By on October 20, 2017

fuel gauge. Shutterstock user art-sonik

Eugene writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Your article provided some hope but I am still having difficulty finding a Fuel Tank Sending Unit 25060-53J15 for a 1996 Infiniti G20 (JNKCP01D5TT538768). Do you know where I can look? Our car only has about 110,000 miles on it, runs great, recently painted with new wheels.

Now it seems like we may have to junk it since we cannot find this part — anywhere!

Sajeev answers:

Junking a perfectly good car with new paint and wheels because the sending unit doesn’t talk to the fuel gauge? Exaggerate much?

Seriously, fuel sending units often come back to life with a good cleaning, or perhaps a few tanks with a fuel system cleaner. The Internet recommends several brands, too. Then there was the advice from my previous article, especially the eBay part number search and email notifications for that part. If that doesn’t work, there are a few big Nissan parts vendors you can check with (here and here for starters) to see if any dealer has one lying around. But if all else fails, buying a used sender with a warranty wouldn’t be a terrible idea. But what’s even better than that?

Go global, cross reference parts with the Nissan Primera to find a new one with a modest surcharge for shipping/currency conversion. Not that it hasn’t been done like eleventy billion times before, son!

To wit, my latest acquisition for TTAC’s Ford Sierra Ghia:Ford Sierra Cosworth T5 bezel, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

The items on the right are leftovers from my brother’s 1991 Mustang LX, the other bit is a Ford Sierra Cosworth console trim plate. It’s a low-volume production part (never sold here) that Ford designed to jam the Borg Warner T-5 in the Cosworth’s interior. Which is the same transmission I’m adding to TTAC’s Sierra via Thunderbird Turbo Coupe donor car.

While TTAC loyalists remember the Merkur donor car, as this photo shows the Borg Warner T-9 trim plate won’t cut the mustard. And the T-9 is a pile of crap I’d never pay to install in the Sierra.

So what’s my point? If I can use my ’80s Ford-obsessed mind to harness the power of the Internet, making TTAC’s Sierra into a well-finished machine (eventually), you can find a suitable sending unit around the world for your G20.

Or just clean it.

[Images: Shutterstock user art-sonik, © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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21 Comments on “Piston Slap: Sending Out an SOS?...”

  • avatar

    I don’t quite understand what the issue is sourcing this:

    Unless of course the parts people aren’t updating the website to reflect a discontinued part.

    • 0 avatar

      If that infiniti part is truly out of stock everywhere, also look into this part number:

      It’s a Sentra/NX unit that was fitted to both GA16 1.6L motors AND the SR20DE models (same motor as G20). The part looks awfully similar, for what it’s worth.

  • avatar

    Techron Plus can help restore sending units. You may want to check for a bad ground as these things tend to be grounded under the car near the fuel tank which car corrode easily. Also floats go bad sometimes. Of course you can just reset the odometer each time you fill up.

  • avatar

    I suggest testing to see if it’s a sender or gauge problem if this has not been done yet. Pull the wire from the sender and observe the gauge, should be at one end or the other. Then ground the wire and see if the gauge moves to the opposite end. Normal gauge movement = sender problem. Abnormal movement = gauge or wiring problem.

    • 0 avatar

      Grounding the sender wire is a good way to need a new gauge. Yes people do it, or used to do it, frequently but just because they got away with doesn’t mean it won’t cause damage in every case. The better test is to use a good old fashioned incandescent test light to complete the circuit. That will limit the current flowing through the gauge to hopefully safe levels.

  • avatar

    Good luck on the Sierra project.

  • avatar

    Has the OP tried searching forums? If there are people passionate enough about their Jeep Patriots to join a forum then there has to be a forum for his Infiniti.

  • avatar

    1. Remove the sending unit from the tank.
    2. The contact pad that the float arm drags on, WIPE IT DOWN with a dry cloth.
    3. Reinstall and test.

    The entire process should take 20 minutes assuming there is an access panel and the tank does not need to be lowered.

    Otherwise, eBay is your friend!

  • avatar

    I don’t get the mentality of being ready to junk a car over a minor issue like this.

