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Technical DeSoto Temp Gauge question

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by NB141FD, Jan 17, 2022.

  1. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    I am thinking about installing 1953 DeSoto gauges in my 1930 coupe. When I bought the gauges I noticed that the tube from the head to the back of the temperature gauge was cut off just behind the gauge.

    [​IMG]
    You can see the back of the gauge here:
    [​IMG]
    My question is are there replacement parts available to restore this gauge or do I have to find a complete gauge and sender? I notice that most complete DeSoto temp gauges are over $200 online. If I need to find a complete gauge setup are there any alternatives that could work. Thanks in advance for any help.
    Tony
     
  2. Glenn Thoreson
    Joined: Aug 13, 2010
    Posts: 501

    Glenn Thoreson
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from SW Wyoming

    The tube contains a fluid which expands and contracts with the temperature of the engine. The pressure in the tube makes the gauge move. If the tube is cut off the fluid is lost and the gauge is no good. Sorry about that.Try searching the web for early Chrysler products collector sites. Also post an ad in the "wanted" section here.
     
  3. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 10,994

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There are guys listed in Hemmings that fix them..
     
    lemondana and squirrel like this.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,910

    squirrel
    Member

    some guys do it themselves, they get another cheap new gauge, and cut off the tube and solder it to the old gauge. You need to have the correct amount of ether in it, and there are other concerns. If you want to do some searching, google might help you find a how to.
     

  5. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Thanks for the quick response guys even if the news wasn't what I was hoping for. I might just leave the gauge dead in the dash and go with a temp gauge under the dash.
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,910

    squirrel
    Member

    Well...at least now you know what to look at, when you buy used gauges
     
  7. MRW1994
    Joined: Dec 31, 2021
    Posts: 197

    MRW1994
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I tried soldering a new tube on a broke 47 Plymouth gauge one time. I didn't think I'd ever get it soldered up or that it would read right, but figured I'd try just for fun. Much to my surprise I actually got it soldered up good but instead of testing it in hot water like a smart person I thought I could fan a flame close to the bulb just to see if it worked at all. Got a little too close and blew the bulb up. I tell myself it wouldn't of read right anyways.
     
  8. brando1956
    Joined: Jun 25, 2017
    Posts: 114

    brando1956
    Member

    Have you considered adapting your faceplate to a new or working gauge? The faceplate is square but the gauge behind it is round. Maybe compare it to some other gauges like S-W and see if they would match. Maybe the basic gauge was used with more than one kind of faceplate? Longshot but better than paying the big bucks if it works. I'm sure somebody like Classic Instruments could repair but that's another expensive route.
     
    squirrel likes this.
  9. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,826

    gene-koning
    Member

    Leave the Desoto gauge in the instrument cluster, and put a new gauge under the dash. The Desoto gauge doesn't have any numbers, so you would still be guessing on the actual temp the motor is running at. Might look pretty, but doesn't really tell you anything.
     
    dana barlow likes this.
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,910

    squirrel
    Member

    Actually, gauges without numbers can tell you a lot, once you get to know the car. The 59 Chevy truck I have will want to boil if it gets to the end of the line on the hot end of the scale...if it's below that, I'm ok, but I do what I can to keep it near the middle of the scale. That's far more informative than having no gage.
     
    razoo lew likes this.
  11. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,469

    goldmountain

    Find an electric temp gauge off some other car that will fit nice in the hole in the cluster and adapt it to fit.
     
  12. As far as no numbers on the Temp gauge, most Mopars that use the mechanical temp gauge will have numbers printed on the glass that the temp unit sits behind........also its quite common for the same basic Mopar gauge to be used in all mopars for a number of years with just a different face plate attached......see the two screws holding the face plate onto the actual gauge........a more common Plymouth or Dodge gauge might be available, cheaper and be able to be swapped in..........andyd
     
    classiccarjack likes this.
  13. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Thanks again guys, I think I'll keep the dead gauge in the cluster and run a gauge under the dash (or hide it somewhere). I have one complete with sender that I used for mock-up, that fits the head of my 8BA flathead perfectly.
     
    dana barlow likes this.
  14. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 544

    proartguy
    Member
    from Sparks, NV

    Rather than a dead gauge it is not too difficult to adapt a later movement to the original face and dash. I have used Autometer Mini gauges for donors and later model MoPars with success. The other alternative is have a gauge restorer re-tube it to fit your engine. I am not a fan of tacked-on gauges especially if someone goes to the effort to use a period style dash. And there is the NOS one on ebay.
     
  15. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,462

    BJR
    Member

    Here is a how too I found on the web a long time ago. I have never tried it myself.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Thanks for the info.
     
  17. mvee33
    Joined: Jul 3, 2010
    Posts: 47

    mvee33
    Member

    There are 1953 Firedome Desoto dashes on the auction site now. There might be a complete working temp gauge amongst them and possibly cheaper than a rebuild. Very cool looking gauges.
     
  18. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Can someone tell me what the stem on the back of the 53 Desoto speedometer is used for? It is shown to the upper right of the center cable connection. Thanks, Tony

    [​IMG]
     
  19. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,910

    squirrel
    Member

    might be for lubrication?
     
  20. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,471

    jaracer
    Member

    Abbott Instrument Restoration in Portland, Or does an excellent job. The only problem being he isn't cheap or fast. He restored the 50 Ford gauge cluster I used in my Model A.
    www.abbottinstrumentrestoration.com
     
  21. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Here's another view, it looks like it takes a screwdriver or can be turned in some fashion. I thought it might be for adjusting the speedometer or ?
    [​IMG]
     
  22. brading
    Joined: Sep 9, 2019
    Posts: 513

    brading
    Member

    I to am curious what that is for.
     
  23. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,890

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    As squirrel said it is for lubrication of the magnet shaft. If the speedometer needle continues to bounce at lower speeds (35 and below) it's usually cable (35 mph and above) needle bounce means the jewel is dry or worn and the speedometer will need to be repaired.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
    MRW1994 likes this.
  24. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Thanks el956v, so I assume you unscrew the stem and apply lube to the 'jewel'? Do you know where I can find a replacement stem? Mine was missing from my speedometer when I purchased it.
     
  25. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,890

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    I have one I can mail to you for the cost of shipping in a USPS bubbleope. It will let you oil the magnet shaft not the magnet jewel.
    PM me an address and I’ll get it to you. 7FE92582-A273-420B-B7FF-752EE1817BD7.jpeg
     
    classiccarjack likes this.
  26. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,890

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    On its way tomorrow
     
  27. NB141FD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Posts: 95

    NB141FD

    Thank you so much e1956v...true HAMB generosity.
     
  28. BDUB77
    Joined: Nov 16, 2018
    Posts: 145

    BDUB77
    Member

    I had good luck fixing an old temp gauge. Just bought a cheap one, put the tube in ice water, cut the line near the gauge, and soldered a sleeve to the old gauge. I checked the temp, and it was close enough.
     
  29. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,462

    BJR
    Member

    Dry Ice works better for keeping the ether in the bulb.
     
  30. BDUB77
    Joined: Nov 16, 2018
    Posts: 145

    BDUB77
    Member

    Oh yeah, and make sure to use an electric soldering iron. You definitely don’t want flames around that stuff. I think the whole thing cost me $20 and about an hour of time.
     

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