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Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement
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SyncroHead
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:34 am    Post subject: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

I may need to replace the gas tank level sensor (aka sender, or sending unit) if it does not start performing better. I've searched here and on YouTube for information on the procedure to replace this while the tank is still in the van, but have come up empty.

1. Does anyone have a source where this procedure is described, or care to respond with a description and pointers if you've done this?

2. An estimate of how many hours one should set aside for this?

3. I expect to use this unit, (plus associated bracket and gaskets) unless someone has a better product to recommend?
https://www.gowesty.com/product/fuel-delivery/21272/syncro-fuel-level-sender-?v=


Thanks!

Jim Davis
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I have *no* idea what the previous owner carried in his Westy... angry donkeys?
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

I am 97% sure that is how I did it because I couldn't get the tank into place with the bolts interfering on the frame. Hopefully I am remembering that correctly. That said, even though the tank was "in place" the engine and trans were not in there, so take everything I said with a grain of salt. I got it most of the way in, put the level sender in, and then shoved it the last little bit.

I still think it's possible.

It'll help to have a friend with a crowbar to try to flex it inwards to get to the bolts. It's heavy duty plastic, so don't be too scared to put some force on it.

I would undo the tank straps and pull it down any little bit you can. Again, use a crowbar. Or two. It pulls down first on that side when you're R&Ring it, if you can tilt it down you will get better access.

I also ordered that sender and for some reason my fuel level never reads over 2/3s. FYI. Not sure if I didn't set it properly or something is on top of it or what have you or its defective.

It was a real piece of work to do and it's the reason I don't care my full is now 2/3s. The original looked like it came out of the Titanic but it read just fine!
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

I would not use the cheap sender GW sells. Spend the extra for the OE one. GW accidentally sent me the cheap one and it looks fine, but has serious fitment problems. I could have probably adjusted the sender to work, but out of the box no way and with the tank in the van, definitely not.

As far as replacing the sender with the tank installed. It's probably buried in dried mud. You will want to pressure wash that area till its squeaky clean. I would be expecting to snap a few studs if they are original. So get a new plate. Pay attention to how it is oriented in the tank before removing. I used the GW gasket and bolt plate. No issues so far, but I've been running alcohol free fuel in the van.

The charcoal cannister might be in your way as well as the AC drier. VW intended for the sender to be replaced with the tank installed, but like many tasks on a syncro, it sucks.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Jim,

Here's an excellent step-by-step with good photos:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=635772
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syncro surf
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
GW accidentally sent me the cheap one and it looks fine, but has serious fitment problems. I could have probably adjusted the sender to work, but out of the box no way and with the tank in the van, definitely not.


Curious about the fitment problems. Did it have to do with the rotational alignment of the float when fitted to the mounting studs? I think that might be a problem with my current sender.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Yes, it had to do with the sender float and support. I don't recall exactly, but for sure it was not traveling top to bottom. The main problem I had was the return tube was against the wall of the tank preventing the sender from sitting flat on the tank.

It was dealing with that, that I noticed the sender was not moving up and down. It was more angular. Like I said, with some patience I could have carefully "corrected" it and it would have likely been fine. I called GW because the fit was butt.

They checked and realized the wrong one had been sent out. They shipped the correct one over night and called for the wrong one back. With the tank out, I was able to observe what was going on through the fill hole and a flashlight.
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SyncroHead
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
I would not use the cheap sender GW sells. Spend the extra for the OE one.


Do you know who provides the OE one?

Jim Davis
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

I think it was VDO. edit: GW list's them both or used to.
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SyncroHead
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
Jim,

Here's an excellent step-by-step with good photos:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=635772


JoeTiger,
Thanks very much. My search terms included sensor, tank, fuel, gas, and level, but not in the right combination to find this. Thanks for guiding me to it!.

Special thanks also to DaveWesty who did the job and posted pics with advice! Great job!