    I drove a 1990 Tempo for several months with an inop fuel gauge, and I sold it to a good friend for her son, who drove it for *years* like that (I was willing to fix it for the cost of the parts, but she didn’t want to bother). It didn’t even have a trip meter (the base model with no tachometer didn’t have one), and he never once ran out of gas. To be on the safe side, every 200 miles, he filled up. The car would go further on a full tank but for peace of mind, he chose that mileage to top off. They did end up junking the car eventually, but only after it was stolen and crashed. To this day, he still has fond memories of that car, he drove it through high school, all of college, and to his first real (post-graduate) job. After they lost it due to the theft, he bought a VR6 Jetta. He often joked that the $1,000 Tempo was more reliable than the $13,000 Jetta.

    Junking a car because of an insignificant problem like that? C’mon. That’s like bulldozing a house because the carpet needs replacing. I could see it if it was a worn-out clunker showing more rust than paint, with 10s of days of life left otherwise, but a car in good condition? I really don’t mean to be rude, but that’s just stupid, no other word for it. At the very least, sell it to someone who can work something so complex as a trip meter.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah I don’t get it either, at first I assumed the whole sending unit with pump wasn’t working and the car is in-op. Heck I drove a Ranger all summer with a dead gauge (failed float). Finally got around to fixing it with a new $68 sending unit right before I sold it. I just used the trip meter, 250 miles and I’d play it safe and fill up.

  • avatar

    On a more general note, all cars go thru this cycle where the manufacture no longer has to keep parts, I think it’s 7 years. Parts become difficult to source and you need to put some effort into it or find a mechanic who will. It’s a difficult time for owners of these cars, but as the responses above show there is a way. Just have to make the effort or just give up and lease.

  • avatar

    “Now it seems like we may have to junk it since we cannot find this part — anywhere!”

    It’s a Nissan, not a Coda. You’ll find the part if not a similar in if you keep looking. Akernatively I’m sure someone wouldn’t mind buying your car.

    I get how you feel, my last 240 required a fuel hose in a goofy size for a rare optional part (cold start injector), eventually I was able to get something setup before selling the car, and unlike your Nissan this Volvo was in bad shape.

  • avatar

    Also, recyclers.

    Used even without a warranty is probably plausible, for a fuel level sender; they’re not really a wear item.

    I was able to find an oil filter housing for a 30-plus-year-old Mercedes from a recycler, a 20 year old Infiniti fuel sender should be possible.

    (And not a “special” Mercedes, either, a boring ol’ 300D.)

  • avatar

    “Now it seems like we may have to junk it since we cannot find this part — anywhere!”

    well, the VIN does start with “JNK”


  • avatar

    If none of the suggested parts sources work, just refuel at fixed mileage intervals short enough that there is no chance you will run out. My first car, 55 years ago, was a VW beetle without a fuel gauge. I coped with it.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you konw about the handle under the dash? Flip it up at fillup and it traps almost a gallon in an upper chamber. When the VW starts to stumble, flip down the handle and you have enough gas to find a gas station.

      My sister had one of those in college, and the only gauge was the speedometer with a stripped gear. It spun around as fast as the car was going. She and her college girlfriends used it as a roulette wheel, betting where it would stop, and sometimes stopping in the middle of the road to settle a bet.

      Never get in a car driven by a female college student.

  • avatar

    I am currently building a 1995 G20. My best advice would be to go to a U.K. source, and ask for Primera parts. Look also on U.K. Ebay. You will see it there. I had to order aftermarket lowering springs for these cars and had to go to Germany to source some. A little more expensive, but worth it.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Yes you should junk it. But I’m a good guy so I’ll pay you 50 dollars over scrap value. You are welcome.

  • avatar

    My old man’s 1950 Packard went without a fuel gauge for about two thirds of its life. So we got used to putting gas in it fairly often. Also, the filler pipe was straight so we could use a stick to guess how much gas it had in it.
    The car also had a whistle in the filler pipe. When the whistle went silent the tank was nearly full. This was a great advantage in the old days before automatic shutoffs.

  • avatar

    I was going to suggest the Primera part as well. Is it showing empty all the time? Try the fuel system cleaner first, then if that doesn’t work, pull the sender, and make sure it isn’t just a bad float. Brass floats sometimes leak, but once you get the gas out of it, you can patch the hole or crack with JB Weld. If it’s foam, you could let it dry out and then paint it with POR-15, or coat it with JB Weld.

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