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Tachometer & Water Temp Gauges Quit Same Time

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  • Speedo/Tach/Gauges: Tachometer & Water Temp Gauges Quit Same Time

    I was doing a fair amount of under the hood tuning work on my '64 Avanti R1. (points & carb mostly) Then started car and now the tach and water temp gauges have both stopped working! Pulled off the send wire from the water temp gauge, cleaned post and connector, squeezed a bit to tighten. No change. I was NOT under the dash. Fuses all fine. What could have happened and where should I start looking? Is there a way to test the water temp sender? And way to check if a signal is being sent to the tach? I just can't figure out why both just quit working at the same time.
    Dennis

  • #2
    One thing both have in common is 12 volt power.

    You can disconnect the wire from the temperature sender and see if it has 12 volts on the wire with the ignition on.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 11-25-2019, 09:11 AM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
      One thing both have in common is 12 volt power.

      You can disconnect the wire from the temperature sender and see if it has 12 volts on the wire with the ignition on.
      Also, both need a good ground.

      Both of these items have physical locations near the distributor, where you were working. You may have loosened, disconnected or broken wires (even within insulator) or connections. Trace along both circuits checking for power and physical issues.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
        One thing both have in common is 12 volt power.

        You can disconnect the wire from the temperature sender and see if it has 12 volts on the wire with the ignition on.
        OK, and thanks Roy. Did that today and it does have 12 volts with ignition on. Now what do I do? Can't imagine two gauges failed at the same time. (You must understand I am "electrically illiterate". ) I struggle with electrical issues, I do have meters, probes, etc., but need to be told how to use them.
        Dennis

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        • #5
          OK, Adam. Next step is to ground the wire going to the temperature sender, and turn on the ignition, and watch the gauge closely. It should start climbing rapidly, and peg out at the hot end (but please shut off the ignition before that happens!). If it passes that test, the instrument in the dash is probably OK, and you need a new sending unit. They are inexpensive.

          The tach gets its signal off the (-) terminal of the ignition coil; same terminal that goes to the points. It would be an easy mistake to make, to connect it to the (+) terminal instead, which will get no reading, but should not hurt anything. If the tach is all original, there will be a tach "sending unit" under the dash, a little bigger than a tuna can, but flatter. Those original sending units contained a small transformer that was very fragile, electrically speaking. The parts vendors have a solid-state replacement board that fits the can, but is much more robust.
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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          • #6
            Fiberglass needs to have separate ground wires, so you have to check that seeing you lost 2 things, steel car bodies things are grounded by mounting usually. somewhere in circuit is a ground wire going to a metal part, chassis or engine.

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