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How to: Install Aftermarket water temperature gauge in Ford Explorer.

Discussion in 'Modified 1991-1994 Explorers' started by red.EDDIE.4x4, October 9, 2010.

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    1. red.EDDIE.4x4

      red.EDDIE.4x4 Active Member

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      City, State:
      Tulsa, Oklahoma
      Year and Model:
      '93 Eddie Bauer 4x4
      my old stock '93 temp gauge has been iffy in the past few months, so i decided to upgrade. which also gave me an excuse to get another gauge i can mount in the A pillar. :D so i went to my local harbor freight and got one of their Water Temp Gauges. it ranges from 100 to 300 degrees. Harbor Freight Water Temp Gauge
      [​IMG]


      due to excitement and partial stupidity, i didnt take any pics when i was installing the unit. however, i think have enough pics of final result that anybody should be able to understand whats going on.

      here is a list of tools and such of what i used.

      Materials:
      2 1/16th inch Water Temp gauge (the kit included the mounting hardware, instructions and such.)
      Gauge pod (i went with the Auto-Meter dual pillar mount, # ATM15308)
      Interior matching paint (unless you like black)
      20+ feet of 16 or so gauge wire (thicker is better ;))
      Simple voltage test light (best tool out there, just my opinion)


      Tools:
      Wire cutters/strippers/crimpers
      Step drill bit (or 3/8 should do fine for a hole in the fire wall)
      3/16th drill bit (gauge pod mounting tabs)
      Wire crimps (or solder and heat shrink tubing)
      Some bullet connectors
      11/16th socket (to remove stock sending unit)
      3/8 swiveling head (that sending unit is a B**** to get to)
      11/16th wrench
      12mm wrench (i think)
      220 grit sand paper

      On the water temp gauge i have, there are 5 wires.
      GREEN- signal wire
      RED- 12 volt power source with a 1 amp inline fuse (can be on a switch or hooked into the ignition when vehicle is turned on. i actually hooked mine into the stereo.)
      BLACK- ground
      WHITE- tap into dash lights or headlights
      ORANGE- 12 volt + post it will keep a "memory" on the gauges for the multi-color back lit feature.

      Instructions
      !!!!MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF WIRE!!!!
      1. find a good place to mount your gauge. i prefer the A pillar because its in my line of sight when driving and i dont have to go out of my way to look down at it when driving.

      2. drill a 3/8th hole in the lower part of your firewall to run wires and make sure NOTHING is behind it that you may accidentally drill into!

      3. if you are going to put it in the A pillar, then take off the plastic A pillar cover and pop off the front of the dash (for a first gen it should just pull out, doesnt need to come all the way off)
      and feed a wire down to the bottom and poke it thru the hole in the firewall you just drilled. then run it to the positive battery post. :eek:be sure NOT to route it close to anything that gets hot!:eek: this step will take some time and will be tricky trying to hide all the wires in the pillar as well as the dash.

      4. repeat the previous step for the GREEN signal wire. but DO NOT take it to the battery, instead route it so it is just hanging out over the stock sensor.

      this is the after market sensor, but you get the idea. it is on the passenger side on the lower intake manifold right under some A/C lines.
      [​IMG]

      5. option 1 tap into the dash light switch using a test light.
      [​IMG]
      unscrew your light switch and pull it out. (the whole unit) then activate your lights then with your test light grounded, start poking into wires near the base and find one that has power. then turn off your lights and see if it still has power. if it does NOT have power with the lights off, then that wire is ok to use. but if it DOES stay on, then find a new wire.
      simple test light.
      this is the wire in which you should be splicing into.
      [​IMG]

      5. option 2
      run a wire down thru your dash via the opening near the top and take it to a + head light wire. just snip it and use a wire crimp to reattach the headlight wires and your new wire. (WHITE- slip it as well as one of the headlight (+) wires in one end, and on the other crimp the other (+) wire int the other)


      6. run yet another wire thru your dash to your stereo, you can go in the cavity above the stock gauge cluster and drop down right above your stereo. the ignition switched wire should be the Yellow one. if you have any doubts then just use the test light on it. and be sure to add a 1Amp/3AG inline fuse! (if you have an after market stereo as well then this will be easy, if not then i would put this wire directly to the battery with a switch on the gauge pod or on the dash to turn on the gauge.)
      [​IMG]

      7. run your last wire (BLACK ground) to anything that is metal and is somehow connected to the body of your car.

