[T3] Gauges, temps, theories…

FE Meek ftalker at gmail.com
Fri Sep 10 08:35:26 PDT 2021

I have enclosed a couple of posts I made in 2013 about this recurring issue…I hope they help..

Hi there
I use several VDO gauges for my 2110cc square, oil pressure, oil
temperature, cylinder head temperature, voltmeter, ammeter and tachometer.
I do not use the stock oil dip stick so I drilled and tapped the cover plate
on the case and installed one of the two senders I use here.  The other is a
dipstick sender, in a T-1/2 placement.  Both senders run to a double throw,
single pole 15A switch at the dash for a final run to the gauge.  The
cylinder head sender is on the number three upper case stud, (exhaust), not
on the standard spark plug thread.  This is perhaps off by some degrees,
(cooler), but it is a reference only as the range of acceptable temperatures
is great.
While I don't advocate for the universal use of all of these instruments for
everyone, I find my travels more informed, my tunes more accurate, my drives
more fun.

> Gene Berg has a bit of a rant about how poorly calibrated the temp 
> sensors were. Since he couldn't find any brand that was reliably 
> accurate, he refused to sell any.

I think Gene was a very innovative cat, but like all innovators he had his
quirks.  This was one.  He knew very well that gauges are never
scientifically accurate, but that a dependable reference could be
invaluable.  He recommended and sold a dipstick idiot light for oil temps.
More accurate? Really?  Does it tell you that it's getting hot?  Or, that
it's already there?  Perfect.
I disagree with him on his recalcitrance here, (I suspect there were other
reasons for his dislike of the gauges...like competitive pricing). 
And, a few other of his opinions were equally bizarre and
under-informed...about T-3's, for instance, such as his warning about
running any jugs bigger than 88's in them...ridiculous.  As soon as I get
home, I will be able to send pictures of my gauges installation and the
senders for same for those interested.  Send me a PM for these.
Hope this helps.
Best regards,
FE Meek
Hi there
When I was surfing in North Africa in the late sixties, (did I just admit this?), there were many air-cooleds on the roads.  Today, even in these maintenance-intense third world areas, (Cuba comes to mind in keeping old iron moving), Morocco and Algeria have few, if any VW air-cooleds still running there and it is not, to be sure, because of a dearth of pieces and parts.  But, I am not implying that a lack of gauges was the culprit either.  It is simply a harsh, hot environment where even WW2 German transports, (some Ur-VW's), lie in sand-swept graves on the outskirts of towns and cities, stripped of usable panels for home improvements.
But, Dave P is quite correct that VW, the "people's car" was modestly appointed for reasons both of cost and simplicity.  My experience outside the insular worlds of car collection is that most folks don't look at much on the dashboards in any case...one of the reasons, no doubt, that modern cars have to put an audio reminder on the gas gauge when the tank is low...really?
This experience was reinforced in my college days when I made fair bucks, (for the times), doing simple, routine maintenance on Bugs and Busses for those unwilling or unwitting to do so themselves.  "What are those red and green lights for anyway(s)?"  was not an uncommon question in the day.  So gauges?  
Remember, too, that even Porsche after 1956 took the numbers off of the oil temperature gauge scales, (even on the Carreras whose 4-cam race design redlined at 7+K), and today on the eponymous web sites there is continuing controversy as to the interpretation of this now seemingly amorphous green-into-red scale.  And, these cars were built for the discriminating driver who presumably actually looked at the gauges.

>> You never really know where the danger zone is....

I have to take issue with this in theory.  Whether we do so by "sense," intuition or comparative readings on gauges, (or better, all of these), it is clear that "we" can know the zones, variable and broad reaching as they often appear.  Our cars are better maintained, more assiduously researched by those with an abiding interest in their longevity.  But, as some posters over the years have noted, no matter how careful and observant we are, bad machining happens, bad judgment happens and the entropic arrow of time always happens.  And, this last element of human existence is what we end up fighting endlessly...and losing.  
But, I know that when I climb a pass that my oil might do well at plus 250*F, or my cylinder heads might survive in excess of 400*F, but I'm going to be increasingly observant of my senses, my intuition and my gauges and to try, in the short term, to avoid the arrow...
Best regards,
FE Meek

Sent from my iPad
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