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 > Technical Articles: / BMW E36 3-Series (1992-1999) >
Replacing the Fuel Pump & Fuel Level Sender on Your BMW
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing the Fuel Pump & Fuel Level Sender on Your BMW

Time:

1-2 hours

Tab:

$190

Talent:

*****

Tools:

16mm socket and driver, 4mm Allen head screw, Phillips head screwdriver, flatblade screwdriver, 8mm socket, extension and driver

Applicable Models:

 
BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

Fuel pump and fuel level sender

Performance Gain:

A proper functioning fuel delivery system on your BMW

Complementary Modification:

Replace the fuel filter
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Some common fuel injection problems can be traced back to a faulty or nonoperational fuel pump. If the pump is noisy and loud, or the fuel pressure in the engine compartment is lower than what is needed for proper fuel injection operation, itÂ's probably time to replace the fuel pump. The fuel pump is not as simple as one might think. The fuel runs through the pump and acts as a coolant and lubricant for the entire assembly. Therefore, if you let the car run out of gas, make sure to you turn off the pump immediately or you might damage the internal components of the pump. ThereÂ''s nothing worse than having a broken or faulty pump leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Typical fuel pump problems can sometimes be headed off in advance. If the pump is noisy or making loud clicking noises, chances are that the bearings inside are worn and should be replaced. If the pump continues to make noise even after the ignition is shut off, internal check valves in the pump may be showing signs of failure. The pump could seize up at some time, or the pressure to the fuel injection system could drop. Either way, the car will not perform at its peak. In another form of failure, the pump motor may get stuck and then finally kick in after turning the ignition on and off a couple of times. This could be a sign that youÂ're living on borrowed time and should replace the pump immediately. Just to be sure, check the electrical connections to the pump before replacement to verify itÂ's the pump and not an electrical problem.

Some early E30 cars have a standard fuel pump underneath the car. For these E30 owners replacement of the fuel pump is quite similar to replacement of the fuel filter (see Project 4). This text, however, will focus on the fuel pump and tank sender replacement for 1988-and-later models.

First, prep the car by removing as much gasoline from the car as possible. Get a long piece of fuel hose and place it down the fuel filler hole. Then hook up a small battery-operated carburetor fuel pump, and pump the gasoline from one car to another. Or, you could buy a gasoline hand pump from most auto parts stores. Either way you go about it, try to remove every drop of gas from the tank.

Another essential step: Always disconnect the battery before you begin working near the tank. You donÂ't want any accidental sparks from electrical connections. Some additional warnings:

  • Always have a fire extinguisher handy in case an emergency arises.
  • Gasoline is highly flammable. When working around fuel and fuel line connections, donÂ't disconnect any wires or electrical connections that may cause electrical sparks.
  • Always remove the gas cap to relieve any pressure in the tank prior to working on the fuel system.
  • Do not use a home office or work lamp near fuel or fuel tanks. If you need more light, use a cool fluorescent lamp, and keep it far away from the pump.
  • Gasoline vapors are strong, harmful, and toxic. They can make you drowsy and cloud your judgment. Therefore, always work in a well-ventilated area with plenty of fresh air blowing through.
  • Always disconnect the battery prior to working on the fuel system. Leave it disconnected for at least 30 minutes before you begin in order to allow any residual electrical charge in components to dissipate.
  • Keep plenty of paper towels on hand, and wear rubber gloves to prevent any spilled gasoline from coming in contact with your hands or eyes.
  • Be well grounded. DonÂ't do anything that will create static electricity. Keep all cell phones and pagers a safe distance away.

Next, remove the back seat from your car. ItÂ's simply clipped in place. Move both the driver and passenger seat all the way forward, crawl in the back of the car, and tug up on the rear seat from the bottom edge. It should pop up with minimal force. BMW designed the car intelligently, so the fuel tank senders and the fuel pump are very easy to get to. (On other makes, you may need to drop the fuel tank to do the replacement.)

