Gas Gauge - What's Normal?

Macon_a_Splash

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I have a 2018 SLXP / 150 HP / SPS. Love the boat, but am not sure if my gas gauge is operating correctly. Whenever I start up, it seems to take an inordinate amount of time for my gas gauge to register above "E".

I am usually the boat captain and know as I start out that I've GOT to have more fuel than "E". But I have to stress about whether I've got a leak or whether I just didn't realize how low it was when I docked.

It takes a minimum of about three minutes after I'm underway (and sometimes longer) for the gauge to start to move beyond "E". Last weekend, I really wasn't watching how much fuel I was burning and had cruised and pulled lots of tubers and then anchored for a bit. When I started back up, it stayed on "E" for at least the first several minutes of the cruise home. Since I really hadn't paid much attention to the gas (started the afternoon with over 3/4 tank, didn't think I needed to worry - should have had plenty of gas), I had the stress of cruising for several minutes on "E" before my fuel gauge decided to show me I was still well over a half tank.

Just wanting to know what's normal? This doesn't seem right.

Thanks!
 

SEMPERFI8387

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Sounds like a sticking sending unit. As you are cruising around it’s adjusting due to the boats movement. I’d have dealer check that.
 

Spoiledrotten

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I’m fixing to get my third sending unit. My friends that own the Bennington dealership already replaced a misbehaving sending unit. This one messed up, too. They have another one on order from Bennington. It really takes a lot of the relaxation out of boating when you don’t know how much gas you have left. Good luck with yours.
 
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sjhorner9475

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This has been my first season with our new boat with a Suzuki engine and digital gauges. The digital fuel tank readout provides both the traditional fuel guage with needle readout and a second readout indicating the percentage of fuel remaining in the tank. Based on that readout, I calculate the number of gallons used but when I fill up, invariably it takes twice as many gallons as calculated. Any idea of why this is occurring? And don't say my math is wrong because my wife already beat you to that!

Thanks
 

Vikingstaff

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I remember when we were ordering our boat at the end of 2016, I was a bit bummed I HAD to go with digital controls with our Mercury Verado Pro because it wasn $2-3k more.

However, they are awesome, and do give a nice amount of accurate information that you can toggle through and know it is reliable. Fuel, trim, battery, engine temp, water temp, speed, distance remaining on fuel, etc... Over the last three years as people have had little issues with non-digital gauges, I am reminded how much I appreciate my digital gauges since I refer to them a lot for data and information.
 

Macon_a_Splash

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I’m fixing to get my third sending unit. My friends that own the Bennington dealership already replaced a misbehaving sending unit. This one messed up, too. They have another one on order from Bennington. It really take a lot of the relaxation out of boating when you don’t know how much gas you have left. Good luck with yours.
Thanks, Spoiledrotten.

The fuel level on my boat is an inside joke with my family. When I first bought a lake place I also bought the prior owners' 20' Fisher Freedom Deluxe Pontoon Boat. It was an old pontoon, two stroke, 75 HP and about 20 years old. I had limited boating experience as the captain and was really focused on safety. My family showed up for a first look at the lake place and of course I wanted to take them out on the "new" pontoon. (I had another boat, a 2006 Key West 2020, 150 HP four stroke - still have it and enjoy it. But it has a maximum passenger load of 6 people versus the 12 the Fisher Freedom would accommodate. So at this time, I had never had more than a few people on a boat, I wasn't used to a really old boat, and strange though it sounds, even though I owned the Key West, I had rarely ever been the captain. I had never used a boat lift. In other words, lots of new things to figure out and lots of stress associated with the maiden voyage of the 20 year old pontoon that was now loaded with expectant family members - all ready for a large afternoon of boating.)

So we loaded up on the Fisher Freedom, I figured out how to operate the boat lift, counted and recounted life vests, loaded up supplies - water, sunscreen, floats, checked for the throw cushion, registration and fire extinguisher, . . . .) Reread the directions the former owners had written for me on how to start their boat (which didn't just involve turning the key - there was a little routine.) With my very limited boat driving experience, I was already dreading coming back and trying to get the boat back on the lift with an audience.

So, after priming the two stroke and "choking" it to get it started, and readjusting the lift so the boat could float off now that it was loaded with people, we were finally underway. All the drama to get on the water, but it was all worth it. Everyone looked so happy. And I was relieved to have had a successful launch.

We'd left my boat dock and gotten out into the middle of the lake and my sister glances back at me and says, "So, we're good with fuel, right?" I remembered when I had test driven the boat just a few days prior and it was just below a full tank. And the incredibly nice folks I purchased from, I knew, wouldn't have left me high and dry - would they?

When I looked down I realized they must have really enjoyed their final days with their old pontoon. We were on "E" and now about half way between my house and the closest marina - although nothing was very close. The fuel level was the ONE thing I hadn't checked that day. I can't tell you why it didn't occur to me - just too many other things to stress about that day.

So, I prayed all the way to the marina, all the while saying reassuringly to the very large family group, "There's a little left - it ought to be enough - a 75 HP boat doesn't need a lot. I've got SEA TOW, we'll be fine." Thankfully we made it. (God is good - even to the incredibly foolish.)

So, ever since then, I am very conscious of my fuel level. Glad to know my gauge's delay in moving off "E" isn't normal. I'll let my dealer know and thanks to the Bennington warranty, should be covered.

Good luck Spoiledrotten with your new resending unit - hope third time is the charm for you.

Thanks, everyone.
 

Spoiledrotten

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Glad you made it to the marina. So stressful wondering if you’re going to make it on the gas you have, especially when you have a boat load of people depending on what you’ve done to prepare. God bless.
 
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w5pfg

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The only thing worse than worrying about low tank level is when you have guests, you've been out for a day on the lake, and need to speed back at full throttle so someone can use the restroom.
 

BigKahuna

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I start to stress when my fuel level gets around 1/4 tank because the gauge fluctuates from half to empty. What I have to get through my head is 1/4 tank is about 13 gallons (52 gallon tank)
 
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