Serious Explorations Ford Explorer and Ranger Message Board
#1 Resource for Ford Explorer and Ranger Owners - By Enthusiasts, for Enthusiasts.


Ford Explorer Generation Guide

EF Swag Store 2015 Ford Explorer Forums Elite Membership Chat Room My Posts Reviews Explorer Photo Gallery
Go Back   Ford Explorer and Ranger Forums "Serious Explorations" > Ford Explorer Ranger Repair - Troubleshooting - Modifications & Detailing Forums > 1995 - 2001 Explorer Ranger Mountaineer - Sport thru '03 - 2nd Generation > Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers

Notices

Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers Questions related to non-modified 1995-2001 Explorer, Mountaineer, Ranger and '02+ Sports and Sport Trac. Problem solving, maintenance, TSB, service bulletins, owner reviews, specifications.

how do you change your temp gauge sensor?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-09-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
Andy96XLT
Branchburg NJ, Bethlehem PA
96 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 570

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Question how do you change your temp gauge sensor?

Hey everyone,
Now that i am getting more used to working on my ex i want to tackle this problem. Ever since I got my 96 the temp gauge has not been working. It will move a little if i rev the engine over 3000 RPM often, but even if i do that it just barely gets to a quarter way up if that much, than drops once i go back to no high reving. The dealership said it is probably the sender unit, but they need to hook it up to their machine and it will be about 200 to fix. Rather than spend the money i would prefer to try to change the sending unit myself if at all possible. Can anyone let me know where the temp sensor is located, and if anyone has done this is it an easy thing? It seems straight forward enough. Thanks!
Andy96XLT is offline   Reply With Quote
( Join the Elite Explorers )

For only $20 per year you can become an Elite Explorer. Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose and fix problems yourself, and learn what modifications really work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members can change the forum "styles" to see less ads, no green underlined links, and many other benefits such as being able to store 1000 Private Messages, upload photo attachments directly to your posts and more. Join the Elite Explorers today.


Old 01-10-2008, 08:34 AM   #2
Convict1997
Concord, NC
1996 2wd XLT 4.0 OHV auto
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 135

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The temp sensor is an easy fix. Finding it is the hardest part. It really depends on the motor you have. It should be located in the lower intake towards the front. It will have some kind of connector or plug on the top of it. The sending unit had a threaded stud pointing straight up. A single wire with a rubber boot fit over the stub. The sensor had an actual connector with a couple of wires in it. Just pull the plug/connector off, unscrew the sensor and install the new one. I looked in the Haynes manual and I only saw a listing for the coolant temp sending unit. On my mustang the manual said the same thing, but it turned out that the sending unit and the sensor were two different things. The sending unit was the one on the lower intake and the sensor was screwed into one of the metal heater tubes that connect to the fire wall heater hoses. I'm pretty sure that the sending unit is the one that controls the gauge, though. They're both pretty cheap, so what I did was purchase both so I knew what I was looking for. After that is was pretty easy to find them. Reading your description sounds like you might have a thermostat that is stuck open. My mustang had the same issue. I replaced the sensor and the sending unit and it did the same thing. The needle would never move unless I was really getting on it and then would cool back down. Turns out one of the arms on the thermostat broke keeping it open all the time. The motor was never able to warm up. As a result, I only had heat at those times when I was driving it hard and then no more heat when I let off. Check your heat. If it doesn't warm up at all or is very seldom, then it's not the gauge or sensor giving you problems.
Convict1997 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2008, 12:35 PM   #3
Andy96XLT
Branchburg NJ, Bethlehem PA
96 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 570

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
hello,
My heat does work so hopefully I am good with that. I have the 4.0 OHV if that helps you any. I will check with the auto parts store today though and see if they know how to also. Sometimes they have a write up for certain things. You gave me a great start though. Thank you!!!
Andy96XLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2008, 02:17 PM   #4
Andy96XLT
Branchburg NJ, Bethlehem PA
96 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 570

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
AHH what is the differece between a water temp sensor and a coolant temp sensor? Also I can only find a water temp sender, but not a coolant temp sender... i have a feeling im going to end up at the dealership
Andy96XLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2008, 08:10 PM   #5
Convict1997
Concord, NC
1996 2wd XLT 4.0 OHV auto
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 135

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There is a temperature sending unit and a coolant temperature sensor. The sending unit is what sends the signal to the temperature gauge and tells the needle how far to move. The engine coolant temperature sensor (ect sensor) sends the temperature of the coolant to the ?ecm? ?pcm? One of those important computer pieces. lol. I'd recommend picking up a Haynes manual. Section 3 lists the replacement of the sending unit. Section 6 lists the replacement of the temp sensor.
Convict1997 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2008, 10:54 PM   #6
96eb96
Albany, NY
96 EB V6 OHV 4WD
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,861