With the back seat removed, you will see sound-deadening material with two flaps, one on the right side and one on the left. The fuel pump is located on the right side of the car, so lift up the right-side flap. You will see a circular cover with some wires emerging from it. Remove this cover and the thin foam seal underneath it. Beneath that, youÂ'll see the top of the fuel pump.

Carefully disconnect the two electrical connectors that mate with the pump. Then, while wearing protective gloves, disconnect the fuel lines that feed into the top of the pump. There will be some gas spillage here, so have paper towels on hand. Plug the lines quickly with a bolt or a pen, and use a hose clamp to prevent further leaks.

The pump is held in place by a big circular disc with the risers on it. BMW makes a special tool to remove and tighten this black plastic ring. However, using a large flathead screwdriver and a small hammer, you can easily tap the plastic ring loose. Carefully remove the ring from the top of the pump.

Now comes the fun part. Make sure you are fully prepared with a well-ventilated garage, plenty of paper towels, and those trusty rubber gloves. Ready? Pull up on the pump, and the entire assembly should come right out of the tank. There is a big, thick O-ring that seals the pump to the tank. Be carefulÂ--it will probably fall to the bottom of the pump. DonÂ't let it fall into the tank, or youÂ'll have to somehow fish it out later on. Notice in Photo 2 how brown the bottom filter of the pump looks? Well, the new pumpÂ's screen is completely white.

You now have an open tank of gas in your back seat. Needless to say, you donÂ't want to leave the car like this for too long. However, you also donÂ't want to work too quickly, as you donÂ't want to make any big mistakes.

You can reuse the old sealing O-ring, but I usually opt for a new one. If you do use the old one and it doesnÂ't seal well, you will be plagued with a fuel smell in the interior of your car from this point on.

Insertion of the pump into the tank is the reverse of removal. Make sure the big O-ring is properly sealed around the outside of the pump and that it will seal with the opening of the tank. The new pump needs to sit snuggly on the top of the tank. To safely seal it, spin on the large circular ring, and tap it with a hammer or screwdriver to tighten it. For this project I tightened mine about as far as I could go without feeling that IÂ'd break the ring. Next, reconnect the fuel hoses using new hose clamps.

Once all fumes have subsided, plug in the new fuel pump and reconnect the battery. Then crank the car over and see if it starts. If the car starts and runs for any length of time, the pump is working fine. Replace the top cover and foam seal. Finally, reinstall the back seat by pushing it down into its home position.

Replacing the fuel tank level sending unit follows a very similar process. On late-model E30 and E36 BMWs, there are two level sending unitsÂ--one on the left side, and one on the right side that is integrated into the fuel pump. The procedure for the replacement of the fuel sender on the left side is identical to the procedure for replacement of the fuel pump on the right side.

If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Figure
Figure 1

In this photo, the back seat has been removed to get down to the fuel pump. On the left, you see the sound-deadening material with the access flap (yellow arrow). In the middle frame, you see the access cover with the fuel pump wires exiting out the top. On the right is the pump with the hoses and electrical connections removed. Tie the old hoses out of the way while you are working on the pump.

Figure
Figure 2

This is what the pump looks like when you remove it from the tank. Try to wear gloves when handling the pump. The yellow arrow points to the large O-ring that seals the fuel pump with the top of the tank. The red arrow shows the screen on the bottom of the tank; it was originally white.

Figure
Figure 3

This photo shows the brand-new pump. The yellow arrow points to the fuel tank level sender float. The purple arrow shows the electrical pickup for the sending unit. The blue arrow indicates the fuel pickup screen. The red arrow shows a flexible hose that fuel pumps through to get to the top of the pump, and the green arrow points to the fuel pump motor itself.

Figure
Figure 4

Mate the new large O-ring to the outside of the pump prior to installation. You will have to negotiate the pump into the hole in the tank, and the fuel level sending float tends to get in the way. When you mate the pump with the tank, make sure the O-ring firmly and securely seals the pump to the tank. Otherwise, you may end up with a fuel smell in your car in the future.

Figure
Figure 5

Shown here is the fuel pump installed and the hoses reconnected with new hose clamps. Make sure the large plastic ring is on very tight. Any looseness in this ring will cause gasoline vapors to seep into the interior of your car. When the ring is firmly attached, reconnect the electrical connections, hook up the battery, and test the new pump by starting the car.

Figure
Figure 6

This photo shows an under-carriage fuel pump on a 1984 E30 318i. When replacing these types of pumps, be sure to get the fuel level in the tank as low as possible. This will reduce the pressure in the fuel line leading to the pump. Be prepared to clamp the line, and also have paper towels and a bucket handy to catch any fuel that may spill out of the pump or fuel line.

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Comments and Suggestions:
turtle515 Comments: So my inline fuel pump is buzzing in my 87 325i, if I replace it do I need to replace my in-tank pickup pump too? Rockauto has an inline pump for $50 but they say you "must also replace pre-supply pump", and do you know if this is this the right part number? 16141179232, thanks
October 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to replace just the faulty pump. Be sure the in tank is OK as well, if weak it could ruin the new inline pump.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/ksearch/pel_search_2014.cgi ?SUPERCAT_FLAG=Y&make=BMW&Context_make=BMW&please_wait=N&LastVisited_input=&Previous_Section=&forumid=&threadid=&SUPERCAT_FLAG=Y&command=DWsearch&description=16141179232%20 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bobby Comments: replaced fuel pump on bmw e36 1995 320i. fuel gauge not giving accurate readings. got stuck when fuel gauge reading half tank. added 40litres fuel drove 160km and when i siphoned the rest of the fuel from tank there was still 45litres in it. mystry. please help
September 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check your installation. The siphon jet pump may be detached or the line for it not in the right place. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dannyboy Comments: I have 318i e36 my fuel gauge started not working properly after an attempt accident and my speedometer, my fuel gauge always stays on full even no fuel,i tried replacing the crash sensor still no response what to be the problem.
September 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be an issue with the instrument cluster or the sending unit. Try unplugging the fuel level sender, if the level goes to empty, the problem is with the sender. If not, the problem is likely the cluster. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
E36 Comments: Hi, my E36 325i indicates that it requires a minimum of unleaded 95 RON octane gas. Where I live that's the highest rating available and have always filled it with it. Recently the tank was three quarters full of 95 and I decided to top it off. Accidentally 91 RON was pumped. So I ended up having 3/4 of 95 RON and 1/4 of 91 RON. Will it do any damage to the car? I haven't found any octane boosters where I live.

Thanks
August 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The engine has sensors and software to detect detonation, technically the DME should be able to prevent damage using these sensors. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Boris Comments: I can not hear fuel pump noise when ign on what could be the problem fuse ok
July 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Problem could be power or ground to the pump, wiring or a faulty pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
OldSkoolGP Comments: I have an '87 325E. It has a hard starting problem. Takes about 10 seconds of cranking before it finally lights off. It surges under acceleration for the first minute or so but once it gets warmed up it runs great. I think it's due to a lack of fuel pressure on startup. Before I invest in replacement parts I'm wondering what the most common cause of this would be so I know where to start.
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be a problem with the fuel delivery system or the exhaust system (restriction). I would start by checking fuel trim to see ho wit skewed when the problem is present. It will point you toward the source. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: Hello, I have a 1985 BMW E30 318i. My fuel gauge worked well but recently it has been jumping between and empty. Does it mean I have to replace the level senders in the tank? This car has been parked for along time before I had this problem. At times I can run out fuel even though the gauge shows me quarter tank.
June 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The level senders are the most common issue. best bet is to remove them, move the sensor float through the range and monitor resistance. Look for a smooth transition from low to high resistance. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MrBagels Comments: Thanks for the write up. I think I'm going to replace my pump in the next couple weeks. I was wondering, I recently swapped in a 1990 325i engine into my 86 325e body, what fuel pump should I go with. The 1990 to match the engine components? Or should I go with the original 86 e parts? Thanks!
April 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the pressure spec is the same on both, go with the pump from the original vehicle.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
paulpoko Comments: its is a 1991 318is. do they have a different fuel pump or same one?
Thanks
March 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article does apply to that vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
paulpoko Comments: hello
is it the same fuel pump for the m42 engine?
thanks
March 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle year and model? Then I can figure out if the article or pump style applies. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: 1989 BMW 325i. My fuel gauge would not go lower than 1/2 full. My mechanic said the problem was a bad left fuel level sender so I replaced it at cost of $250+. Now the fuel level gauge goes down to about 1/3 full and yesterday I ran out of gas. He now says the left sender must be replaced. Why? I thought the right sender only sends info from full to 1/2 full and the left one does 1/2 to empty. Does one sender rely on the other to do its job? Or could it be something else? The car runs fine after adding one gal of gas but still registers 1/3 full on the gauge.
March 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Both sensors send data for that side of the saddle-tank. Both signals are used to decide the level. You probably have a faulty sensor or wiring. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
thompson1295 Comments: Hi, I have a 1991 E30 and I just replaced the fuel pump and fuel filter. The fuel pump is making a lot of noise and will get to certain speed and the gas pedal will have no affect. Also looking for the transfer pump.
January 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be an issue with the fuel pump. Possible restriction or wiring issue. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality. Transfer pump is in-tank.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Seb Comments: I have an 86 325es with the external inline fuel pump. I just replaced it and the fuel filter. The car still has shaky acceleration. Could it be the pre-supply in-tank pump? Fuel pressure regulator works fine, test shows its about 10 psi lower than spec. Fuel level gauge is a bit erratic, is the level sending unit and pre-supply connected in anyway electrically? Could a malfunctioning level sending unit affect the pre-supply pump?
January 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be an issue with the in-tank fuel pump. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jbizel Comments: Everything is there except for spark the car ran perfectly until the water pump went bad and I tried to start it without the rotor and distributor cap in placei will this cause the car to jump timing
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you lack spark, the cap alignment is not the issue. I would check the coil trigger and power to the coil. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jbizel Comments: I have a 84 325e I recently changed my water pump i inadvertently turn the motor over before I had replaced the distributor cap I finally got everything back together started the car and it ran turn the motor off have not been able to start the motor since did I disturb the ignition timing and what do I need to do in order to correct my mistake
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and fuel pressure, volume, quality and engine compression. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jke Comments: Just replaced fuel pump on my e30. There's a slightly erratic idle now when coming in and out of gearsidle drops to around 500RPM...

Pump is quality and installed right. What should I check?
October 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Billy Comments: I have a 1985 BMW 325E and am changing the fuel pump as seen on the attached pic. What is the round part on top of the pump ? A fuel filter ??? Cannot find any part that looks like that ?? Thank You !
Billy
October 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is a fuel pressure damper. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Trevor Comments: Hi, I have a 2000 318i auto, 190 000kms on the clock. Engine still fine, no smoking, oil stays at constant full level, no water problems. When I start the engine, at any time of the day, it needs to idle for 3 minutes first. If I start and go it has no power for about 2kms and then just speeds up when enough fuel gets to the engine. When travelling on open road at over 100 it starts slowing down as if little fuel is getting through. Then you have to slow down to 80 for about 5kms and then it gets going again. It goes fine at 100kms or less. I replaced fuel filter and fuel pump. The mechanic plugged in his computer and the test found no faults. Any advice will be appreciated.
September 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be an issue with the fuel pump. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sonny Comments: I have a '96 bmw 318ti. The prob i lem is hard starting when cold. When i get it to run,everything is ok. When I turn it off and restart it after a few minutes, it starts. But when I leave it after an hour, i have difficulty starting the engine again. I checked the fuel pump and took out one of the fuel hose and crank the engine, no fuel was coming out. what could be the problem? is it the fuel pump?
July 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you may be in the right area. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
If you lack one or have no fuel flow, check power and ground to the fuel pump when cranking. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
smalldog77 Comments: I have a early 87 325i convertible, automatic. When going up long grades on hot days 90+ fuel starvation forces us to stop or go back downhill. We replaced the pump under car, but can't find a replacement for in tank unit.
June 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We should be able to get the parts you need.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
SuperEta1988 Comments: Hey there, I have a 1988 325e with an under-carriage set up. What fuel pump/filter would you recommend I get?
May 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is the fuel filter.

See the filters on this page:

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Elamore Comments: Hi I have e36 318i the fuel gage not working and I checked the sender unit and the gage from cluster no thing unusual everything seems fine pls help. Thank u.
May 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the sender and gauge are working, it has to be the wiring. Only thing left. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ejj Comments: I have a 1998 323i , my gas pump don't turn off when I turn off the car. I change the fuel relay but still it won't turn off.
April 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Go the DME, check if the pin for the fuel pump relay is being activated. If so, remove the wire from the DME connector, is it still being activated? If so, there is a short in the control wire of the DME. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ola Comments: Thanks for all your feedback; Much appreciated.
My car BMW 320 ci sport rubber door seal strip falling apart, please check the attached photo and advise on what to do....
March 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will likely have to replace the weatherstrip. The attaching points may be worn. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ola Comments: I have a BMW 320 ci but When you receive MOT advisory note reading; Front bothsuspension arm has slight play in a pin/bush. I cannot understand this- could you please explain this to me and is it a bit expensive to repair
March 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like there is play in the ball joints or bushings in your front control arms. As far as cost goes, you will have to check with a few local repair shops and get quotes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ola Comments: I have a BMW 320 ci but When you receive MOT advisory note reading; Front both suspension arm has slight play in a pin/bush. I cannot understand this- could please explain this to me and is it a bit expensive
March 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like there is play in the ball joints or bushings in your front control arms. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ola Comments: I have a BMW 320 CI SPORT 2002 model, but fuel gauge is not working even when is fully tank. I don't know what is wrong. The amber light is constantly on. The fuel tank is not reading at all and is fully tank and the amber light is on. Please help with any suggestions
March 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would go to the fuel pump and sending unit. Unplug the unit, does the gauge go to empty? If so, locate a wiring diagram, then ground the terminal for the fuel level sender, does the fuel level read full? If so, the sending unit is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ola Comments: I have a BMW 320 CI SPORT, but fuel gauge is not working even when is fully tank. I don't know what is wrong. The amber light is constantly on. The fuel tank is not reading at all and is fully tank and the amber light is on. Please help with any suggestions
March 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would go to the fuel pump and sending unit. Unplug the unit, does the gauge go to empty? If so, locate a wiring diagram, then ground the terminal for the fuel level sender, does the fuel level read full? If so, the sending unit is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Trent Comments: I recently purchased a 1986 325es and seems that it is getting horrible gas mileage for it being the economy model. Was wondering if replacing the fuel pump and filter would do me some justice in getting better MPG. Also if i choose to change the pump, I've seen that some have two fuel pumps, one in tank and one mounted externally, how do I know which one I have?
January 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check if there is an issue visible via fuel control. If mileage is down, it will show up in fuel control


Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
40whiskey Comments: On my 1986 325ES with a single fuel pump/sender. Is it necessary to remove the whole unit to replace the sender or can it be replaced with the rest of the assembly left in the tank?
January 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I recall the whole unit has to come out. The sender has to be detached. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Beeves Comments: Hi,just got 1990 318i, should you b able tohear fuel pump wen ignition turned on? Won't start but will fire wen I squirt aerostart in throttle body!
January 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fuel pump should prime when you turn the key ON. Check if the pump is getting a brief power signal from the relay when they key is turned ON.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
abdullah Comments: Hi I got a bmw e30 318i my problem is when driving my car 80 and giving just a little more fuel my car is as if it wants to cut out iven if in pulling of I need to short shift to avoid the car from doing so I check the petrol pump on the left side under the car replace it and still doing so, I iven took of that pump and try to start it with the pump under the back seat in the tank but its just swinings when starting the car with out the bottom fuel pump. Can the pump in the tank be removed and start with the pump under the left side or not or how do I check if the pump in the tank is working
October 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Why are yo chasing the fuel pump? To be sure you need a new one, perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jroe02 Comments: I am having a problem in this are of the car2007 525i. The fitting at the end of the fuel line plugging onto the expansion tank is spitting a pin hole size gas leak. What is this part called so I can replace? And how to replace? Expansion tank meaning fuel sending unit side not fuel pump side
August 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Expansion tank? Do you mean fuel tank> If so, replace the sending unit. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
oxy Comments: I have a 1984 318i that had been stored for 18 years. It had a very noisy fuel pump one pump under the sill. I replaced it with a new pump which is equally noisy. Seems to get worse after a few minutes running. Any suggestions.
August 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have a restricted fuel line or faulty supply voltage. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
Also voltage drop test power and ground to the pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jonathan Comments: I have an '89 e30 with a jumping fuel gauge. I've read that this is because one of the fuel senders is intermittently malfunctioning but it isn't clear which one. It was suggested that I unplug the sensors one at a time and when the needle jumped, the sensor plugged in at that time was the culprit. I started with the right side and with the key on I unplugged it. The needle went from full to totally empty. Then when I plugged it back in it stayed at empty line. Disconnecting and reconnecting the left side didn't move the needle off the empty line. Now my gauge is not functioning at all. I thought I only had to replace one sender but now do I have to replace both to get my gauge working again?
August 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Unlikely. It sounds like you have a poor connection at one of the sending units. I would inspect the wiring harness and electrical connectors for damage, specifically from rodents. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jay Comments: I just bought my second E36, this one a 96 318ic.

After refueling, I drove it down to a little under 1/4 tank, and only got 190 miles. But upon refill, it clicked at 11 gallons. And now the fuel gauge is stuck at the same mark.

Thus, what would cause the gauge to drop faster than it should, then stick after refueling? Which sender unit would you check first?
August 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be the sending unit, makes sense to what you described.

Remove the fuel pump and sending unit, check if the resistance changes smoothly without any large jumps.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
2broke2careracing Comments: I have a 87 e30 325 ic had a bad fuel pump checked it with a 86 325 e fuel pump but it doesn't go all the way it are there different size tanks for different models/ years for e30
July 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: COuld be a different part. To be sure, check the part numbers of each pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mrjch Comments: Hey, I Have a e39 540i 1997 and the fuel gauge was not working properly. The left-hand side fuel sender unit also leaked when the car was filled right up. I replace the sender unit with an secondhand one and a new seal. Now the car did not want to start this morning for some reason. Is it possible that air got into the fuel system and I just needed to turn it over a few more times? The car turns over as the rev needle moves up just under 1000 rpm. I will be checking the battery as well, but it was working fine yesterday. Car only has 80k miles on it. =D.
July 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: COnfirm you have fuel pressure and volume.

If you don't, the siphon or a connection to the pump could be faulty. I would inspect the fuel pump and sending components. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rabsta Comments: I have a 325e E30, M Spec, 1987 Automatic transmission.

