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Author Topic: Where to get good gauges?  (Read 2003 times)
technomadia
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« on: July 05, 2013, 08:34:09 PM »

I am looking to replace our old engine temperature gauge, and add a transmission temperature gauge.  And hey - we don't have a fuel gauge, so I might as well add one of those too. And hey - if I am redoing the dash, maybe I'll replace our sticky air pressure gauge too.  And hey, why not just replace the rest too so that they all match...

But...

Where is a good source for quality gauges?

I've never bought engine gauges before - and I have no idea whether or not to trust the dozens of options on Amazon. 

Leads on what to look for and where to shop are much appreciated.

These are the gauges we ultimately want:

+ Temperature:
  + Engine Coolant
  + Transmission Oil
  + Radiator Outlet (optional)
  + Engine Oil Temp (optional)

+ Oil Pressure
+ Air Pressure
+ RPM
+ Speedometer / Odometer
+ Fuel
+ Compass (optional)

Thoughts? Tips? Recommendations?

Cheers!

   - Chris

PS: We posted a great photo set and video slideshow of our engine dissection today. If you want some visual bus porn, check out our latest blog post.  *grin*
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2013, 09:05:41 PM »

check out SPEED HUT .com  Cheers Gerry
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2013, 09:13:11 PM »

Try speedhut.com, I have converted about half my gauges and like their product. You can choose the color of back ground, color of numbers and pointers. Have great customer service and you can add a logo if you want. Good luck.  Bob
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2013, 09:19:07 PM »

I have been gauge shopping myself, particularly since following your incident.  My stock gauge does not have enough detail to it to really distinguish between like 190 or 200 very well.
I have yet to select anything, but have spent hours looking.  Ideally, I'd like my new coolant temp gauge to have both analog and digital readout, full sweep, peak recall, and warning functions (because I suspect my stock warning systems are no longer present).  I'm a little enamored with this one I found online but it does not have all the features I want:
http://www.glowshiftdirect.com/MaxTow-Water-Temperature-Gauge.asp
I plan to check with isspro.com because they are local to me and made in USA.
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Scott
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2013, 09:26:25 PM »

I have recently added some more gauges to my bus.   The originals are Teleflex, but my bus's style are no longer made by Teleflex or Sierra or whatever the company calls itself these days.   So, I've chosen Stewart Warner as the next best  -  they look very similar to the Teleflex.   I first bought a dual air brake application pressure gauge off eBay for $40-ish (they're normally well over $100) that I connected to the two spare 3/8" ports on my E-6 brake treadle valve.   It can tell me if I have a leak in one or the other brake circuit, or if my brakes are beginning to fade down a steep hill.   It's USA-made and nice quality.   I then bought a VDO turbo boost gauge, because it looked the simplest compared to most that have too busy a face design or that also read intake vacuum   -  SW doesn't make one I like.   It's made in India, but it looks pretty decent quality.   (Last weekend I connected it with 45 feet of 1/4" DOT tube to the air intake housing above the blower  -  what a damnably filthy job that was!)   My latest acquisitions are two pressure gauges for the rear start panel next to the engine, one for fuel pressure and the other to replace the original SW oil pressure gauge there that is now leaking oil inside its face.   I've heard of liquid-filled gauges, but not full of thick black oil!   These two gauges are again SW, but they were suspiciously cheap, less than $16 each!   They're made in the Socialist Workers' Paradise, maybe in Peoples' Pressure Gauge Factory Number Three (or something like that), and they have plastic cases.   I'll have to see how they hold up in the heat of the engine room.   If they crap out on me I'll buy some better quality ones.   Again I chose them because of their clear simple faces  -  I really don't like fussy cluttered graphics on my instruments.   My biggest challenge may be to find some fittings that will go on their tiny 5/16" connectors, so I'll go fossicking tomorrow to find what I need.   I'll also have the local hose-wallah make me a 6'-long stainless-braided fuel hose to connect from the spare port on my secondary filter to the gauge.

Apart from the dual brake gauge, I bought the other three from Summit Racing  -  good prices, huge selection and quick shipping.   I think I'm gauged out now;  I've got nowhere else to put any more!   However, especially in view of your recent travails, I'm thinking of temperature gauges on each head that I can simultaneously read up front.   When it comes to the engine's inner health and well-being, can one have too much information?

