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Old 06-09-2020, 03:55 AM   #1
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Question Fuel Dummy light on while gas tank full ?

Hey guys, I have a low fuel light that is coming on every time I start the truck, (while my fuel gauge reads full), and a speedometer needle that slowly moves up but doesn't fluctuate with speed. Do you think these two things are related? If so, what's the most likely culprit in your experience? (On a 1989 Nissan Hardbody D21 2WD). I just had the fuel pump assembly replaced, so the fuel gauge is now working correctly. (I'm bringing this baby back to life after being stored in my garage for about a decade of not running). The original speedometer cluster was replaced at 260,000 miles because the needle broke, and this second speedometer cluster has only 41,000 miles on it. It seems almost like an electrical gremlin.
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Old 06-09-2020, 09:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Danacat12 View Post
Hey guys, I have a low fuel light that is coming on every time I start the truck, (while my fuel gauge reads full), and a speedometer needle that slowly moves up but doesn't fluctuate with speed. Do you think these two things are related? If so, what's the most likely culprit in your experience? (On a 1989 Nissan Hardbody D21 2WD). I just had the fuel pump assembly replaced, so the fuel gauge is now working correctly. (I'm bringing this baby back to life after being stored in my garage for about a decade of not running). The original speedometer cluster was replaced at 260,000 miles because the needle broke, and this second speedometer cluster has only 41,000 miles on it. It seems almost like an electrical gremlin.
Sounds like an electrical glitch all right, and probably happened when the fuel pump assembly was replaced. You have two choices here.

You can diagnose it (or HAVE it diagnosed) and then fix the wiring glitch, or pull your instrument panel and pull the tiny bulb that lights up the fuel warning. Depends on your budget, and how much you want it to either work or be gone.

The light goes on when approximately 1 1/2 gallon (or a bit less) remains in your tank. If you don't want to spend the money to fix it, just pull the bulb. Who lets their D21 get that low on fuel anyway? Not a good idea to suck up trash from the bottom of the tank. No one usually lets it get that low anyway. In three years, I only let my truck get that low once, and that was just to find out if the light even worked...the Lazy Man's way.

It's not really needed, but nice if it works. Up to you.
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Old 06-09-2020, 12:34 PM   #3
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All I can say is the two cannot be related. 89 has a.mechanical speedometer. Unfortunately it's likely a wiring issue causing the idiot light to come on.
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Old 06-09-2020, 12:42 PM   #4
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The speedometer is likely the needle being bent and dragging the face.
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Old 06-09-2020, 02:37 PM   #5
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All I can say is the two cannot be related. 89 has a.mechanical speedometer. Unfortunately it's likely a wiring issue causing the idiot light to come on.
Does the mechanical speedometer have a speed sensor that could have, or is going bad? The old speedometer lasted 260,000 miles before I replaced it with a new speedometer due to the needle bending. The new one has only 41,000 miles on it, I'm not sure it would have gone bad in such a short time relative to mileage. But I still have the old speedometer, I could steal parts from if there is something broken on the cluster itself (besides the needle).
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Old 06-09-2020, 04:44 PM   #6
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It's a cable from the tranny. The needles like to bend if baked in hot climates. I've also seen the drive magnet or whatever it is in the speedo get weak.
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Old 06-10-2020, 01:33 AM   #7
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I think ya'll were right about the speedo needle being bent and dragging the face. After reading here, I took a closer look, and gosh darnit, the needle IS bent. Is there a cheaper fix for this that you have found, besides buying a new speedo cluster for $275?
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Old 06-10-2020, 01:46 AM   #8
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replacing the needle isn't too difficult a couple tabs on the plastic cover then you just need a new needle.
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Old 06-10-2020, 02:03 AM   #9
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I think you should try taking the instrument cluster out, go over it to make sure all the little tape connectors look like they are not bent or crimped, maybe put some dielectric grease around the contact points, make sure that the screws holding everything in place are snug (not tight, because you don't want to split the plastic mounting holes), and then put the cluster back in to see if the problem goes away.
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Old 06-10-2020, 02:04 AM   #10
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Oh, and you can glue a little toothpick onto the speedometer needle. Nip the bent part off with a pair of dikes.
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