      this will sound confusing...but i will try my best to provide pics and an explanation.
      at this point you should have 5 wires poking out of the dash on the upper drivers corner near the vent. this is where it can get kinda tricky. (make sure you have plenty of wire to spare) take some electrical tape and put some around the wires to keep them all in a nice cluster. now take the cluster and feed it down between the vent and the stock gauges and then down past the light switch. there should be a little space under the stock rear wiper switch and the rear glass heater, take them and put them thru it so they are hidden in the dash. then pull them to the left and route them towards the side plastic trim paneling near the door jam (make sure your panels are off) then feed them up so when you put your pannel back on they are hidden behind it.
      [​IMG]



      8. go under the hood and unscrew your stock engine temp sensor. this will be located on the passenger side of the lower intake manifold and under an A/C line. see step 4 for pic. it will be tricky getting it out, so use a swivel attachment on your socket and it should come out quicker.

      9. apply some Teflon tape to your new sensor adapter and thread it in place using your swivel head and socket, this took me quite a while because its at such an odd angle. TIP: put some electrical tape on the bolt pattern of your adapter to make it fit tight in the socket so it doesnt fall out.

      10. also using Teflon tape install your sensor into the adapter once your adapter is in place. i believe it is a 12mm wrench and again this may take some patients. you will have to hold your wrench upright most of the time due to a lack of space.

      11. ground out your sensor to anything metal under the hood (stay away from heat!)
      plug in your sensor to your green wire you ran in step 4 and call it good!


      all that is left to do really is mount your gauge pod, put your gauge in, and then use wire crimps to attach all the proper colors to each other. start your truck and check for leaks around the sensor.

      then turn on your headlights, the gauge should light up green. use the button to change the color to blue, red, yellow, etc... once you find a color you like, just keep it there. since you have a constant 12 volt supply on the orange wire, you will be able to turn off your lights and even your truck and still have the gauge remember what color it was on.
      ***orange 12 volt (+) wire it should not drain your battery overnight.***

      on average my engine is running about 180 to 190 degrees in town with an outside temp of 80 degrees.
      lemme know if i can add any more pics and feel free to ask questions,
      Thanks!
       
      Last edited: October 9, 2010
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    3. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Thanks for taking the time to make this thread! It was moved into the modified 91-94 section, and made a sticky for the time being.
       
      Last edited: October 10, 2010
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    4. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Added to the useful thread forum too.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: October 10, 2010
    5. mrboyle

      mrboyle I Drive By Brail Moderator Emeritus

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      Did you eliminate the stock temp sensor? The ECM requires the signal from the temp sensor to help control the fuel pramaters. Without it the engine will not run as efficiently as it should (and can possibly set a CEL).
       
    6. FIND

      FIND Well-Known Member

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      I thought it used separate sending units for the gauge and ECU...
       
    7. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      You are correct. The 1 wire sender is for the gauge only. The 2 wire sender is for the ECM.

      ~Mark
       
    8. red.EDDIE.4x4

      red.EDDIE.4x4 Active Member

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      i just took out the sensor on the top for the actual gauge. i thought about that just the other day actually. glad to know there are 2 wires and sensors.
       
    9. Dannyboy

      Dannyboy Other Make & Models Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Is your truck still running good? I dont have a stock dash, but hooked up my coolant temp gauge the same way, I am trying to chase down an issue with it running really rich
       
    10. red.EDDIE.4x4

      red.EDDIE.4x4 Active Member

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      yeah it was running just fine. but the motor is out of it at the moment....so its not running at all. my truck was running rich for a long time as well, and eventually it fried the computer because the AIC valve was adjusting itself so much. i just cleaned my AIC valve out and cleaned the upper and lower intake manifold and its no longer so rich.
      it also may be less rich because i got a new computer...:rolleyes:
       
    11. sickerick1640kit

      sickerick1640kit New Member

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      Where did you get the your gauge holder ?
       
    12. cloaked_chaos

      cloaked_chaos Elite Explorer

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    13. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      Picture of my temp/ oil pressure gauge I installed today.

      [​IMG]
       
    14. EMBRACETHEHATE89

      EMBRACETHEHATE89 Active Member

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      This is probably my next mod on mine, i just want a oil pressure gauge though.
       
    15. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      Trust me you want a real temperature gauge as well as an oil pressure gauge.

      My newest water temperature gauge has already found a stuck thermostat for me, just by the numbers. The factory cold and hot thing you wouldn't necessarily know until it was too late.
       
    16. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      For cost of my pod and gauges, I paid 18 for the pod (93 ranger), 86 for the oil pressure gauge and 67 for the water temperature gauge.
       
    17. Jovnna0901

      Jovnna0901 New Member

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      Last edited: May 12, 2016

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