my 2001 buick regal, and found a blog post here which was pretty detailed. The person who posted that weighed their float down with 12 gauge copper wire, apparently the new fuel pump had the same problem with the float as the one that needed replacing.

My question is: Is that a safe way to weigh down the float? copper wire conducts electricity and a conductor in my gas tank worries me a little bit. Also, what is the recommended way to fix a floating gas needle, if that person took the wrong approach?

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Do you need to replace your fuel pump because it is failing or do you need to replace the level sender because it isn't reporting correctly? Or both? It seems that wire trick is required only if you get a fuel level sender which has a stronger resistance (to gravity). If you get an OEM style fuel sender you may not have this issue. If you do just do the wire trick. The wire won't harm anything being in there it isn't attached to anything and wont short anything out. I am actually surprised how much wiring is submerged/connected inside the fuel tank without issue. –  Mike Saull Apr 10 '13 at 15:23
    
@MikeSaull I ran out of gas, I've since put about a 1/4 tank of gas in and my car still won't start. I've got it to sputter after adding the gas, and it was able to start after using a little starter fluid, but it didn't run that long, so I have to troubleshoot whether or not the pump is bad. A friend of mine just told me to check the fuel filter as it can get clogged also when running down to 'E', I will check that as well since it's been awhile since I've changed that. –  BigHomie Apr 10 '13 at 15:27
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Yes it's a good idea to change the fuel filter. Also leave the car in the on position for 5 seconds then turn it off then back to on position for 5 seconds again before actually cranking the engine to see if that makes any difference. –  Mike Saull Apr 10 '13 at 16:01

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think weighing down the float is definitely the wrong approach - they're fixing the symptom (float not falling) rather than the cause (stiff pivot on the sender). It looks like the sender is easy to remove from the pump, so I'd try and make sure the sender moved freely through its full range of movement before fitting it - this may require lubricating the pivot, or adjusting it somehow to free it up.

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I don't see any issue with weighting the float. Obviously it is preferred to have it operate as intended but if you are ordering a part manufactured in china for $.13 then you kind of need to work with what you have. It's not going to hurt anything to weight the float. –  Mike Saull Apr 10 '13 at 16:07
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+1 for fix the problem, not the symptom –  Bob Cross Apr 10 '13 at 16:40
    
I replaced the entire pump assembly, sender and all. Problem fixed. On a side note, it's quite weird after driving this car for 7 years to have a working fuel gauge. –  BigHomie May 14 '13 at 14:48

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