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Ford 4.6 & 5.4 Modular Motor Water Temperature and Oil Pressure Gauge Installation
Today, we are connecting Water Temperature and Oil Pressure gauges to a Ford 4.6L Modular Motor. These points will be helpful whether you are working on an original equipment engine or a swap application.
A convenient water temperature port can be found on these engines on the left (driver's) side of the engine block, below the last freeze plug. If the engine is installed while you are performing this installation, you will most likely need to locate this from underneath the vehicle. This port will be one of two different sizes, which are either 16mm x 1.5 or 3/8” NPT.
Remember to let the engine cool completely, wear eye protection, and be ready with a catch pan, as removal of this plug will result in a geyser of coolant.
It has been rumored that some of the earliest modular motors (from around 1992 to 1995) may not have this port. From our experience, everything 1996 and later has this port. To identify which size your port is, simply look at the plug that is threaded into the hole. If it uses an Allen wrench (inverted hex) to remove, then this is going to be a 3/8” NPT. All of our electric gauges come with this adapter.
If you have a plug that uses a regular box-end wrench or socket to remove (external hex), then this will be a metric, 16mm x 1.5 thread. The metric adapter number for our electric gauges is AutoMeter Model #2268.
Note: We do not recommend mechanical temperature gauges for this installation due to the shallow coolant passage depth (The mechanical probe may bottom out resulting in damage to the gauge or improper sealing).
For oil pressure, there are several different options.
Some engines will have a second available port above the oil filter, next to the factory oil pressure switch. This will be 1/4" NPT. The appropriate adapter will come supplied with your AutoMeter Oil Pressure gauge.
Some engines will only have one port, which the factory oil pressure switch is already utilizing. If your vehicle has a factory designed gauge to work with this motor (i.e. this is not an engine swap application), then retain the factory switch to keep the “check gauges” indicator from turning on and use a variety of hardware store-available brass fittings or performance shop fluid fittings to build a T to house the factory switch and your new sender.
If there is no factory gauge, you may then eliminate the factory sender/switch and use a 1/4" NPT to 1/8” NPT adapter bushing to install the AutoMeter sender or mechanical gauge line (this adapter will be included with your AutoMeter Oil Pressure gauge).
When using the above-mentioned oil pressure port, you may choose to remote mount the sender to keep too much excess weight and strain off of the T or due to room constraints. You may use a stainless braided line kit, such as AutoMeter Model #3227 to accomplish this.
If you cannot or do not want to use the port near the oil filter, you may also find ports at the rear of either of the cylinder heads. These will either be 1/4" NPT or 3/8” NPT. In most applications, there is not much room to work with here and will likely require a mirror to locate on a non-swap application. One way to make this port work is to use a 90-degree adapter into a braided stainless line such as the #3227 mentioned above allowing you to remote mount the sensor in a more convenient or out of the way location.
So, you've got a 2008 Ford Super Duty 6.4 Diesel and you want to unleash some of that hidden performance locked in your truck, but also want to have a way to monitor that engine to make sure you know what's going on under the hood? This tech article will show you how to install the critical gauges needed to keep tabs on your modified diesel.
We realize that there is some duplication of instrumentation involved with this install, as the newer Ford Trucks carry factory Boost and Trans Temperature gauges in the factory instrument cluster. It is our experience that these gauges react slowly and provide insufficient information for the needs of modified trucks. Follow along as our Tech Department shows you where and how to install Boost, Pyrometer, and Transmission Temperature gauges on your truck.
Boost Line Installation
At the time of this writing, we are unaware of a boost source location on this truck that does not require drilling and tapping the intake elbow. The procedure detailed below discusses the methods required to drill and tap the intake elbow. If you do not feel comfortable with performing this work after reading the information below, please consult a qualified mechanic.
These trucks build 40 psi of boost from the factory. For most applications, we recommend using a 0-60psi boost gauge for this installation. For the hardcore folks, we now offer 0-100 psi boost gauges in several series as well.
Under the hood, at the passenger's side front of the engine bay, locate the intercooler outlet pipe where it connects to the engine brake (looks like a throttle body) on the intake elbow. Use an 11mm, deep well socket to loosen the clamps at this connection and also where this pipe connects to the intercooler in front of the radiator. Carefully remove the outlet pipe and the associated clamps and set aside.
