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I have the standard gauges in my six cyl convertible. There are no numbers on the gauges, just hash marks or lines. So, the needle on my water temp gauge is (most of the time) towards the extreme left or just below the 2nd mark. It only goes 1/3 or 1/2 way across the gauge in really hot weather and/or up a long climb with a heavy gas foot on my part.

I felt the car was running on the cool side (lucky me?) I live in Los Angeles near the beach but drive to Burbank in the valley every morning where its starting to get hot outside (90 degrees). I have always been using a 195 degree thermostat because a 160 or 180 degree one would barely make the gauge move. Okay I suppose I should go out and buy a thermometer but until then...Is the gauge inaccurate? Should I go back to a 180?






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most mustangs i have had usually run a little to the right on the far left mark on the gauge. in traffic they might get to the halfway mark.

if you are concerned, there is a neat tool you can get where you aim a gun looking thing at the radiator and it reads the temperature.

Charles Turner
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The gauge may be fine, but the sender warrant replacement. I'd do that first as a cheap, quick thing to check. Generally, the gauges hold a fairly reliable setting, but they can be off. They only way to be sure is to install a temporary after-market mechanical or electrical temp gauge as a standard before any gauge adjustment is done.

Tom Kubler, Long-time Mustang Enthusiast & San Antonio Mustang Club Founder
 

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I don't think Ford intended those guages to be real accurate. Rather, they were more intended to be simple indicators of health for the systems they monitored. Regardless, they were a definite improvement over idiot lights. Same goes for the speedometer, which is why cop cars have/had calibrated speedometers. They needed the higher degree of accuracy where the general public didn't.

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The gun thing you point at things is called an infrared pyrometer. They run from $300-$3000. Some of them have the laser sight for accurate point measurement. Very cool and usefull.

John


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I'll be upgrading my car to a JME guage cluster with some nice VDO guages sometime int he future...that should take care of those unknowns with the Falcon style guages and lights.

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gauges are very crude and only give relative indications. if they have always read that way you are ok but for water temperature you can do a very simple test - by a candy thermonmeter and warm up car thoroughly with rad cap off and when thermostat opens (water at fill hole moves) you should read thermostat value (usually 160 deg) and then check your gauge reading for reference. this is a secondary calbration since you assume your thermostat is accuate which is usually pretty good.
 

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I would not put in a higher temp thermostat just to get the needle to read higher. I would go back to at least the 180 or cooler thermostat.

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According to the Ford literature (sales), the original thermostats supplied on mustangs were 198 degrees.

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