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Old 02-16-2007, 06:12 PM   #1
meadows6
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Default Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

Just was wondering if anyone else who has an Outlook has a problem with the fuel gage? I'll park it at night and it reads a half a tank. In the morning it says I have a quarter tank. I drive around for awhile and it slowly ticks up. Park and start it again and now I am magically on empty.

Pretty disappointed after spending 40K+ on a car. But I guess these bugs happen with first year cars. Took it to the dealership today and they said they had to wait for Saturn to get back to them on how to fix it. I was told to call back in a week if I hadn't heard anything.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

i've actually had some issues myself. when the tank get's below half it's been a bit strange. i've had the same fluctuations in the reading. down to an eigth then builds back up to almost half. i'm on my fourth full tank since i got the outlook and haven't had much confidence once it got below 1/3 or so. i thought maybe it was just a quirk that would work itself out. i'm curious what the dealer tells you. please let me know.
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:47 PM   #3
ed nunez
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

Mine too. Looks like GM knows about it. Here is more info that may - or may not - help.
Subject: Fuel Gauge Is Inaccurate Or Slow To Change - keywords calibration cluster inoperative intermittent IPC level sender update #PIT4269 - (01/29/2007)



Models: 2007 GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.

Condition/Concern:
The fuel gauge is inaccurate or slow to respond to changes in the fuel level. An example concern: The fuel tank has 1/2 a tank of gas. If the vehicle is parked on an incline with the front of the vehicle pointing up, the fuel gauge may display about a 1/4 tank when the vehicle is started. When the vehicle is driven on a flat surface, the fuel gauge does not change or takes a long time to update. This is due to the fuel gauge buffering. The current software may take up to 9 minutes for the fuel gauge to update. If the ignition is turned off and then back on, the fuel gauge will update to the current fuel level.

Recommendation/Instructions:
This is normal operation of this vehicle at this time. Do not make any repairs for this concern. Engineering is working on a new software calibration to fix this concern. This PI will be update when a fix becomes available.

Please follow this diagnostic or repair process thoroughly and complete each step. If the condition exhibited is resolved without completing every step, the remaining steps do not need to be performed.

And this one:
Subject: Fuel Gauge Is Erratic In Below Freezing Temperatures - keywords cluster cold condesation DTC float fluctuate inaccurate inoperative intermittent IPC level P0463 sender tank water #PIT4280 - (02/09/2007)



Models: 2007 GMC Acadia

2007 Saturn Outlook




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.

Condition/Concern:
The fuel gauge is erratic and displays the incorrect fuel level in below-freezing weather.

Example concerns:

The fuel tank is full. While driving, the fuel gauge gradually starts to display a lower fuel level, beyond the reduction that is due to engine fuel consumption. The fuel gauge may subsequently recover to an accurate fuel level display.
After being parked in below-freezing weather, the vehicle is started and the fuel gauge displays a reading of "E". With driving, the gauge reading may slowly recover towards the actual fuel level. If the ignition is then cycled, the fuel gauge may now display the actual fuel level.
Note: A P0463 Diagnostic Trouble Code may or may not be set. If it is set, the fuel gauge is commanded to "E".

The condition is related to excess water in non-ethanol fuel at below-freezing temperatures causing ice crystals in the fuel which interfere with the proper operation of the fuel level sender. Engineering is working on a fuel level sender cover that can be installed onto the level sender. This cover will prevent the ice crystals from interfering with the operation of the fuel level sender.

Recommendation/Instructions:
Do not make any repairs for this concern at this time. Engineering is working on a fix for this concern

Note: There is no GM Powertrain approved fuel additive for water removal. Methanol-containing additives are strictly prohibited due to the corrosive effect they have on fuel injectors.

Fuels containing ethanol are able to absorb excess water into solution and prevent/correct the icing issue. If low-percentage ethanol-containing fuel is available on-site (E10 or E5), it may be used as a water-absorbing fluid by adding it to the fuel tank. If the fuel tank is near full, some fuel may need to be drained off first, in order to get a sufficient concentration of ethanol to absorb the water. Until fuel level sender covers are available, advise the customer to fuel with E10, which is widely available in the U.S. Check the local gas stations for the E10 formulation.

Unfortunately, there are large portions of Canada that do not have E10 availability. There is presently no viable short-term remedy for customers in these areas - until the fuel level sender covers become available. Having these customers try a different gas station may help, as excess water can be an indication of poor underground tank maintenance at the gas station

Please follow this diagnostic or repair process thoroughly and complete each step. If the condition exhibited is resolved without completing every step, the remaining steps do not need to be performed.
I don't have the cold weather problem. I've also been tracking fuel usage via the trip computer and it is always a bit 'optimistic' - it shows I used less fuel that I really used. So the MPG shown is a bit optimistic too. That seems to be standard operation in the cars I've had with trip computers though.

