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Old 10-05-2003, 06:04 PM
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Twilight Zone and my temperature gauge

First of all I never claimed to be a smart man...

Recently purchased a truck, mainly for the motor but I need to drive the truck until I'm ready to do the swap. I've got major transmission problems so I guess this question isn't really too important but it's really been bothering me. So maybe someone can help.

Truck was originally equipped with a 400, someone swapped in a 454. They failed to hookup the temperature gauge, so I ran out and purchased a $10 MECHANICAL gauge from Walmart. I slapped it in, fired up the truck and watched the gauge...I got nothing on it.

I figured it was a cheap POS so I bought another one. Slammed that in. Fired up the truck, watched the gauge...got nothing. It was then that I noticed on the "NEWER" of the two gauges, the NEEDLE was stuck BEHIND THE STOPPER! This really pissed me off. So I grabbed the older gauge, took it inside my house, fired up the gas stove and stuck the sensor into the fire...the needle quickly hopped up. I pulled it out of the fire, reinstalled it into the truck.

I fire the truck up and get nothing on the gauge. I let the truck run for several minutes, ensuring there is enough fluid in the radiator. I squeeze the upper radiator hose and there is indeed coolant flowing. I look at the gauge...nothing.

I turn off the truck, and I notice after the truck is off for several minutes the gauge is reading somewhere around 190 degrees...but when the truck is running the gauge is stuck at 130.

I find it HIGHLY un-friggin-likely that this motor (454) is running at 130 degrees.

Can anyone tell me why this is happening? As always, I really appreciate you taking the time to throw your two cents in.

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Old 10-05-2003, 07:09 PM
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1st off I use the same temp gauge from walmart and they work great. Back to your problem I also have a 454 and if you have a good rad the engine can run that low. I will bet you that your engine does not have a thermostat or the stat is stuck in the open position.
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Old 10-05-2003, 07:24 PM
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Well I can check the stat, but I honestly think that it's working because for the first few minutes I run the motor, my upper radiator hose is nice a chilly...after a few minutes, I can feel coolant in the hose.

But I'm not going to argue with any advice I get. I'll check the thermostat the next chance I get.

Also, I think the radiator in the truck now is actually for a 400 CID motor. I can't imagine the previous owner having swapped out the radiator too. But there's really no way for me to tell.

I'd figure the motor would run hotter than 130 if I just have it idling in my driveway for several minutes.
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Old 10-05-2003, 07:31 PM
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If your engine is running that cool with no stat or an open stat then it seems to me you have a good engine and rad combo. I love my 454 they are a great engine tons of torque.

Just as a side note there seems to be a lot of morons out there that think running an engine with-out a stat is a good thing.
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Old 10-05-2003, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by unstable
I'd figure the motor would run hotter than 130 if I just have it idling in my driveway for several minutes.
A stuck open t-stat could cause this in a moderate climate. If you feel the guage is good and the system doesn't have air in it the t-stat would be a good place to look. I would grab a new 180* t-stat and throw it in. You could always take out the t-stat and put it in a pot of water and heat it till it opens while monitoring temp to see exactly when it opens but for the cost of a new t-stat I would just install a new one.





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Old 10-05-2003, 07:42 PM
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I didn't set the motor up so I can't say for sure if it's a good combo or not. Casting numbers actually says it's a Marine Inboard 310 HP.

I'll definitely check the stat. It's just SCARY to me running this thing and not really knowing how hot it's running. I don't want to blow a head. I did that on my wife's 93 Pontiac Grand-Am because I was being a *******.

t-stat it is. Currently about 60 degrees where I live, in MASS.

Will post back my findings. Should be able to grab a new stat tomorrow and throw it in right when I get home from work before it gets dark.

thanks guys.

Last edited by unstable; 10-05-2003 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 10-08-2003, 02:42 PM
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Ok I swapped in the 180 thermostat...let the truck run for awhile...and I get readings on the gauge.

Thanks for the help. It's really appreciated.
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:53 PM
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Older GM guages suck! I have 4 Gm vehicles, 3 older trucks and an '86 caprice. The two oldest trucks, '76 and '77 have really crappy guages. Volt readings are off by almost 2 volts. Gas guages are waaaaaaay off and the temp guages are totally wacky. I"m about to get an under dash mechanical temp guage to be sure.
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:57 PM
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I'm a newb when it comes to all these little details. The biggest project I've tackled was when I was in High School...me and my buddy ripped an inline-6 out of his truck and put in a 360. It was a fun project but we had the guidance of the shop teacher the entire time.

Anyhow, I figure Oil and Temperature are 2 critical gauges. My Gas gauge is hosed, when I turn the truck on, it goes WAAAY past "FULL". I don't really care, but I know it's near empty.

Those damn Walmart gauges were really pissing me off.
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