Just As I Suspected, I Have Been Chasing A Ghost

Damn thing anyway!

Back a couple weeks ago now when it seemed that my rig was running hot all of a sudden, one of the first things that went through my mind was the very distinct possibility that the dash gauge, which has never really worked right from the day I got the thing, was lying to me.

All of this bullshit I have been going through was my reaction to what it was reading was based on, what it was reading.

After I had the fan clutch go bad a few years ago and it did overheat several times, it just didn’t seem to me that it was actually running hot.

When that fan clutch went out, it was in late July and it was a hundred freaking degrees outside. It literally got so hot it started losing power on it’s way to seizing up at one point.

So this recent episode had me replacing the fan clutch yet again and the thermostat also.

The thing never smelled hot but the temperature gauge had always read well below the “Normal” section in the middle of the gauge and all at once it is reading right in the middle of that and above.

“Normal” on this thing says 220 degrees right on the gauge.

I ain’t never liked that from the get go.

When I replaced the thermostat the other day I put a 180 degree model in the thing.

Driving it around a few days I could watch the gauge fluctuating from about the 200 degree mark to that 220 mark and above.

Yeah, Sum Ting Wong heah.

As I was stewing on this issue yesterday and working on the wife’s hoopty I had the garage door open and happened to spy a good old fashioned, brand freaking new, 3 gauge set that I had bought last year just for this damn reason and had buried it behind some shit.

So today I dug that out, did some placement simulations, drilled a couple screw holes up under the dash and mounted the gauge frame. Then I did some more looking around and used a small hole saw to cut a hole in the firewall just big enough to get the temperature probe and the cinch down nut through there and mounted the mechanical gauge up under the dash.  I found an appropriate rubber grommet for the hole and installed that and then filled it all up with that Right Stuff black silicone in a Cheeze Whiz can. Then I went out looking at the engine for a suitable place to install the sending unit. There was an old thermo/vacuum switch out next to the thermostat that has been broken off for years and was basically just a plug at this point so I pulled that out. It looked like 3/8’s pipe thread and so did the sending unit nut. Convenient, no?

Yes and NO.

The bulb for the sending unit was so long that it hit the bottom of the manifold well before the nut would even start in the threads.

So I dug through my crap and found a close nipple that the bulb would fit through and test fit that in the hole. Then I needed a coupler to thread the nut into.

Much searching came up empty so I ran up and bought a couple Brass ones with a hex in the middle so I could use a socket on to tighten it up with because there is all kinds of shit in the way.

Got that put in, stuck the sender down it, plenty of room and then hand started the cinching nut. It went all the way to the end by hand and didn’t even come close to pinching the sending unit so it would seal up. More fucking around now. I wound up cutting down the brand new Brass coupler so that the sending unit flange would hit the short nipple end and then started the cinching nut. Now I am having to use a 16mm wrench to tighten it and that ain’t working for shit because I have to stick it down in there at an angle.

I dug through my box, got out my Snap On metric tubing wrench set, moved some hoses out of my way and tightened that bitch down. Then I fired it up, had to adjust the idle up just a hair and let it run.

Of course the Old Man across the street couldn’t stand it and had to come over to see what I was doing and pitch me a mild ration of shit right in the middle of all of this.

I’m tellin’ ya, it’s like clockwork.

I let it run for several minutes while me and Ol’ Grumpy shot the shit and he finally decided nothing real exciting was going on and went home.

Then I buttoned everything up and remembered I needed to put some gas in the sonofabitch so that worked as a nice test run.

The old gauge was reading 200-230ish there and back.

The new gauge hit 180 and stayed there.

Fucking thing has been lying to me this whole time.

After I put 9 1/2 gallons of gas in a 10 gallon tank, it had sat long enough to heat soak a bit and when I got back in it, the new gauge read 200, as did the old one, when I first started it back up.

Half a block back down the road and the new gauge went right back to 180 while the old one did what it started in doing out of the blue a couple weeks ago.

I still have the other two gauges to get hooked up and everything secured and then wire it up so it lights up when I turn the lights on but I can do that shit later.

I am just tickled I finally exorcized that damn ghost.

17 thoughts on “Just As I Suspected, I Have Been Chasing A Ghost

  1. Phil, I wonder if the old geezer also has a blog? He’s probably writing on having to advise that young middle-aged punk across the road, about how to fix his car, yet again. Kids these days!


  2. You may want to think about being nice to the old guy across the street
    You’re going to be him someday
    That’s if those Amish Canadians across from you don’t piss you off first and you go out and get yourself blasted away by those nice boys.

    But, I think you’re just being you and laying it on thick for us
    And, that you really don’t mind the old guy all that much and he certainly must like you as he keeps a eye out for you then comes out to talk about what you’re into.
    I mean who would keep doing that if they got the feeling they weren’t wanted?

    You’re a good man Phil.
    Even though you try hard not to show it,we see through that vernier of yours.


  3. I never trusted wired in gauges, give me a mechanical gauge reading every time. I agree with Death, you and the old man from across the street are two pees in the pod… yes I said pees. you think more about peeing at our age then sex.


    • Speak for your own self Cedreq
      There’s a lady squatch back here in the woods that really turns me on. Gotta get me some of that.


      • So you like them hairy and smell bad… I think of sex sure, but I pee more then I get sex and at my age, I really don’t like having a full bladder, you have depends for men up there in the Arctic waste lands with yetis?


    • Why would you trust an electrical temp gauge made by the same people that can’t get a gas gauge to work right? (Fill it up, drive 400 miles, and the needle never moves. Drive another 30 feet and it drops to just above “Empty”. )

      And I’ve yet to drive a GM product that the clock doesn’t lose time, even the digital ones. How fucking hard is it to get that right in this day and age? WWV anybody??

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t THINK more about peeing than sex, but I certainly do it a lot more. I take a whiz, zip up turn around to go then turn right back around to whiz again. Gets downright unruly at times.


    • That is why every gauge in my race cars were mechanical. Never had one fail. Though I did have one in a 79 F150 that bent the needle when it buried itself against the pin – 60 psi gauges really didn’t like 100 psi oil pressure. Put two gauges in it before I figured out what was happening.

      Whitehall, NY


  4. Have you considered the possibility of a pressure issue? Water boils at 212F
    at sea level. Add pressure and the temperature can rise to well above the
    boiling point without boiling.

    I’m no auto mechanic but I worked on a lot of water and oil cooling systems.

    Pressure, flow, and thermostat setting settings were the problems most of the


  5. Are you sure you have bled all the air out? Chebbies of that age are notorious for air pockets that just don’t want to leave their hole.


  6. I read back in the 60’s that Jaguar got tired of overheating complaints on the E-type so they changed the temp gauge from numbers to low, normal, high.


  7. Had an 87 camaro and the dash board is built on a printed circuit like your Caballero. Same thing happened only the temp gauge quit. Put in a Bourdon tube temp gauge and all was fine until the fuel gauge quit. I looked into getting the cluster fixed and decided to learn to use the trip odometer. I knew how many MPG the car would get and just filled it when it was at so many miles. Damn cheap GM designers….


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