Ed Nunez
2007 Outlook XR FWD
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

Yeah, the cold weather isn't an issue for me either since I'm in California. Have you taken it to a dealer to get checked out? Just wondering how long I'm going to have to keep guessing what the actual fuel level is. The dealer gave me a printout of the first half of your email today.
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Old 02-17-2007, 09:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

i'm not convinced the cold weather is the culprit for me either. i'm in georgia. i don't believe it was below freezing in all cases, but i guess it's a possibility. i'm just glad to see that others have seen an issue and it seems that they are working on a fix. i'm not going crazy. what is a "PI", is that some sort of software update? hopefully they'll have an update by my first oil change, we'll see. i'll just pay attention to the trip odometer between fillups. love the car still.
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Old 02-17-2007, 09:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

Anyone else have an outside temperature gauge reporting way too high? Mine is always about 10 or more degrees too high than actual temp.

Ed, can you find anything on that?
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Old 02-17-2007, 09:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

I've definitely seen this problem too. Spent last weekend at my sister's house and was parking on a decent incline. Freaked out the first time I started up the car after it sat for a while since the gauge was screaming E! But as the email indicated, after about 10 minutes the gauge seemed to recover.

Not a huge deal for me since the car is normally parked on a flat surface but I'm also looking forward to a fix.
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Old 02-17-2007, 11:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

I wouldn't be as upset if it was simply due to being on an incline. But the fuel gauge doesn't work for me no matter where or how I'm parked or driving.

I've also noticed the temperature is not registering correctly.
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Old 02-18-2007, 09:02 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

meadows6,
i've noticed that too. although it's just a nuisance. it seems that when i turn on the car (in 40 degree weather) sometimes the guage reads in the 90's. it seems to happen on days when i'm taking the car out for the second time. it always recovers in a couple minutes. i've gotten used to not paying attention to the readings till i'm well on my way on the road. is this what happens with yours. i wonder if the 2 are related (software) and can be easily addressed. we'll see.
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

The concerns you have posted are not new to Saturn. We have 2 Sky's and we have the exact same issue with both fuel level and temp displays. To date there are no true fixes. Our Outlook was built last week and we should have it shortly. I test drove a Xr for 36 hrs and did not experience anything I couldn't live with. Once It gets here I will post more. My son is a service advisor with our dealership and he get's me all the service bulletins, so I will keep you informed.
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

I'm anxiously awaiting my new Outlook. It's scheduled to be here in about 30 days.

Anyway, I've had a Buick Rendevous for the last 4+ years and have had the same temperature and fuel gage problems as mentioned here.

TEMP GAGE - I just always figured that the temperature sensor was too close to the engine or some heat source. It seems like I didn't really get an accurate temperature unless I was moving. Even just idling seems to make the temperature rise.

FUEL GAGE - My driveway is on a hill. If I park in one direction, it shows less gas than actual. If I park the other direction, it shows more. I just tend to ignore it until I get moving on relatively flat pavement. It then levels out slowly.

I only bring this up to let everyone know that this may not be a "fault" in your new vehicle. I am pretty picky about my cars and I noticed all of these things initially, but then I eventually got used to the little 'nuances" of how it worked.

I hope/trust that these problems are nothing more than that!

Thanks
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

Quote:
Originally Posted by gharter View Post
I'm anxiously awaiting my new Outlook. It's scheduled to be here in about 30 days.

Anyway, I've had a Buick Rendevous for the last 4+ years and have had the same temperature and fuel gage problems as mentioned here.

TEMP GAGE - I just always figured that the temperature sensor was too close to the engine or some heat source. It seems like I didn't really get an accurate temperature unless I was moving. Even just idling seems to make the temperature rise.

FUEL GAGE - My driveway is on a hill. If I park in one direction, it shows less gas than actual. If I park the other direction, it shows more. I just tend to ignore it until I get moving on relatively flat pavement. It then levels out slowly.

I only bring this up to let everyone know that this may not be a "fault" in your new vehicle. I am pretty picky about my cars and I noticed all of these things initially, but then I eventually got used to the little 'nuances" of how it worked.

I hope/trust that these problems are nothing more than that!

Thanks

Fault or not this is not acceptible. If GM really wants to steal customers away from Lexus and BMW, these kind of issues will not be tolerated. I have faith they will be worked out before I get my Enclave, but we will see....

