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    Thread: DIY - Adjusting the displayed fuel gauge level with a VAG-COM

    1. 04-28-2007 06:41 PM #1
      Today I discovered that you can use a VAG-COM to adjust the displayed fuel level on the gauge in the instrument cluster. Last year I replaced the fuel level sender on my fuel pump and ever since the indicated fuel level has been off. Specifically, when the fuel tank was filled up completely (pump auto shut-off), the gauge wouldn't indicate a full tank. Instead, the level was just below the full mark, which has been really annoying after spending $70 on a new fuel level sender (which commonly go bad on high-mileage MKIV cars) and spending the time removing the fuel pump from the tank to access the sender.
      Well, it turns out that every level sender is a little different and the gauge in the instrument cluster needs to be calibrated to the output from the new sender. Also, an error can develop in the instrument cluster even without a change in the fuel sender and this error can cause the fuel gauge to display the incorrect fuel level. Here's what you can do to fix the problem.

      STEP 1 - CHECK THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER FOR ANY INTERNAL ERRORS

      1. Turn the car ignition on, but do not start it. Using the VAG-COM, go into the Instrument Cluster control module (-17-) and select OUTPUT TESTS (-03-).
      2. Click on the START/NEXT button to initiate a sequence of tests. The first of these tests the sweep and calibration of the analog gauges. The needles for all four gauges (tach, speedo, coolant temp, fuel level) will drop to 0, sweep slowly all the way to their maximum, and then drop down to a calibration position. These positions are:
      Tach - 3000 RPMs
      Speedo - 62 MPH (100 KPH)
      Coolant Temp - 190°F (90°C)
      Fuel Level - 1/2 tank
      The Bentley CD indicates that if any of these settings in incorrect, then there is an unrepairable error in the instrument cluster and it should be replaced. All of mine are good, except for the fuel level, which displays just under 1/2 tank. This is obviously part of the reason for my incorrect fuel reading, but I'm not going to pay for another cluster just to fix it. Instead, you can use the VAG-COM to fudge the displayed level.
      3. Click the START/NEXT button to cycle through all of the remaining output tests. These tests will check the various warning lights, chimes and LCD displays in the cluster.
      4. Keep clicking the START/NEXT button until END comes up, click it once more and then click EXIT to go back to the main menu for the Instrument Cluster control module.

      STEP 2 - ADJUSTING THE DISPLAYED FUEL LEVEL
      These steps are based on those given in the Bentley CD and are intended to be used after the fuel level sender has been replaced. The proper way to calibrate the fuel gauge to the new sender is to drain the fuel tank, add 7 liters (1.85 gal) of gas, which is the exact amount in the "reserve" tank, and then adjust the fuel gauge needle so that it coincides with the red "reserve" line on the fuel gauge. I wasn't about to go through this, so I filled up my tank and adjusted the needle so that it read full (or as close as I could get it). The VAG-COM allows you to adjust the position of the needle an amount equal to 2 liters of fuel in either direction (+/-) of it's normal factory setting. To do this, do the following:
      1. Select ADAPTATION (-10-) on the main screen of the Instrument Cluster control module.
      2. In the CHANNEL box, enter 30 and then click on READ. This will display the stored value for the fuel gauge calibration and normally should be 128. You may enter a value from 120 to 136. Each number corresponds to a 1 ohm adjustment of the fuel level sender output and corresponds to 1/4 of a liter. You can use the UP and DOWN buttons to adjust the number while you watch the gauge needle move. If you're doing it the proper way, then adjust the needle until it lines up perfectly with the red mark on the gauge. If you're doing it a different way, like I did, then adjust the needle until it sits where you want it to.
      3. Click on SAVE. The new setting is now being used.
      That's about it. If you mess something up and want to go back to the original setting, it's 128.


      Modified by VgRt6 at 9:17 PM 2-21-2008

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    3. 04-28-2007 06:44 PM #2
      Nice write-up, this may be useful to me one day!!!

    4. 04-28-2007 06:46 PM #3
      very nice

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    6. Member
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      04-28-2007 10:12 PM #4
      Bump...I had no ideal this could be done!
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    7. 04-30-2007 09:14 AM #5
      Monday bump.

    8. 04-30-2007 09:19 AM #6
      Cool!
      Now my gauge can read full too. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
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      04-30-2007 10:23 AM #7
      Great find. I can see some of these people screwing it up though! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
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      04-30-2007 10:32 AM #8
      we [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emlove.gif[/IMG] you Gary!!! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

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      04-30-2007 10:35 AM #9
      neato burritos
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    12. Member EvilMonkey's Avatar
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      04-30-2007 10:51 AM #10
      nice, my gas gauge is the same way, when full it sits just below the full line, anyone in the central jersey area have vag com to help me fix this?

