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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since I want to keep closer tabs on the operating temperatures than the stock gauge is capable of, I ordered a Max Tow temperature gauge from a vendor and attempted an install. Like some others, I know the limitations and inaccuracies of the stock gauge and wanted a stand alone gauge for accurate temperature monitoring. Let me tell ya something; installing an aftermarket anything on a newer vehicle is a major pain!

After some thought I abounded the idea of an upper radiator sensor location, because that would only be accurate once the thermostats were open. Next I thought about putting in a tee where the stock sensor is located. So I ordered one and ooops, not enough room for both sensors. Plus they would both be out of the coolant flow and depend on convection to read the temperature changes; thus any changes in temperature would be delayed. Lastly after studying the coolant flow diagram, I ordered a heater hose adapter and installed it in the heater hose coming out of the EGR cooler. Originally, I wanted to install it closer to the thermostat housing for a more accurate reading, but instead of a hose, there's a tube coming out of the thermostat housing there. Additionally, the hose from the cooling tube to the EGR cooler isn't long enough for the sensor, so the adapter went into the hose coming out of the EGR cooler and into the heater core. This is the bypass coolant path which is upstream of the thermostats, so it will give accurate readings.

Also it took several hours to run the wiring and install the pod for the gauge. After forcing my hands into areas under the dash that the engineers from GM never designed human hands to go, they now look like I tried to give a cat a bath!

However after about 8 hours of work everything was hooked up and ready to test. I let it warm up and took it for a drive comparing the gauge readings against my hand held scanner. Throughout the entire range that I saw, the gauge was consistently within 5 degrees (cooler) of what the scanner was showing. I will attribute this to the fact that my EGR is blocked off and the EGR cooler isn't trying to remove heat from the exhaust routed into the cooler and because of that, the EGR cooler might have been cooling the coolant slightly. Additionally, it showed me how far off the factory gauge is. The factory gauge stayed at the 180 degree mark from 140 to 175 then would jump up to the 210 mark when the thermostat opened at 185 degrees! Really accurate huh?

So if anybody is thinking about going with a stand alone gauge instead of a Scan Gauge or a gauge the plugs into the OBD port, it is doable, but a little bit of a pain.
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