If you hear “waves breaking on the shore” from the gas tank of your 2002 for four or five seconds after coming to a stop, or after rocking the car when parked, you’re not imagining things.
The tank does not have a loose baffle because there are no baffles in the tank. Removal of the fuel gauge sending unit revealed the problem. The small nut holding the bottom part of the assembly had fallen off, allowing the gas to slosh around in the sender tube. A new nut was put on the rod holding the sender assembly together and the disquieting waves ceased. Evidently the original nut is still in the tank, but fortunately it is so small that it can’t be heard.
Prior to this the gas gauge was erratic. It still is, though the “waves breaking on the shore” have ceased. Too bad BMW can’t make a gas gauge that doesn’t require the use of the odometer to keep from running out of gas.
Author: Jack H. Leicht