Gauge Sending Units
The primary gauge sending unit, is the fuel gauge sending unit, however,all sending units share a similar function, in that they transport information from the source of the engine to the gauges.
The fuel gauge sending unit is located on the top of the vehicle's fuel tank, and is responsible for moving the fuel gauge to the proper position, in order to inform the driver of the fuel level. The sending unit contains a float that is connected to a metal rod. The metal rod is attached to a resistor, which is an electrical device that resists the flow of electricity. Also connected to the gauge is the wiper, which slides along the resistive material strip on the resistor. As the fuel drops in the sending unit, the float drops. When the fuel tank is nearly full of fuel, the resistor and wiper rest on their side, indicating that the resistance is small, which sends a large amount of current through the fuel gauge. As the fuel level drops, and the float sinks, the wiper also moves,due to experiencing more resistance and the amount of current sent back to the gauge will be less.
The fuel gauge sending unit causes two main inaccuracy issues in fuel gauges. First, when the fuel tank is full, the float is at its maximum raised position, which is limited by either the rod it is connected to, or by the top of the tank. Because the float is submerged, and doesn't begin to sink until the fuel level drops near the bottom of the float. Often times, a tank stays on full longer than it would in other positions. Second, in some tanks, the floats range of motion does not extend to the very bottom, which causes the gauge to read empty when there still is fuel in the tank.
While the fuel gauge sending unit is the primary sending unit for gauges, the fuel pressure gauge sending unit is also important for a vehicle. The pressure sending unit is most commonly mounted straight into the fuel filter assembly. The fitting depends on the the size of the of the nut on the top of the fuel tank. The installation of the sending unit is typically easy, and a wire connects from the sending unit, to the pin of the gauge.
A third type of gauge sending unit is the temperature gauge sending unit, which is installed into a water hose. This unit is designed to be screwed into the ground engine block and be wired from the actual sending unit, to the gauge. The purpose of the temperature gauge is to display the temperature of the fluid within the engine.
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