Water Level Sensor


New member
I Have a 1987 Westy.My question is, my water tank does not have a water level sensor. Did they equipt some without this or did somebody remove mine. I have the gauge but no wires for the sensor. At the tank the lid doesn't have the holes like shown in the manual. Can I buy a sensor and install it? If so how do I wire it to the gauge.

Capt. Mike

Your tank should have come with a level sensor. It is a long rod sticking down from the lid to the bottom. A float rides up & down, and triggers a magnetic sender.

Unfortunately, many owners facing the high cost of some Westy parts that are not common, opt for the "screw it" attitude and do without an important feature. You should be able to purchase a new sender, and lid (if they've substituted the lid from somewhere else). The wiring is fairly simple. Although the Bentley doesn't list the wiring for the tank sender for an '87, you can use the diagram for an 80-85 on page 97.33 for that part of the camper wiring.

I'm always surprised when people do that. I rely on my water level gauge heavily. It's not possible to check any other way without unscrewing cabinet access panels. Keeping the tank topped up can actually do more harm because the lid isn't that watertight. You should immediately pump out about a quart whenever you fill so there's no head pressure from the fill line pressing on the marginal lid seal. Leakers saturate the wood underfloor leading to rot.

The harness should go from the indicator panel through a hole in the back of the sink cabinet. From there it runs behind the cabinet, re-emergin under the access panel at the bottom of the after storage chest in front of the closet.
Last edited:


New member
Well I finally found what appears to be the water level sensor. I opened the false bottom in the cabinet just left of the stove. If this is the sensor it is nothing like the one described in the bentley. There is four lugs through the tank with wires attached to each lug. The hot wire comes to the lowest one. Then a white wire ,yellow and at the top a green. All of the the wires come together at resin incased small box. Is this the sensor.? If so how do I know if this is bad or the gauge at the stove.

Thanks for your help

Capt. Mike

I heard of that type of tank & sender arrangement after I posted the reply. Unfortunately, Westfalia is an outside subcontractor to VW and supplies the parts. Although they & VW have a set of specifications, we're finding many instances where what was installed isn't what is in the shop & parts manuals. Westfalia apparently either bargain shopped or didn't order in the quantities needed so "ran out" and substituted. Might be why VW went to Winnebago for the N. American Eurovan editions; I know they were unhappy with Westfalia.

Testing this style of sensor shouldn't be all that different from the sliding float job. Basically, you will get a circuit completion through each sensor depending on water level, changing the resistance to the LED display. The wiring diagram 97.33 should hold true except the sensors are on the tank side instead of in the sliding float rod. Apparently the green wire going to the top sensor would ground direct if the tank was full. If it couldn't ground there (electricity always takes the path of least resistance) it would go through a resister and then ground via the yellow at half-tank. That different resistance would cause the solid-state module to reroute to the yellow LED. Ditto another resister and the white wire if tank was low. But as I read the wiring diagram, the power comes in through the sensors and the bottom lead goes to ground.

To my way of thinking -- and please get a 2nd opinion -- if you jump to ground from each sensor, you should get the three readings, thus testing the module. You can test the resisters independently -- they have a standardized color coding to the electronics industry. What I really wish I knew is are they relying on the water to conduct current from the sensors to final ground terminal? If that's true, that could add another resistance variable to the mix.

Do keep us posted. It was through the site I learned the variations in water fill caps and LP tanks on some Westies. VW sure didn't document these substitutions very well.
Last edited:


New member
i have some problem with the water level sensor.
the wiring from the bottom is:
brown (it seem to be connected to - pole.
all goes to a little black box but i have another wire (black) disconnetted.
the sensor does not work ( the green led is always lit.
any suggestion? is it possible to have an electrical diagram?


Capt. Mike

:( What year? See Guidelines linked bottom of this page!

The wiring diagram is in the factory shop manual (Bentley) and is a requirement for the site. Black is often ground in vendor supplied electric equipment; in fact my wiring diagram shows no brown, but Westfalia wasn't too religeous about following the factory diagrams & colors.

That you have the green light, but are not getting the yellow & red at lower levels usually indicates a sender problem because they all run through the same power supply & ground -- just different resistances based on water level.

The lights correspond to: Green = 10.4-13.2 gal. (full capacity); Yellow = 4.0 - 10.5 gal.; Red = <4.0 gal.
Last edited:
In my 84" westy I have the same set up. Contacts protruding through the side of the tank. They have always work ok after a little scrubbing.
Hope that helps,
Has anyone tested the current drop on the water level sensor wand. If I put a 12 volt source on the wand in my 91 westie I get between 12 volts at the full level down to 10 volts at the empty float level. This doesn't seem to be much of a difference as I thought the resistance from full to empty would be much greater.

Capt. Mike

black box

Junior Member

does anybody know how and what that little black box does which is connected to the waterlevel sensors? I have an 87 syncro camper and my water level lights have never worked. In the wiring diagram in the Bentley page 97.33 I don't see that box. Whem I ground out the sensors none of my indicater lights come on. Where does the power come in the tank to complete the circuit when water is in the tank. thanks for any help with that. :confused:
Last edited:

Capt. Mike

VW was not very consistent with their water tank level sensors. Bear in mind that VW contracted to Westfalia, who then purchased equipment from 3rd party vendors. There are two basic types -- one that uses sensors outside the tank and one that works on a float within the tank . To make matters worse, VW didn't upgrade the Bentley wiring diagrams for the latter type. An '87 should have the latter and the Grn wire from the Indicator Light panel should feed the level sensing circuit. But Westfalia wasn't consistent with wiring colors either, so you may have to use a process of elimination out of the Indicator panel to eliminate the wiring for water pump and fridge functions to identify the correct wire and follow it. The 'black box' should house the 2 resistors in the circuit that adjust the signal to the solid state devise in the panel that then detects & routes to the correct LED. :confused: Sorry, that's a tough one due to the lack of consistency and lousy wiring diagram. See the posts above 1/21 & 22/01 #4 & 5.
Last edited:


New member
How I know how much water is in my tank

Not the gas tank, of course ... the fresh water tank!

This one is for those who have the late 60's/early 70's Westfalia icebox with sink. Those with other setups will have to do their own research.

I always wondered how much water was in the tank, so one day I drained it completely and added water in gallon increments, marking each level on a wooden dipstick. The dipstick is about 28" long 1" wide, and maybe 1/4" thick, and is made of a wood that shows clearly which part is wet and which is dry. (Mine is made of a piece of scrap mahogany, but other woods open-pore woods like walnut would probably work).

Find a nail that's longer than the filler opening is wide. Drill a hole in the dipstick the same diameter as the nail, and insert the nail. From the hole, measure out and label the following distances:

8 gal -- 2"
7 gal -- 9 5/8"
6 gal -- 12 7/8"
5 gal -- 16"
4 gal -- 19 1/4"
3 gal -- 22 1/8"
2 gal -- 25 1/4"

To use it, just push it into the tank until the nail makes contact with the filler. The water level is easily read by noting where the dry area ends and the wet area starts.


New member
water level sensors are Delta Six

Hi Folks,

As some of you might know, Trevor and I have got the Delta Six molds and the water level sensor is one of our parts - we are working on bringing these back on line.

The guts of this thing are full of diodes and it's not all that simple a contraption. But we have most of the parts we are just in the beginnings of re-assembly and hope to have them back online soon.

You can check for these soon on these web sites:

Cheri (the skylight gal)