Gauge Swap

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surfmurf
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:20 pm
Location: Clearwater-Largo, Florida

Gauge Swap

Post by surfmurf » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:44 pm

Can a '68-'69 T-Bird Gas and Oil Pressure Gauge be used to replace the OEM Gas and Water Temperature Gauge in my '63 T-Bird?
I'd much prefer to know my Oil Pressure vice the Temperature of the engine's Water.
If it fits size-wise and its attaching 'fittings' match up or I can modify it to mount properly, wouldn't it just be a matter of moving the Warning Light electrical connection from the Oil Warning Light to the Oil Pressure gauge terminal and vice-versa (Water Temp to the original Oil idiot light). And also move the '63's Gas connection from its top position down to the '68-'69 gauge's bottom (gas gauge) position?
I have been looking for a replacement gauge for years with no soap. Have never known what my gas status is, except when EMPTY. Then I am hoping I did not forget to refill my Gas Can in the trunk!! :scratch:

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MN63Tbird
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Re: Gauge Swap

Post by MN63Tbird » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:15 am

I am not sure of the operational characteristics of the 68/69 gauge but I can give you a couple comments on the 63 Tbird system. The gauges move due to changes in current (I) that drives the needle to move left or right. If you remember some physics V=IR or Voltage equals current time resistance. Conversely I=V/R. Voltage will be constant in the car and the current changes due to changes in Resistance. The gas and temp senders actually are resistors that change in value due to conditions in the car.

For a gas gauge the sender has a variable resistor in the tank. As the level drops, the arm in the sender moves across a series of windings. More windings in the circuit gives more resistance . That change in resistance changes the current to the gauge. Similar with temperature. Increasing temp causes a change in resistance. That all being said, the 63 has a voltage regulator ( it is mounted behind the clock) that provides 5 volts to the gas and temp guage. The 5 volts is matched to the resistance from the gas and temp sender to give the correct current to drive the needles on the 63 gauges.

Back to your original question- Most gauges these days are 12 volt. I dont know when they switched over in Ford. You will need to do some research to find out what the voltage for that gauge is. You will need to make sure that your senders match the voltage. To run on 12 volts you can just bypass the voltage regulator on the 63. Make sure you have a good ground with the new gauges to the dash metal. The resistance of each sender to drive the needles in the proper range will be the next thing you need to figure out. You may be lucky or need to change out every sender to ones that work on a 12 volt system.

MN63
1963 Thunderbird Hardtop
1966 Mustang Coupe A code

surfmurf
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:20 pm
Location: Clearwater-Largo, Florida

Re: Gauge Swap

Post by surfmurf » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:01 pm

Thank you MN63. My '63 is 12V negative ground. My guess is that any Bird in a newer year would be also. (That's an "assume" = trouble?). I knew how the gauges worked, basically, BUT it hadn't even occurred to me that I needed to check/test for your resistance info. Me and electricity have never been good "friends". Plain ole 110V and sometimes 220V - we sorta get along.
As of today I am also considering a quad-gauge of the correct size that would monitor all four, gas, oil, water and amps (voltage). But you, thankfully, complicated what I thought would be simple. No idea yet on how to figure all the amperage demands for each gauge's function. Very glad you took the time to inform me. I may be biting off more than I can chew. Thanks again. (To be continued.) Murf

RAVEN
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Re: Gauge Swap

Post by RAVEN » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:20 pm

I looked up my 69 shop manuals on gauges and it indicates they are fed by a CVR to a voltage of 5V. As are the 62/63 gauges. Do not see why a mod is necessary, both cars have a 5V gauge input to function. They both have CVR's.
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