Jerry
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

hortaja i totally agree with you. It seemed gm was trying to move up and compete with the luxary brands. I had to convince my husband (who has never owned an american car) to go for the outlook and now I am hearing 'i told you so'. Like I've said, unless there is a true fix for the problem, we are going to keep it in the shop. And if they want to give me the excuse that the fuel will even out eventually once you start driving, that's still not ok with me after spending so much on a vehicle.
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Old 02-19-2007, 06:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry View Post
The concerns you have posted are not new to Saturn. We have 2 Sky's and we have the exact same issue with both fuel level and temp displays. To date there are no true fixes.
This is nothing new to other GM cars, either. I've heard of a similar issue on the 2005+ GM vans for the fuel gauge, and on our 2003 Montana it had a very sensitive gauge; parking it downwards on an incline would make the reading drop (if the car was running, it could even go down to the point where the LOW FUEL warning came on). Once I was reversing it out of our downward sloping driveway when the warning came on; I panicked thinking it was going to run out of gas, but after a minute the reading came back up.

This hardly sounds like something to get all "I knew American cars sucked" about. There is a fuel remaining readout, isn't there? Those aren't completely accurate either, but they're not necessarily tied into the fuel gauge.
The truth is that fuel gauges aren't exactly accurate anyway. Especially when you consider that "LOW FUEL" lights will often come on when there's still a few gallons left in the tank. They shouldn't be taken as what's exactly in the tank.

I've heard that many temperature gauges are really just warning lights disguised as gauges; meaning, they're not very accurate anyway.
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Old 02-19-2007, 08:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

A different fuel gage problem exists in our '01 Honda Odyssey. The "Low Fuel" warning light comes on with 6+ gallons in the tank. The tank only holds 20 gallons. It's more than annoying. The light comes on, then you have to start "calculating" how much fuel you really have. Or you end up at the gas station all the time. Honda never really owned up to it or fixed it. So much for those flawlessly reliable Japanese cars.

My advice is to stay on Saturn about this problem until fix is developed.
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:22 AM   #16
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

This is a common problem with most cars. This is due to the fact with most cars there is an actual float in the tank that indicates the fuel level. So if you are on an incline the fuel is going to be at one end of the tank or the other hence the indications.
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

The fuel gauge issue is almost certainly that fuel level float is towards the front of the tank and the computer buffers fuel gauge readouts for a period of time. If they want to fix it all they have to do is reduce the buffer period from 9 minutes. If it wasn't buffered sufficiently then the needle would move constantly with acceleration and braking in addition to hills. Some cars can use floats in the front and back or right in the middle, but unless they put floats in all four corners of the tank, a car will misread the fuel level if you are on a slope.

As far as the temperature gauge, this too is an issue that afflicts all cars as engine heat or reflected road heat will heat the ambient air around an air temp gauge when the car is not moving.

Funny story, I used to have a black audi and one particularly hot summer week after the temp gauge kept pushing close to 200 degrees when I first started it up after work. Finally one day it showed 00 degrees - apparently there was a software glitch so when it went over 200 degrees it stopped working and the dealer could never get it fixed again.
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:38 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

No updates from GM on the fuel gage issue at this time.

My outside temp gage is pretty close once the vehicle is moving. Standing still or just after starting it will be off due to the temperature in the engine compartment affecting the outside temp sensor.

Ed Nunez
2007 Outlook XR FWD
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:24 AM   #19
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

I haven't had an issue with either the outside temp gage or the fuel gage.

The fuel gage will show different readings when parked on a hill versus flat pavement and will equalize after driving. I think having a gradual change is much better than having the gage dance around every time the fuel sloshes around in the tank.

The outside temperature sensor is located behind the grill so seating in heavy traffic could affect the reading as well as having the vehicle running in the driveway. The gage on my Outlook showed higher than known outside temp today but that was after using the auto start for a minute or two and showed normal temps after driving a short distance.
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: Fuel Gage Problem in My New Outlook

I guess maybe I'm one of the lucky few that has a fuel gauge that is just completely wonky. There is no getting back to normal with mine. It can be parked on an even surface and will move all around when driving, like I've mentioned.

Anyway, it's with Saturn and we have a loaner and won't be taking it back until the issue is resolved. Although they have tried to give it back to us, stating that we could "estimate" how much fuel was left. Kind of hard to do when we fill it up and never goes to full, or it will stay on full for over 100 miles. I'm not that good at math, or seeing into the future.
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