JD fuel guage issue - The Combine Forum

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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-12-2013, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Question JD fuel guage issue

I have 2 older 20 series Deeres (4020, 5020) that have been converted to 12 volts and the original fuel gauges were fried. On the 4020 I've put the Princess Auto universal guage and sender in and so far it's working, but I don't have much faith in it lasting long so I'm exploring better options. The Princess Auto parts work with some minor adjustments (bend the float arm in the same shape as the original JD parts and make sure it's right side up), but the guage is much thicker in depth so if there's any obstructions behind the guage in the dash it may not fit in the original hole. My 4020 is powershift so I was able to move the trans temp guage down a hole, and mount the PA guage in the upper spot with some bending and jiggling of the original retainer. On the 5020 I have a JD guage for 12 volts (AR45436) and sender (AR43676) but I've fried 3 senders in 3 years so I'm thinking it's not a properly matched set or the parts from Mexico aren't any better than PA. Can anyone tell me the resistance range (Ohm's) that these 2 parts are supposed to operate in? I'm thinking a quality aftermarket auto sender may be the way to go if I can get one to match the guage.

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 01:11 AM
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Dunno what to say, I have always got good service life out of most JD fuel gauges...lately my mechanical temperature gauges have had the life expectancy you're getting from your fuel gauges

The 5020 always used a 12 volt gauge, power is from same black wire that feeds the cigar lighter, then should be an orange wire running to the sender in the tank. maybe you're polarity is crossed up or something. Should be that if you ground the wire at the tank(to be safe, try it with a test light first, needle should register something), the gauge should read full. Not sure how it would work if the wires were switched on the back of the gauge And for ohm readings, I'd have to dig something like that up, besides, make a huge difference if it is a thick film or resistor type sender.


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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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When I installed the PA guage in the 4020 I used the voltmeter to make sure I was hooking the hot wire to the right side. I was under the impression if they got reversed that you would fry the guage and not the sender. The 5020 has a Cozy Cab that I have to lift to open up the dash and I didn't install that one so it's not as easy to check out, but if it keeps raining that may be the next option. I doubt that the guage would work if the wires were reversed, and it does work when I install a new sender... for about 20 mins. Could be a reflection of the quality of merchandise we're getting. The capillary style heat guage I put on the swather from PA lasted about 3 years.
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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googled for a while and it looks like the guage is 30-250 ohm....can't find the info on that sender though.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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No light at the tank with the key on, but I took one of the "fried senders" and checked it with the ohm guage, and it moved through a range of motion (can't tell if it's the right range though, seems to be a totally different scale than what the gauges are measured in). Starting to suspect a bad connection at the guage or bad ground. I did find out in searching the guage that they specifically say it needs to be grounded in some applications, and I have had to run ground wires to the panel below the dash. That hot wire is just a press fit as well...might need a little squeeze of the pliers. PA's sender is rated as a 30 to 240.... might be an option as well.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
No light at the tank with the key on, but I took one of the "fried senders" and checked it with the ohm guage, and it moved through a range of motion (can't tell if it's the right range though, seems to be a totally different scale than what the gauges are measured in). Starting to suspect a bad connection at the guage or bad ground. I did find out in searching the guage that they specifically say it needs to be grounded in some applications, and I have had to run ground wires to the panel below the dash. That hot wire is just a press fit as well...might need a little squeeze of the pliers. PA's sender is rated as a 30 to 240.... might be an option as well.
With the Deere gauge, it is grounded thru the float sensor in the tank. There shouldn't be enough power to light the test light at the tank, what I meant was to use it first to make sure you didn't short anything out. Even with the light connected between the wire and ground, the gauge should have registered something. By directly grounding the wire, the gauge should read Full. There should be a wire grounding the sending unit body from one of the screws attaching it to the tank to the harness or chassis of the tractor.

I have a special tester specifically for testing gauges and sending units, its for older stuff, but I've been able to figure out how to utilize it for some of the newer stuff, it does help diagnosis when a component has intermittent faults, as in will work in one position, but not the next.

And for the gauges and such you're getting from Princess, what make are they? Any aftermarket one I put in is made by Stewart Warner. Thats who makes them for most of the big names in the first place

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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The packaging is long gone but I did keep the instruction sheets. Oddly enough there is absolutely no contact info on them. It says see reverse for warranty info, but there's nothing there! The sheets are printed in Taiwan, other than that the only trade name on them is PowerFist. I doubt the gauges are S/W though...too much plastic. The old JD senders do have SW embedded on them, but not all the new ones do. Didn't do much checking today, had 16 relatives/family here for supper and I had to reconstruct the spare table. Think I'm going to have to get under that dash and start tracing where the power is going. Could be a stupid as a bad ground at the gauge.

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Lifted the cab today and I think I found the problem. Good news is that the mechanic that fixed it already ran the extra ground and changed out the press fittings for nuts and proper wire ends. When I put the test light to the Ignition pole it had 12 volts keyed, nothing with the key off.... seemed right. When I put the test light on the Sender pole, the light glowed dim and got brighter as the gauge went up.... hmmm. The other day when I tried that at the tank, I didn't see a light. Retried it today inside and I did. Started checking the wire to the sender and found a bare spot where it had touched the tach. All my senders seem to move the ohmmeter up and down at the same rate, so I've probably got 3 good ones here. Gauge is back up to full (tank is fairly high) and it was sitting at E before, so if the sender isn't fried, I'm hoping it's all good to go. Cleaned up the grounds and made one new common one under the dash for the lower panel, lights and gauges, put one at the tank sender and did the usual cleaning under the shifter levers while I had things open. Should be good to go for another 40 yrs?
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Crap.... ran 6 hrs and I'm back on E. New wire to the sender?
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 01:33 AM
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Crap.... ran 6 hrs and I'm back on E. New wire to the sender?
Holy **** Baron, even my 6030 isn't that hard on fuel

Is there an actual problem or is it that the gauge and sender are out of sync. What does it read if you fill it? Is the needle bouncing or did it shortly before it stopped moving?


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