Temp gauge issue | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Temp gauge issue

Discussion in 'Tech & Repair' started by Birdman99, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Birdman99

    Birdman99 New Member

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    i have a 99 zx2 2.0 dohc. My temp gauge floats to the middle when I cold start it and then when warm and driving it moves to almost hot. When I bought it the gauge never moved so I did what everyone says to do and replaced the 2 temp plugs top and bottom. Did that and that didn't work. It just pinned it to hot. So I checked the wiring and the wires had been stripped back some so I separated them and tapped them and cleaned the plugs very well because that had gunk around it. After doing that the gauge started the floating to the middle and running at close to hot. I checked the gauge grounds and cleaned them well and they are cleaned and it still does it. I made sure the fan worked but crossing it over. Made sure the thermostat was working as it should. Idk what else to do. Please help! I haven't seen anyone with this issue on here or anywhere.
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I had a similar problem with my 1992 2nd gen LX. The gauge would read too far to the right to make me happy, once the engine was warmed up. But; if I shut off the engine, and turned the ignition back on (but with the engine stopped), the gauge would read about where I wanted to see it, namely pointing straight up in the middle of the gauge.

    There is a rectangular connector right at the negative terminal of the battery, that has 3 or 4 wires going to it. They are all just ground wires. I sliced the wires off from the connector, stripped them back, soldered them into one bundle, along with another wire that I just bolted to the firewall where the negative battery cable connects behind the battery. Then the temp gauge behaved as it should.

    I have one of those infrared thermometers. It showed the top radiator hose when the engine was fully warmed up was about 190 degrees.
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  3. Birdman99

    Birdman99 New Member

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    those three wires are they just 2 clip in deals that are part of the negative post bracket?
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes. There isnt anything magic about it. We think the connector was to let them use robots to assemble and test things at the factory. I found it hard to get them unclip; hence I cut the wires of and stripped the insulation back and soldered them together. I own and use five 2nd gen Escorts, and have done this same mode to three of them so far.

    And depending on options, your car may have more than 3 wires.
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  5. Birdman99

    Birdman99 New Member

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    So I cleaned that up very well and put it all back together and nothing changed. It still seems to be doing the same thing. Mine is a 1999 zx2 does that make a difference?
  6. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    I had to replace the temperature gauge sensor on my '96 Contour when it was acting similar to what you're describing. After I replaced the sensor the gauge read normal.
  7. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    By plugs, you are referring to the electrical connector that plugs into the sensor, correct?
  8. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Before you do that, you can test the sensors and the gauge wiring combo by first substituting some resistors (or better yet a potentiometer) in place of the sensor and use that to check the wiring and gauge. Just make sure that there is always some resistance there so you don't potentially burn out the gauge. If that works it probably is the sensor, but you can still check the sensor independently by measuring it's resistance at various temperatures.

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