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  • gauge issues

    Hello all, just like to introduce myself. My name is Ben, I have just purchased a 1959 T-Bird 430 j code. I will post some pictures in the future, for now I am after some help with my fuel and temp gauges, for some reason they both quit working at the same time. I assume it is the "constant voltage regulator", however, being new to the t-Bird world I would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions I should try. Also, any help with finding replacement gauges would be greatly appreciated.
    I thought of having the gauges sent out and updated to 12 volt units and bypassing the constant voltage regulator but keep the original face plate. I also need to replace the light switch (the rheostat does not work).
    Thank you.

  • #2
    Your gauge problems, across the board, are common to many classic cars. Ford began using the 6-volt system, then changed to 12-volts in 1956.

    In 1957, Ford quickly went back to 6-volt and kept all their cars and trucks that way through the decades to follow. So... you may have a constant voltage regulator failure. No big deal and they don't break the bank. Be sure you disconnect your battery lead before changing.

    Another bigger issue is rust and corrosion, which ruins a good electrical bond. I'm sure you've seen older cars at the light... two running lights are on until the brakes are applied, then one running light shuts off and another brake light comes on, then it goes back. These are caused by bad grounds.

    After sitting under two straps for fifty years, your fuel tank needs a copper ground wire to accurately complete its electrical path and display a good gauge reading. One of our members just installed a new fuel tank last weekend, and he included a ground wire. I suggest you do the same:


    Read NYsquarebird58's posts HERE
    .
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

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    • #3
      I have tested the gauges with the flashlight batteries in series test, they do not work at all. Perhaps I am doing something wrong.
      Is there an upgrade to the constant voltage regulator?
      Regards: Ben

      Comment


      • #4
        I have read about the "electronic route" to go when I replace the constant Voltage Regulator (CVR) unit.
        Could someone please let me know a part number or what to ask for, and a good place to order one.
        Regards: Ben.

        Comment


        • #5
          gauge issues

          Hi Ben,

          You can get new CVR units from any of our Tbirds parts houses listed in the Advertisements Forum below. Ask if their CVR units are made in China though.... They have been known to fail. There is also a solid state version that you can check out on the Technical Resource Library. The TRL link is always part of my signature element. They are about $50, but as far as I am concerned, they are worth it. I have one on my '59 Tbird, after going through two regular CVR's. The Bird Nest can rebuild your gauges (and quartz your clock) if they are shot.
          Last edited by YellowRose; March 21st, 2012, 04:42 PM.

          Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
          '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
          "It's Hip To Be Square"
          Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

          Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

          http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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          • #6
            Or you can put modern gauges in the Old bezels like I just did with mine. I put in a Quad gauge where the fuel and temp were, and a tach where the clock was. No more constant voltage regulator to worry about, plus now you have oil pressure and voltage. Dash still looks pretty much stock.

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            • #7
              If you look in the TRL also you will see instructions on taking your headlight switch apart and cleaning it. It's a lot cheaper than buying a replacement.
              John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

              Thunderbird Registry #36223
              jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

              http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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              • #8
                The electronic versions of the CVR provide circuit protection to the downstream gauges. The old mechanical CVR's have some failure modes that take out everything downstream.
                sigpic

                CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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                • #9
                  If you are going to get both gauges to work, you need to systematically start at the beginning of the system (circuits) and follow it along , either identifying problems or eliminating them.

                  Having the wiring diagram is a good idea (see Technical Resource Library).

                  1) do you have voltage at the Constant Voltage Regulator?

                  2) does the CVR work correctly? (fluctuate from 12V to 0 V, averaging 6 V)

                  3) do your gauges work? (ground out, very briefly provide power, see if the needle jumps)

                  4) do the sending units work?
                  a) does the Temp sending unit vary in resistance as
                  the surrounding temp changes?
                  b) does the Fuel sending unit vary in resistance as you move the float arm?

                  5) do you have good grounds at the each sending unit? Have you done cleaning and grounding?

                  This only takes a multimeter and some lamp cord sized jumper cables.

                  You can thus comprehensively check out the entire system and know what you have, as opposed to changing things and hoping to get lucky.

                  Depending on the problem(s) you identify, you can

                  * get new CVR or make your own
                  * get your instruments overhauled, calibrated
                  * buy new sending unit(s)
                  * install your own grounds

                  and in the process, develop methodical approaches that pay off repeatedly on the ol' car.

                  John
                  1958 Hardtop
                  #8452 TBird Registry
                  http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=8452


                  photo: http://www.squarebirds.org/users/joh...d_June2009.jpg
                  history:
                  http://www.squarebirds.org/users/johng/OCC.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lawyercalif View Post
                    Or you can put modern gauges in the Old bezels like I just did with mine. I put in a Quad gauge where the fuel and temp were, and a tach where the clock was. No more constant voltage regulator to worry about, plus now you have oil pressure and voltage. Dash still looks pretty much stock.

                    Do you have any pictures of the dash? That sounds like a great idea.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by c4clewis View Post
                      Do you have any pictures of the dash? That sounds like a great idea.
                      Yes, here are some pictures. I used 3 3/8" Classic Gauges, they fit the bezels great just need to trim the openings on the dash some.
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Wow, that does look nice.
                        My latest project:
                        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                        --Lee Iacocca

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great minds think alike
                          Attached Files
                          1960 HT
                          Thunderbird Registry #35780

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                          • #14
                            I think yours looks even better with the updated speedometer. Very nice look.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks. I had a matching Dolphin speedo but damaged it and ended up with the one shown. You don't really notice unless you're inspecting.
                              1960 HT
                              Thunderbird Registry #35780

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