John

  
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2013, 04:37:49 AM »

take a look at DAKOTADIGITAL. They make digital ones that are very accurite. Have been around for years and sell mostly to hot rod folks. Lifetime warrenty. I put some in and Eagle some years back and was very happy with them. Being digital you can set each to flash at various points to get your attension if out of range. Many different configurations.
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 06:07:21 AM »

http://www.egauges.com/vdo_main.asp

My personal favorite is the VDO Vision line.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 06:38:00 AM by Len Silva » Logged


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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 07:32:00 AM »

  The Flxible city bus I dismantled had a pressure sending unit attached to the fuel filter, which kicked on a dash warning light if fuel filters started to plug up. I will add that to mine. The blower boost is a good idea and/or you could add a vacuum line to tube from air filter to be warned of restriction. How about two warning light temperature sensors about 10 degrees apart; the lower one yellow and standard one which is already red. How about a low oil level sensor in oil pan? I know that they are, at least, on Buicks for several years. Don't whether they use a stand alone electronic module or not. Might be similar to the low coolant sensor setup which uses a standard GM auto module from past years.
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2013, 08:08:41 AM »

I've used Stewart-Warner gauges in my car. In my bus, Isspro is used. I added a tachometer with a generator drive off the blower. Isspro knows what they are talking about with heavy duty applications. My tachometer is a 3500rpm with hour meter. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2013, 10:11:07 AM »

I actually use a little Garmin chart plotter (for use with boats) that I didn't sell with my sailboat as my speedometer, odometer, magnetic heading indicator (compass), chassis voltmeter, clock, and standby GPS. It's got a configurable screen that gives me all of this information at a glance on one page.

There are also dedicated GPS speedometers that require no hookup other than power. I love my chart plotter GPS speedo because it basically eliminates errors due to tire size or other variables. It's also nice to have all the other information at a glance in one place. Of course it doesn't do EVERYTHING, but it works good for me. Just don't tell mine it's not on a boat. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2013, 11:55:04 AM »

BY far the best gauges I got are from isspro, they send the sender also that matches the gauge, got 16 gauges so far from them,they built each 1 of them for me,custom   john
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 03:05:34 PM »

Sometimes they will already have pulled the good gages and senders from wrecked trucks and may have them displayed in the front showroom.  Sometimes you have to pull the gages and senders yourself.  The trick is getting the correct sender for the gage and application.  HB of CJ (old coot)
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technomadia
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 03:40:22 PM »

There have been some absolutely fabulous resources shared in this thread so far - thank you everyone!

Does anyone know what the specs of the fuel gauge option for the GM4106 is? Is it a 0-30ohm sender in the tank?  Our maintenance manual mentions the fuel gauge option, but it doesn't include the specs or details other than what junction box hookup is reserved for it.

I've been testing, and I think the sender may be functional - but the old gauge mounted on the side of the tank is dead. Perfect opportunity to wire the sender to a new gauge on the dash!

  - Chris
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2013, 08:28:08 PM »

We used an old broom stick with knotches cut into the side establishing known fuel level points in the fuel tank, then we would literally dip our fuel tank.  Old Crown Supercoach ex schoolie with...a funky gas gage.  Worked for us.  Did cause a slight fuel stink however.  The broom end still swept clean. HB of CJ (old coot) Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2013, 08:42:41 PM »

I use s-w first, then vdo vision for anything I need that s-w doesn't have.  I am going to use a speedhut gps speedo though.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
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Rick A. Cone
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« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2013, 08:58:38 PM »

I've been testing, and I think the sender may be functional - but the old gauge mounted on the side of the tank is dead. Perfect opportunity to wire the sender to a new gauge on the dash!

Chris -

Have you checked the switch next to the fuel gauge?  My 4106's gauge was wired thru a momentary-on switch - you had to hold it up for the gauge to work.

Being kind of an ancient techno-geek myself, I think those Dakota Digital gauges are really neat. . .

Over the years, Isspro has been mentioned often as the "go to" source for instrumentation, with most busnuts extremely satisfied with their product and customer service.

IIRC, you don't have the OEM dashboard in Zephyr, which in itself, is a huge improvement.  After the wonderful industrial design of the 4104's instrument panel and driver's LH side switch clusters, the OEM 4106's was one place where GM really stubbed their big toe. 

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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technomadia
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« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2013, 09:10:53 PM »

Wait.. if we get a fuel gauge.. does that mean I've lost my job calculating the fuel and mileage estimates???  I'm being outsourced by technology!!

And I will have you know.. my calculations proved to be with in .04% accuracy to the testing Chris did today on the feed. Booyah.

 - Cherie
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2013, 10:36:10 PM »

I made an observation today when parking after driving home - with my marker lights on, my temp gauge reads higher.  I happened to be looking at the temp gauge when I switched them off and saw the needle move lower.  Quite annoying, that gained me at least 5 degrees of cooling, heh.  The voltage drop with the markers must cause this.  I hope that doesn't mean I need to redo the whole run when I upgrade my gauge.

When gauge shopping, I've been wanting one where the sender uses a single wire rather than the two or three I've seen some of them call for so that I can utilize the existing wire.  Hoping that plan wasn't destroyed today.  I'm a bit concerned about the accuracy of 35'+ of crusty old wire now.
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Scott
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technomadia
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2013, 11:56:58 PM »

Have you checked the switch next to the fuel gauge?  My 4106's gauge was wired thru a momentary-on switch - you had to hold it up for the gauge to work.

Yep - I think we have the same setup. The gauge is mounted next to the filler hole, and engages via a momentary switch.

