Auxiliary gauges should be installed to provided added monitoring of your vehicle.  If you do decide to install gauges, buy the best you can afford.  There are brands of gauges that will look pretty.  Bottom line is you want your gauges to be accurate; looks should be secondary.

You have a choice of mechanical or electronic for most of these gauges.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Only you can make the decision on which type will work for you.

A mechanical gauges requires a physical connection, whether it be a hose or (capillary) tube, to be connected from the engine to the gauge itself.  The hose needs to be run through the firewall - most gauge are mounted inside the vehicle.  Mechanical gauges are typically cheaper than their electronic counterparts.

Electronic gauges are usually broken down into two components.  One is the gauge itself, while the other is the sensor or sender that is installed on the engine.  The sensor/sender is physically connected to the gauge via a wire or a bunch of wires.  The gauge gets it's signal electronically from the sensor/sender via the wire(s).  The eliminates the need to run a hose/tube through the firewall, but you still need to run the wire(s).  Due to the extra complexity of the system, electronic gauges are typically more expensive than their mechanical counterparts.

Most mechanical gauges will have better resolution due to the fact that the use a 270 sweep.  Most electronic gauges use a 90 sweep.  By having the wider sweep, you get better resolution between the labelled values.  Recently, there are manufacturers who have been making 270 sweep electronic gauges - SPI Motorsports is one of them.  You end up with the best of both worlds with such a gauge with the 270 sweep resolution and the (arguably) superior electronic mechanism.

Another issue you might want to check out is types of illumination.  The term "backlit" technically describes all illuminated gauges, but it's more used to describe backlighting that shines through the gauge face.  True backlit gauges are very pretty at night, as different color combinations make for a nice display.





Questions?  Comments?  Send mail to:  reted@fc3spro.com

10/04/2003