Cheapskate brother vs. smart brother

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with an erratic fuel gauge. The local Lincoln-Mercury dealer, where I bought the car used, has replace both the sending unit and the dash gauge to no avail. I have also added a ground wire to make sure the tank is electrically grounded to the frame. Nothing helped. The gauge seems to work at times, but at other times, points way off the scale to above the full mark. Can you offer any suggestions?

TOM: The cheapskate brother suggests you go to your hardware store and buy a broom. Stick the handle into the tank, calibrate if for full, half, and empty, and leave it in the back seat.

RAY: The smart brother says that if you've replaced both ends of the system--the sending unit and the dashboard gauge--the problem must be where? Right! In between. There's probably a bad connection in the wire that runs between the tank and the gauge. Have your wife drive the car while you hang underneath it and try to determine where the wire is intermittently making contact. Better yet, avoid those nasty scrapes on your back and have the dealer replace the whole wire.

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