DaveWesty said 2 hours the first day to get things ready and start the penetrant and 4 more ours the next day. One difference is that since the van's AC works, I don't want to remove the receiver-dryer and will instead look for a way to move it out of the way after unmounting it. Probably another 6 hours for that ! Laughing Shocked

Jim Davis
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hardway
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

VDO is the original supplier of the sender. I bought a spare last year from IMC. They don't seem to have one now. Neither does Worldpac.
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ClarksuperVan
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Iíve done this job on different syncros twice in the last few years. It can definitely be done with the tank in place. Itís just a cozy and awkward repair like most things on a syncro. Pull the wheel, charcoal canister, move the receiver dryer, and start soaking those nuts. I followed the instructions linked above as well. Took me most of a day the first time and half a Saturday the second go around.

Iím actually just about to do this for the third time. On my van this time. The only place I could source a correct VDO sender was from Busdepot. Donít use the Chinese garbage sender, you donít want to do this job again. Make sure you get the in tank submerged hose and the seals as well. Good luck!

https://www.busdepot.com/251919051h

-Jeremy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

I'm about to do this job on a former gasser (WBX-6) Syncro which has been converted to a diesel tank and AAZ with JX bits n' bobs. This fuel system seems to have a one-way check valve on the fuel return line to the tank. This is a stepped adapter from one size to the next. Does anyone know if this is a stock check valve?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:19 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Listen to -J, he works on speedometers and senders all day( well mostly) always buy the best when you can.

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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:38 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Yes, it had to do with the sender float and support. I don't recall exactly, but for sure it was not traveling top to bottom. The main problem I had was the return tube was against the wall of the tank preventing the sender from sitting flat on the tank.

It was dealing with that, that I noticed the sender was not moving up and down. It was more angular. Like I said, with some patience I could have carefully "corrected" it and it would have likely been fine. I called GW because the fit was butt.

They checked and realized the wrong one had been sent out. They shipped the correct one over night and called for the wrong one back. With the tank out, I was able to observe what was going on through the fill hole and a flashlight.


That would explain why my gauge doesn't read to full if the sweep is angular. Damn.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:59 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Iíve never been totally impressed with the vanagon fuel gauge in either van. I will always fill up and reset the trip odometer. The sweep of the needle bellow a 1/4 tank can put you in the nut house.

I installed a syncro diesel tank just in case. Itís plumbed like the gas tank I removed. A WBX engine is still connected to it. The question about a valve on the return got me thinking. I donít recall any other diesels with a check valve on the return. I suppose it would be possible for the injection pump to siphon back into the tank in some situations. The golf Jetta TDI has a contraption built into the actual fuel filter. Unlike the early diesels, the TDI has 4 lines on it not 2. Never dug into it and my TDI seems happy with the original 2 line filter.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:34 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Don't know what yours looks like but some VW diesels have the one-way fuel valve to prevent drain back from the injection pump back through the filter.
That is in the supply side line I think.

Here is a photo from a TDI, not mine.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Mark




Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
I'm about to do this job on a former gasser (WBX-6) Syncro which has been converted to a diesel tank and AAZ with JX bits n' bobs. This fuel system seems to have a one-way check valve on the fuel return line to the tank. This is a stepped adapter from one size to the next. Does anyone know if this is a stock check valve?
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

A picture is worth "1000" words. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Fuel Tank Level Sensor Replacement Reply with quote

Having done it twice, I can confirm that it is possible to jimmy the tank back in place with the sender installed.
The advantages of removing the tank are numerous. It's a lot easier to do the job of replacing the sender itself.
It's also a great opportunity to do many maintenance items, such as replacing lines, seals and valves, cleaning out the filter, renewing the insulation, as well as addressing the inevitable rust in that otherwise inaccessible location.
There are a number of instructions out there, but here are a couple of good descriptions of the process from the vanagon.com archives.
https://hans-wibo.asuscomm.com/index.php/s/gGsic9Ri2wDeMZF
https://hans-wibo.asuscomm.com/index.php/s/LcSLMpbMfG7QDcj
W
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