Project Grey Mustang 5.0: Part 8 – Testing Auto Meter’s Elite Gauges

Project Grey Mustang 5.0: Part 8 – Testing Auto Meter’s Elite Gauges

by Vince Illi

Most “gear heads” want to know all the vital signs of their car.  Monitoring parameters such as oil pressure, coolant temperature, and exhaust gas temperature will tell you if your car is running at its optimum or if there might be something wrong.  The problem is that modern cars are coming equipped with fewer and fewer gauges.  There was a time in the ‘80s when even a pedestrian Plymouth Sundance came with voltage and coolant temperature gauges that actually told you meaningful data about how the engine was running.  Now, some cars don’t even have a temperature gauge, and often the gauges that they do have are little more than glorified “Idiot Lights” that only move their needles when something bad has already happened.

Project Mustang is, unfortunately, one of the latter.  Although the dash of Premium models came equipped with a whopping six gauges (almost unheard of anymore outside of trucks), most of the gauges don’t actually tell you much of anything.  The worst offender, in my opinion, is the oil pressure gauge, which I have never seen move even once after starting the engine up.  Because oil is the lifeblood of the engine, it is important to be able to monitor it.  So we contacted Auto Meter, and they sent us two of their new Elite Series electric gauges: Oil Pressure and Oil Temperature.

Of course, Auto Meter’s Elite gauges still come packed in those yellow boxes!

If you ever take a trip to your local auto parts big-box store and look at the gauge section, you’ll find that there is a huge range of quality when it comes to gauges.  You can immediately tell upon opening these boxes that the Elite gauges are of the highest quality.

Pictured here is the Oil Temperature gauge.  First of all, this gauge weighs maybe an ounce.  I think I’ve felt heavier paper clips.  So no comments about adding weight to the already-heavy Project Mustang!  Also note the two buttons on the bottom, which use rubber dust covers to keep your grubby hands from getting dirt into the mechanisms.

If you’ve ever installed an electric gauge before, you know that there are generally 4 connections that you require: power, ground, illumination, and sender signal.  So what is all THIS?!

I count ten separate pins on the back of this gauge…  And why does that say “Data Logger”?!

Instead of using individual wires to install your gauges, Auto Meter includes an entire wiring harness with their gauges.  Note that the connectors for the senders are OEM-quality and weather-tight.

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