Does the gauge always show the same operating temp, regardless of starting point? Or does it move the same amount in relation to oper temp and a different starting point? (Does it have the same range/meter sweep with different starting points?)
If it reads the same operating temp, regardless of starting point, and its an electric gauge, it could be the meter movement within the gauge, or it could be the ambient temp the sending unit is sending out due to the lack of dissipated heat from last time operated. This would be prominent if the sending unit was installed on the pass cyl head between cyl #& & #8 above the starter as opposed to the drvr side cyl head between #1 & #3 cylinders, or at the front intake crossover next to the thermostat.
If it is a mechanical gauge with a Bourdon tube, its defective, air is inside the tube, or still could be the ambient temperature as stated above.
If the gauge shows the correct, or close to it, operating temperature, as controlled by the thermostat, then I would think it probably would be just fine.
The guage and sender are a matched set. Matched set may be a bit misleading. It's not that the guage and sender are calibrated to each other. Instead a particular guage is designed to work with a sender having a specific resistance / temp factor. Any chance and aftermarket guage is being used with a factory sender or visa versa?
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