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Bexar County
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Purchased fuel yesterday at Costco near my house, which last month was having issues with their premium fuel underground storage tank, and sent a letter to everyone that had purchased fuel that they would cover fuel system issues. I called for clarification and then said it only affected Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Mini Cooper. The result was that the vehicles were completely inoperable, and had to be towed.

Now my check engine light came on early this week and was on for two days before it went off. But yesterday I purchased fuel at the same Costco that was having issues with their premium underground storage tank because I assumed the situation had been resolved because I was able to purchase fuel.

Not after even five minutes of filling my tank completed my fuel gauge showed empty, and my low fuel light came on. After going home and turning off the car, and then turning it to accessory, it showed correctly that the tank was full, and the low fuel light turned off, as I had only driven 3 miles on a full tank of gas.

Now this morning during my commute my gas gauge again showed empty, with the low fuel light coming on, as well as my CEL came back on. Over the course of my 20 minutes commute, the fuel gauge read correctly and edged all the way to the right back to full, and the low fuel light went off. This was in the middle of my driving on the highway.

Timeline:
7/21/2012 Purchased Premium Fuel at Costco
8/07/2012 Received letter from Costco about their premium gasoline UST being missed up
8/13/2012 CEL comes on
8/16/2012 CEL goes off
8/19/2012 Purchased Premium Fuel at Costco. Low fuel light comes on and gas gauge shows empty
8/20/2012 CEL comes on and Low fuel light comes on and gas gauge shows empty
8/22/2012 CEL goes off (upon start-up)
8/23/2012 CEL comes on
8/28/2012 CEL goes off
9/02/2012 Purchased Premium Fuel at Costco

Can this in anyway, shape or form be attributed to bad gas from Costco? I would love to have them pay for any repair that is rightly justified for my car. I am at 103,822 miles.
 

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Could be a coincidence, but then again . . .

What code are you throwing? This would help nailing down the problem.
 

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P0460 Fuel Level Sensor "A" Circuit
According to the DTC Codes:

P0460 - Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Malfunction The PCM monitors the fuel level input (FLI) circuit for electrical failure. The test fails when the signal moves outside the minimum or maximum allowable calibrated parameters for a specified fuel fill percentage in the fuel tank. Empty fuel tank
Fuel pump (FP) module stuck open
Incorrectly installed fuel gauge
Damaged instrument cluster
CASE GND circuit open
FLI shorted to VPWR
Damaged PCM
Overfilled fuel tank
Fuel pump (FP) module stuck closed
Damaged fuel gauge
FLI circuit open
FLI circuit shorted to CASE GND or PWR GND
CSE GND shorted to VPWR
Monitor FLI PID and FLI V PID in key ON engine RUNNING. FLI PID at 25% fill (with non matching fuel gauge) and FLI V PID less than 0.90 volts [for FLI PID at 75% fill (with non matching fuel gauge) and FLI V PID greater than 2.45 volts] indicates a hard fault.

Maybe some one that has seen this code before can chime in to narrow it down.

Good luck
 

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I really can't imagine why they would say it only includes expensive cars. I'd be pushing that as in 'tell me more, do you think I'm an idiot?' Push for a reason, if they can make the statement truthfully they will know why, or they are simply lying to you.

I'd be trying to pull some of that fuel and checking for water content if you run legally mandated ethanol in the fuel. Wouldn't the first time ethanol got left in the open and water condensed in it to make plenty of misery.

Or maybe the fuel got out of whack as to solvent content or similar.

Getting a letter and the fuel system screwing up are too coincidental to me. But then I've watched here in Texas while occasionally they mismix fuel and the blame goes everywhere with finger pointing galore. Last time it was Walmart fuel, Walmart was so quick to distance itself from its' supplier it was breathtaking. Talk about throwing someone under the bus.

I'd be asking them if the car knows whether or not it's a Mercedes before it rolls over and dies............................LOL. (not at you of course)

I'd also give THEM a present, no more fuel purchases at Costco. Fuel savings are useless if they are damaging your car.
 

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I think it might just be a coincidence. You probably just having an issue with your sending unit. They go bad without the pump going bad but unfortunately you have to replace them together as one unit. Usually a couple hundred bucks for the part.
 

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I think it might just be a coincidence. You probably just having an issue with your sending unit. They go bad without the pump going bad but unfortunately you have to replace them together as one unit. Usually a couple hundred bucks for the part.
I think it wasnt a coincidence. To the OP.... if i remember correctly, if you refill your tank with the key on the ON position it will take a while for your fuel gauge to read correctly. I am not sure if the Focus is like this, but I know my 05 Malibu was like this, as was my 2000 focus and my 03 F150. id say if you have no trouble with it again you are ok... if you want, try to recreate it by refueling while leaving hte key in the ON position and see if it happens again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have never left my key in the on position while refilling, I do however quickly turn it to accessory to record the mileage on my tripometer, and then quickly shut it off.
 

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The easiest solution: stop buying fuel at Costco. How many brain cells does it take to figure this out? Are you a glutton for punishment? CostcoMurphySheetz all buy the cheapest pipeline piss of the day, and truck it in. Basically, the equivalent of buying discounted just-expired meat at the grocery store.

Do yourself a favor, run either Shell or BP, or I suppose Chevron if you have it in your area. How much are you really saving going to Costco? 50 cents every 300 miles?

I once made the mistake of trying to save a buck at Murphy, filled up my last Benz on premium, and it was sputtering before I got out of the parking lot. That was enough to dissuade me from returning.
 

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I own a 2002 Ford Focus ZTS tank is full from chevron. Gauge reads empty low fuel light is on. Is there a fuse box that needs replacing?
 

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Bobby,
I believe the gas level is a somewhat straight-shot (wiring) to the instrument cluster.

Here is a wild guess:
The fuel level is established by a "float arm" inside the tank. This arm clips-onto the fuel pump module inside the tank. If the float arm snaps-off of the module, the sending unit should send TANK EMPTY signals to the instrument cluster.

So, maybe your float arm is broken-off or snapped-off, and is floating around freely inside the tank?

I was inside my fuel tank once, and I had to snap-off the float arm in order to remove the fuel pump module. Because of this experience, I would guess it is possible the float arm could be damaged or disconnected on your car.

Separately, yes, there is a fuse, but I am unsure of fuse number for a 2002. Ref to car owners manual, available online.

Wish u gd luck
 

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My daughters 01 Wagon reads full no matter what level it's at. I work at a used car lot in TX, and have replaced enough fuel pumps to state with a decent degree of certainty that the level sending unit is most likely on it's way out. As long as the fuel pump keeps working, I just let it go on mine. On ones from the lot, I can't sell a car with the CEL on, so the fuel pumps are replaced. Since yours bottoms out with the CEL light on, getting it inspected is not going to happen. Replace the pump and sending unit.
 

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One of the wires that runs to the level sensor is somewhat unsupported, I have seen them occasionally broken clean off at that attachment point when the fuel slosh weight moves the wire around too much. Fix the wire and things are back right.

If ethanol gets used in your local fuel then that alone can corrode the small PC card in there that the resistance (implied level) is read off of. I saved at least one pump by simply using a pencil eraser to remove the corrosion so that the circuit began to work right again. I pretty much always clean that card off when I have a pump out. If the ethanol used and car sits enough the shaft of the float arm will simply stick in the last longest sitting place too and removing pump will let you often fix that too.
 
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