Gauges: Which ones,how accurate?

This a neat subject. Larry Green, a local Thing guy has more gauges than a B-52, but they look great and he likes them. I think he has one that tells you the flavor of the chewing gum he just ran over in the Sears parking lot. These pictures show the gauge, adapter, & sending unit for this set up.

3_gaugesOther folks stay strictly stock which is OK also. As for me, I have had the benefits of the oil temp gauge shown to me more than once. I use the VDO 120-300 degree oil temp gauge.

Before you get all cranked up, and tell me these are not accurate, as some after-market sellers have said, let me say this: I have taken more than 6 gauges to the local independent testing lab here in Nampa, Idaho to have them checked. I had two done in 1992, three done in 1996, and one in 2000. All tested were within 6 degrees of being correct. It costs me $24.00 per gauge to have this done. I did this the first time to satisfy myself; the rest of the times to prove doubters wrong when they started saying things that were incorrect about the gauges. Sure, you can spend $75-125 to have a gauge super accurate. Check and see what the $75,000 Mercedes are coming with from the factory! Good enough for them works for us. Historically, considering the varied ways we use and have used our Things, these have proven to be very accurate. VDO puts out a very good product.

I just believe you need to have the oil temp gauge. I don’t really care what the cylinder head temps are or the oil pressure at idle is. If your engine is set up correctly, these things aren’t as important as oil temp. If my timing is wrong, or my flap on the air cleaner stuck shut, or the carb running too lean, this shows up on the oil temp gauge immediately. I have even had the gauge show me my hand brake wasn’t released all the way.

All gauges are neat—what I am saying is I believe you must have an OIL TEMP gauge for sure. This tells you what the heart of the engine is doing. It tells you if the blood is going through to the cooler and if the cooler is clear.

Here’s how one of the guys became a believer; he told me about how he sucked up a plastic grocery bag one summer. His temp went to 240 real fast and seeing as he normally runs at 210 he knew something was up. He didn’t realize he had inhaled a plastic bag, and when he stopped and checked out the engine, he found it went around to the fan and was blocking the air coming into the doghouse. Now that’s instant communication from your engine to you!

Run all the gauges you like, but make sure one of them is the oil temp. Optimum temp range is 165° minimum, after warm up to 220° at speed. Hills and steep grades will increase these temps but they should return to normal after topping the hill – usually within 5-6 miles.

– Mike Humeston