Use a marker and mark the location of where you are going to drill and tap before any further disassembly to ensure proper clearance of all components. Pay special attention to the electrical connector located on the engine brake and make sure that you have proper clearance between the boost line connection point and the connector allowing the connector to be removed. Disconnect the electrical connector off of the engine brake.
Use a T30 torx to remove the three screws that retain the engine brake. For the lower screw, you will need a long shank T30, as the socket style is too fat to fit far enough in to reach the screw.
With this part removed, you can now drill and tap a new hole for boost reference. You may use a 5/16” drill bit, and then a 1/8” NPT pipe tap. When running the tap into the newly drilled hole, it is recommended to run the tap only about halfway in, then test fit the boost line fitting. You do not want the fitting to thread all the way in and bottom out. The pipe tap is tapered, so the deeper you run the tap in, the larger the hole also becomes. Having the boost fitting thread in only a couple of turns is sufficient.
Blow out any leftover shavings with compressed air, and clean surfaces thoroughly to be certain that no metal pieces are sent into the intake assembly. Then, re-install the housing.
It helps to install the lower mounting screw into the engine brake, then carefully hold the engine brake in its location and thread in the screw with the long T30 torx. Next, thread in the other two and gently tighten all of them.
Re-install the electrical connector and then the intercooler pipe and clamps. Be certain to properly locate and torque the intercooler pipe clamps. Failure to do so can result in the outlet pipe "popping off" under high boost conditions. Do not over-tighten on the intercooler itself as the connector piece is plastic.
Transmission Temperature Installation
Look at the driver’s side of the transmission, just above the pan. You will see a threaded in pipe plug. Remove this pipe plug.
If using a short sweep electric gauge, we suggest that you use a model #2259 sender instead of the sender that came with the gauge, as the port may be very shallow. If using a full sweep electric gauge, then carefully measure the depth of the port prior to installing the sender to make sure that the sender does not bottom out and break inside of the transmission. If the port is too shallow for the full sweep sender, then you may need to use a short 1/8” npt extension.
If you are unsure of the difference between short sweep and full sweep, the short sweep electric uses a single wire, threaded terminal sender and the full sweep electric uses a 2-wire, plug in connector type of sender.
A mechanical transmission temperature gauge with a capillary tube will not fit into this port. Modification to the pan for a mechanical gauge would be necessary.
From under the vehicle, look up at the driver’s bank exhaust manifold and mark the location where you are going to drill.
Use a 5/16” drill bit and a 1/8” NPT pipe tap. We drilled 1-1/2 inches from the flange at the rear of the manifold. Due to the shallow depth of the manifold from top to bottom, it is necessary to drill and tap at a slight angle when using a “fixed depth” probe, which is common to most of our pyrometer kits.
Install the supplied probe fitting and the probe.
Lighting for Gauges
Remove the vertical trim panel on the driver's side of the dashboard containing the light and dimmer switch assembly by carefully pulling straight back to release the retaining clips. The purple wire with a gray stripe on the corner of the headlight switch connector proves to be a good dimming lighting source for the gauges.
If you are using LED lit gauges (such as our Next Generation Instruments) and if flickering is noticed during dimming, you may then need to use a model #9114 dimmer module to the park light circuit instead and use the #9114 dimmer to control the brightness of the LED gauges.
Finish installation as per instructions provided with the products being installed.
Pillar pods are molded in Black Revotech plastic from the factory. We employed a body shop to paint the pillar mount shown in this picture to match the factory interior colors of this truck.
Looking for more information on your 1997-2007 Ford 7.3 or 6.0 Powerstroke? This tech article supplements the instructions included with the AutoMeter #7075 Diesel Kit and gives complete details on how to install the critical gauges for keeping tabs on your modified diesel. This kit includes a boost gauge, transmission temperature gauge, and pyrometer with a gauge pillar mount.
