Installation of a VDO fuel sender in a Willys CJ2A

Note: This page documents the install of a VDO fuel sender along with an aftermarket fuel gauge; it does not contain information about how to install an aftermarket fuel sender to work with the stock gauge.

The (International Harvester) fuel gauge which was installed in my Jeep when I got it wasn't hooked up and the spot where the ammeter would go was empty. I checked out the sender in the fuel tank and it was all rusted up and wasn't giving me sane values when I checked it with an ohm meter, so I purchased a VDO fuel sender (part number 226-001) and a VDO Series 1 fuel gauge (part number 301-301). I also purchased a voltmeter to match. (part number 332-341) The Series 1 gauges are really classy looking. Simple, classic white numbers and a white needle and a chrome rim. They are side lit also. I bought them from (Don's Sport Vehicle Sales). Their website was very informative, he is actually cheaper than Summit on the guages and especially so given that his shipping charges are reasonable as opposed to Summit's $10 handling fee. The shipping was very quick as well, I had the guages a couple of days after I ordered them.

The VDO fuel sender works great with a couple of caveats. It is supposed to work in a tank as shallow as 6" (the Willys tank is 6.5"), but if you follow the instructions from VDO, there is no way to make it short enough, the plastic piece that holds the float will simply not slide far enough up the bracket to obtain the proper distance between the top of the sender and the middle of the float arm. I improvised, flipping the float unit upside down and installing the float arm on the opposite side of normal in order to compensate (otherwise the gauge would read full when the tank is empty and vice versa). The only permanent modification required to the sender was drilling out a threaded hole a little bit bigger in order to fit a screw that goes into the plastic float unit through the metal bracket. The other caveat is that although the sender has the same bolt pattern as the Willys tank, it is a tiny bit too big to fit through the hole, so I used a rotozip tool to open up the tank a touch. (You don't need much, maybe 1/16" all the way around. I tried various methods of catching the junk before it could fall into the tank like putting shop towels into the tank, using magnets, etc. but a good deal of metal flakes still got inside. It was going to take forever to try to get them out with a magnet, so I just pulled the tank which is super easy and flushed it out.

Unfortunately, I don't have step by step pics of the modifications I performed, but the couple of pictures below should help you to determine how it was done.

Click on any pic to bring up the full sized version.
001.jpg - 263 KB Fri 9/1/06

The "back side" of the sender.
001 - 263 KB
002.jpg - 230 KB Fri 9/1/06

The float arm side of the sender.
002 - 230 KB

This page was last updated Fri Sep 8 01:49:05 EDT 2006