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Author Topic: Adding Fuel Gauge to City Bus?  (Read 1479 times)
VictoryRacingCamp
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« on: May 23, 2006, 11:39:05 AM »

I have a 1988 Flxible bus that I use for a summer camp.  Runs great, except there is no fuel gauge.  I added a wheel odometer, and do everything off mileage, but it would be nice to have a more effective and accurate method.  Has anyone added a gauge, and is there a way to do it without requiring that the tank be removed?
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DrDave
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2006, 11:53:16 AM »

You may not be able to drop the tank anyway since it may be part of the structure of the chassis.

If you get up under the bus just front of the tank you may be able to reach up over the top
edge and see if there is already a fuel gauge cutout blank (cover). It should be either forward
of the filler section or to the rear and accessable only from under the rear entrance door stepwell
area. This is also where the air brake pressure switches are located on earlier model (grumman) flxibles.

You may have to use a hole saw to cut the floor under the first seat forward of the rear door
and reach down through that to access the top of the tank. Then a cover plate can be made
to cover up the access hole later.

Most tanks have a blank cover from the factory as gauges were optional, Some may not or it may be
in a location that you can't get to.

A Napa universal sender/gauge kit will work in these flat tanks. Or just about any kit for tanks 12 inches
or more deep (adjustable arms).
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Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2006, 02:10:53 PM »

I added a fuel guage to my bus.  There was an opening in the floor above the center of the tank that used to contain a 'watch your step light'.  I enlarged the opening in the floor and made a plate containing pickup tubes and return lines for my Webasto and generator in addition to the sender from Centroid products. After cutting the hole I secured the plate with lots of sheet metal screws and silicone.  I used a digital panel meter for the guage and used resistors to 'scale' the sender's 0-5volt output.  The result is I have a digital fuel guage that reads directly in gallons and has 1/10 gallon resolution.   It's accurate too (less than 1% error).  I've documented this all in files on the GM busnuts Yahoo Group.  I was a bit nervous about using a hole saw into the top of the tank but I have over 20,000 miles on it with no hint of problems.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2006, 03:12:35 PM »

I added a fuel guage to my bus.  There was an opening in the floor above the center of the tank that used to contain a 'watch your step light'.  I enlarged the opening in the floor and made a plate containing pickup tubes and return lines for my Webasto and generator in addition to the sender from Centroid products. After cutting the hole I secured the plate with lots of sheet metal screws and silicone.  I used a digital panel meter for the guage and used resistors to 'scale' the sender's 0-5volt output.  The result is I have a digital fuel guage that reads directly in gallons and has 1/10 gallon resolution.   It's accurate too (less than 1% error).  I've documented this all in files on the GM busnuts Yahoo Group.  I was a bit nervous about using a hole saw into the top of the tank but I have over 20,000 miles on it with no hint of problems.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120

When using a hole saw to drill an opening in the top of the tank it is a good idea to coat the teeth of the saw very liberly with very heavy grease and re-coat before it breaks thru. This will capture at least 99% of the shavings. Others will sink to the bottom of the tank and not really cause any problem.
Richard
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
TomC
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 08:11:05 AM »

I too have a transit, although it is an AMGeneral. I lucked out with my fuel tank.  It is easily removeable, but you have to have the bus high enough to slide the tank out.  Drain the tank (mine has a drain plug in the bottom-used a concrete mixing tub to catch the fuel), then with a floor jack against the tank, release the straps and lower the tank down, then disconnect the two fuel lines, lower it down and pull it out.  On my tank it already had two 5 screw round covers in the top of the tank (I've discovered that transits are made the same to facilitate all option variables).  I used one to make my gen fuel pickup and return.  Used the second for the fuel gauge that is a universal that you can buy at any truck supply house.  I used a positive power for full and no power for empty gauge.  They also make a positive full, no power half and reverse polarity for empty.  Just have to use matching sending unit with the gauge (my opinion is the positive power full and no power empty is the simplest).  Then drilled the blank spot on the dash and ran the two wires through a fused circut.  After all was done, just reinstalled the tank, hooked everything up, and it works!  I now need a new sending unit, but it looks like I can just reach in from the filler door to repair it.  Transits were made to be worked on and worked on quickly.  I have found many items on the bus that facilitates this theory.  Look under your bus at where the tank is at, and I bet you can see the whole tank from underneath-which means it'll be relatively simple to remove.  Then also you can check the condition of the tank by plainly looking inside.  After 18 years, mine was fine.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
herarmwashisleg
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2007, 10:36:52 PM »

I need to add a fuel guage to my 1980 gmc fishbowl.....   It is a transit and doesnt have one  Undecided
although after converting this beast to veggie oil maybe i wont need one  Cool

herarmwashisleg
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Paso One
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 05:57:38 AM »

Depending on what size you are, I ran my Fishbowl up on ramps, and blocked the bus when aired up, and blocked it again, did I mentioned I blocked it well.  I climbed under and at the drivers side of the tank there was enough room to climb in and drill the tank for a universal gauge as well as a pick up tube and return for my webasto,
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68 5303 Fishbowl 40' x 102"
6V71  V730 4:10
tekebird
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2007, 09:25:58 AM »

Fuel gauges wer an option.......and with the size tank you have likely was never an issue and still shouldn't be.

You should always keep your tank fulll anyway to elimnate the possibility of condensation in your fuel tank...which will mess up your injectors.

having a hubometer you should be fine.....figure out your MPG......and then fill anytime you get below 1/2-3/4 tank

you will save ytourself the labor, cost of gauge and sending unit......and you will never be fooled by a faulty gauge.

in case of different drivers'  put a fuel log in the bus.......and document the milage that it was filled

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buswarrior
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 06:11:03 PM »

Hello Victory.

In a summer camp environment, I would not install a fuel gauge. They will invariably run it out of fuel.

Calculate a reasonable mileage after which they need to start looking, and a no-go zone to not go beyond.

For instance, start looking for fuel after 300 miles, don't go beyond 400. Or some adjustment that makes good sence for the routing/usage and fuel station locations where the bus will be operated.

Keep track of the fuel receipts to be sure they are staying disciplined and you are done.

Funny, I had the best respect for fuel use the summers our buses' gauges were broken.

The last concern for most Summer camp staff will be the disciplines of commercial vehcile care and feeding.
Never mind the regulatory compliance of logbooks, pre-post vehicle inspections, blah, blah, blah...

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
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