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  • Mech v. Electric Temp guage

    I would like to install a temp guage that actually gives me a temp reading v. the C-H on the speedo cluster. 1) Is there an option between mechanical and electric? 2) Any reco on guages and where to buy 3) How can I drill a hole in the dash w/o completely messing it up. 4) what are some of the top lines of installation, I havent done this before.

  • #2
    Temp gauge

    O K Blue It's like this.....I haven't seen a mechanical temp gauge since I was under tha house puttin on a thermocouple on the old house heatbox....soooo..go with the electric gauge and use tha same sensor on tha engine, get a 2 gauge hangy-under-tha-dash type (like Stewart Warner Company or other good race brand) AND get a REAL oil pressure gauge too. Gotta keep a good eye on that black goopy stuff , guess tha engine needs it.
    AND ya don't hafta go messin up that purty dash panel...leave room for cup holder and other important stuff. Nuff Said.


    • #3
      Well heres the other side of that story. I'd say go with the mechanical guage. It will give you a fairly accurate reading all the time, not only when the ing. is on. I too would suggest getting the oil pressure guage along with the temp. You can find good quality gauges through If you dont see something you like there, try summit or jegs.

      This is how I ended up doing my dash. Obviously I changed everything and in no way do you have to do that to accomplish installing a new guage. With this set up, I still have the stock temp guage, along with the manual temp guage. As far as drilling the hole, thats done easily with a 2 1/16 hole saw with a guide bit. Pretty standard at the hardware stores.

      I dont know what type of engine you have, but on the AMC 304, the stock thermo for the temp guage is pretty small and I had 2 other locations I could of put the manual guage thermo. That type of mod is not a difficult one. Basicaly all you have to do is follow the instructions. My only other suggestion, whether you go with the manual or electric, is to take the time to hook up the guage lights as well. What good is it if you cant see it in the dark?


      • #4
        If you have a 258 it gets tricky. None of the usual openings into the water jacket is deep enough for a mechanical gauge. I don't think the 1980 258 even had a water cooled intake yet but if it did, you don't want to pull any temp sensore out of there because they are needed to control the manifold heater.

        Some sucsess has been noted by replacing the 258 thermostat housing with one off a 4.0. There is a hole in the 4.0 housing that fits most mechanical temperature gauges. There are also a couple of holes in the side of the block that might be OK to use but they are close to the exhaust manifold.

        I don't realy have any opinion one way or the other on oil pressure gauges. I have a mechanical gauge just to check if the electric is working but I've had to many oil lines break to run one full time anymore. It's probably the environment my jeep in in mostly. Vibration, corrosion takes it's toll on mechanical oil pressure gauges and when you loose all your oil it to late. At least an electric gauge doesn't have such a loss of fluid when it fails.

        I realy have stuck with electrical gauges. I never realy needed to know if my engine temperature is 195* or 200*. But if someone can give me a good reason why it's importent and what adjustment I could make at the time that would fix it, I'll listen.

        As far as gauge placement, I see no reason to run the gauges all the way to the passenger side. CJ's kinda suck as far a readability goes anyway. The paralax error is pretty bad also at those angle so what you gain in accuracy you loose in your viewing angle.

        What I would like to see is one of those housings that go up along the side windshield. I like the idea of never taking your eyes off the road when driving to check your gauges.

        When I was building race cars we used a lot of gauges and eventually dataloggers during protoyping but the finished race car just had a horn and a light for the oil pressure. The driver never realy had time to check the gauges anyway.


        • #5

          WVU Blue,

          I guess everyone is right here. I have a 304. Personally I like mechanical for temp, electrical for oil. (John's observation about the sensing line for the oil is the reason for this.) I installed the sending unit in the tstat housing and kept the old cluster cold/hot gauge for redundancy. Normal engine temp with a 190 tstat runs smack in the middle of the CH gauge.

          I mounted a mechanical Autometer temp gauge over the windshield wiper knob and it's perfect. (You don't have the view error John spoke of here either.) A side note on view accuracy. I just installed the Autometer angle rings for my clock, voltage and oil pressure and man, I gotta tell you, those little deals ROCK. Makes a huge difference especially at night (old man here). Took about an hour and they cost eight bucks.


          • #6
            Do those angle rings work with stock gauges or Autometer gauges only?

            It probably will also improve the clearance behing the gauges also.


            • #7
              Angle Rings...

              John, plug angle ring in on the Autometer site. They make two sizes. I don't know if they'll work on the stock gauges but I 'think' they will. And yes, they do help with mounting depth. You have to cut the mounting clamps but the instructions have a template for that. You can do 'left/right' or 'top/bottom' mounting with them.


              • #8
                Dash Guages

                I also designed my custom dash using the Autometer electric guages. With the electrics you just have to make sure you have quality wiring with a good ground. I ran all new wiring to my guages and a new ground from the battery to a terminal strip on the back of the dash panel. I haven't had any problems. I'd like to use the Autometer angled rings but they don't make them to fit all my guage sizes.
                Last edited by Scott82CJ7; 03-13-2007, 10:40 AM.


                • #9
                  the angle rings fit 2 1/16" or 2 5/8" gages from auto meter

                  for oil I would go mechanical -- temp go electric with the temp gages get ther sending unit to factory sending units are a diff resistance

                  for any other gages just have a machine shop make them up for you out of alum or steel
                  I would post pic. but photo bucket down for maintaince I used them on my dash
                  if you use them be ready to grind your holes to fit due to the gage going in at a angle your hole will have to be at a angle compared to just stright in

                  Last edited by fuzz401; 03-14-2006, 09:31 AM.


                  • #10
                    Fuzz, It looks like you have an angle ring on your large guage. What size guage is that and did you make the ring yourself? My Autometer speedometer and tach are 5" my H2O, oil, volts, and fuel are 2 1/16". ILike you said, I can get the 2 1/16" rings from Autometer, but not the 5".


                    • #11
                      I was thinking of making some of my own out of PVC pipe at one time, just couldn't figure out a way to secure it.

                      Here is one with a 2" vacuum gauge I made up.:


                      • #12
                        never mind
                        Last edited by LYKOS; 03-14-2006, 10:20 AM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LYKOS
                          never mind
                          No, No, That's OK.

                          They used a bandsaw? Why didn't I think of that. It would of been much smoother finish.


                          • #14
                            Fuzz, It looks like you have an angle ring on your large guage. What size guage is that and did you make the ring yourself? My Autometer speedometer and tach are 5" my H2O, oil, volts, and fuel are 2 1/16". ILike you said, I can get the 2 1/16" rings from Autometer, but not the 5".
                            I had a machine shop make it for me auto meater does not list one for them


                            • #15
                              Is that a 5" guage Fuzz? What material did the machine shop make it out of? What did they charge you? I'd love to have a couple made for my guages.