The little ball that's attached to the fuel gauge sender in my car has a hole in it meaning that the fuel gauge isn't working. It is not possible to buy a replacement float - the whole sender unit must be purchased, which is expensive.

Would something like a fishing float or cork or even a table tennis ball survive being inside a fuel tank?

  • 2
    Those wouldn't last. Some of those are made of styrofoam which will melt in gasoline. I doubt you can purchase the float separately. Your only choice would be going to a junk yard and pulling a gas tank to find a use float. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 12 '16 at 22:42
  • maybe run an experiment with JB Weld, the fishing lure and a piece of coathanger. After it dries soak it in a can of fuel to see if the jb weld holds up as advertised. I've used it on a carb gas leak before when I was young and poor. I think it would be awesome if you could make that work! – DucatiKiller Apr 13 '16 at 3:14
  • Don't forget the brush card sender unit (variable resistor system) doesn't last forever either. The sender unit is best replaced whole. – zipzit Apr 13 '16 at 5:09
  • How did a hole get there in a first place? Anyways, you could just replace it with a float from any other car, as long as the dimensions are similar. Or you can try a toilet float, just try to leave it in gasoline for a while to see how it holds up. – I have no idea what I'm doing Apr 13 '16 at 7:18
  • I don't know how rubber will hold up but you could stretch a balloon over the float and see if it holds up – Zaid Apr 13 '16 at 10:04

I've successfully used ping-pong balls in the past, on gasoline and diesel vehicles.


You probably allready thought of this but have you concidered getting one from a scrapped car? i use parts from the car dump all the time and i rarely have issues.

Sometimes you might even get it for free concidering the guys working at the scrapyard are usually nice guys :)


Cork will be porous so probably not a wise choice.

If you have a rare car and can't find an appropriate scrap vehicle (which would be my first choice) then a ping pong ball firmly secured to the sender are will be very effective.


You could use a float from a motorcycle

You can get these used from various motorcycles for very cheap.

From there you can use a propane torch to unweld them from their hangar and braze them onto your float arm. The fuel will never degrade one and there are plenty of them around for a very low cost.

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I used a pill bottle. Standard hole for sending unit is 1 1/2", pill bottle is 1 3/8". grind the most outer part of the cap off and cap retainers on the bottle. Epoxy glue the cap to bottle. I drilled holes in each end and Epoxied to lever rod. I then put a whole coat of epoxy over entire bottle. The epoxy fully encapsulated the pill bottle. 5 minute epoxy at the Dollar Store $1.99

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