Gauges are not necessary but are an extremely helpful tool to have. Gauges help monitor levels which can help you in tuning or even help find minor problems before they turn into something major…not to mention they also look good in your ride!
There are many types of gauges ranging from Boost Pressure, all the way to Fuel Pressure gauges. Each gauge is unique in itself where it will help you measure levels so you can accurately maintain safe conditions in your engine.
What is the difference between Mechanical and Electric Gauges?
Both mechanical and electrical gauges provide accurate readings. Mechanical gauges do not require a 12V to operate. Instead they rely on direct physical contact with the item they are reading. Mechanical gauges use lines or tubing that are hooked up directly to the gauge, which eliminates the need for electrical signals.
Electrical gauges require a 12V power supply to operate. There are no connectors or tubing that are needed to operate the gauge, which helps eliminate fluids from entering the passenger compartment. With electrical gauges they usually can be mounted in tight areas and more unusual positions because there are no connectors that need to be attached to the back of the gauge.
There are so many different gauges out there, which one is right for me?
When dealing with the perfect gauge you need as yourself some questions. What are you going to be using it for? How much is your budget? Which style and colors do you like? How are the gauges going to be mounted? In this article we are going to focus on the function of the common gauges out there.
Boost Pressure Gauges
Boost Gauge Severe engine damage is often a result when you run more boost than your engine can handle. In order to safely measure the boost levels, it is necessary to install an aftermarket boost gauge. An Aftermarket boost gauge is the first step in allowing us to monitor boost levels so they can be set at a safe or desired level.
Boost gauges are extremely easy to install, since they only require a good vacuum source to be tapped into.
Since most stock vehicles do not come equipped with a Fuel Pressure Gauge, this is a must when fuel pressure adjustments are necessary. The fuel pressure gauge is a useful tool that will help maintain proper fuel pressure. It allows you to accurately measure and make adjustments of the fuel pressure when using an aftermarket adjustable fuel pressure regulator.
The fuel pressure gauge will let you know if you are running to much fuel in your motor, which is known as, “running rich”, or if you are running to little fuel, which is known as, “running lean.” Too little of fuel can burn stuff up or cause detonation, which can ruin your engine. Too much fuel can cause a host of other things to happen. It will make the vehicle smoke, gurgle, and even cause you to lose power.
A fuel pressure gauge will help you maintain the proper fuel pressure reading so you do not harm your engine.
Exhaust Gas Temperature (E.G.T.) Gauges
Exhaust Gas Temperature (E.G.T)
The E.G.T. gauge is an excellent tool for tuning. It will show whether your engine combustion chamber is running to cold, hot, rich, lean, and it can also indicate problems within the engine.
If the fuel isn’t being burned properly the E.G.T reading will show up as cold. This can indicate something may be wrong with your ignition system. A foul spark plug, faulty coil, or wires can all lead to this issue.
If the E.G.T is running hot, this can mean that you are running lean. And you will need to make adjustments in your fuel pressure or even timing so you can provide a safer spark, or air/fuel mixture.
The A/F gauge will measure the air to fuel ratio that is being burned in your combustion chamber, or in other words how lean or rich you are running. The air/fuel ratio is the ratio of Air to Fuel drawn into the cylinder. The optimum ratio of Air to Fuel is about 13.5-pounds or air to 1-pound fuel.
There are Narrowband and Wideband Air/Fuel gauges available. A Narrowband does not provide the precise Air/Fuel reading needed for tuning. The Narrowband will meter the output of voltage from the vehicles oxygen sensor through LED lights.
Narrowband Air/Fuel Gauge The Narrowband Oxygen Sensor cannot indicate what exactly the A/F ratio is in the rich or lean areas due to the fact that oxygen sensor output changes with temperature and wear. When the oxygen sensor temperature increases the voltage output will decrease in the rich area, and it will increase in the lean area
Wideband Air/Fuel Gauge A Wideband Air/Fuel gauge is better suited for tuning. These gauges will provide an accurate reading of the Air/Fuel ratio. The wideband sensor provides a signal that’s virtually proportional to the amount of oxygen that is in the exhaust stream.
A wideband Air/Fuel gauge is by far one of the best investments tools you can have when dealing with tuning. This will allow you to have a full accurate reading of your Air/Fuel mixture. If your Air/Fuel ratio is lean, you can blow your engine. This gauge will help you achieve accurate readings so that you will have the proper Air/Fuel levels so you can enjoy peak performance with engine longevity.
Oil Pressure Gauges
Oil Pressure Gauge
Correct oil pressure is crucial to the longevity of your engine and supercharger. If oil pressure is low or nonexistent this can ruin your engine, supercharger, or turbo. If you notice a drop in oil pressure or you notice that your needle is lower than normal this can indicate a leak, clog, or part failure.
Stock vehicles usually come equip with an, “idiot light” that will come on when you are low on oil. With an oil pressure gauge you will be able to get a more accurate reading, which will not only tell you that you are low, but it will also let you know precisely what your oil pressure is.
With proper oil pressure readings you can avoid engine, supercharger, and turbo failures caused by low oil.
Gauges not only look great, but they are a helpful monitoring tool that will have your supercharged engine working in peek conditions. They are a must if you are trying to achieve the most from your setup.