It was running ok for two weeks when I bought it. Then I filled up with High Octane fuel. The tank was very low when I did this.
Since then the car stalls, runs erratically and when cold is very hard to start. When running it feels like it is choking. I have adjust the air inlet to allow more air, the car idled better then., IDC I think its called so the idle RPM is around 900 now instead of 600-700 before. I have checked for air leaks and found none, the external fuel pump does wine and does not kick in until I turn the engine over. When I depress the gas pedal it struggles, like the mix is to rich, to much air getting in? I took for a run this morning and it sounded like a I had a hole in the Exhaust manifold which I don't and stalled. I have yet to check the spark plugs and distributer. Also the Coolant warning light comes on, when I fiddle with the connection to sensor at the tank it goes off, it is loose which I need to fix, vibrations from the engine causes this. It has 198000 KM on the clock.
Is there anything else I can check easily? I am going to drain the fuel tank and clean it out, check the fuel pump and filter. I have a feeling I have dirty fuel. Also I put a fuel cleaner in the tank, but the car wont run long enough to get that through the system to remove carbon build up.
July 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality. This is the best place to start, maybe the easiest test. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Erin Comments: Hi! Thank you for all the technical articles. My 91 e30 cabrio has the unit on each side of the tank. Fuel gauge not working, but low-fuel light is, and fuel pump is working fine. Which side do I need to replace?
May 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If I remember correctly, it is the right side. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
e30dylan Comments: I just replaced my fuel pump and filter on my 88' 325is due to a loud whine. within 5 minutes of it running the whine came back just as loud. Could a dirty tank cause this problem? The car has been sitting for ~2 years during a huge refreshment of the mechanics. The old gas was dropped with the old pump and fresh 91 was with this new pump.
April 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Debris in the tank could cause the fuel pump to strain. I would also check that no lines are restricted, and voltage drop test the power and ground to the pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
markymarkb1125 Comments: If my 84 BMW 318 I will start run for just a Lil bit then die .... What's the matter with my car is it the fuel pump? Or something g simpler or ?
April 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
juto Comments: the fuel gauge on my 1988 318i reading changes up and down every minute
March 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can have a faulty fuel sending unit, fuel gauge or cluster. You are going to have to start by testing one of them. I suggest starting with the sending unit. Ground the signal wire, does the gauge still fluctuate?- Nick at Pelican Parts  
XKlan Comments: I have a bmw 318i. the car was running well except for a little funny noise in the engine. i took the car to a mechanic and soon discovered that the car needed bearing replacement. after replacingt he bearings. the car would not start. it was pouring in a lot of fuel the mehanic thought it was the computer box, but that was proved to be ok. the car would start when one clamps the fuel pipe to reduce the in flow of petrol and would then die out. what could be the problem. as i speak, the car is still not starting due to overflooding. please help.

November 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the grounds for the computer system and check the coolant temperature sensor is working properly - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Matt323 Comments: Hey , just wanted to say I appreciate your business. I don't mean to sound like this I'm complaining or angry, because I am not at all. I just wanted to point out a problem I ran into following your instructions regarding the pen to plug the lines idea which I initially thought was great. I ended up with pieces of pen stuck in the line, which I thought was going to be a small nightmare learning the hard way something I knew anyway but didn't think about. Gasoline eats certain plastics. Had a but of a panic, especially since I had to be somewhere and didn't want to leave a piece of dissolving plastic in there, but I eventually got it all out using a dental hygienists pick auto ones would work too in case anyone else does this too. Other than that, great write up. As with all your info posted, it is much appreciated and I remain a enthusiastic customer always go here first. I must confess being that it was Friday, that I had to purchase the VDO through a local competitor because I couldn't wait for shipping primary transportation. I would generally be ok paying even a little more to order from Pelican usually not the case anyway because I think you are such an awesome resource for German car owners. and in this case you guys were over $50 cheaper too : Anyway, sorry for the ramble, just thought I might be able to save somebody a future headache. I've got an order for some Mini parts I'm getting for a friend and possibly a whole bunch of stuff for a potential head job coming your way soon. I will keep on recommending you guys any time a relevant conversation comes up as I do quite often.
Thanks, and keep up the good work
October 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
CarlXKE Comments: I bought my first BMW, a 92 525I five speed. The car had been sitting in storage outdoors for two years. A new fuel pump was installed just before it was put in storage. I got it running but had to pull the tank to fix leaks from rust. To reseal the tank I had to remove the fuel pump, which I carefully did. Now the car runs perfect until the fuel level go down to 1/3 tank then it starts to miss and progressively gets worse as the fuel gets lower. A fill up returns it to perfect running. I am thinking that the pump is sucking air but can think of no pump component that could allow air at the 1/3 level. Any suggestions, I hate to buy another pump. And by the way what a magnificent machine to drive!!
October 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There oould be a crack in the plastic or one of the fittings. It does sound like it is sucking air, remove the pump and check it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
kone30 Comments: whats the size of that o-ring so i can get a new one before hand and have it ready?
June 8, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right O-ring. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Philip Comments: Actually my 1985 325e and other E30s up to 1987 have 2 fuel pumps - the main underneath the car and secondary in the fuel tank. The in-tank pump though is not necessary to be working if the in-line pump is replaced with a high-flow pump.
March 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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