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Old 10-24-2010, 08:22 PM
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97 TJ Gas Tank Question??

I bought my first Wrangler this summer, and on my first fill up I realized the gauge only showed 3/4 full.

I called the owner I bought it from and she said she didn't realize it, but also, she didnt completely fill it up often, just 15-20$ here and there.

So I'm wondering what's wrong? Also, based on what the gas gauge says, when I "fill it up" on a full tank I only get about 180ish miles until the gauge is supposidly on "Empty". I'm basing this on the gauge.

So i want to ask, how big is the gas tank on a 97 TJ? because the Jeep didn't have the Owner's Manual with it. Also I have a 4cyl, auto, with 35'' tires, so about how many miles per gallon should I be getting?


Thanks. And just to add I really enjoy getting on here and reading new things and learning stuff.

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Old 10-24-2010, 08:32 PM   #2
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If you take your vin to a dealer they can get you a build sheet for your Jeep that will tell you about every part of your vehicle. Everything I've read says yours has a 19 gal tank. But, depending on your build date you could have a 15 gal one that was left over from the YJ's of 96.

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Old 10-24-2010, 08:38 PM   #3
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It's very rare to get the 15 gallon tank which only came on very stripped down models, odds are very high it's the 19 gallon tank. And the Wrangler's fuel gauge is notorious for being inaccurate like that, it's been a problem since the TJ first came out. My '97 had an inaccurate fuel gauge that would show Empty when it had 4-5 gallons left. My replacement '04 never shows more than 3/4 full and it shows it is nearly empty when the tank is still half full. The problem is with the fuel gauge sender mounted on the fuel pump inside the gas tank.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:40 PM   #4
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Go to jeep.com and send them an email with your VIN requesting a build sheet and they will email you back with everything your Jeep came equipped with from the factory.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:44 PM   #5
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The build sheet for my '99 sport says I have a 15 gallon tank. I guess I have a very stripped down model , although I do have factory a/c and grizzly rims
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:56 PM   #6
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The build sheet for my '99 sport says I have a 15 gallon tank. I guess I have a very stripped down model , although I do have factory a/c and grizzly rims
Caution on that. My '97 build sheet said 15 gallon tank too but further along on the printout, an options group (A/C I think) said it included the 19 gallon tank upgrade. From what I know, if a TJ came with A/C, it always included the higher output 117 amp alternator and 19 gallon gas tank.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:11 PM   #7
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My 1999 SE with air conditioning only had the 15 gallon tank option. Confirmed by the part number on the tank and with Chrysler. Officially in 1999 the 19 gallon tank was standard. So I'd say on a 4 cylinder model a 15 gallon take is not at all rare.

If somebody put in a new fuel pump, and used one for a 19 gallon tank, the sender would think full (15 gallons) is about 3/4 full. Could be that is what happened.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:13 PM   #8
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Caution on that. My '97 build sheet said 15 gallon tank too but further along on the printout, an options group (A/C I think) said it included the 19 gallon tank upgrade. From what I know, if a TJ came with A/C, it always included the higher output 117 amp alternator and 19 gallon gas tank.
I do have the 117 amp, but no mention on the (original window sheet) of an upgraded fuel tank but does list a/c. Now I'm curious, I've never honestly checked at the pump, maybe I do have a 19, but the gauge sure drops fast. One other thing on the sheet, it says the jeep came with steel wheels, but they're grizzly's including the spare. I doubt the previous owner switched them but I suppose it's possible.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:21 PM   #9
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It could have been the PO or sometimes a dealer will swap them around to satisfy a cust.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:24 PM   #10
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I do have the 117 amp, but no mention on the (original window sheet) of an upgraded fuel tank but does list a/c. Now I'm curious, I've never honestly checked at the pump, maybe I do have a 19, but the gauge sure drops fast. One other thing on the sheet, it says the jeep came with steel wheels, but they're grizzly's including the spare. I doubt the previous owner switched them but I suppose it's possible.
Don't go by your fuel gauge if you try to determine its true capacity by filling the tank when the gauge is on Empty. Mine says Empty when it still has nearly a half-tank of fuel so based on that, I'd be wrong to guess it has a 15 gallon tank since it would take less than that to fill it up whenever the gauge indicates it is empty. I actually have a 19 gallon tank but it would be running below the E for some time before I could put anywhere near 19 gallons into the tank.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:27 PM   #11
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Is it true the 15 and 19 are the same physical size? Can you tell size by looking at it ?
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:31 PM   #12
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Is it true the 15 and 19 are the same physical size?
That is the rumor and many say they have modified their 15 gallon tanks to become 19 gallon tanks by doing nothing more than trimming a vent hose but I can't substantiate it. Odds are very good you already have the 19 gallon tank with no mods needed.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:36 PM   #13
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Thanks Jerry. From now on I'll assume I have the 19
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:38 PM   #14
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97 & 98 is a trick year. There do exist two versions of the 15-gallon tank and it's difficult to discern unless you've seen both or until you drop it and open it up. One is its own size (used later I believe) and the other is a modified 19 gallon. The fuel sensor is calibrated to what size you're supposed to have. So the size tank you have is not an issue (unless the fuel pump was replaced with the incorrect size).

However, I have heard that there are '99s with early builds that do have the 15-gallon tank. My '99 has a few leftover '98 niceties (no electronic key!), so I know that the '99 rule isn't necessarily true. In 1999, you really couldn't get a much stripped down version of a Sport edition. You couldn't entirely removing the heating or the radio. You couldn't remove power steering. The Sport package meant that a lot of features were technically standard, and I'd be surprised if the Sport has a 15 gallon tank.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:44 PM   #15
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Thanks Jerry. From now on I'll assume I have the 19
You could always purposely run out of gas after placing a small extra container of gas in the back and then measure how much the tank holds when you refill it, less the amount you already added from the can of gas. This will not harm the fuel pump since the fuel pump will be shut off by the computer soon after the engine stops.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
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You could always purposely run out of gas after placing a small extra container of gas in the back and then measure how much the tank holds when you refill it, less the amount you already added from the can of gas. This will not harm the fuel pump since the fuel pump will be shut off by the computer soon after the engine stops.
I have had my gallon of gas sitting in the rear floorboard for the last 3 days waiting to "run out". This will give you a definitive answer on your tank size AND give you the best possible mpg estimation. Good luck!
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:14 PM   #17
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I think I'll try it too. Another reason I thought I had a 15 was I've only been able to put about 12 gallons in after driving about 20 miles with the gas light on. Like Jerry said, maybe it's still almost half full.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:41 PM   #18
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just e-mailed for my build sheet !

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