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  1. #1
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    Weird fuel gauge issues after changing out LPFP

    Hey guys. I had this posted over on N54tech but I figured I would try here as well because not sure if everyone is on both forums.

    Recently I switched my DIY Stage 1 255 inline fuel kit for a SteveAz Stage 2 kit. Since then I have had issues with the fuel gauge reading incorrectly. My gauge was working correctly before the install. The gauge never goes any higher than just under 3/4 of a tank and will go as low as about 1/8th and more recently to empty. Unfortunately these levels occur without any regard to the actual fuel in the tank in that they are never displaying the right fuel amount.

    I have taken the following the steps without any resolution:
    1. Removed neg battery cable for 15 minutes and reattached.
    2. Reflashed my backend using the BB software doing a full forced write.
    3. Did menu 1/5 to reset the gauges via JB4.
    4. Did JB4 1/7 reset adaptations.
    5. Did the hidden OBD menu 21 reset which resets the gauge cluster (I think the JB4 1/5 reset is doing the same thing?)
    6. Did the hidden OBD menu 2 gauge cluster check which was normal.
    7. Took the Stage 2 back out and replaced the float level sensor with one off my stock unit that I know was in good working order. The fuel levels changed slightly but seem to report the same incorrect ranges as before. I repeated the Menu 21 cluster reset after this because I read in other forums that you need to do it after replacing the sensor.
    8. Removed the bucket hat and replaced with the one off my stock unit. No improvement.
    9. Installed new battery and registered via BT software.
    10. Reset multiple adaptations in BT software including ECU reset. There were some error codes related to the passenger bucket sensor under the instrument cluster and junction box sections but they weren’t currently present. I have deleted the codes and have been monitoring for them to reoccur which they haven’t.

    I have been in touch with Steve who is a super nice guy and has been very helpful trying to help me get to the bottom of this. There was some speculation that pulling the LPFP fuse may have something to do with it. This was recommended in the old DIY instructions and Steve doesn't recommend it mainly because it isn't necessary since when you pull the connectors off the hat the unit is powered down. I have done 3 other cars pulling the fuse and I know people pulled it back in the day following the DIY. I have never had an issue before and I don't remember anyone else reporting this. When I took out the bucket to replace the float sensor I didn't pull the fuse but the problem was already there so I am not sure if that would even make a difference.

    I used to always have the JB4 'boost on fuel' with no stealth but I have since turned it off. The first time I installed the Stage 2 kit this was enabled. It was turned off when I took out the Stage 2, changed the float sensor and reinstalled. I know the JB4 can alters the gauges so not sure if that is the issue. I have yet to enable this function since the problem started.

    I have confirmed that it is the passenger side sensor that is reading wrong by using the hidden OBD menu 6 which tells you the liters of fuel on each side of the tank. When full my passenger sensor reads 25 liters low while the drivers sensor reads normal. I compared the values to a friends E92 which has a working gas gauge to determine the levels on a normal tank. If any one is curious we have a 16.5 gallon tank when completely full.

    Has anyone experienced this issue? I have read on another forum that the dealer has installed a new tank in some cars because of “bad sensors”. Seems like it was a common problem with the E46 when people changed out the fuel pump albeit they have a much different float sensor.

    I have contemplated going to dealer since I am still under factory warranty. My fear is that part of their diagnostics they may flash me to the newest DME software INA0S_IS which hasn’t been cracked yet.

    Thanks in advance for any input!
    E92 335is DCT

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    Tough one. Just sort of thinking (typing?) out loud (eh?)...

    You've pretty much covered everything except the driver side float sensor as far as typical component failure goes. I know you said you narrowed it down to passenger side sensor error but bear with me. So one possibility, sensor readings aside, is that the driver side sensor is no good.

    The problem with that is that it doesn't explain your incorrect reading. So... is it actually an incorrect reading on the passenger side sensor? What if it's right? What could cause that?

    Is it possible one of your return lines feeding back into your bucket got snagged, kinked, jacked up, or some other issue that would cause the passenger side of the tank to be lower? Did you pull too hard on it and it popped off on the driver side?