Suggested Items for Installation
• White, 18g or 20g automotive wire (for gauge lighting), about 4’
• Black, 18g or 20g automotive wire (for gauge ground), 6 to 10’ depending on where you choose to ground your gauges
• Red, 18g or 20g automotive wire (for gauge powers), about 4’
• Any other color of 18g or 20g automotive wire (for trans temp sender), about 6 to 8’
• Little Fuse (or equivalent) Add-a-Circuit kit for mini fuses to tap into the interior fuse box for power
• 3x Female spade (“quick disconnect”) terminals to fit 1/4” spades and the 18g or 20g wire (mentioned above) for the trans temp gauge
• Assortment of different sized ring terminals for 18g wire
• Either 18g or 20g butt connectors or solder and heat shrink
• Variety of zip ties (for securing wires)
• Heavy, or thick grease to use on drill and tap when drilling and tapping the exhaust manifold
• Electrical tape
Suggested Tools to Complete Kit installation
• Wire crimpers
• Wire strippers
• Soldering iron (optional)
• 3/16” drill bit (for drilling pillars for pod push pins/rivets)
• 5/16” drill bit (for drilling exhaust manifold for EGT probe)
• 1/8” NPT tap, and tap handle (for EGT probe)
• Side cutters or equivalent (for cutting boost hose)
• Standard & Metric 1/4” & 3/8” drive socket set
• Standard & Metric wrench set
After you open the hood, disconnect one of the battery terminals before moving on with the rest of the install.
It is a good idea to pre-wire the pod on a clean workbench. I recommend that as you wire the gauges, you keep the gauges hanging just outside of each of their positions. This ensures that when you are finished and you push the gauges back into the pod, there will be plenty of wire left over for service if you ever need to remove a gauge to replace a light bulb or any other reason.
Wire the grounds for the lighting together to form one common ground wire for the lighting. Due to separating the grounds, you might mark the end of the lighting ground wire, so that you know which is which for when you install the pillar in a later step. You can mark it with a simple piece of tape.
Wire the grounds for the gauges together to form one common ground for the gauges (these are recommended to be grounded separately from lighting).
Wire the powers for the pyrometer and the trans temp together to form one common power for both gauges. Run a wire from the “S” (sender) terminal of the transmission temperature gauge. You will use the female slide on terminals for the trans temp gauge.
Install the pyrometer leads onto the gauge. Pay attention to the ring terminals on the yellow EGT wire. The end with the larger holes in the terminals goes to the gauge.
Install the boost gauge line adapter to the gauge, then carefully unroll the boost line. Slide the nut onto the line, then slide the ferrule onto the line. Insert the line, ferrule, and nut onto the adapter and tighten. Do NOT over-tighten as this will over-crush the ferrule and potentially pinch off the line or break the line.
Neatly arrange the wiring together and use zip ties to bundle them together. Route the (now bundled) wires through the lower grab handle hole of the original pillar.
Carefully fit the new pillar onto the original pillar with the wiring exiting through the lower grab handle hole of the original pillar.
Once you have the new pillar in the desired location, hold the two pillars together and have an assistant drill (6x) 3/16” diameter holes in various locations through both mated pillars. These holes are used to install the rivets (push pins) that hold the pillars together. We suggest that you evenly space them (3 along each side) toward the edge of the pillar.
Push the rivets (push-pins) through the drilled holes. It is also recommended that you push each push-pin through after each hole is drilled to prevent mis-drilling due to the pod shifting on the factory pillar cover. While getting ready to install the pillars into the truck, have an assistant look up, under the dash while you start to feed the wires down through the opening between the dash and where the pillar will go. There is plenty of room for the wires. The new gauge pillar mount will be a snug fit going back in. Take your time and make sure that the clips all align from the original pillar to the metal pillar structure before pushing the pillar assembly fully into place.
While under the dash, reach behind the headlight switch and push it from behind, out of the dash. Locate the blue wire with a red stripe. Strip about 1/4” of insulation off of the wire and wrap the bared end of the white lighting wire coming from your pillar to this wire. Solder it and then tape it to insulate it.
Push the headlight switch back into the dash.
Remove the lower dash panel to access the interior fuse box by pulling straight back.
Next, remove the cover off of the fuse box.
Along the far-right side of the fuse box, at the bottom, you will find a 15a fuse, which is also the factory Instrument Cluster fuse. Remove this fuse and install it into the Add-a-Circuit kit. Install a 3a fuse into the wire-side of the Add-a-Circuit kit. Crimp or solder your red wire coming from the pillar to the red wire on the Add-a-Circuit kit.
