Keeping tabs on the coolant temperature of your engine is important because you don’t want to overheat it and blow coolant all over the place, or worse, blow a gasket or warp a cylinder head. Adding a gauge is a simple project that takes very little time, yet rewards you with a shiny, new cool thing to look at, while also providing information about the health of your engine. This project took about 20 minutes to complete. If you’ve never done this before, it may take a little longer, but it truly fits in the Simple Tech category of projects.
A mechanical gauge, like this one, is inexpensive and will give you the information you need. All the hardware needed to install it is included.
Once you locate where you want to install it, you can select from the included adapter fittings to make the connection. Typical locations are on the intake manifold or the cylinder head. There are pre-tapped bosses in the water jacket specifically for this purpose.
Start by feeding the sensor and capillary tube through the gauge mount. If you are using the supplied mount, then it has already been done. We are using a dual mount and simply replacing the old gauge.
Next, feed the sensor and tube through a convenient hole in the firewall. Be careful not to kink the tube because that will destroy it.
Install the adapter and sensor into the manifold. Use teflon tape, or paste, on the adapter, but no sealant is needed for the sensor threads.
Then wire the light into your headlight switch, or tap off another gauge light circuit, and install the bulb into the housing. It just pushes in and the contact of the barrel and the housing creates the ground path to the black wire.
Use the supplied bracket and two nuts to secure the gauge to the mount and you’re done! Fire the engine and watch it work (check for coolant leaks while you’re at it).
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).