View Full Version : 63 Fuel Sender

03-10-2014, 01:31 AM
Just bought the car, but suspect there is a problem with the sender and fuel pick up.

How do I get to the sender and hose w/o removing the tank?


03-10-2014, 01:43 AM
There's an access plate in the trunk under the mat.


03-10-2014, 01:47 AM
Adam, what you suspect is wrong? What's it doing or not doing?

03-10-2014, 01:48 AM
Hi Adam, I am not a Bulletbird owner, but if they are like the Squarebirds, you can get to the gas tank and the sending unit by taking up the trunk covering over the gas tank. There should be a locking ring on the top of the tank that you can get to and turn it to unlock the ring. First look and see if there is a ground connection going to that sending unit. If it is not grounded properly, the sending unit may not indicate properly. It would be a good thing to ground the tank to the chassis if there is not one. Your fuel sending unit might not be working right because it might have a pinhole in the float, filling it with gas. That happened to me on my Squarebird.

As to the hose, I am assuming you mean the fuel line coming out from the tank to the fuel pump. You should be able to get to that from underneath the car. There is a screen inside the tank that might be blocked by years of junk it it. The sending unit in the tank might be shot and if so, you can get them from any of the Tbird parts houses listed in the Advertisements Forum.

Does you temperature gauge work? What kind of indication do you get on the fuel gauge if anything? If neither is working, you could have a defective Constant Voltage Regulator (CVR) unit. That CVR unit is usually mounted to the back of the instrument panel or on a metal support beam inside the dashpad. The CVR unit supplies a stepped down 12v input to an intermittent 6v to the 6v gauges. If that CVR is not working properly, and allowed 12v to get to the gauges that could cause them to go bad. Do you have a Shop Manual for your Bulletbird? If not, you can get one from any of the Tbird parts houses. Call or email them and ask for their free catalogs. You can find the wiring schematics in the Technical Resource Library, the link which is always part of my signature element.

Keep in mind that am speaking from Squarebird experience, but the operation of the temperature/fuel gauges are similar in how they work.

03-10-2014, 09:59 AM
The fuel gauge works. Although reading close to full, It ran out of gas. Nothing to carb. So, when I disconnected the line to the fuel pump coming from the rear, no gas.

It took compressed air into the tank to get it flowing. So, I suspect a problem with that hose out of the sender or stuff in the tank.

So, I think I eliminated the fuel pump and carb.

Although it now runs, I want to make sure I check out problems for future.

My carpet is all glued down, so where is the location of this plate> Right near the rear or closer to spare tire?


03-10-2014, 10:27 AM
The access hole for this tank is towards the tire, according to this picture. Here is a picture of what the tank looks like. If that is the original tank you have a couple of options. One is to take it off the car, and have it cleaned out by a shop. I did that with mine on my Squarebird, and eventually had to replace it with a new one. If the car has been sitting for years with gas in the tank, you could have all kinds of junk in the tank. The other is to just buy a new one and be done with it. They cost over $200 through one of the Tbird Parts Houses, but you might be able to find them cheaper on eBay. Here is a link to the Bird Nest website to give you an idea of what gas tank parts go for and look like.


Is your temperature gauge working properly? If not, you could have a defective CVR unit giving you a wrong indication of the status of your fuel and temperature.

Here is that picture of the gas tank. You see those turned up flanges at the ends? There is where some of us drill into (making sure you don't puncture the tank!) and run a ground wire from that flange to the body to get a good ground.

03-10-2014, 04:11 PM
Drop your tank, look inside with a flashlight, notice all the crud inside, then spend $159 at rockauto.com for a new one.
Rockauto.com sell Spectra, made in Canada. These are quality tanks. I have one in each of my classics.

Your OEM tank was originally tin plated inside. So are the new tanks. Once the plating is gone, rust flakes off, falls to the bottom, then has nowhere to go because the pickup has a screen. (I pulled five handfuls of rust out of my '55 Ford tank. The car would run, then stop for no apparent reason.)

Even if you strip the inside to bare metal, you won't get that tin plating to hold back rust. I've tried 'Creme' and other products but they do a good job of clogging the pickup screen. A new tank is well worth the money spent.

Ray is right about the CVR. They work by turning 12 volts on and off 50% of the time, which averages out to 6 volts. Bad ones get very erratic, are on all the time or simply stop working. If yours is stuck on, that applies steady 12 volts to your gauges, which could burn them out because they are designed to run on half that current. When this happens, the TEMP gauge also goes to full scale when the engine is warm.

I build CVRs in your case using solid state components and I guarantee them. My regulators output rock-steady six volts regardless of load and they are short circuit protected. If my CVR should ever fail send it back and I will send you a new one, no questions asked. I don't need paperwork because I recognize my work and premium components. Many of my CVRs are in service all over the world.

If you are interested, PM me. - Dave

03-10-2014, 04:22 PM
As well as a new tank I also recommend a new sender/pickup if yours is the original. Once the pickup tube gets corroded it's very difficult to clean it out and keep rust from constantly clogging your filter and eventually your carb. Also the resistor portion is very fragile and it's nearly impossible to clean all the scale out of it and have it work accurately.


03-11-2014, 10:09 AM
Thanks for all the info.

It was very easy to pull the sender out. I found the filter screen was full of junk. The tank looked good. I suspect the screen was never cleaned or ??

Anyhow, all fixed and I put on a new hose. Gauge works good.:)

03-11-2014, 05:03 PM
I'm glad it worked out for you BUT...
If you didn't flush the tank, I guarantee there is more debris that will clog your screen again. I hope it doesn't happen while you're on the road on a Sunday evening.

Something else bothers me... your pickup screen has nothing to do with your gauge. You said it read, "FULL", when you ran out of gas. Did you have a full tank at the time?

BTW, you really didn't run out of gas. The screen was simply clogged. - Dave