Gas tank access - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Gas tank access

The guy I bought my rig from installed a 33 gallon fuel tank but apparently the sending unit is wrong. Filling up from 1/4 tank is around 10 gallons, which obviously doesn't make sense. My guess is the company sent a stock sending unit instead of the 33 gallon one he ordered.

This is far from my level of expertise, anyone know how to access the top of the tank without having to drop the tank altogether? I'm trying to source a 33 gallon sending unit but am not having any luck for a 78 Bronco. Does it have to be for a 78 specifically?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 11:32 AM
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Here's one thread to check out: fuel pump access panel
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 02:02 PM
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33 gal tank is available stock. May be an aftermarket replacement but the size is no big deal for a stock pump/sender.
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Last edited by BikerPepe`; 06-12-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Here's one thread to check out: fuel pump access panel
Interesting. Was hoping I didn't have to cut into the bed but if that's the way it is, I guess I'll have to. Thanks for the link!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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33 gal tank is available stock. May be an aftermarket replacement but the size is no big deal for a stock pump/sender.
Just can't figure out why the gauge is reading 1/4 tank when it should really only be reading about 3/4 or so. If the stock tank wasn't 33 then I'll need a 33 sending unit.

I found this at Bronco Graveyard, just hope it's plug and play with the gauge.

https://shop.broncograveyard.com/mob...uctinfo/20231/
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 07:44 PM
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That looks like a winner to me. I would consider a new lock ring and seal too (same page, lower down in suggestions). No telling what the previous owners have done over the years but my experience has been on the down side of quality work. JBG sells good parts but we all bitch about their shipping costs.

I assume by filling up, you have verified it's a 33 gal tank. The issue may be more about wiring but a replacement on these old rigs is not a bad thing... unless the PO replaced it as well. If it were me... I'd have the replacement ready but verify everything else is solid and intact. A pinched, loose or corroded wire could cause similar problems. Just don't know enough about your situation to say. Mine's my daily driver, so I don't want to be without it and shipping takes down-time.

You don't "HAVE" to make an access hole. You could choose to drop the tank. It's not that hard to do... or so I'm told. Those of us who do are generally planning to keep our Bronco's around for years to come, so the easier access the second time is worth the effort doing the first. Access hole also makes repairs out on the trail or roadside significantly faster/easier. All depends on your use and future plans.

Hope that helps.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:16 PM
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Just can't figure out why the gauge is reading 1/4 tank when it should really only be reading about 3/4 or so.
Mine's off some too, but not quite that much. Mine reads about 1/4 tank when it's actually about 1/2 a tank. I replaced a both the tank and the sending unit, soin my case it could also be the gauge itself
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 11:47 PM
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@Steve83 had a write-up for an electrical issue on that but he kept them all on his SuperMotors pages, so he could act up around here.
If I knew more, I'd tell ya but there are many more around here that know a lot more than I.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 07:21 AM
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My guess is they stuck a generic (typically GM) sending unit in it. The older ford ones are a bit unique.
I have also recently had the float arm get stuck in the sending unit due to ethanol mix in fuel making plastic expand more then it is supposed to. Basically sticks the am in position or makes a hard spot.

Regardless dropping tank to fix is likely best, or adding the access. Just make sure to check with assembly out that it reads from empty to full.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 10:39 AM
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I recently put in a poly 33 gallon tank JBG 33 gal sending unit and my gauge still reads E (I think the wiring to the unit needs attention). If the gauge was just a little off, I wouldn't worry about it, but the main thing with using a 25 gal sending unit with a 33 gal tank would be that you never get use of that extra 10 gal you have to carry around to make the truck go because the pick up tube would be a few inches of the bottom of the tank.

Pics and notes of my recent install are in my build thread. I thought about making an access hole while the tank was out, but decided to just go the normal route of draining and dropping the tank. The worst part about dropping the tank IMO was breaking all the old rusty bolts loose for the lower tank straps and then removing them because PO installed a tow bar that hindered easy access to the nuts on the underside. As far as putting the new stuff back together, the worst part was the filler hose to neck connection, but that was due to specific parts that weren't exactly stock. One reason I chose to not do the access panel is because I may go to EFI and in tank pump in the near future and I figured it would be more of a pain to install/test all that setup using the access panel than outside of the truck.

If the PO recently installed the tank, those bolts should spin right off easy. If I did go the access panel route, I think I'd do seam sealer and a rivet at each corner.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 03:27 PM
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if the resistance doesn't match the gauges it will read wrong also. you sometimes can add resistors inline to correct otherwise you need to get the proper sending unit.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 06:28 PM
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if you installed a poly tank, you will most likely need to add a ground wire to the sender if it is a one wire sender as tank is no longer grounded

to test gauge and wiring,you can touch the sending unit wire to a good ground and the gauge should move to full
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyBRONCOguy View Post
My guess is they stuck a generic (typically GM) sending unit in it. The older ford ones are a bit unique.
I have also recently had the float arm get stuck in the sending unit due to ethanol mix in fuel making plastic expand more then it is supposed to. Basically sticks the am in position or makes a hard spot.

Regardless dropping tank to fix is likely best, or adding the access. Just make sure to check with assembly out that it reads from empty to full.
Appreciate the replies everyone!! Yeah seems like this is what's happening. He said he ordered the correct sending unit the same time he ordered the tank but evidently they sent him the wrong one. I think you're right, I'm just going to have to drop the tank or cut in the access hole (which I'll probably end up doing just in case). Just have to find a day to get er done and figure this out.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:09 AM
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I have a programmable sending unit from auto meter. I run the 33 gallon take, there was a 25 gallon tank on these trucks, the 33 gallon was the option. With the programmable I have it set so that when I am near empty i still have a 5 gallon reserve. These trucks don't get the best mileage even with fuel injection. Just a option but in my case I run all auto meter gauges,
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