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Old 02-18-2001, 05:31 PM   #1
herky
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Post electric or mechanical gauges?

I am participating in the group buy for the gauge pack and was wondering about the differences in these? what are electric boost gauges and mechanical? do the mechanical just use the t-tap for boost? And which is better? I was looking at the autometer phantoms, the defi are a little much. thank ya' now ya hear!
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Old 02-18-2001, 06:39 PM   #2
PunksRS
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Herky,

I always liked a mechanical gauge because I felt like I could trust it more. If the sending unit goes bad on an electrical gauge you will have false readings. A mechanical boost gauge is really easy to install. Yes, you just tee it into a nipple or hose on the intake. It is important where you connect it at because you would have different psi readings depending on if it is installed before or after the intercooler, etc. You really want to have it in the intake manifold to get the most accurate readings.

Mechanical oil pressure gauges are good too. You just have to be careful to use high quality lines and fittings because if the line ruptures in the car you have oil all over the place or even worse a fire if it ruptures in the engine compartment. You will always have an accurate reading though without worring about an inaccurate sending unit.

Some of the gauges you won't have a choice as I think oil temp will always almost be electrical and EGT's a mechanical gauge.

Punk
 
Old 02-18-2001, 07:47 PM   #3
Ginseng
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Good point and good question. I like electronic gauges because you only bring low voltage wiring into the cabin. All the vac lines and such are kept in the engine compartment. That said, they are more complicated because of the sending unit as middleman. I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with false readings from a bad sender. Seems to me, a bad signal would result in a totally screwy reading...as opposed to a mech unit where drift might more subtle. Comments?
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Old 02-18-2001, 08:11 PM   #4
PunksRS
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Ginseng,

An interesting experience with electronic gauges:

Back in 87 I purchased a new 87 Subaru RX turbo sedan. I was concerned because during idle the oil pressure would drop to the zero line. I took the car back to my dealer and watched as the technician "fixed" this problem. He removed the sending unit and opened it up and stretched the spring in the unit. If there was a real oil pressure problem I would have never know because he just adjusted the sending unit to show a little more pressure. My point is that you never really know if the sending unit is sending an accurate signal to the gauge. Most cars with factory gauges use electronic gauges w/sending units and it is common for them to read differently than actual pressures/temps. It is also common for the sending unit to fail. Most of the racers I know use mechanical gauges because they just can't take a chance on their high dollar engines failing because of an inaccurate sender. I agree that I like to have just low voltage coming into the car, but I have never had a problem with leaking fluids with mechanical gauges. Again, I think the key is to use good gauges, especially good fittings and lines (copper vs plastic), and have a clean installation. If your boost line breaks all you are going to have is a good vacuum leak. Heck, do they even make electronic boost gauges? I've never seen one.

Punk

[This message has been edited by PunksRS (edited February 18, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by PunksRS (edited February 18, 2001).]
 
Old 02-18-2001, 09:03 PM   #5
herky
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So what gauges and what manufacturer will you guys be buying for the gauge hood groupbuy that Ginseng set up? This is my first turbo vehicle so I am new to these things. I can only afford the pack and the boost gauge now, is the autometer phantom a good gauge? thank ya' kindly!
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Old 02-19-2001, 01:26 AM   #6
ae3753
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With regards to AutoMeter gauges, I have used the Sport-Comp, Silver Sport-Comp, and Ultra-Lites and have been very happy with the accuracy and value of the gauges. All the gauges have been mechanical gauges. I did have a problem with the needle to my fuel pressure gauge however. After about four years of usage, the needle actually fell off.

For my WRX, if I decide to get gauges, I will go with AutoMeter. Most likely the Ultra-Lites.
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Old 02-19-2001, 06:16 AM   #7
Ginseng
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Herky,
I don't have your info yet for the GB on the hood yet. I need it this week if you want to participate. Check the thread in Personal Classifieds.

PunkRS,
Wouldn't the sensor in the sending unit be the same as what is in a mechanical guage? In other words, a pressure transducer, or thermocouple? In that case, the conversion from mechanical signal to electrical signal is the addtional layer of complexity where things can get screwed up. I agree, a vacuum leak would not be a major mess.
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Old 02-19-2001, 06:40 AM   #8
allbent
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Ginseng, you beat me to it. The conversion has to take place somewhere and I believe that mechanical systems can have just as many gremlins plus the mess.....

Adam
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Old 02-19-2001, 02:54 PM   #9
WRX1
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It really comes down to how acurate you want the information. I have a mechanical water temp and oil pressure gauge in my truck, and my factory guage reads about 30lbs most of the time, while my mechanical guage (autometer sport-comp) varies on rpm. At cuising speed I am getting 40lbs, at idle I get 25 lbs, and the factory sits at 30. My temp is kinda the same way. My factory read about 190 and me mechanical reads about 185 (steady at about 70) and goes up from there the faster I go. The mechanical gauges are going to give you a more acurate reading with the possibility of leaks (oil or vaccume/boost). My .02
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Old 02-19-2001, 07:49 PM   #10
Akiata
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WRX 1, you shouldn't compare aftermarket electronic guages to the factory crap they throw in there. I would say that the electronic gauges will be just fine. Also electronics have gotten better than when PunksRS had his turbo. I would kill anyone if they tried to open my sensor unit like that!

I plan on getting the boost, oil temp and EGT. None of those will be messy if the line is broken on a mechanical guage so if you are conserned about that get those gauges for the car. The ones to be wary about are oil pressure and water pressure.

Just because one guy said it didn't happen to him doesn't mean it wont happen to you!
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Old 02-20-2001, 12:58 AM   #11
Steve Theodore
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Cool

I would recommend electonic for any gauges that you want to monitor peak hold (important in turbocharged applications). It's very nice to be able to monitor peak hold for boost and EGT in any turbocharged car. If you can get peak hold with a mechanical gauge, than that would work very nicely, but I'm not aware of it. I don't spend much time researching gauges, though, so might be off a bit.

Steve (who has lots of gauges, but none with peak hold)
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