    13. 04-30-2007 10:58 AM #11
      How close are you to Basking Ridge? My parents live there and I'll be visiting in a few weekends. If you can't find anyone in he meantime, then I can do it while I'm up there.

    14. 04-30-2007 11:00 AM #12
      Quote, originally posted by CapeGLS »
      Great find. I can see some of these people screwing it up though! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

      The only way I can see people messing it up is if they change an adaptation value in a channel other than 30. ONLY CHANGE CHANNEL 30!!!

    15. 04-30-2007 11:04 AM #13
      Quote, originally posted by VgRt6 »
      How close are you to Basking Ridge? My parents live there and I'll be visiting in a few weekends. If you can't find anyone in he meantime, then I can do it while I'm up there.

      I just looked. You're nowhere close. My grandparents actually live near you in Crestwood Village, so I could always do it when I visit them. That may not be for a while though.

    16. 04-30-2007 11:09 AM #14
      Nice writeup !!
      My gage does not read full when filled up, never has since I bought the car new.
      I assume that if I adjust to read full per the write up, that I won't run out of gas before the gage reads empty
      I'm going to do this at my next fill up.

    17. 04-30-2007 11:36 AM #15
      Quote, originally posted by VB1 »
      Nice writeup !!
      My gage does not read full when filled up, never has since I bought the car new.
      I assume that if I adjust to read full per the write up, that I won't run out of gas before the gage reads empty
      I'm going to do this at my next fill up.

      AFAIK, the compensation is linear and affects the whole scale, so if you shift the needle position higher, you'll also shift the position that the gas light comes on. That's why the calibration is typically done at the level of the reserve tank, which is 1.85 gals. Remember that you can only adjust the needle by +/- 2L (0.52 gals), which at a typical fuel economy of 20-30 MPG, only equals 10-15 miles. Unless you're gas light now comes on when there is less than 0.5 gals or 10-15 miles left in the tank, then the adjustment shouldn't cause you to run out of gas before the ligt comes on.
      I'm currently testing the above theory on my car. With the new sender, my gas light comes on after using around 11.8 gals of gas, whih means that my reserve is set at the 2.7 gal level. I adjusted mine the full +2L amount, so I'm now expecting the gas light to come on after 12.3 gals of gas used. If the gauge is calibrated correctly to the prescribed reserve tank amount, then the light should come on after 12.65 gals of gas used.

    18. Member dashrendar's Avatar
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      04-30-2007 11:43 AM #16
      very nice! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
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      04-30-2007 07:44 PM #17
      Yea basking ridge is far but crestwood village is pretty close, id appreciate it if you could do it for me, let me know when youll be around this area, thanks a lot

    20. 04-30-2007 09:16 PM #18
      Try and find someone local to you in the meantime. I may not be around your house for a while, but I'll let you know when I am.

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      02-26-2008 07:54 PM #19
      my 04.5 gli would never fill up to the full line, so i played around with it and all is good now [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

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      02-26-2008 08:05 PM #20
      [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

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      06-12-2009 12:09 AM #21
      will this work on my 90 corrado? it has obd2 vr swap in it, but my gauge reads 3/4 full at full
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      06-21-2009 10:21 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by 1broknrado »
      will this work on my 90 corrado? it has obd2 vr swap in it, but my gauge reads 3/4 full at full

      Same issue on a Mk3 since I did an OBD2 swap.
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      10-20-2014 04:08 PM #23
      Bum, thread from the ded.

      I think you may have fixed my problem.

      I have a fancy tool to evacuate my tank, so I'll empty it and put 1.85 gal of gas into.

      When I do, I'll report back.
      I have HEX-CAN VAGCOM. PM me if you want me to come out to you.
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      03-15-2015 06:42 PM #24
      I tried your way, VgRt6, and my gauge still reads half. I guess i'll run it down till its empty and try it the authorized way.
      I have HEX-CAN VAGCOM. PM me if you want me to come out to you.
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      04-04-2015 02:39 AM #25
      Did the authorized way. Seems to have worked. It settled on the red line. I put in 4 gallons and it about 1/4 to a 1/3 fuel on the gauge.

      Ill run run down to see if the light comes on when I get that low. Then I'll top it off, see where it sits and report back.
      I have HEX-CAN VAGCOM. PM me if you want me to come out to you.
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