Mechanical vs. electrical gauges - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 12, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Mechanical vs. electrical gauges

I am getting to the point in my build that I need to get started on putting gauges in my car. I am thinking of installing the Covan 6 gauge panel with MPH, RPM, Water temp, oil pressure, fuel level, and voltage but haven't decided for sure.

I really like the full sweep gauges because I think they will be much easier to read while driving. The electrical full sweep gauges are pretty expensive but the mechanical full sweeps aren't that bad. So I am trying to decide if I should go with the mechanical gauges for oil pressure and water temp or if I should use the electrical gauges.

I know that the mechanical gauges are more difficult to plumb but I don't think that will be a big problem. My main concern is with plumbing the oil and water into the car. What do you guys think? Is this something I should be concerned with? Also, is one more accurate than the other.

I would really like to hear from your experience what you prefer and why? Are mechanical gauges good to use or should they be avoided?

Thanks for the advice.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 12, 12:41 PM
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Re: Mechanical vs. electrical gauges

I have used both and liked both. There is a chance of running into a problem with oil in the car if something happens to the line but it hasn't happened to me *knock on wood*. The mechanical water temps don't have coolant running into a car though it just uses a element that taps into your intake. I use mechanical liquid filled gauges and feel that they are pretty accurate.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 12, 01:38 PM
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Re: Mechanical vs. electrical gauges

I used both and like mechanical gauges myself, they don't require electrical power.
Mechanical temperature gauges are Bourdon tube variety and come equipped with fitting and sensor all ready made, more like it is one piece, so you need a large firewall hole for the fitting.

The only problem with a mechancial temp gauge, once the needle is pegged, meter needs replacing.

As Jeff states, there is no coolant in the interior, it is enclosed with another inert fluid.

However, electrical gauges are easy to use and hook up. Just make sure the body of the sensor has a good ground to the block/head/manifold.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 12, 05:08 PM
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Re: Mechanical vs. electrical gauges

Really the only issue to me with mechanical gauges is the oil line but the Autometer braided line kit pretty much cures that. Oh, and it can be a pain if you need to remove stuff. Mechanical gauges are cheaper (it's what I've got) but you pay for it with installation.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 12, 05:19 PM
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Re: Mechanical vs. electrical gauges

I have a 69 and a 67 camaro. Both cars have had a set of mechanical autometer gauges in them for 20 yrs with no problems what so ever. The Electrical Tach in the 67 however is on thr fritz and will be replaced. My youngest son has 2 vehicles with electrical gauges, and has had to replace sending units on both in less than 2 yrs of usage.
Electrical is easier and more convienant to install, but mechanicals seem to hold up better, and I beleive are more accurate as they read right from the source. At least that's been my experiance.
I went with mechanicals to begin with because when I was younger and just learning to work on cars, a friend of mine had an amp gauge ground out under the dash of his 69 camaro, and did some major fire damage to the enterior of the car...scared me away from them, and I've never had a reason to switch.
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