    What does the tank read (gauge on dash, and each side) when completely full? How about estimated 1/2 tank? 1/4? Trying to rule out possibilities. Could it be a JB4 fault (doubtful)? A bud of mine has no N54 experience but used to run a BMW service department and he told me they've had TONS of sensor issues time and time again. Standard was to replace both sides, instrument cluster reset, then go more in depth if necessary.

    If it were me I'd probably:

    1: Talk to Terry about JB4 causation and/or uninstall to verify it's a non issue.
    2: Fill tank completely full and document based on your best guess with mileage dashboard, left & right side readings.
    3: Open up both sides, verify all connections/hoses are intact with no kinks/cracks/obstruction. Here is where I'd do the most homework; hand-over-hand the entire system to the greatest extent practicable. Check filter/etc. Take pics. Post here and/or send to SteveAZ.
    4: Verify car electronics are functioning correctly... not sure on that. Quick search turned up something about junction box electronics misbehaving.
    5: Replace both sensors/reset instrument cluster.


    Not much help, sorry. Just thinking...

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    Thanks SCGT! I did verify the tank levels with a full tank. What I did is fill my car up and drove home (4miles) and did the hidden OBD menu 6 which tells you the fuel amount for L and R side tanks. mine showed 27.5 and 10.1. I had a friend with a E92 check his right after fill up and his was 27.5/35. I attached photos below. So my R side (passenger side) sensor was reading low with a known full tank of gas. That is how I narrowed it down to that sensor.

    I am pretty confident the return lines weren't pulled on too hard. Plus when the tank is full on both sides, that sensor should be reading more regardless of a bad return line.

    I doubt its the JB4 causing issues and I think Terry chimed in my other thread. I think he'd tell me to look elsewhere Click here to enlarge

    Interesting you mention the junction box. I did have any error there on my BT scan though it said error not currently present. It was A6E5 Fuel sensor right, lol I am not sure how old it is but since clearing it, it hasn't returned. That was under the junction box section of the BT software. I also had an instrument cluster error 931A error: Signal tank raw data filling level right. I cleared it as well and it hasn't returned. I attached those screen shots as well.

    Further googling about the junction box showed a SIB for X5s where it says that a high proportion of ethanol can cause swelling and inhibit one or both, movement of the fuel level sensors, lol. I have run E blends since around November of last year. Well tons of people run high E% in these cars and I don't think I have heard any ever complain about a swelling sensor. I suspect the X5 uses a different design sensor more susceptible to swelling.
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    E92 335is DCT

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    Another interesting thing. I went out to my car just now and decided to reset the cluster again since I just installed the battery today. I did it via hidden OBD menu 21. Nothing. I took an 80 mile drive today after installing the battery and initially my tank was reading just below 1/4, which was way lower than the fuel I know I have. During the drive I started getting messages that I was on fuel reserve based on the gauge dropping. Eventually it went empty and range --- indicating that I had no fuel. It is still on that level. I decided to check hidden menu 6 again and this time it showed 00.0/00.0 for L and R tank. Weird. I only have 154 miles on the tank so I know there is fuel in it.

    This may mean something to Steve but on the hidden menu 6.02 it shows you the ohms of each tank sensor. This is constantly fluctuating slightly but the L side was around 0.051 and the right side was about 0.093. I am assuming its a unit of ohms. I can try to take a picture of that as well.
    E92 335is DCT

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    Interesting. Let me stew on it a little and I'll ask a couple guys that have been known to scare up good theories from time to time.

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    Thanks. I posted a video of the hidden menu 6. The ohms values I gave earlier were off. Video shows current values.

    E92 335is DCT

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    Here was my testing with a separate bucket hat with a different float sensor plugged in and manipulating it manually. It did make the gauge move correctly. Unfortunately changing the sensor and even the bucket hat didn't fix the problem.


