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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Motorhome Fuel Tank Sending Unit Surgery

I have a Triple E motorhome with Chevy 454 engine. The gas gauge does not work and I have been told the sending unit requires repair. The problem is apparently the gas tank has to be removed and there is no one in our town that will do that. There is a mechanic that wants to take out the bed in the back, the water tank and go through the floor to find the sensor! Do you think this is okay to do or is this mechanic crazy? Cathy, (Sault St. Marie, ONT)

Cathy, indeed the fuel tank probably needs to be dropped, or at least partially removed in order to replace the sending unit. But I can’t believe your mechanic! His suggestion can be likened to going through the mouth to take out the appendix! Granted, it’s a cumbersome job, but most RV repair centers should be properly equipped with a portable fuel pump and container to remove the fuel, drop the tank, replace the sender, reinstall the tank and pump your fuel back in. It’s really not that difficult unless some structural members need to be removed first. Even in that case, it’s just part of the process. 

Now that said, some motorhomes have an access plate under the carpet, right on top of the sending unit. I cannot remember if your coach has such an access, but I would press and feel all around the carpeting in that area of the RV, just over that fuel container and see if you can feel any type of cover plate or mounting screws. The carpet pad and/or the carpeting may be too thick, but it’s worth a try. In any event, any qualified RV service shop should be able to easily perform the replacement. They should also be able to verify that indeed the sending unit is faulty before going to that extreme. I’m so glad your mechanic is not a dentist; I’d rather him not cutting into my stomach to fill a cavity in my tooth!

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