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  • speedometer repaint face and fuel gauge adjusting

    while i have my dash apart to do the vacuum solenoid hoses, i pulled the speedometer. i want to take the black face off , sand it a bit and repaint it. it is held on by a few tabs. but first i need to take the needle off. i called bobs speedo in Michigan and he said to hold the aluminum cup at the back and turn the needle to remove it, but it does not come out. he said its a tapered shaft. that was late this pm and he was closing. i will call again in am but does anyone know how to get the needle off? secondly, my gas gauge is reading 1/8-1/4 full but I have run out of gas twice? i know there is a blurb on adjusting Squarebird fuel and temp gauges in the TRL but how is it done with bulletbirds? i have the gauges out. thanks to all. wlr.

  • #2
    ok i finally got the needle off the speedo, sanded and painted the face. just had to hold the speed cup and go left and right with the needle, finally came off.. then i took the fuel gauge back off and found the little cog/gears in back. so i will jumper the wires to the gauge, fill the tank and move the needle with the cog/gears till it is on the full mark, this should solve the problem.

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    • #3
      Before you change your gauge settings, TEST the system to see if your gauge goes to 'F'. Run a ground wire to your fuel tank and connect it to your sending unit post. If your fuel gauge goes to 'F' then it needs NO adjustment and you should look into the sending unit itself. We have found some with gasoline inside the brass float. BTW, your fuel and temp gauges are identical. You can swap the sending unit wires to check the gauge readings. - Dave
      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

      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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      • #4
        ok got the face painted on the speedo. back to the fuel/temp gauges. i took the mounting plate off the fuel/temp gauge to expose the little gears that alex s. talks about in his TRL directions for adjusting the gauges. wired up the gauge hanging down, fuel tank full .the fuel gauge went way past F so i turned the little gears so that the needle was now right on the F. this should solve my problem with me running out of gas when the gauge said 1/4 full. but when i put it all back together, now the temp gauge is pegging on HOT although the engine is cold. wires to temp gauge correct as i marked them on disassembly. took the wire to the off the temp sensor on the manifold, no change. grounded the gauge, still pegging have not touched the CVR or anything else. not another CVR failure. it was all working fine before disassembly thoughts? I'm sure Dave d will have the cure

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        • #5
          IF the Bulletbird gauges are like the Squarebird gauges, the top two gears control the position of the pointer for the Fuel gauge. The bottom two gears control the position of the Temp gauge pointer. IF you made any adjustment on those bottom two gears, that should explain why you reading went haywire... Maybe you moved the bottom gears while working on the Fuel section and did not realize it....

          Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
          The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
          Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

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

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          • #6
            I tried warning you before changing those gauge settings. Truth is, there are NO GEARS anywhere inside Ford gauges. There is no armature, no magnetism, none of that. These gauges are nearly bulletproof and those 'cogs' you call 'gears' are simply part of two arms that pull on the needle. It's almost a mistake to put 'adjustment information' on our site because the gauges should not be altered except maybe by tiny amounts. That's why I encourage you to ground the wire at the sending unit FIRST. This will tell whether the gauge is responding and how far the needle goes at 'full scale'.

            Time to pull the volt meter out and TEST the DISCONNECTED wire at the sending unit to ground. If you get up to six volts the CVR is working. If you get more than six volts either your CVR is not properly grounded or it is shorted. If one gauge works but the other doesn't, the CVR is good. As stated, you can swap wires on the gauges because they are identical. If the problem transfers over to the 'other gauge' then the sending unit or wire goint to the bad one is faulty.

            Understand that both gauges operate based on current. Current makes heat. K-S (the gauge manufacturer) wrapped ni-chrome wire around a bi-metal strip then the sending unit allows current to pass through it. Heat on the bi-metal strip makes the needle deflect, which causes the needle to move.

            Getting back to square one will be a challenge. I have no idea which 'gear' you moved, how far or in which direction. The best I can suggest is to follow the manual. Nearly all gauges are properly set and the only condition that changes is resistance in the sending units. The ni-chrome wire in each gauge IS a resistor but its value never changes. Here is an example of what is going on inside each gauge:

            DSCN0788a[1].jpg
            The simplicity of these gauges is the reason why they last so long. There is hardly any moving parts. - Dave
            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

            From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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            • #7
              ok, i had changed out the sending unit/float in the gas tank about 2 yrs ago. this was an aftermarket part from bird nest. i wondered whether the float level was different in the new one. what i did today was turn one of the "gears" a little bit to move the fuel gauge needle to the F,. just a couple of clicks. the fuel gauge now works, reads F(ull) now and I assume will go down as I use gas up. so the fuel gauge issue is solved. I have to now deal with the Temp. since the fuel gauge works then the CVR is good. (it was good 2 weeks ago when i pulled the gauge out.) I did not touch the temp gauge "teeth/gear when I adjusted the fuel part. i would have to move the temp needle a lot from hot-hot to ice cold and don't think there would be enough teeth to do that. shall I swap the yellow on the fuel gauge with the red-white stripe on the temp gauge? the other wires ae both black green stripe, pigtailed to each other and I think go to the CVR. no reason to believe that the temp sender screwed into the intake manifold is bad out of the blue. shall i ground the wire from the temp sensor and see what happens. i don't understand where I check for 6 volts?-at the gauge or on the wire I pull from the temp sending unit on manifold.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by vermbird View Post
                ... I did not touch the temp gauge "teeth/gear when I adjusted the fuel part. i would have to move the temp needle a lot from hot-hot to ice cold and don't think there would be enough teeth to do that...
                Originally posted by vermbird View Post
                ... when i put it all back together, now the temp gauge is pegging on HOT although the engine is cold. wires to temp gauge correct as i marked them on disassembly. took the wire to the off the temp sensor on the manifold, no change. grounded the gauge, still pegging have not touched the CVR or anything else. not another CVR failure. it was all working fine before disassembly thoughts? I'm sure Dave d will have the cure
                I get a kick out of conflicting stories because they beg a lot of questions. How are you testing these gauges? Where is the CVR mounted? Are the gauges installed when you test them? Did you understand the picture of the inside of a gauge? That picture is of a 1955 Ford gauge but that doesn't matter. The same 'guts' were used for many decades over all models including Ford trucks. This should look familiar, it's a Squarebird TEMP & FUEL gauge:

