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Old 01-28-2019, 10:13 AM   #1
AJH
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1989 48" California fuel sending units

Have just purchase a 1989 48" California motor yacht and have issues with fuel gauges not working. Have power to the gauges but needle pegs out full all the time. Has anyone replaced the fuel sending units? If so, whose sending units/model did you use? Units are mounted on the front side of the saddle tanks (3 wires to the units)and look difficult to pull. Any tips here on removal procedure?

Also, boat survey indicates 500 gallon fuel capacity between the two saddle tanks and the aft tank. Does anyone know the capacity of each tank?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:21 PM   #2
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I replaced fuel sending units, but on a 1977 42' Californian's aft tanks (had no saddle tanks). I also pulled and checked the ones on my current boat's side tanks. In each case, I basically unscrewed the ring of screws and lifted out the sender.

In the Californian, I initially just cleaned them and put them back -- that fixed my problem. But, they were old, so I subsequently got and installed replacements. I use Moeller mechanical ones, just because that is what West Marine had in stock. They came with new gaskets and screws, which I used.

I got lucky in that the screws all lined up. If not, I'd have drilled new holes in the mounting rings on the senders, rather than in the tank, using the old ones as a guide.

It was a quick easy thing to do. For my aft tanks, it was easy access. For the side tanks, I had to use a stubby screw driver.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:22 AM   #3
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fuel burn

Have 91' Cal 48 MY with 3208 Cats. Have had other boats with 3208 engines. Always seem to burn 1.5 gal/h running at 1500 rpm's which produces 9 mph
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkesden View Post
I replaced fuel sending units, but on a 1977 42' Californian's aft tanks (had no saddle tanks). I also pulled and checked the ones on my current boat's side tanks. In each case, I basically unscrewed the ring of screws and lifted out the sender.

In the Californian, I initially just cleaned them and put them back -- that fixed my problem. But, they were old, so I subsequently got and installed replacements. I use Moeller mechanical ones, just because that is what West Marine had in stock. They came with new gaskets and screws, which I used.

I got lucky in that the screws all lined up. If not, I'd have drilled new holes in the mounting rings on the senders, rather than in the tank, using the old ones as a guide.

It was a quick easy thing to do. For my aft tanks, it was easy access. For the side tanks, I had to use a stubby screw driver.
Thanks this helps 😀
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:06 AM   #5
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Good morning AJH, and congratulations on your purchase of what I think are great boats. I have a 1989 Carver Californian with the 3 stateroom floor plan. I believe my two saddle tanks are 200 us gallons each and the aft tank which is center line under the aft cabin is 160 us gallons making a total of 560 us gallons. The aft tank if your boat is like mine is actually 2 separate tanks hooked together at the bottom of the tanks via a fuel line to allow the fuel to keep equalized. If yours is a 2 stateroom it could be different on the aft tank but I would think the saddle tanks are 200 each. I haven't had any trouble with my gauges but if all of the gauges are showing full, it seems strange that it would be all 3 sending units. Could it be a common ground wire that is broken or disconnected. If you need to know more about what is under the floor let me know and I will try to help you. I have chased fresh water leaks on mine and I have gotten to know the old gal quite well.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:39 PM   #6
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Our 1988 48’CMPY used Centroid sending units. Easy just to replace. Not terribly expensive either. You can find more information here.

CENTROID PRODUCTS - Computerized Tank Display - Electronic Senders - capacitive fuel gauges
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Old 07-23-2019, 03:08 PM   #7
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I have a 1988 45' Californian. I too have issues with the fuel gauges. I removed the one for the tank under the aft cabin bed, and it is a float type with two wires. I found it pretty corroded. I cleaned it up and worked the float up and down a bunch of times. I put the wires back on and worked it up and down and had the Admiral watch the fuel gauge. It works. But looking at the condition - I ordered a new one from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-SP0F000...s%2C161&sr=8-6

It says for tanks up to 28" in depth and it is adjustable. My boat mechanic friend guaranteed me my gauges are in the 33-240 ohm range - as is this gauge. I will install it this weekend and re-post. But the side saddle tanks have a three-wire setup and mount on side near the top of the tank. I had them full (well - discovered they were full when I removed the first of five screws and fuel shot out). So will have to run them down a bit before I remove those and check. They may be the capacitance type from Centroid mentioned above. As soon as I get them out and trouble shoot - I will re-post. They are super simple to remove. I am sure I will have to calibrate the swing of the float to match a 24" tank on the main tank. Doesn't look complicated.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:27 PM   #8
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What did you find out? Centroid in the saddle tanks?
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:50 PM   #9
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I've changed those over and over and they don't hold up well. I like the magnetic ones better. They cost a little more but they are much more reliable.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...BFP0H0EFXHJ35X

Just measure the depth of the tank and buy the correct length. No adjustment needed.
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Old 08-08-2019, 10:47 PM   #10
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I thought I was burning some fuel out of the saddle tanks - but was using the large tank under the bed. So when I tried to remove the top screw on the fuel sending unit on the saddle tank - fuel shot out as it was full. So burned out of those tanks last time at the boat and hopefully get to it in the next week. Used the sender I bought off of Amazon with the mechanical arm and it had great instructions on setting the depth and length of the float arm to match the tank size/depth. It was super simple and works great. I will update when I pull the saddle tank senders.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:16 AM   #11
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I have a 55' Carver Californian as well 1989. I was wondering what sizes to get as I believe both are broken i.e. gauge reads but not full when the tank is full. I am going to test by connecting the two leads together and if the gauge reads full then it's definitely the sender not the gauge. Just wondering if anyone knew the length of the sender. I have one tank centerline in the bilge and one large tank in the aft Lazeret. Total of 750gal.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:28 AM   #12
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I pulled mine out and measured, apparently different tanks take different sizes
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:04 AM   #13
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I finally got back to the boat and the fuel was down a bit on the side tanks. Gauge still showed 7/8 full. Yes - it was a Centroid sender. I pulled it out and it didn't look bad. Hooked the three wires back to it and sat it on a rag next to the tank. Sure enough - gauge showed "empty." I found I had enough slack in the wires to slide it back in - and the Admiral watched the gauge. It went up to 7/8 gradually to match how much I shoved it back down in the tank. So evidently they are working. I just thought the Cat 3208's burned more fuel. But we run around at 1200 RPM on the weekends and they seem to be pretty easy on fuel.

4blade1 - I purchased the one off Amazon for the center tank as in the thread above. My tank was 24" deep. It was a piece of cake to figure the swing of the float and move the center support up or down and then cut off the length of the rod to get a good 24" swing from full to empty (top and bottom of tank). It came with a grid of suggested lengths for how deep your tank is. It was pretty accurate. I just laid the sender on a flat surface and fiddled with the length of the center support and the length of the float arm until it stopped almost even with the top of the whole assembly (top of tank) and down to almost a 24" depth. Pretty easy. It seems to work fine. Hope that helps. The one on Amazon says it works to a 28" depth. My tank is under the bed in the aft cabin and I could easily measure the depth on the side of the tank.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Just noticed the original post about the side saddle tanks and the senders looking difficult to remove. They were super simple. Pulled the wires off, unscrewed the screws (careful they have little toothed washers and they fly all over the place), and pulled a bit and it came right out. Plenty of room overhead on the 45 to pull them out at a slight angle. Like I said, the first time the tanks were completely full and as I removed the top screw fuel came out in a stream. But after a few weekends of running I removed it with no problem at all. Haven't topped off fuel yet - as I probably should have purchased a new gasket - although the old one looked ok.
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