Re: temp. gauge
Engine cold, disconnect the sending wire and measure the sending unit stud to engine block, should read a high resistance, above 5000 ohms, typically. Hook wire to s/unit, gauge should read cold, or even pegged cold. Final check is to measure the hex (body of the s/unit) to ground and should be less than 1 ohm resistance. If not, s/unit is not grounded through the threads to engine block/head.
Warm engine up to operating temp, top rad hose will be hot. Unhook s/unit wire and measure s/unit stud to ground. Should read around 200 ohms when coolant is hot and gauge should show a hotter temp indication, typically, a 180°F thermostat, needle typically should be at 10 o'clock mark.
The above statements are good if there is battery voltage to the correct terminal of the gauge. You can check the gauge using the ohmmeter function across the gauge itself no connections of the gauge to anything else. You may have to reverse the leads to get it to work, peg cold one way and peg hot the other polarity.
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