                DSCN1166[1].jpg

                The insides are identical to the 1955 gauge except Ford put two in the same pod for the SB. - Dave
                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

                From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can test for 6 volts either at the output of the cvr or the output of the gauges. I would remove the red/white wire on the temp gauge and turn the key on. If your gauge goes back down from H to C then you either have a grounded wire to the sender or a bad sender. If it stays at H put your voltmeter on the open terminal of the gauge and see if you have 6 volts. If so then the cvr is good and you have a problem with the gauge. If you get no voltage then remove the black/green wire and put your voltmeter on the wire. If you get 6 volts then your cvr is good and your gauge again is bad or out of adjustment. I recommend that when you test the gauges off of the instrument panel that you ground them using a wire connected to the car body.

                  John
                  John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                  Thunderbird Registry #36223
                  jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

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

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                  • #10
                    ok crazy old t-birds. so I took the gauge off the dashboard, isolated it hanging on a piece of wire and jumped the 2 blk-green stripes to the fuel and temp side and the yellow to the fuel and red/white stripe to the temp. suddenly the gauge did not peg to super hot. what I discovered was that when I took off the mounting plate with all the holes in it I had to take off the 2 rectangular insulating strips, 1 for the fuel an 1 for temp. when I put it back together I did not center the screw terminals onto the mounting plate and I think the plate was touching the temp screw(s) and grounding it! I Screenshot_21.png Screenshot_22.png did get wandering voltage up to 6V on the black-green wires so the CVR is good. now it doesn't peg to hot but stays on cold. then to be sure I removed the temp sender/sensor from the manifold, grounded it and put it into hot water. sure enough the temp gauge went up to about mid point, so it works. looks like problem is solved. crazy old t birds once again. if I took it to an electrical shop they would have sold me a new gauge, CVR or sender. live and learn. . thanks to all contributors.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes, Ford isolated the gauges from ground and they went to great lengths to accomplish isolation. Since these gauges run by the effects of heat, there is no correct polarity. Simply connect a wire from the CVR to each of the gauges. Then, the sending units connect to the other 'open' posts. It's that simple.

                      The accepted and common troubleshooting practice used here is to start at the end and work towards the power source. In this case the Fuel Tank is the end, because it was probably not set up when you changed the 'sending unit (float)'. Take the gauge wire off and pull the float back out of the tank. I have yet to see a new float properly set from a vendor because the same float fits many tanks.

                      You can attach the gauge wire and a temporary ground wire to the float assembly and watch your gauge work. The float assembly has a variable resistor that the arm wipes across. Resistance ranges from 100Ω (when the tank is empty) to 10Ω (when the tank is full).

                      One hundred ohms is a lot for six volts to push through so current is very very low, making your gauge needle remain at the 'E', just like when the key is off.

                      Ten ohms is much easier for six volts to push through, sending enough current to make your needle rise to 'F'.
                      Half way between 10Ω and 100Ω is 45Ω, which should send your needle to the middle of the gauge. So, you can simulate gauge readings with resistors.

                      Bend the float wire so that it stops just short of hitting the bottom of your fuel tank. You want to know when your tank is really empty so you don't run out of gas again. A wooden dowel will help you determine how far down the tank the depth is.

                      Conversely, the float should be at the top of the tank when full. This part depends on the LENGTH of the float wire. If it is set properly at the bottom, the arm will never show 'full' if the wire is too long. How do you shorten it? Bend a Z' in the wire to shorten it up. Now, the float should nearly hit bottom when empty and nearly hit the top when full.

                      Your gauges were just fine before you changed the settings. Once they are set at the factory, there is nothing inside the gauge that can change, short of blowing the wires open with too much voltage. BTW, gauge settings were done at the factory on a bench before the cluster was mounted in your dash.

                      The TEMP sending unit is much easier because unlike the float, there is no adjustment. It's either good or bad. Resistance can be read by putting the temp sending unit in a pan of boiling water for full scale (10Ω) then reading it with your ohm meter as it cools down.

                      To recap, both gauges are identical, they have no polarity (which is why they aren't marked) and both sending units have identical resistance ranges (10-100Ω).

                      You can send your gauges to me for re-setting if you like. I will charge you for one hour plus postage. Let me know... - Dave
                      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

                      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        great explanation Dave. the tank if very full and by moving the"gear/teeth" on the fuel gauge i now have the gauge reading a tiny bit past the F mark. i will drive the car and see if the needle points to the E when i run out of gas, or if i run out of gas when the needle is at 1/8-1/4 tank . if i run out of gas when it is not on the E then i will bend the float wire as you discuss above. wlr. the temp gauge is working find now after if remounted the mounting plate.

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