You will need to carefully trim a small pass-through in the side of the fuse box cover for the wire to pass through when the cover is installed.
To the right of the fuse box, you will find several factory grounds. Run the lighting ground (the wire you marked earlier) from the pillar to one of these factory grounds. You may use a crimp-on ring terminal for this. After this is connected, your gauge lights will now function.
Choose a suitable location to the left of the steering column and drill a 3/8” diameter hole in the firewall (see image at right for suggested location) and insert a rubber grommet. Be careful not to drill into any existing wires or components on the other side.
Begin passing the pyrometer leads, boost line, existing ground wire, and trans temp wire through the grommet. Have an assistant on the other side gently pull on the wires. This may be a tight fit, so using silicone spray, WD-40, PB Blaster, or equivalent (sparingly) on the wires will make them slide through the grommet much easier.
Find a location on the engine, such as on the end of a cylinder head, or intake manifold where you can connect the gauge ground wire to. With gauges, it is always best to ground directly to the engine whenever possible.
Route the boost line to the passenger side, to the MAP sensor, which is mounted on top of the heater-a/c box on the passenger side of the engine bay. Be sure to route the boost line so that it does not become melted from heat from the turbo.
Peel back the plastic covering from the hose that goes to the MAP sensor. Use a pair of side cutters and cut the hose in half. Slide both ends of the cut hose onto the two opposing ends of 3 way 1/4” T fitting.
Recover the MAP sensor line with the plastic covering to finish the T-fitting installation.
Route the pyrometer leads away from any hot sources, or moving parts (such as the steering column), and down to the underside of the vehicle in the area of the driver’s side manifold.
From under the vehicle, mark a location toward the rear of the manifold and drill a 5/16” diameter hole. Some installers prefer to grease the bit to help capture metal shavings. Be careful as the shavings may be hot and you do not want to get these shaving in your eyes! Safety glasses are a must!
After drilling the hole, dip your 1/8” NPT pipe tap into some grease, and run the tap about halfway into the hole.
Next, install the double male fitting that came with your probe. The fine threads-side of the fitting installs into the newly drilled and tapped hole.
Slide the probe into the fitting, and tighten the nut. Slide the supplied probe heat shrink onto the probe leads. Connect the yellow probe wire to the yellow probe lead, and then the red to red. Use the supplied nuts and bolts. The yellow EGT probe wire may need to be folded due to differences in length. Heat the heat shrink over the connections.
Securely, bundle up the excess probe wire length. Do not cut, shorten, or modify the EGT wire.
Run your transmission temp sender wire along the same path as your EGT wire, ending near the driver’s side of the transmission.
You will find a threaded in pipe plug, just above the trans pan. Remove this plug.
Install the trans temp sender into this port. Your kit should have come with a short sender, which is a sender that has no probe extending beyond the threads. Some earlier kits had the standard sender, which does have a probe. If your kit has the sender with a probe, then please contact our Tech Support team, and ask them for the shorter model 2259 sender.
** The reason for the shorter sender, is that the longer one may bottom out in this port. If you choose to use the longer sender, you will then have to modify the pan to accept a 1/8” NPT thread size. Crimp or solder a ring terminal onto the end of the trans temp sender wire, then install on the trans temp sender. You are now ready to start the truck!
Upon power up, the pyrometer should go to a range between 0 and 150 (depending on outside temp, and some variance is acceptable at low temperatures). The Pyrometer (EGT) will continue to climb as the exhaust temp becomes hotter or when the truck is driven under load.
The trans temp will be the slowest to respond and will require driving the truck for some time and may require some load.
Inspect routing of all wiring to make sure there is no risk of it hanging below the dash, becoming chafed, burnt, or melted. Use zip ties to carefully secure routing of the wiring.
The speedometer is likely one of the gauges you spend the most time looking at. Here is some helpful information in regards to the GPS Interface Module (Model 5289):
When using the AutoMeter GPS Module to drive your AutoMeter electric speedometer, the only time that there is no calibration required for a speedometer is when you are connecting to an AutoMeter speedometer that has not yet had a previous calibration attempt. In other words, when both the speedometer and the GPS module are new, out of the package, there is no calibration required as they are both calibrated the same from the factory. If someone has already attempted to calibrate either the speedometer or the GPS module previously, then calibration of the GPS module, to speedometer is required.
