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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
...for a grand total of about $5. I had a Chevy Impala that was giving faulty readings from bad gas, fixed it by cleaning up the sender potentiometer and metal contact fingers with solvent and 1000 grit sandpaper, and thought I might be able to do the same with my '06 Frontier. Strangely, when I was searching for info yesterday, I didn't see where a recall had been issued for my specific model and problem. But, today, I've seen a couple of threads suggesting it has. Still more hassle (and possibly a diagnostic fee) than I was willing to deal with, though, so I dug in.

Here's what I found: Contrary to some comments on other sites that part of the sender dissolved, and to my previous experience with residue buildup, the little copper fingers that glide over the resistor board were actually worn away and too short to just bend down for better contact. The material these were made from was just too damn thin and cheap to go the distance. And to spend 80 bucks on a replacement for a $2 part seems ludicrous to me.

So here's what I did: I walked around a home supply store looking for something that would have a small piece of springy, non-corroding, highly-conductive metal that was thin enough to replace the oem piece, but not so thin as to have the same problem later. I ended up buying a $5 lamp socket thinking I would use the tab from the middle - but it was too thick and not springy enough - so I ended up using the spring tabs from the internals of the socket which, although narrower than I would have liked (to just cut a new U-shape out of) turned out to be just the ticket. I cut the strip down the middle to make the right width for the fingers, folded 90 degree bends to overlap into a U-shape at the back, pushed them back into the original spot in the plastic sweep-arm, then trimmed to the right length to hit the contacts at both ends of travel, and curled the edges to make a smooth gliding surface. Ta-daa! It works! Granted, it's only been a day, but if it does give me problems in the future, I know what I'm dealing with and it's a pretty easy fix. There's a thread in the How-To section on dropping the tank, etc., to help getting to it and it's not terribly difficult to do.

Good luck and enjoy the pics...
 

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As I've said in the past, there is some real talent in this forum!
Way to go!

Clint
 

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wow! very impressive to say the least. hopefully, that bad boy holds up without any issues. i thought the sender recall was for newer model frontiers such as 08-10?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys! My biggest concern is that the plastic will crack where I overlapped the strips to make the back of the U-shape. It's a little thicker than it would be by just cutting a U from a single sheet, and that plastic (or maybe nylon) that the sweep-arm is made from doesn't seem conducive to melting/molding so I just jammed it in and it seems alright. If it does crack and won't hold the metal securely then I'll probably just reconfigure it with a stainless (or brass) screw and nut. There's plenty of room for clearance and many possible configurations that should work. As long as there's no electrical break or resistance from one finger to the other it should do the job. I almost soldered the strips together at the back of the U but that would probably make it even thicker and in the end proved unnecessary since they're held together pretty tightly in that crack.

I'm a little surprised that the resistor strips on the board are so rough. On the '05 Impala I had they were very smooth and much less likely to grind down the copper fingers over time. Maybe that is where the manufacturing flaw lies...

I keep y'all posted on whether it stands the test of time, but so far so good!

As for the recall on '06 Frontiers, I really don't know. I haven't gotten a notice from Nissan about this issue and the claims in the forums are all over the place. Also, I don't like hassling with the dealerships and their many ways of parting me and my money. :-D

Aloha!
 

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Nice job! There aren't many things quite so gratifying as coming up with a DIY solution for something like this and it actually working.

I think this deserves a spot in the DIY project stickies thread.
 

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MacGuiver it is. Great job and way to contribute coming out the gate. I have an 01 and never have had an issue.
 

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Awesome idea and good use of supplies! Definitely interested in the longer term results too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Status update:

I just got back from a quick trip to Houston and burned a couple of tanks of fuel along the way. The sender seems to be working exactly as it did when new - the gauge reaches "Empty" with about 18 gallons burned and the idiot light comes on right before it reaches the bottom mark.

As the sender was wearing out before it wouldn't reach "Empty" until almost all 20 gallons were gone and the light came on at about 1/8 of a tank. Then, of course, it stopped registering altogether except between 3/4 and 1/4 of a tank.

So far, so good! :fantastic:

Laters...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hello again, Frontier fans!

It's been quite a while, but I just got a P0463 code after topping off my tank a little too much and thought it would good to add an update on my el-cheapo repair.

It's still working great! My gauge still reaches "E" with a couple of gallons left, but that doesn't bother me because it gives me more time to notice that I need to refill my tank. Also, the needle goes all the way past "Full" when I fill it completely up so I don't think going to the trouble to adjust the fingers would actually help anyway, since the sweep is a result of the pivot radius which is a function of the size of the plastic swing arm piece.

All in all, I would have to call this one of my better saves. I wish all of my ideas were this good! :p Lol!

Aloha!
 

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Great work. I also have a 1988 B2200 truck (mechanical fuel pump on the engine), and on that I was able to bend its contact arm to make better contact (different design). Most often alcohol in today's fuels gets blamed for faulty senders, but agree your fingers seem just worn-out.

On that Mazda B2200, one can unbolt the bed and tilt up for access to the top of the fuel tank, don't know if that is possible on these Frontiers which all have in-tank electric fuel pump/senders. Anyone know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Reply and update...

Unfortunately the tank is about midway between the back of the cab and the front of the bed. The complication is that the whole pump package is on the end of the tank beneath the cab. This ended up being a blessing, however, because dropping the tank was much easier than I expected, and probably a lot easier than lifting the bed or even removing the back seat and a hatch cover. I was able to do it myself with just a floor jack and a few hand tools. I didn't even have to raise the truck - though next time I will plan a little better and not fill the tank the day before I drop it... ::grin::

As to the update, I am having the same issues again that I had before the last repair and am considering biting the bullet and purchasing an OEM replacement. I'm a little better off financially than I was at the time of the previous repair and assume that Nissan has addressed whatever flaw existed in the initial design (I still think it's the roughness of the resistor strip). If anyone knows otherwise I would appreciate a heads-up and repeat the repair as before to save wasting money on a dodgy replacement.

Thanks for everything forum! This site is GREAT!

Aloha!
 

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... and assume that Nissan has addressed whatever flaw existed in the initial design ... repeat the repair as before to save wasting money on a dodgy replacement. ....
Nissan has indeed fixed the problem. My '06 sender failed at 13,500 Miles and was replaced under warranty ...... with poorly engineered new parts. It failed a second time and Nissan refused to repair it again under warranty/recall, so I ordered Nissan parts from a Dealer on eBay and fixed it myself at 55,000 Miles.

I'm at 117,000 Miles now and <knocking on wood> all has been well since.
 
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