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LEXUS 1UZ-FE Engine Swap My blood sweat and tears. It will be worth it!!

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  #1  
Unread 04-02-2011, 07:57 PM
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Default 1UZ-FE Toyota Tacoma Water Temp Guage Install with Pictures

I finally got the motivation to hook up my gauges. I can monitor anything by way of hooking up my laptop but that's insanely hard to see when driving. But while I would tune my Adaptronic ECU I could see that all my engine temps and everything were working just fine so I never got around to installing my Autometer gauges. The weather has been really nice outside and I knew I just had to put things aside and work on the truck a little bit. I'm basically putting these gauges in to make sure they work and are easy to hook up before I start fabrication my new dashboard.

Since I have a spare engine I went ahead and put the extra coolant/water passageway on my workbench so I could see where exactly and how I was going to install the temperature sensor. There is only one place to install this sensor and it's right in front of the coolant outlet which is most accurate. I really had to crank on the old temp sensor to break it free but it came out soon enough.

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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:01 PM
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I had a Stewart Warner temp mechanical temperature gauge but I didn't have an adapter. The local auto parts store wanted $10 for the adapter OR you could buy a whole new modern temperature gauge for $20 that comes with the different fittings you need to install it. So I got a new snazzy one for the time being. I will replace it with an Autometer gauge in the near future as they are a higher quality product and I don't mind spending a few more dollars to get a better product and match my current array of gauges. But for now the twenty dolla special is just great.



And here we are with the proper fitting installed which will give the sensor a solid seat to be placed in. Now to install it in the truck.

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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:09 PM
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Here is the temp gauge I picked up from the store. You can make the bulb shine different colors by placing a rubber filter on it so that's nifty. The mechanical line is really soft and you can bend it really easy. I know the older ones were pretty hard to bend and felt fragile. Twenty bucks.... what else can I say?



Here is the only tool you need besides a wrench to install this gauge. Luckily it was exactly the same size as the nut that secures the sensor to the water passage adapter. Nice and easy.



And now I have a nice big hole to put the sensor through. The gauge came with a rubber grommet to seal the hole around the hard line so that can be installed as well.

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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:15 PM
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Now to the engine side of the firewall. I easily popped out the factory temperature insert and quickly insert the new unit. Nice and easy. If I knew it was going to be this easy I would have done this a long time ago. Not that I needed to read my temp really badly... it's just so easy and cheap to buy one there's no excuse to not have an accurate temp sensor in your truck now!



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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:18 PM
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A buddy of mine just got a 2003 Dodge Viper this past week. I had to take a break and go see what he was up to. He likes to tinker with things so he already had it up on jack stands and was cleaning the insides of the wheels and stuff. Nice little commuter car.



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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:21 PM
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Back to work on my truck now. So did I mention I'm making a new dash board for the truck? For now I'm just going to rest the gauges on top of the steering column. Zip ties keep it from moving and after I hooked up a couple wires for the tach I fired the truck up and took a drive. The water temp is now displayed accurately and the engine runs pretty cool just like I expected.



Oh and the lower water temp gauge was my old one that broke because the line was accidentally cut. So that was basically a $80 loss because the line got punctured. Be careful with the solid black mechanical lines for these gauges! Please learn from my mistakes! For now it just is filling up the blank hole I would otherwise have in my little dash panel. If you are wondering about the shape: I but this panel to fit all my Autometer gauges in the instrument bezel of an RX-7 turbo race care I had a long while ago. When I sold the car I saved the instruments and I'm happy to be getting some use out of them now. I'll have to hook up my oil line this week and I'm trying not to talk myself into finding a reason to hook up the turbo boost gauge. The 1UZ is already fast enough.. turbos would be bad news so this gauge will just be for looks.


Last edited by Smithers; 04-02-2011 at 08:25 PM.
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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:38 PM
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Here is some video of my afternoon drive to warm up the engine to check the gauge operation. I guess I could have put the sensor in some hot water and compared the reading with my laser temp sensor tool I have. But oh well, I'll compare it with the other temp sensor that answers to my Adaptronic 420 ECU. That will be confirmation enough that it's accurate.

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Unread 04-02-2011, 08:52 PM
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I thought this was interesting. Everyone knows that when you see your temp gauge hit red in any stock automobile then that means it's basically overheated WAY over normal... not just a little bit. They manufacturers don't want people complaining that their car runs a little "hot" just because they interpret a high temperature as overheating. A car can run hot just fine without overheating. But if car makers installed accurate instruments then people would assume a high heat reading = car running too hot which isn't a problem.

So basically temp gauges in cars read in the absolute middle of the gauge until the engine becomes EXTREMELY hot. Then the gauge will peg to the red zone but by that time your engine has likely sustained some damage from the extreme heat. Here is a good tech article showing how to modify a Toyota pickup instrument cluster so that it gives you accurate readings and doesn't just display the middle reading and then SUPER HOT... like they do from the factory. To learn a little more about how this works just read this webpage discussing how to modify Toyota temp guages.
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Unread 04-17-2011, 06:58 AM
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Excellent / very good.
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Unread 01-16-2012, 10:06 AM
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Just as an update I would like to comment that this cheapo guage has worked perfectly so far. I have been driving this truck as a daily driver ever since and the gauge has worked perfectly. I simply drive around and keep an eye on the temp until it gets to 210 at the most and then I hit my fan switch.

Good tip: MOUNT THE GAUGE AT THE TOP OF YOUR GAUGE CLUSTER RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE. You REALLY want the gauge in plain sight so that you can keep en eye on it at all times. Engine coolant temp is the most important reading you want to watch. If your engine gets too hot you risk blowing a head gasket or ruining your piston rings. At the least you will fatigue your piston rings decreasing their lifetime so make sure you don't run your engine too hot!

Funny story about running hot here. One time I got caught by surprise by the biggest sand bowl in the Pismo Dunes area. I came up and over the edge of the bowl and realized I had to make a quick dash to get up over the other side because there was no way to get pulled out by anyone else except a wrecker with a long long tow cable! I did have my fan on since there is no way you can drive a truck in the sand without the fan on. The slow speeds in the sand while at full throttle just blow any radiator cap out there. So I floored it up the other side but I didn't have enough speed yet. So I wanted to back up and aim for the side of the bowl which was shorter than what was directly ahead of me. I wish I had video because it was loud and scary! My girlfriend knew we were in trouble so she just bit her lip while I floored the engine forward and then in reverse a couple of times to get aimed towards the short side. I slammed the throttle down and just hit over 6K rpm all the way up and basically were crawling up the side throwing roost. I made it out very slowly but my engine temp was over 235!! This was because my engine was already hot when I entered the bowl and all that monkey business at low speed with near full throttle really pushed the temp up a lot. I just cruised slowly in a straight line at 3,000 rpm making sure air was going through the radiator with the least amount of throttle I could manage. This cooled the engine down as quickly as possible and everything has been great since.

I read in a tech manual for an engine once that 2500 rpm was a general RPM that engines are designed to reach the optimum water pump speed to circulate water efficiently. That's like my rule of thumb now whenever I experience overheating. Sitting at idle won't cool an engine as fast as driving slowly. You have to have air going through that radiator and the water pump spinning.
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