Re: What the @%@$^ am I doing wrong?
The meter is set internally to beep at a predetermined low resistance. Once passed the point, the beeping stops. Can't change this function unless you buy a better upscale DMM.
One feature you are looking for in checking out the sending unit, while measuring the resistance through the arc, there should be no breaks/opens during the sweep of the float.
The next step I would perform is set up the s/unit, as if installed in the tank, ground the chassis in the normal spot, disable the ign or jumper battery voltage to the gauge circuit, just as the ign/acc circuit does normally, and slowly swing the float through its arc a few times making sure the gauge indicates the pseudo fuel level. This way you will have confidence the gauge circuit works. Any problems later and you can rule out this circuit in your troubleshooting the problem.
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