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Discussion Starter #1
I need your opinions on what to do.

Since I have basically no faith in the accuracy of my 38-year-old factory guages (and I need a tach) I looked into my alternatives for a Tach/Oil Pressure/Water Temp. setup. What I found was a unit called "Pony Tells" made in TX, by a mechanical engineer named Rick Thompson.

Since I was gonna be in Dallas for a Falcon Club meet anyway, I called Rick and asked if we could meet last weekend so I could check out one of his guage clusters (and buy it if I liked it). Rick's a very nice guy and drove out to meet me at the car show site (in Arlington, he's in Ft. Worth) and bought one of his guage sets with him.

It's a very nice piece of work, using a 2.5-inch tach, framed by 1.5-inch "mini" oil pressure and water temp units. The whole thing sits on a single bracket that mounts to the top of your steering column without blocking your view of the factory instruments too badly. It looks great and fits the car perfectly. Rick built one for his own fastback and decided there might be a market for them.

The guages are SunPros, which aren't the highest quality stuff in the world, but at $170 for the unit, represent a pretty good value, IMO.

Now for the disappointment: The two smaller guages are mechanical guages. Not only do mechanical guages require lots of messy-looking tubing that has to go through the firewall and into your engine compartment, they have a bad history with me. I recall my own experiences years ago with busted capillary tubes and leaks into my interior and on my shoes and pants.

When I asked Rick why he chose to use mechanical guages, he explained that he wasn't able to find suitable electronic guages in that critical (to avoid blocking your view of the factory instruments) size of 1.5 inches.

Because there's really nothing else on the market like it, I bought a unit from Rick and got it home. Now I'm thinking that I should replace the two mech. guages with electronics. I found that Autometer makes 1.5 inch mini guages for their "Auto Gage" line, and the set runs about 60 bucks. While the guage faces are close to the SunPro tach's styling they are not a perfect match.

I really do like this basic unit, but dread running that plastic and metal tubing into my engine compartment, which has a very clean and basically stock look to it. I'd much prefer to have 4 or 5 wires that I could bundle with the factory harness, so that I retain the stock look.

What do you all think about mechanical guages in general and my playing "mix 'n match" by removing Ricks nicely packaged SunPros and replacing them with AutoMeters?

TIA for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Unfortunately, Rick has no website. In fact, I told him he ought to get one built so that more people could find out about his product.

Rick did advertise in the back of Mustang and Fords every month for a couple of years. The ads ran up until about 6 months ago. Two months ago, they featured his guages in their "new products" column. So find an old M&F and look for Pony Tells in the advertiser's index.

If you cannot find one, let me know and I'll fax a or email a pic to you.
 

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I sell the Autogage by Autometer line of products, and their oil pressure gauge is mechanical as well. You'll be hard pressed to find an electrical oil pressure gauge from Autometer or anyone else, because the accuracy of mechanical gauges is unmatched.

However, like other VMFers suggested for me, you could always use copper tubing for the capillary as opposed to the plastic stuff.
 

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I'm with you 100% Glenn, electrics ARE the way to go for a street car. Much cleaner install, no potential mess, and accurate enough for any street car. If you're building a dedicated race car, different story...

I sell the Autogage by Autometer line of products, and their oil pressure gauge is mechanical as well. You'll be hard pressed to find an electrical oil pressure gauge from Autometer or anyone else,
http://www.autometer.com/hp/2003_catalog/autogage/7.html

No problem finding them. Most Autometer gauges come either way.

I wonder if Autometer's Mini-tach fits in the bezel??? ;)
 

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Most Autometer gauges come either way.
I meant through the catalog and through our store. We don't seem to carry many of the electrical style gauges. Sorry for not being more succinct. ::
 

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IMHO if you want accuracy you want mechanical gauges and if you want looks and no plumbing messes you want electrical. electrical transducers just don't cut it for accuracy and never will.
 

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I'm using the mechanical gauge setups to validate the original 66 instrument cluster readings. I didn't want the copper tubing (oil pressure) and temp gauge tubing in the interior, so I initially mounted the gauge pack on the shock tower to cowl brace. This keeps the plumbing to a minimum. Having found out that I can read them through the rear of the tear-drop hood opening with the hood closed, and that the dash gauges closely follow the movement and readings of the mechanical ones; I have left them there. The dash gauge sending units are in their original locations. I installed a Tee fitting to allow both the oil pressure sending unit and the copper tube to connect up. The mechanical water temp tube is located in a thermostat housing which is from a 70s something 302 that used to have some sort of sending unit there. It was made of aluminum and polished up to look like an aftermarket piece. Thus the mechanical temp sensor is on the radiator side of the thermostat. Some may say this is bad, but I have come to trust the dash temp gauge and if something would ever seem amiss, I can compare the gauge reading to see if the thermostat is sticking.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Man, Bernie! Every time I read about your fastback, you reveal another amazing "feature"!!! ::

That certainly trumps all the people with just a plain - ol' hood-mounted tach... I gotta see this car the next time I am in MD. I can just see you banging gears and craning your neck to see those instruments through the air vents in that hood! ::

It is kinda comforting to know that the mech. guages verify your Ford guage readings.

I just hate the look of that tubing inside the car and even in the engine compartment. Furthermore, the unit has all the wiring and tubing bundled together with electrical tape (looks very professional, but it's quite thick), so it's gonna require a half-inch hole in the firewall to route it into the engine bay. The guy who sold me the guages is sure to think I'm nuts, but I just cant live with those mech guages in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Anthony - The AutoMeter part numbers for the electronic mini guages are 2354, 2355 and 2391 (for a 3-guage console). Many vendors don't carry them, but you can get them from both Summit and Jeg's.
 
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