    E92 335is DCT

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    My fuel gauge has been wacky since I swapped in an inline pump, to be clear it has nothing to do with the pump so far as I can tell. I'm not sure if it's a faulty level sensor or what, I replaced the entire bucket so it's odd. It fills just fine but once it gets below 1/4 of a tank, things get nutty. Sometimes the needle will just freeze at 1/4, sometimes it'll fall to E in a matter of minutes, sometimes it'll kind of track fuel level. Works totally normally until that point. I just keep track of roughly how far i've driven once I get to 1/4 tank so it's not a huge inconvenience, but still. Weird.
    E88 N54 Alpinweiss/Coral Red/Motiv HTA 3586r Tial .82AR/Motiv Port Fuel/BMR 3.5" Exhaust/ER CP/Synapse/VRSF FMIC/Rob Beck PCV Valve + Cap/ST Coilovers/M3 FCA + Tension Rods/M3 Subframe Bushings/M3 FSB/AA Strutbrace/DINAN Camber Plates/Apex ARC-8/Project Kics/VAC Hubs/Rogue Transmission Mounts/Alpina TCU Flash/Icarbon/Kerscher/BMW Performance
    F30 335 X-Drive EBII....PPK otherwise Stock
    Click here to enlarge

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    Does the level sensor wires go to the fuel pump control unit? Maybe overcurrent has bricked something?

    I guess the level sensors are just basic hall-sensors and the true fuel level is created with sum unit (which is probably located in fuel control unit?)

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by -335i- Click here to enlarge
    Does the level sensor wires go to the fuel pump control unit? Maybe overcurrent has bricked something?

    I guess the level sensors are just basic hall-sensors and the true fuel level is created with sum unit (which is probably located in fuel control unit?)
    Interesting...when I first swapped in the FFTEC pump it was pulling just north of 20 amps which kept smoking the LPFP fuse. Took weeks to track down that it was just the fuse going over and over but perhaps that fouled the level sensor. I'm just confused as to the consistency of the issue, it only gets screwy at exactly 1/4 tank. I would think a faulty sensor would just be flat out wrong, or inconsistent.

    Like I said not a huge issue, but it would be nice to actually know if i'm about to run out of gas lol.
    E88 N54 Alpinweiss/Coral Red/Motiv HTA 3586r Tial .82AR/Motiv Port Fuel/BMR 3.5" Exhaust/ER CP/Synapse/VRSF FMIC/Rob Beck PCV Valve + Cap/ST Coilovers/M3 FCA + Tension Rods/M3 Subframe Bushings/M3 FSB/AA Strutbrace/DINAN Camber Plates/Apex ARC-8/Project Kics/VAC Hubs/Rogue Transmission Mounts/Alpina TCU Flash/Icarbon/Kerscher/BMW Performance
    F30 335 X-Drive EBII....PPK otherwise Stock
    Click here to enlarge

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    Mine never goes to full and really is never correct at any point during the course of the tank. It is screwy all the time. I don't always get the same mileage so its is important to me to know how much fuel is in the tank. First thing I do at the gas station is determine how much fuel is in the tank (0.8 gal/per hash mark) and from that I calculate existing E content and then decide how much E85 I need to put in. With out the gauge I am just guessing which sucks when i am trying to run E60 blend.

    The sensor level wire is separate from that which powers the pump. If you are looking down at the top hat of the bucket, the connector closer to the drivers side feeds the float sensor. The other connector closer to the side window powers the pump. Even if the voltage was somehow overloaded from the pump I don't think it would would affect the sensor. I ran an inline for 8 months with no problems. I would guess (Steve would know for sure) that a stock pump/255 combo would draw more power than a single 450.

    It is pretty simple but has me frustrated to no end. Hate encountering problems I cant fix or at least know the solution to.
    E92 335is DCT

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 135pats Click here to enlarge
    Interesting...when I first swapped in the FFTEC pump it was pulling just north of 20 amps which kept smoking the LPFP fuse. Took weeks to track down that it was just the fuse going over and over but perhaps that fouled the level sensor. I'm just confused as to the consistency of the issue, it only gets screwy at exactly 1/4 tank. I would think a faulty sensor would just be flat out wrong, or inconsistent.

    Like I said not a huge issue, but it would be nice to actually know if i'm about to run out of gas lol.
    After all, I'm just guessing... But I really can't figure out how just a basic pump swap could do that kind of problems. + the OP has changed the level sensor already, that about excludes the broken sensor.

    My opinion is that the sum unit is not working properly.

