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Oil Level Sender Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Oil Level Sender Replacement

Time:

1 hr

Tab:

$60

Talent:

*

Tools:

Socket set

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

New Oil Level Sending Unit, gasket

Hot Tip:

Never depend on this gauge for accurate readings " always check the dipstick at idle when the car is warm

Performance Gain:

Semi-accurate oil level readings

Complementary Modification:

Oil change
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If your oil level readings in your dashboard gauge are a little off, then it might be time to replace your oil level sender. Quite possibly the most dangerous part in the car, the oil tank level gauge is indeed mostly useless. Its measurements are only accurate when the car is warm and at idle. At all other times, the gauge will read artificially low or high values. Some of the times the sender or the gauge will stick, leading to more false readings. In general, the safe rule is to only check the oil using the dipstick located in the filler neck of the engine compartment. The oil should only be checked when the car is fully warmed up, and at idle.

If your oil tank level gauge is pegged at full, then you probably have a problem with the sender. Replacement units are relatively inexpensive at around $60, and the process of installing the new unit is quite simple.

The oil tank level sender is located on the outside surface of the tank, which is located in the rear right fender of the 911, behind the wheel. All 911s had their oil tanks in this location except for the 1972 911, which had it in the front. The sender unit is held on with 5 small nuts that need to be removed. It's a wise idea to clean the area of any dirt or debris that may have been flung up into this area from the tires. When you remove the sender, you don't want any dirt falling into the tank.

The sender is an obscure shaped unit, and may require some wiggling in order to remove it from the tank. The new one should be installed in the same orientation as the old one. The sender can only mount on the holes one way, so you can't really mess up the rotation. Make sure that you use a new gasket, and tighten the nuts snug.

If after installing the new unit, your gauge is still reading irregularly, you may need to replace the gauge. Unfortunately, the oil level gauge unit is not available as a separate unit: you have to purchase the entire gauge as a replacement. The old gauges simply pop out of the dashboard, and the new ones can be pushed back in after all of the electrical connections are reattached.

The brand new oil level float is a bizarre looking part.
Figure 1

The brand new oil level float is a bizarre looking part. It's shaped so that it can barely fit inside the hole in the side of the tank. Installation requires a bit of maneuvering in order to place the sender inside.

The sender is accessible from the outside of the tank, looking in from the rear wheel fender well.
Figure 2

The sender is accessible from the outside of the tank, looking in from the rear wheel fender well. The primary signal wire is connected to the center of the unit, and a ground is connected to one of the mounting bolts on the unit. Make sure that you don't drop any dirt or debris in the tank when you install the new unit.

If after you've installed the new unit, your gauge still isn't working, then it's likely a problem with your actual dashboard gauge.
Figure 3

If after you've installed the new unit, your gauge still isn't working, then it's likely a problem with your actual dashboard gauge. You can only replace the gauge as a unit. The old ones simply pop out of the dash and can be replaced with a brand new one after reconnecting all the wires in the rear.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Intruder Comments: I accidentally dropped the oil stick into the tank while checking the oil. When the mechanic removed it and poked and prodded and may have damaged the sensor. It was actually working very accurately before my incident with the dipstick. I need to know whether or not I need to remove the oil in the oil tank in order to install a new oil level sensor. Thank you very much for your help.
December 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, drain the oil first. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
retrotull Comments: I bought the oil sender kit from Pelican, jacked up the 85 Targa, and found the non-functioning sender. What I didn't see are the two wires that are supposed to be there!! Does Pelican sell a replacement wiring kit? What's the terminus on the other end of the wire? In the engine space, or routed all the way to fuse box? Any suggestions for quick workarounds?

Thanks, Mike
August 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should wire directly to the instrument cluster. I don't have the wiring to share, it may on the forums in an existing post.

I couldn't find the kit myself, but I am sure Pelican can get you something to fix it.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Patrick Comments: The little black rubber piece over the primary signal wire snapped off on mine. If you need a replacement where do I find one?
June 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Steve Comments: 1988 911 Targa and I'm replacing the cork oil level sensor gasket 91420189100 There is a notch on the outside edge of the gasket, but can't find a corresponding notch on the metal cover to match. Does it matter where the notched area lines up when replacing?? Many thanks.....
March 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Been a while, but I recall it faces toward the wiring, in the center of the cover. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chris 1973e Comments: I have 1973E with 47,000 miles and have owned car since l987. Have been doing some refurbishments on car including sending oil tank to Pacific Oil for refinishing. Have installed tank and filled with oil and run car and now have oil level indicator on dash pegging full as soon as switch is turned on. Checked circuit on power wire green with white around wire and ground and have proper voltage. Checked sending unit for resistance ohms and got reading of 1.4 K. My electrical guy says this is way to high for unit and probably indicates bad unit-guess I should have replaced it when tank was out. Never had any issues with oil system before. Do you think I need to replace unit?
Also, have purchased many parts from Pelican over many years and have been well pleased with overall performance. Thanks
February 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It does sound like a faulty unit. Can you share the repair info you are using to make the decision? I can look it over and maybe offer some more guidance. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Camperman Comments: What is the proper torque on the 5 nuts attaching the oil sender unit?
November 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info.


I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Lump Comments: Why would the fuel level gauge and oil level gauge quit working at the same time?
July 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Power or ground issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
johnny 2 dots Comments: I have an alarm going off on the dash...beep...beep. I was told it's refers to the oil level. do I need to change the oil level sensor?
Thanks
September 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is the year and model? What does the alarm look like, or is it just a chime? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MAL TARDIFF Comments: THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION. VERY VALUABLE AS I HAD BEEN ADVISED THAT I MAY HAVE TO TAKE THE ENGINE OUT OF THE CAR TO REPLACE THE SENDER UNIT. I ALSO PDRINTED OUT HOW TO FIX MY LOOSE DOOR MIRROR. MANY THANKS.
January 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
alan Comments: oil light comes when engine is hot 911 [964]
August 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check engine oil pressure. You may have an oil pressure problem indicated by the warning light. Do not drive the vehicle until you confirm oil pressure is OK. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lapkritis Comments: Vincent - you need to have the wiring checked; likely a break or short if components at both ends are new/tested.
May 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the extra test step for our reader - Nick at Pelican Parts  
airhead Comments: Replaced oil tank on 1970, connected elec. wires to tank,don't know where to connect other ends.
November 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should have 2 wires at the sending unit. One for the signal and one for the ground. I don't know what you mean by the other end? Did you buy a replacement harness? If you did then you have to run the wires all the way to the gauge in the dashboard. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony Comments: I have the oddball 1972 911 mentioned in this article. Is it possible to change the sender unit without removing the tank?
Thanks.
September 24, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The oil tank is probably going to need to be removed first- Nick at Pelican Parts  
vincent r prott Comments: I replaced the sending unit and has the gauge serviced by hollywood gauges and it still doesnt work
February 3, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need to verify the gauge is getting electrical power. You should start by checking for voltage at the sending unit unplugged with a digital multimeter then load it with a grounded test light and see if the gauge moves. The most basic test is unplug the gauge and the needle should move all the way in one direction and then ground the sending unit wire and the needle should move all the way in the other direction. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 3/25/2017 02:00:24 AM