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy96XLT View Post
Hey everyone,
Now that i am getting more used to working on my ex i want to tackle this problem. Ever since I got my 96 the temp gauge has not been working. It will move a little if i rev the engine over 3000 RPM often, but even if i do that it just barely gets to a quarter way up if that much, than drops once i go back to no high reving. The dealership said it is probably the sender unit, but they need to hook it up to their machine and it will be about 200 to fix. Rather than spend the money i would prefer to try to change the sending unit myself if at all possible. Can anyone let me know where the temp sensor is located, and if anyone has done this is it an easy thing? It seems straight forward enough. Thanks!
Not hard at all...
The sender is a one wire device that is above the TSTAT. If you have a 96, I strongly suggest you replace your TSTAT as well.

Use a high quality thermostat with a bleed hole (motorcraft comes to mind).
96eb96 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2008, 11:13 PM   #7
Andy96XLT
Branchburg NJ, Bethlehem PA
96 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 570

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
isn't replacing the thermostat a process though? Im not very mechanically inclined, or at least I have not done much.
Andy96XLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2008, 01:46 AM   #8
Charlie
Wisconsin
1995 F-150
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 4,373

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's not too bad. This thread comes to mind

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...d.php?t=199949

The sender is right about...

..there




__________________
Link to lift and max tire size info

1996 Sport
2000 XLT
1995 F-150
1987 F-150 XLT "The General"
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2008, 07:59 AM   #9
96eb96
Albany, NY
96 EB V6 OHV 4WD
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,861

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Notes for the beginner!
If you have a 96, spray some PB blaster into the sender threads before you remove it just to be safe. You can do that the night before. Make sure the thermostat is oriented with the bleed hole at the top and you install a new round gasket!
96eb96 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2008, 07:51 PM   #10
mshuler009
Centerville, Ohio
1998 Explorer
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 161

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
ok, I have a question....on my engine (same motor) it looks like the temp sender and sensor are switched. The one with the plug is on the left, and it only has one wire going into the connector, and the one with one wire is on the right.........what effects could this have considering my other posts about this topic?




__________________
'98 4.0 OHV Explorer
Ford Certified Technician
NASCAR Technical Institute Alumni
mshuler009 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 10:47 AM   #11
peterfnet
New Lenox, IL
96 Explorer Eddie Bauer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If it turns out to be the gauge....... I had some hilarious results from my broken one. It would sometimes stay cold, then skyrocket to red hot, then maybe level out.

There is an anti-slosh module that is sold with the Temp/Fuel gauge from FORD. Save yourself the headache and buy a new one from DirectFordParts.com or another ford dealer. The gauge and antislosh board apparently are paired and calibrated in the factory according to the directions that came with it. It explicitly warns against mixing modules.

I tried to save a few bucks and buy it from the junk yard. But different units have different lights holes on them. For example: my vehicle has a check engine light on the right side, but there was a 'light hole' for it on the gauge from the junk yard. I also replaced my battery/oil gauge from the junk yard and I accidentally covered up my check engine light since the gauge had no hole for it.

the directfordparts.com recommends you send them your VIN number and they will get you the correct part. Or you could go to your local dealer and try to get a decent price, but most charge MSRP. That website will charge less. that's my experience. Hope it helps
peterfnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 01:48 PM   #12
Jessie711
Salem, OR
Ranger, 1998 XLT 4 x 4
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 7

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a 98 4.0 OHV Ranger XLT 4X4.

My temp gauge needle hardly moves until I shut off the motor then it moves to midway between the C &H and then gradually drops back to cold.

From reading similar posts from other members I think I’ve narrowed the cause down to the temp sensor or the temp sending unit.

It looks as if both are located on either side of the thermostat housing as in the above photo. Is it best to replace both just to make sure?
Jessie711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #13
bobflood
Elite Explorer
Powder Springs, GA
1997 Eddie Bauer V8 2WD
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,188

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie711 View Post
I have a 98 4.0 OHV Ranger XLT 4X4.

My temp gauge needle hardly moves until I shut off the motor then it moves to midway between the C &H and then gradually drops back to cold.

From reading similar posts from other members I think I’ve narrowed the cause down to the temp sensor or the temp sending unit.

It looks as if both are located on either side of the thermostat housing as in the above photo. Is it best to replace both just to make sure?
Only one (Temp sending unit) controls the gauge; the other (temp sensor) provides coolant temperature info to the PCM (the computer that controls the engine). Just do the sending unit.