    P.S. I work in the field of industrial automation/electrics/robotics, so I'm not here just throwing ideas based on nothing.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by musc Click here to enlarge
    The sensor level wire is separate from that which powers the pump. If you are looking down at the top hat of the bucket, the connector closer to the drivers side feeds the float sensor. The other connector closer to the side window powers the pump. Even if the voltage was somehow overloaded from the pump I don't think it would would affect the sensor. I ran an inline for 8 months with no problems. I would guess (Steve would know for sure) that a stock pump/255 combo would draw more power than a single 450.

    It is pretty simple but has me frustrated to no end. Hate encountering problems I cant fix or at least know the solution to.
    Shame I don't have time to check things out right now but I'm interested about this because I'm planning to install the 450. If the level sensor is not going to fuel pump control unit, then the bigger current draw could not be the problem...

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    I've randomly had the same issue as @135pats with the original Walbro 450 in-bucket mod; zero consistency but sometimes it'll hit 1/4 of a tank and the gauge will just freeze ~125 miles to empty. As I go below 1/2 tank, I just gauge the mileage & as I approach 1/4 of tank I do my best to find a gas station/avoid any long range driving.


    I'm actually going to be putting the OEM cats back in & dialing the car back down, so there's no longer a need for the higher capability of the Walbro fuel pump. I'm hoping that swapping in an entire, brand new OEM LPFP (bucket, filter, pump, regulator, etc) will remedy the issue.
    COBB AP ProTune by Bren of ///Bren Tuning
    Akrapovic DP | Helix FMIC | Alpina TCM Flash | Walbro 450LPH Fuel Pump


    "The moment money becomes your motivation, you are immediately not as good as someone who is motivated by passion and internal will." -A. Senna

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
    I've randomly had the same issue as @135pats with the original Walbro 450 in-bucket mod; zero consistency but sometimes it'll hit 1/4 of a tank and the gauge will just freeze ~125 miles to empty. As I go below 1/2 tank, I just gauge the mileage & as I approach 1/4 of tank I do my best to find a gas station/avoid any long range driving.


    I'm actually going to be putting the OEM cats back in & dialing the car back down, so there's no longer a need for the higher capability of the Walbro fuel pump. I'm hoping that swapping in an entire, brand new OEM LPFP (bucket, filter, pump, regulator, etc) will remedy the issue.
    Now why would you go and do something like that? Click here to enlarge
    E88 N54 Alpinweiss/Coral Red/Motiv HTA 3586r Tial .82AR/Motiv Port Fuel/BMR 3.5" Exhaust/ER CP/Synapse/VRSF FMIC/Rob Beck PCV Valve + Cap/ST Coilovers/M3 FCA + Tension Rods/M3 Subframe Bushings/M3 FSB/AA Strutbrace/DINAN Camber Plates/Apex ARC-8/Project Kics/VAC Hubs/Rogue Transmission Mounts/Alpina TCU Flash/Icarbon/Kerscher/BMW Performance
    F30 335 X-Drive EBII....PPK otherwise Stock
    Click here to enlarge

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    I took a quick look to the BMW ETK and it seems there's 4 sockets in the Fuel Pump Control Unit. The FPCU is controlled via CAN, I really can't see reason why BMW engineers would be cabling the level sensors to the different place when they have CAN node so close.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
    I've randomly had the same issue as @135pats with the original Walbro 450 in-bucket mod; zero consistency but sometimes it'll hit 1/4 of a tank and the gauge will just freeze ~125 miles to empty. As I go below 1/2 tank, I just gauge the mileage & as I approach 1/4 of tank I do my best to find a gas station/avoid any long range driving.

    I'm actually going to be putting the OEM cats back in & dialing the car back down, so there's no longer a need for the higher capability of the Walbro fuel pump. I'm hoping that swapping in an entire, brand new OEM LPFP (bucket, filter, pump, regulator, etc) will remedy the issue.
    That's crazy because mine did that for awhile as well. It was stuck on 131 miles to go and didn't change not matter how much I drove. Now its sitting on E with 0 miles to go and was there for at least 40 miles. I know I have better than a 1/4 tank based on miles driven.

