Last Call: Z exactly how much fuel you have left

I had a 1985 Nissan 300ZX when I was in college. It was a great car with some cool features. One feature I do not remember? Extra detail on just how much fuel is remaining in my tank. But check out what Friend of Hooniverse Andrew Collins has on his own Z31. How cool is that?!

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.


  1. Although my car has a relatively vague gauge, as it’s digital, it’s extremely consistent. What shows as dead empty is really the 10L reserve, (useful to know when the whole tank is only 42L). I’ve also tracked fuel economy enough to know with 10L left, I’ve easily got 100km left.

  2. A few months after my kid got his license, he called me to tell me the car died and wouldn’t restart. I asked if it had any gas. He said it was low, but not empty.

    I drove to where the car was, and looked at the gauge. The scale markings looked something like:
    E | ^ | ^ | F
    The needle was partially obscuring the E.

    I asked, “Why do you think it isn’t out of gas?”
    “Because the needle hasn’t gotten to the other side of the ‘E’ yet.”

  3. That’s an absurd use of real estate and quite a display of faith in a floater, I guess?

    I am the cautious type, arriving at the train station five minutes early, and filling my tank (or battery) at 20%. My wife though…is not. Years ago, she send me to work in what was her car, the Camry that lately went to Nigeria, and said I’d need to fill it up. Arrived at the gas station with a digital remaining distance of 2 km, and filled 68.5 litres of fuel into a 70 litre tank. Stressing!

      1. I bow my head to your aptly named adventure vehicle and am happy to not have been a part of that, hehe. Russians like to say that the GAZ24 can drive a few extra kilometers on fumes alone. Not the first thing I would try though.

    1. Based on my experience with an S13 180SX, I absolutely wouldn’t put faith in that floater, but maybe mine had been sent sideways too much.

  4. My wife religiously refills her car’s fuel tank as soon as it reaches 1/4 capacity, which I think is ridiculous. She probably has a comfortable 80 miles left in the tank, at least.

    In contrast, I generally don’t refill mine until it’s dropped below the E on the gauge, the fuel warning light has come on, and the display indicates I have less than 10 miles left. On more than one occasion, I’ve driven a couple of miles with the range at “0”. I realize it’s probably not good for the in-tank fuel pump, but whatever. I hate stopping to refuel, especially in the winter.

    1. My wife likes to fill up on Sundays so she doesn’t need to pay attention to the needle during the week, when she might be running late for something. It doesn’t matter if the tank is still 3/4 full.

    2. My wife has only put gasoline in her car once… in however long we have been married now – well more than thirty-something years. That was the time shortly after she had gotten her license and I made her do it while I watched. To be fair, she insisted that she did it one more time, when I brought the subject up to tease her, but a little questioning brought out the fact that she had been standing there looking cute and helpless and some guy actually did it for her. I say that doesn’t count, but she says as long as the car got filled with gas, the specific metrology is irrelevant.

    3. My wife loved the 700 mile range on the 2015 Accord Hybrid because she only needed to fill up once a month. The 2021 has a 20% smaller tank so she’ll have to do so every 3 weeks or so.

    4. After replacing 3 fuel pumps in two years in my 4.3 Xtreme, I immediately commenced refilling at 1/4, something I had never consciously done previously. To be accurate though, the third time we found a bad ground which may have been the ultimate culprit. My wrench dude only charged me for the first one ($675) and the bad ground diagnosis ($180).

    5. There’s a logic to keeping fuel in a tank even if you’ve lots of range. The less empty space, the less room for fuel vapor, the less of a fire hazard it is.

      1. The counter case, especially with vehicles that get moved very little, is the expected expiry date of fuel. Some say it goes foul after three months.

  5. The voltage regulator for the instruments in my International failed last week, causing all of the affected gauges to peg at maximum. I assume this means I now have unlimited fuel.

    I apparently also have unlimited water temperature and oil pressure, but hey, more is better, right?

    The correct regulator is long out of production, although there is one NOS unit out there for about $200. I tried the “adapt a more common unit” solution over the weekend, only to find that my spare ’59 Ford unit is also dead. I’ve now purchased what seems to be the conventional IH fix of a Borg-Warner R307 and will give it a try. At least most of the work of adapting the Ford unit should carry over to it.

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