Mechanical Water Temperature Gauge Install

To monitor the engine temp I think the sensor would have to be where there’s constant flow of coolant, at the top of the engine. The engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor is mounted into the water (aka “crossover”) pipe that bridges the top of the engine. However, the ECT sensor has to remain in place because coolant temperature is essential for engine management. I don’t think there are any other openings in the water pipe with plugs that can be removed. But if your head gaskets are being replaced now, this would be a good time have a closer look.

The only other location might be in the coolant pipe going from the water pipe to the inlet of the cabin heater. This is in a constant flow from the top of the engine through the heater core and back to the pump. It would be the same coolant as the ECT is monitoring. However, it might be too small (diameter) to accommodate the mechanical gauge without affecting flow, which is essential for engine temperature control.

Incidentally, have you considered lighting for the gauge? It won’t be much help if it’s not lit at night. However, I believe most gauges would simply have a bulb/LED that uses the case/ground for the “return”. This cannot simply be connected to the car’s dashboard lighting system as it doesn’t work the same way — it’s controlled on the ground side.

(Following not meant to change your approach; just to highlight another consideration.) Other’s have suggested phone apps. One possible advantage over and above the temperature indication is that there might be apps that have an alarm feature. It might be possible to set the app to provide a sound alarm when the temperature reaches a particular level of interest, e.g. 214 F. This would be better than the current blue/red light approach, but also better than a gauge (electrical or mechanical) that just reads out, but doesn’t warn when it gets too hot.

I appreciate the mechanical gauge approach and hope you will keep us updated on what you find, and do.

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