The switch is broken off and dead, and the inline fuse was burnt out too.  When I disconnected the wires to the fuel level sender, I measured 16.1 ohms on it, which if the sender uses a 0-30ohm range (a common type) indicates 54% full.  Which happens to exactly match Cherie's calculated estimate based upon our miles driven since our last fillup.

When I bypass the switch and hook the old gauge back up, it reads slightly over 1/4 tank - a level that seems to be wrong based upon our calculations.

If only I had a 50 gallon drum of diesel I could pump into the tank to get a sense for how the sender resistance responds....

But - the SpeedHut.com fuel gauges are fully programmable to work with any sender, so if the sender really is working - I think I may have a solid solution in the works.

Right now we are leaning towards doing a full dash replacement with gauges from SpeedHut. I like the quad-guage instrument bank, and the GPS speedo.

Cheers!

   - Chris
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« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2013, 05:54:04 AM »

For fuel I really the senders from Centroid Products.  They have no moving parts and are dead on accurate.  You measure the depth of your tank and they custom make the sender.  A regular sender with a float is very hard to calibrate and can rust up if the tank isn't kept full.  I had ordered a new sender from MCI for my bus and they just sent a generic float type sender that I would have had to figure out how to calibrate it.  I never even tried to install the float type sensor.

I know that I can't use the bottom 20 gallons of fuel in my tank (from experience) so I had my sender cut so empty should be 20 gallons left.  When I fill up the number of gallons used matches the fuel gauge very well.
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« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2013, 07:06:21 AM »

Faria gauges are the M/B of gauges IMO the 200 buck fuel manger is a neat addition instead of a troublesome fuel gauge
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« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2013, 08:10:11 AM »

Faria gauges are the M/B of gauges IMO the 200 buck fuel manger is a neat addition instead of a troublesome fuel gauge

Clifford, can you elaborate on the fuel manager a little bit like who makes it?  I assume it probably measures gallons consumed?  Those Faria gauges aren't all that expensive.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2013, 09:00:37 AM »

Faria gauges are the M/B of gauges IMO the 200 buck fuel manger is a neat addition instead of a troublesome fuel gauge

A real fuel manager would be awesome - but searching for the Faria Fuel Manager, it seems to be gasoline engines only:

"The Faria fuel manager gauge is designed to monitor fuel flow to the engine only, this unit does not take into account fuel returned to the tank and cannot therefore be used with diesel engines."

A diesel fuel manager would need to meter both the outlfow and fuel return lines - do you know of something like this?

Cheers,

   - Chris
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2013, 09:08:19 AM »

mine works good with the by pass I have had it for 3 years it's pretty it accurate
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2013, 09:24:17 AM »

mine works good with the by pass I have had it for 3 years it's pretty it accurate

Sounds very cool - can you share how you have this plumbed and how the bypass works?

I've been googling for Diesel-compatible fuel managers that calculate usage with two sensors - subtracting the outflow from the inflow to determine how much has been burned. In the marine world, the gold standard seems to be Floscan, which makes some great diesel engine fuel monitoring instrumentation. But even the cheapest discounted Floscan kit I have seen starts at near $700.

If there is a way to make the Faria work, that is intriguing.

Cheers!

  - Chris
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« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2013, 10:34:50 AM »

  How about a military surplus altimeter? Although my latest gps has this built in. Probably a cell phone app is avail to.
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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2013, 11:32:11 AM »

  How about a military surplus altimeter? Although my latest gps has this built in. Probably a cell phone app is avail to.

The Speedhut GPS Speedometer we are planning to order also has an altimeter readout, amount many other things (even auto-calculates 0-60 times and quarter mile performance).  But a big old military style unit would indeed look cool.

And yes - there are apps that can give you altitude and speed, and even G-force readouts for cornering.

I'm actually freeing up space on the dash so that I can have an iPad mount for glass-cockpit / moving map use.

  - Chris
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2013, 11:58:49 AM »

Not military , but I have an old school compass and an altimeter
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Mark & Char
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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2013, 12:00:53 PM »

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Mark & Char
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Gordie Allen
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« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2013, 12:26:50 PM »

I bought a complete custom gauge panel with 8 gauges and 8 switches from http://www.custominstrumentpanels.com/  
I would suggest you at least check it out.  Custom cut panel in your choice of colors.  Back-lit switch labels.  All gauges are pre-wired and all wires labeled as well.  All sending units  included.  Telltale for directional, High Idle, high beam, oil pressure, etc. Mine cost $1000.00.  
Mine has:
SWITCHES:                       GAUGES:
Engine on                          Speedometer
Start (momentary)             Tach
High Idle                           Water Temp
Reverse (momentary)        Oil Pressure
Headlights                        Oil Temp
Markers                            Fuel Temp
Emergency Flashers           Voltage
Backup lights                    Air Pressure
Gordie
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 12:28:41 PM by Gordie Allen » Logged

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