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2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

This is a discussion on 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge within the Technical / Maintenance forums, part of the General Discussion category; I just bought a new Suburban, this one is a 2001 2500 with a 6.0L. 31K miles on the clock, ...

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    2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge


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    I just bought a new Suburban, this one is a 2001 2500 with a 6.0L. 31K miles on the clock, its otherwise MINT.

    The gas gauge in it is dead. I took it to my mechanic who tells me there are two gas tanks on this beast, and he needs to drop both of them. He presented me with a bill that starts with a 1 and a comma, which damn near made me pass out.

    So, before I bend over, does anyone have any troubleshooting tips, or places to check such that a friend and I (with a large quantity of beer) can fix ourselves?

    When I key the truck on, I notice that I AM getting a fuel reading for a split second before the gauge goes dead again. It appears to be a grounding issue. When I was gassing it up, I was periodically keying the truck on and observed the fuel level rising before the gauge went dead.

    Ideas?
    Last edited by SHO220Z; 03-19-2009 at 03:47 PM.
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    i am pretty sure there is only one tank
    2000 Chevrolet K2500 454
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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    I was under the truck on the hoist, and I am pretty sure I saw two. We are working on getting confirmation on just how the fuel system is set up, but i was hoping someone would tell me "oh yeah, its the whatsinfits on the side of the tank, unplug, remove, plug new in, sprinkle pixie dust, and you're off to the races!"

    Maybe I am asking too much, but hope springs eternal. :)
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    1. Disconnect the fuel level sender connector at the fuel tank.

    3. Key On Engine Off (KOEO) check for 5 volts from the Purple wire to the Orange/Black wire, pins A and D at the fuel level sender harness.

    4. Check fuel level sender resistance, 40 ohms = Full or near 0.5 volts backprobed and 250 ohms = E or near 2.60 volts.

    5. With the connector reconnected, recheck voltage on the Purple wire backprobed. It should be less than 5 volts depending on actual fuel level.

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by DagoFast
    1. Disconnect the fuel level sender connector at the fuel tank.

    3. Key On Engine Off (KOEO) check for 5 volts from the Purple wire to the Orange/Black wire, pins A and D at the fuel level sender harness.

    4. Check fuel level sender resistance, 40 ohms = Full or near 0.5 volts backprobed and 250 ohms = E or near 2.60 volts.

    5. With the connector reconnected, recheck voltage on the Purple wire backprobed. It should be less than 5 volts depending on actual fuel level.
    That actually raises a good point -

    With the truck in the air, where, physically, is this fuel level sender connector?

    And lets say its the fuel level sender....what is involved in replacing it? I assume dropping the fuel tank.

    The other thought we had - if this thing has two fuel tanks, it would stand to reason that the fuel level sensor is NOT in the tank, but rather downstream somewhere, averaging the reading in both tanks.

    Thats why I really want to figure out just how the **** this system works.
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    So after reading some other threads here on FSC (GREAT forum, by the way!) it looks like I have a bad fuel level sensor. For that, I assume I am looking at dropping the tank on this thing?
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Yes, you do have to drop the tank, or, remove the bed. Two tanks, two senders. Perform that test on each one to determine which sender is a fault. The wire on the secondary tank is DKBLU. So you won't accidentally drop the wrong tank. If you remove the bed, (which isn't that hard with enough guys to help lift)You can test and replace at your own free will.

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by DagoFast
    Yes, you do have to drop the tank, or, remove the bed. Two tanks, two senders. Perform that test on each one to determine which sender is a fault. The wire on the secondary tank is DKBLU. So you won't accidentally drop the wrong tank. If you remove the bed, (which isn't that hard with enough guys to help lift)You can test and replace at your own free will.
    How do you remove the bed on a Suburban? I'm confused.

    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Oh, whoops! I didn't pay attention to that part. Now that you mention it, that would be kinda hard.

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by DagoFast
    Oh, whoops! I didn't pay attention to that part. Now that you mention it, that would be kinda hard.
    SawzAll, baby, SawzAll! :)
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Quite possibly the second tank, if it exists, is an aftermarket. The 1500's came with a single 32 gal. tank located under the drivers side seats (approx), 2500's had a 38 gal tank in the same spot. Get pix the next time you have it on the lift. this would be the first late model factory dual tank setup I have heard of.
    Pix of the 'Burb too.