Calibrating the GPS module-to-speedometer is very easy. First, you turn the power on and then push and hold the only button on the GPS module. After a few seconds of this, the pointer on the speedometer will start to climb. The longer you hold, the faster it climbs. Stop holding when the pointer on the speedometer reaches 80. We suggest stopping around 70, then using a series of momentary button pushes. You are now done. It will time out after about 4 seconds and the pointer will go back to zero.
If you experience erratic or jumpy speedometer behavior (especially at low speeds), then power the speedometer on, and watch the LCD display on the speedometer. It will show the current PPM (pulses per mile) for a second or two, then will default to the odometer. If the PPM is quite a bit less than the factory PPM of 16000, then recalibrate both. Here is how:
- Go into speedometer calibration mode as normal (full scale).
- Push and release the button so it drops to ½ scale (as normal).
- Drive until the pulse count gets to 32000 (which is 16000 ppm), and stop driving. This does not need to be precise, just close to 32000 is good.
- Push the trip button to end calibration.
- Now, before you start driving, you need to recalibrate the GPS by pushing the button on the GPS module, going to 80 on the speedometer.
- Now, you are ready to go.
If the above is successful, but you still have a little spike or bounce at a very slow speed, then go back over the above, but double the pulse count to about 64000 pulses (32000 ppm) during speedometer calibration and then recalibrate the GPS module again. The higher pulse count is basically increasing the speed signal frequency resulting in a smoother signal.
If it is questionable whether or not the GPS module is “on”, then simply push the calibration button on the module. Does it calibrate (moving the pointer on the speedometer)? If so, then it is not only powered but also connected to the proper terminal on the speedometer.
Speaking of the GPS module being on, here is a tip. To avoid having to wait up to a minute for it to lock onto a GPS signal, you may actually connect it to battery power, rather than switched power. This applies as long as the current-existing battery draw is less than 25ma (0.025A). This needs to be checked with an ammeter, by the end user (by someone competent in using an ammeter). The current draw of the GPS module is 45 to 50ma. The “standard of the industry” parasitic draw maximum on an automotive battery is about 75ma. Of course, it is always recommended for long lengths of time such as in storage or several weeks at a time without use, to install an on/off switch and the end-user can shut it off. As long as where the vehicle is kept, it is able to capture and hold a signal, the speedometer will be ready to work as soon as you start moving.
Does the GPS seem to take a long time (as in minutes) to latch onto the signal? First, move the antenna if not already outside or near a window. Second, ask if there are any other active GPS items in use. GPS Navigation, something radio related, another speedometer (not likely, but had to throw that in there), or anything else. GPS signals can disrupt each other and compete for a signal if the antennas are too close. During earlier testing, I experienced this and was amazed how much better they responded when I separated the distance between the antennas. I was testing two interfaces, the built in GPS speedometer, and had the navigation system on, with all antennas on the dash. Nothing was happy!
The best location to mount the antenna is outside. Inside near any window, the top of the dash, window frame, package tray, etc. are all good spots to mount as well, but not as good as outside. The antenna is waterproof and you can paint it.
The GPS Interface Module
The GPS Sensor Module will not work with “any” speedometer. If not an AutoMeter speedometer, it must be electronically driven and capable of reading a 12v square wave signal. It will not drive a mechanical speedometer. Do not wire it with an existing speed sender/sensor of any type or sort.
What applications would I use this with?
There are a variety of applications where this module can be used:
- On a vehicle where there is no existing speed sender/sensor, and no easy way to add one.
- On a vehicle that has an existing speed sensor, but due to the vehicle's computer, transmission controller, cruise control, or ABS, you may not be able to connect another device without disrupting any of these systems.
- On a vehicle where the mechanical speedometer takeoff (typically used to drive an aftermarket speed sender when converting to electric) is non functional due to a speedometer gear-related problem or malfunction.
- Or in a case where you simply want something very easy to install and wire up. Other than the antenna, it only has three wires. Power, ground, and signal out.