__________________
1997 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer, 5.0L V8, 2WD, 285K+ miles, starting to show its age!
bobflood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 05:43 PM   #14
koda2000
Elite Explorer
Georgia
 
koda2000's Avatar
2000 Mountaineer V8 AWD
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 3,488

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 268 Post(s)
in the picture supplied, it appears that the gauge sending unit is to the left of the tstat. anyway, it should be the one with only one wire. the coolant temp sensor appears to be to the right of the tstat in the photo. another way to tell which is which, once you take it out, is that the coolant temp sensor has a pointed bottom and the gauge sensor is flat. plan on spilling a little antifreeze (not much if you're quick), don't put too much goo or teflon tape on the sending unit or it can't make a ground connection, and (words to live by) don't overtighten.
koda2000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 06:27 PM   #15
Stick4503
Winder, Georgia
1996 & 1998 Explorer 4x4
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 63

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hey just changed out mine yesterday. $9.99 at autozone. Did not take long at all. Drain the water from the radiator down a little below the upper radiator hose and you want loose as much.
Stick4503 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2012, 07:36 PM   #16
Jessie711
Salem, OR
Ranger, 1998 XLT 4 x 4
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 7

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I replaced the temp gauge sending unit but still no reading on the temp gauge.
What can I check next the thermostat, although I am getting heat.
Jessie711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2012, 10:42 AM   #17
bobflood
Elite Explorer
Powder Springs, GA
1997 Eddie Bauer V8 2WD
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,188

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie711 View Post
I replaced the temp gauge sending unit but still no reading on the temp gauge.
What can I check next the thermostat, although I am getting heat.
If you are getting heat, most likely thermostat is OK. If not the sender unit (the one with one wire) then the problem is most likely with the gauge itself or the wiring connecting the sender to the gauge. Try this - turn key to on, unplug wire from sender and look at gauge - should be full Cold. Then ground the wire and look at gauge - should be full Hot. If this is true, wiring and gauge are OK and you got another bum sender unit. If this is not true, then most likely the gauge is defective. The wire is possible, but unlikely - wires don't often fail.

To test either the gauge or the wire will require removing the insturment cluster. The temp guage wire is red with a white stripe and is in the #3 position in the 12 pin connector (there are 3 connectors - a 10 pin, a 12 pin, and a 16 pin) that plugs into the back of the insturment cluster. According to the wiring diagram, it is the only red/white wire in those three connectors. You can use a VOM on that point and do the same unplug/ground the wire at the sender and see if your voltage changes as it should - this would tell you if the wire connection is OK. Checking out the gauge is harder, but if sender and wire are OK, gauge is only thing left.

ONE MORE THING - I noticed in the wiring diagram that the temp sender is also connected to the message center (if you have one). If you do, try unplugging the message center connector that has the red/white wire (Pin #8 in a 12 pin connector) and see if that makes any difference.

Good luck.




__________________
1997 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer, 5.0L V8, 2WD, 285K+ miles, starting to show its age!
bobflood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2012, 02:13 PM   #18
Jessie711
Salem, OR
Ranger, 1998 XLT 4 x 4
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 7

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the reply Bob.

The coolant level was a little low this morning (no leaks anywhere) so Im going to purge the system again to make sure there are no air locks.

My sender unit has two pins but only one red/white wire coming out of the connector. Is it possible the connector could be faulty?

Ill do the other tests this afternoon after its warmed up a bit -2C this morning.
Jessie711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2012, 03:08 PM   #19
bobflood
Elite Explorer
Powder Springs, GA
1997 Eddie Bauer V8 2WD
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,188

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie711 View Post
Thanks for the reply Bob.
My sender unit has two pins but only one red/white wire coming out of the connector. Is it possible the connector could be faulty?
Jessie711,
That is not the sender unit for the gauge; if it has two pins that is the coolant temp sensor that provides input to the computer.

The gauge sender unit only has one pin that the connector on the red/white wire hooks onto; it grounds thru the sender unit body.

The coolant temp sensor for the computer is connected with a two wire plug; those wires are light green/red and grey/red.




__________________
1997 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer, 5.0L V8, 2WD, 285K+ miles, starting to show its age!
bobflood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2012, 06:20 PM   #20
Jessie711
Salem, OR
Ranger, 1998 XLT 4 x 4
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 7

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is what I have the same layout as the above photo. But on mine the unit on the left of the thermostat has two pins but only one red/white wire coming out. The unit on the right of the thermostat also has a socket on it with wires coming out of it.



When I grounded the red/white wire the gauge went to full hot so Im assuming it is connected to the sender unit.

Here are a couple of views of the one I removed its listed as a switch in NAPA auto parts catalogue.


Jessie711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Suggest this thread to friends:



Join the "Elite Explorers" Today!



Search Explorer Forum


Top of Page

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:24 PM.



US Flag
We Support Our Troops!

Explore the site!


Copyright 2014 - 1996 Rick Horwitz Photography



Ford Motor Company is not involved in the management of this site in any way.



All tips on this site are for use at your own risk and discretion.

Modifying the suspension on any vehicle will cause changes to its handling characteristics.



Vendor Tools vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.