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by xZoomerZx
    Quite possibly the second tank, if it exists, is an aftermarket. The 1500's came with a single 32 gal. tank located under the drivers side seats (approx), 2500's had a 38 gal tank in the same spot. Get pix the next time you have it on the lift. this would be the first late model factory dual tank setup I have heard of.
    Pix of the 'Burb too.
    The dealer specifically asked me if it was a dual tank setup. There was a pretty clear distinction between the front (large) tank and the smaller rear tank when I looked at it on the hoist. It must be a rare setup, but I can all but guarantee its a factory installation.

    I am pretty confident it was a 2 tank system. I will try and get pics for you, since it goes in on Monday.
    Last edited by SHO220Z; 03-20-2009 at 12:09 PM.
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Oh yeah, pics!

    These were taken the morning after I picked it up, so its still dirty. Once I get the fuel tank issue fixed and a brake job, its off to detail and then he'll be ready for his closeup:









    Its a 2001 with 31K on the clock. Unfortunately, it sat in a detached garage most of its life and therefore has a suprising amount of corrosion on the underbody. Nothing too frightening, and nothing fatal, just frame surface rust. For my purposes, it will be fine.
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Im not a fan of the bright red, but I'm jealous. That is exactly the kind of 'Burb I am on the hunt for. Very low miles is a major find.
    Frame rust can be handled with a little POR-15, which IMO, would be an excellent investment of time and money on such a low mile truck. If you dont mind my asking, what did you give for such a fine truck?
    Im guessing you bought it from its original owner, perhaps you can ask them about the second tank. Is the tank where the spare tire is normally? (Between the frame rails) Perhaps the tank switch is the problem? It would have to send a signal on to the gauge normally.

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    Re: 2001 Suburban 2500 dead fuel gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by xZoomerZx
    Im not a fan of the bright red, but I'm jealous. That is exactly the kind of 'Burb I am on the hunt for. Very low miles is a major find.
    Thanks man. I am pretty stoked about it myself. It was a total "fell into it" scenario. I was all set to pull the trigger on a much more expensive truck (CPO TrailBlazer SS), and as a last resort, I pulled up Craigslist and bam, there it was. I missed having a Suburban, so it was kinda a no-brainer.

    Frame rust can be handled with a little POR-15, which IMO, would be an excellent investment of time and money on such a low mile truck.
    Unfortunately, the corrosion is pretty extensive, including some corrosion on the accessory pullies, scale rust on the frame, and some serious corrosion on the fuel lines and the brakes. I am probably looking at a full redo of the pads and rotors because they have corroded to the point of being shot. They stop the truck fine, but they feel like they are warped. Honestly, I might scrape the frame down in my spare time to remove the scaling, but thats about it.

    The truck sat in a detached garage and really was hardly used. Unfortunately, like boats, disuse tends to result in dollar signs.

    If you dont mind my asking, what did you give for such a fine truck?
    Used values are all over the map. The current economic climate has pushed resale values of all used cars up, in some cases ridiculously so. Auction price ranges are down around $9,000 or so for a representative example, but the problem is real life examples going through the chute have 110K on them and are going for..... $9,000. Retail prices for similar miles Suburbans are up in the mid $20,000 range. He was asking $18,000, I offered $13,000, we settled at $14,500. I would have liked to pay less, given the corrosion I found after I bought it, but it really was a case of "If you think you can do better, you are welcome to try", and I was getting desperate for a truck. Its still relatively mint for the age, it just not a "needs nothing" vehicle, which I guess is expected for a 9 year old truck. All said I believe I got a fair deal, and I have more resources for car shopping than most of the public (dealer connections).

    Im guessing you bought it from its original owner, perhaps you can ask them about the second tank. Is the tank where the spare tire is normally? (Between the frame rails) Perhaps the tank switch is the problem? It would have to send a signal on to the gauge normally.
    Yep, the gent I bought it from runs a landscaping business, and this was their vacation truck. Otherwise, he had a sea (no kidding, like 20 of them) of same-color, same-year Silverados in varying configurations that he daily drove, so thats why this sat in the garage. He and his wife had no kids, and the rear seats look like they have never been used. The trailer wiring harness is still wrapped in plastic, and the reciever hitch still has black paint on the inside of it. In other words, its about as lightly used as it gets.

    At this point, I think taking it to the dealer is the best way to get a resolution on it since it seems to have a really weird setup on it.
    Last edited by SHO220Z; 03-20-2009 at 09:06 PM.
    Matt Train
    2001 Chevrolet Suburban LS K2500 6.0L
    1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera SportCruiser

 

 

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