    I am curious to see if swapping in a stock bucket fixes your problem. I actually have a complete stock bucket in my garage. When I built my first DIY 255 inline kit, I bought a brand new bucket and walbro and built a separate unit and left my stock unit untouched. When I went Stage 2 I sold the new bucket/inline set up to pay for the Stage 2. I still have my original stock unit. The crazy thing is that current the float sending unit and bucket top hat that I am running now are FROM my stock unit since I have switched them out in trial and error. The only thing swapping out the actual bucket would change is the physical bucket itself and the type of pump inside. Could the bucket be the problem? I can't see how it would be being that it is just plastic. The pump is fed by a different connector so that doesn't seem to be the issue. From my understanding the bucket hat with its spring loaded arm pushes and holds the bucket to the floor of the tank so there is really no 'wrong' way to install it.

    I am tempted to swap in the stock bucket and take it to the dealer and let them figure it out. It would be covered through factory warranty. I have heard of them just putting in a whole new gas tank with new LPFP and driver side units rather than just replace the units themselves. My fear is that they would see there is a new DME update available and would reflash my car to see if that would fix the problem before replacing the tank. If they flash it to this new INA0S that is available for the 335is then I would probably just sell my car since it would put a big damper on tuning.
    E92 335is DCT

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by -335i- Click here to enlarge
    I took a quick look to the BMW ETK and it seems there's 4 sockets in the Fuel Pump Control Unit. The FPCU is controlled via CAN, I really can't see reason why BMW engineers would be cabling the level sensors to the different place when they have CAN node so close.
    Thanks -335i-. That stuff is pretty foreign to me. Is there anyway to reset the sensors themselves?
    E92 335is DCT

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by musc Click here to enlarge
    Thanks -335i-. That stuff is pretty foreign to me. Is there anyway to reset the sensors themselves?
    I guess not. The sensor is just a dummy unit. Thou I guess the sensor could be tested with measuring the output voltage when manipulating the plunger with hand and compare it to the drivers side sensor... the values should be quite linear and close to equal.

    I'll have to check these things too as soon as I have time to go to garage.

    The bucket itself cannot be the reason to the problem you have if the sensor sits in place.

    First I'd check that the wire arm is moving freely, it's not bended and the floater is not leaking. Then I would check the connections and measure the sensors voltage readings.
    Last edited by -335i-; 08-08-2014 at 01:47 PM.

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    Hmmm, the sensor could be just a potentiometer. Quite stupid setup and even more cheaper than Hall... Well even easier to measure. No voltage needed, just check the resistance on different positions.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 135pats Click here to enlarge
    Now why would you go and do something like that? Click here to enlarge
    Sadly the car is gonna start being a family car (I start law school in 2 weeks), so to avoid future headaches with emissions testing & having a family member get stuck in limp mode, it's easier to set it up for just Pump Gas Tune+FMIC.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by musc Click here to enlarge
    That's crazy because mine did that for awhile as well. It was stuck on 131 miles to go and didn't change not matter how much I drove. Now its sitting on E with 0 miles to go and was there for at least 40 miles. I know I have better than a 1/4 tank based on miles driven.

    I am curious to see if swapping in a stock bucket fixes your problem.
    I'll keep you updated; I have no idea if the something was damaged during the original install or when I had a replacement Walrbo swapped in, so I'm really banking a new bucket remedies everything and can provide some reliability. If you have any luck let me know, obviously if it's something simple (and cheap) I'd much rather replace/repair then buy an entire, new factory setup.
    COBB AP ProTune by Bren of ///Bren Tuning
    Akrapovic DP | Helix FMIC | Alpina TCM Flash | Walbro 450LPH Fuel Pump


    "The moment money becomes your motivation, you are immediately not as good as someone who is motivated by passion and internal will." -A. Senna

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    Well I filled up this morning after the gauge sat on E for the last 100 miles. After the fill up it is showing just over half a tank Click here to enlarge I decided to check codes with the JB4 and I saw a 2A22 related to the tank so I ran the BT software and saw it there as well. It is apparently something for reservoir fill status? Not sure. This is the first time I have seen in. I didn't get the previous right sending unit errors like I got before.

    Still pretty frustrated. I contemplating on my next tank of fuel just going to 93 octane and take the car back to stock for the most part, swapping in the stock bucket and taking it to the dealer for trouble shooting. Not sure what else to do and I can't accept just leaving the gauge broke.
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    E92 335is DCT

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    I have an in tank Wallbro E85 pump for a 996 Turbo S and I have the same problem... today it showed empty after some heavy runs and I went to the gas servo and put only 7 gallons in and it overflowed everywhere, so pissed off.

    I run E20-E25 most of the time and when I do 170 miles it should be about 1/2 full so now I have to watch the miles at each fill up. It is a pain and I have no solution with my software to fix my problem.

    My tuner Tim said I should ALWAYS keep my fuel at near full as the inline requires toppy fuel... compounding the problem further with the old sensors seems to be how they handle Ethanol viscosity.

    When I fill up with just 93 Shell pump my problem is a little better.
    2005 Porsche 996 TTS RWD - Eurodyne 60-130 in 6.50s
    2015 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI - Eurodyne 0 - 100 in 10.67s
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Group.america Click here to enlarge
    I have an in tank Wallbro E85 pump for a 996 Turbo S and I have the same problem... today it showed empty after some heavy runs and I went to the gas servo and put only 7 gallons in and it overflowed everywhere, so pissed off.

    I run E20-E25 most of the time and when I do 170 miles it should be about 1/2 full so now I have to watch the miles at each fill up. It is a pain and I have no solution with my software to fix my problem.

    My tuner Tim said I should ALWAYS keep my fuel at near full as the inline requires toppy fuel... compounding the problem further with the old sensors seems to be how they handle Ethanol viscosity.

    When I fill up with just 93 Shell pump my problem is a little better.
    Interesting. I am not sure the type of pump is the problem but it's interesting that you, benzy, I all have 450s. It seems like the pump is less likely the issue since it is fed off a different connector from the float sensor itself. I did have a 255 inline with stock bucket for 8 months before this with no issue. I'd be glad to go back to that set up if it would resolve the problem but the Stage 2 450 is a much cleaner set up. I guess we will know if its the pump if Benzy or I install our stock buckets back.
    E92 335is DCT

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    Ok, I had a time to make a quick visit to my garage; the level sensor seems to be just a potentiometer, not a hall sensor.

    Fault codes:

    2FCA
    Kraftstoffhochdruck bei Freigabe der Einspritzung
    error type 1: Druck zu niedrig

    2FDA
    Kraftstoffhochdruck bei oder nach Freigabe der Einspritzung (2. Umweltbedingungssatz nach Zeitverzögerung)
    error type 1: Druck zu niedrig

    For what I know, those codes are from LPFP not priming properly on start up.


    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Group.america Click here to enlarge
    I have an in tank Wallbro E85 pump for a 996 Turbo S and I have the same problem... today it showed empty after some heavy runs and I went to the gas servo and put only 7 gallons in and it overflowed everywhere, so pissed off.

    I run E20-E25 most of the time and when I do 170 miles it should be about 1/2 full so now I have to watch the miles at each fill up. It is a pain and I have no solution with my software to fix my problem.

    My tuner Tim said I should ALWAYS keep my fuel at near full as the inline requires toppy fuel... compounding the problem further with the old sensors seems to be how they handle Ethanol viscosity.

    When I fill up with just 93 Shell pump my problem is a little better.
    The level sensor is just a potentiometer operated by floater. On E20 - E25 mix the ethanol content is quite low. I really don't think that is the problem.


    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by musc Click here to enlarge
    Interesting. I am not sure the type of pump is the problem but it's interesting that you, benzy, I all have 450s. It seems like the pump is less likely the issue since it is fed off a different connector from the float sensor itself. I did have a 255 inline with stock bucket for 8 months before this with no issue. I'd be glad to go back to that set up if it would resolve the problem but the Stage 2 450 is a much cleaner set up. I guess we will know if its the pump if Benzy or I install our stock buckets back.
    The connectors and wires are different but they still could be coming from the same control unit (haven't got time to check it yet).

    OP: You have tested the sensor manually and the fuel gauge was working correctly, are you sure there's nothing blocking the movement of the floater in the tank?
    Last edited by -335i-; 08-10-2014 at 09:26 PM.

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