Aftermarket XJ temp gauge sensor install **ballo's T-method** -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 3 Old 03-12-2010, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
compcrasher86's Avatar
1998 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Marblehead, MA
Posts: 6,276
Aftermarket XJ temp gauge sensor install **ballo's T-method**

Hey guys, just got myself a new camera so you all get to endure my pic-whoreing again! Below you'll find my tutorial for installing an aftermarket temp gauge!

I like ballo93's method the best so give him all the credit for this idea its really something simple I would have never thought of. Check out his install here on cardomain:

His Jeep is sick, check out some of the other stuff hes done (good bookmark!)

So anyways, what we're going to do is take the factory location for the later model XJs that have a temperature sensor on the front thermostat housing. I understand that old XJs have it somewhere on the block and some have two sensors. You should be able to apply this tutorial to those as well, but I don't know what the thread size is for the block sensors. we're going to "T" off of the factory location so you can retain the stock sensor for proper EFI performance and your aftermarket sensor for whatever reason you want it. I needed an aftermarket solution because I busted my temperature gauge on my cluster up when I installed my whiteface gauges. I work in a boat store and noticed we had 3/8" NPT sensors by Teleflex (a marine gauge company) so I bought a teleflex sender and a teleflex gauge (fully waterproof, good for wranglers!) on the cheap. These are good quality gauges I use 'em on my boat and they hold up WELL. Luckily the cheapest one matches my XJ the best so.... SOLD

Anyways, enough BS lets get to the tutorial!!

From the hardware/plumbing store you're going to want to pick up a brass 3/8" NPT female threaded T fitting the two sensors will go in both sides of the T which will come off of the stock location. Then I got a 3/8" brass male coupler to connect the female end of the T to the female threaded hole in the thermostat housing.

*Note 1: Some people may have odd sensors and may need a 3/8 extension off of the T (may need to improvise with male and female couplers) Mine happened to fit perfectly so it was unnecessary

**Note 2: Here I have mine assembled already on my kitchen table. I do not reccomend this because I needed to take the sensor out to thread the T in properly (tight space)

Here it is on my kitchen table. I HIGHLY Reccomend using the teflon plumbers tape or some kind of thread sealent when doing this because you do not want any leaking or vibrating loose whatsoever. You can see my aftermarket sensor screwed in on one end, the other two are open.

and another angle

and this one shows you how little my sensor sticks into the T. You do NOT want the sensors to touch each other that could throw off readings and make it so they won't go in all the way (this is why some people need extensions off the T) as you can see mine is very humble in there haha.

Now I know a pic is not necessary but it gets your attention so PLEASE disconnect your battery because not only will you be working right above the serpentine belt, but also if you don't, your engine will throw an annoying check engine light if you unplug the temp sensor at all (even when its off I know its weird) I know this because mine threw a code and I had to deal with the light.

Here, I relieved the pressure from the cooling system. Please make sure your engine has some time to cool down so you don't make a mess or hurt yourself, then just unscrew the radiator cap:
*Note: I suggest tightening the cap back down after pressure is released because I noticed that if you didnt it tended to want to push coolant into the block from the radiator and that made a real mess when you take out the factory sensor.

Alright, now take your favorite wrench (I love my adjustable) and give the factory sensor some elbow grease, shouldnt take much to get it out. Notice I stuffed a rag to catch run off coolant?

Mine was actually REALLY dirty with carbon deposits... I'm not sure why. I cleaned mine thoroughly with sensor safe carb cleaner and wiped it clean. Still was black but alot came off.

Alright I know this is a bit of a pic jump but use your teflon tape and screw the T into the thermostat housing real nice and tight. Make sure its at a good angle for your sensors/sensor wires to go in. Then hold the T fitting with a wrench and put those sensors in nice and tight! Plug in the factory sensor....

Connect the wire to your aftermarket sensor and run it to where your gauge is. If you have a mechanical sender unit then I guess just run the tubing to wherever your gauge is?

Clean up, add any lost coolant and reconnect your battery. Test out your gauge and give the XJ a good warm up around the block. If you're lucky, you'll see something like this:

That is what mine runs after a drive around town and then idling for 5 minutes in the driveway. It is 38 degrees out though. On the streets its right about 170 steady. Good!

I mounted my gauge in a little makeshift thingy I made out of starboard (marine plastic that can be machined like wood) until I pick up the proper materials tomorrow to make a good panel for it. It goes in the ashtray spot (pop out ash tray completely) and will have the gauge and two little toggle switches.

yes yes I know I'm a pic whore but I like documenting my work closely, its a win win for both of us haha

98 XJ Sport | i6 | AW4 | 231 | Stone White | Agate Leather

SOLD 01 WJ Ltd | i6 | QT2 | Moog HD steering | Tow Package | Boston Acoustics Audio | RB1 | Lou's Catback | Stone White |


Last edited by compcrasher86; 03-12-2010 at 08:13 PM.
compcrasher86 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 Old 04-02-2012, 01:17 PM
Registered User
1990 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: California
Posts: 5
Awesome writeup, thanks!
Switchfeets is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 03-08-2014, 09:31 PM
Registered User
2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Girard
Posts: 16
Thanks for the awesome write up man. I just bought my first XJ after reading stuff on this forum for years and with having 280k miles it really bothered me not having a temp gauge.
un4gvnmetalhead is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Jeep Forums Replies Last Post
Were to install aftermarket temp gauge on the motor? Easy as possible please! drunkmike XJ Cherokee Technical Forum 24 03-16-2008 08:11 PM
XJ Aftermarket Temp Gauge Install Help.. drunkmike XJ Cherokee Technical Forum 26 03-03-2008 08:11 PM
coolant temp gauge(aftermarket) sensor location mickdee XJ Cherokee Technical Forum 4 12-17-2007 07:44 PM
Aftermarket Temp Gauge?? RaccoonJoe XJ Cherokee Technical Forum 1 11-26-2007 04:55 PM
aftermarket temp gauge xj BMX xj XJ Cherokee Technical Forum 3 11-20-2006 07:31 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome