Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Mitch, for what it's worth, my Alfa 156 fuel gauge behaved in exactly the way you describe. I tried changing the sender unit and the gauges, and then spotted the culprit - some black insulation tape near the rear seat - someone had cut the fuel sender wiring and inserted a section of two-core cable running all the way to the front of the car, where an immobiliser relay was once connected to a car alarm.
The car alarm had been removed when the car left Singapore. It was quite funny that when the alarm had been fitted and armed, it had immobilised the fuel gauge (obviously someone had intended to immobilise the fuel pump, rather than the gauge).
This funny little anecdote doesn't even begin to convey the gravity of the situation when I bought and collected the car in Christchurch NZ (fresh import, no-one knew about the fuel gauge) and I drove north to catch a ferry on a tight schedule (flight down delayed by fog) - got about 70km out of town and into the hills before running out of petrol. Also had a flat tyre at the exact same moment due to a rubber strap coming adrift from under the front suspension - hook embedded in tyre sidewall - imagine, engine stopped with rubber strap flapping around right-front corner, I really thought the cambelt had been thrown.
Had to hitchhike 25km to get petrol - the first driver to pass stopped - and hitchhike back - not much traffic, one car every ten minutes - the second car stopped, and the girls said "we only picked you up because you looked cute".
"Dude! Is that your car? It's brand new!"
"Ah, only the number plate is new"
"Why doesn't the fuel gauge work?"
"I think it doesn't work because it's an Italian car... One day, you'll understand".
About 73 litres went into the tank with the gauge reading just under full, after which it read the same. The trip computer (being an '03 156) was quite confused.
Also had to limp along in the wet for about 300km on the space-saver spare as the rare 16" tyre size wasn't available in small country towns. And of course I missed the ferry, had to pay extra and wait around six hours, which did give the opportunity to buy two overpriced replacement tyres. One suffered a puncture the very next day and the other mysteriously shredded two weeks later. I have never had such bad luck with new tyres before or since.
And all because someone in Singapore cut the wrong wire...
'00 GTV V6, '08 FIAT 500, shell and parts for a '71 FIAT 850 Coupe
Last edited by alexGS; 14-05-13 at 12:25.