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41 Buick: How to remove temp. sensor cable from gauge

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I am at the point where I need to remove the Temperature / Ammeter gauge cluster so I can replace 

both of them.

How do I remove the temperature sensor cable without breaking anything?

It looks like I can pull back the protective fabric sleeve by expanding the split collar.

What's next?  The replacement unit I have seems to have the end of the cable

crimped onto the back of the meter. I'd hate to pull on that and destroy

the capillary tube and let out the gas it is filled with. 


Am I supposed to remove the sensor from the block first, then remove those

two screws and thread it all through the exit hole in the meter?

Photo below.



Temperature and Ammeter Gauges back.jpg

Edited by Roadmaster71
typo (see edit history)
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The gage, bulb and tube cannot be separated.

You are right, you have to remove the bulb from the block and thread it out that way.

If you have trouble getting the temp. bulb from the block, you can get at it by removing the rear rocker arm stanchion stud under the valve cover. You can nudge the bulb out with a screwdriver.

Obviously, you have to drain the cooling system first.

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Don, Thanks so much.

Before I read your post that is what I started doing.


I'll be removing the vacuum hose to make room for the

sensor to easily fit through the hole in the firewall. I need

to replace that hose anyway. I'd be done by now except

I was called away and am just back now. Too tired.

90 degrees and 100% humidity here.


No problem pulling the sensor since it is already broken off. But I will need

to get it out eventually. I was not aware of the method you 

mentioned so you just solved another problem I had!


I assume that the gauge opens by prying off the bezel at

the crimped areas? I don't see another good way to get at


Thanks again!


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  • 4 weeks later...

I finally extracted that pesky water temperature sensor from my

1941 Buick.

It took days. I squirted it many times with PB Blaster and wiggled

the center pin  that protrudes from the piece.

It would not budge. I was using long nose pliers.


Next I bought needle nose locking pliers (like vise grip).

These allowed me to yank the center pin in all directions. I had

to be careful with all this because I did not want to ruin

the threads of the cavity.


Then I drilled two small holes in it and blasted more.

No movement. Then I stuck a nail (about 6 d) in one of the holes

and moved it from side to side. No movement of the sensor,

so I thought. I also heated the base of the sensor with a 30 watt

soldering iron (the biggest one that could fit in the 1/2" diameter space). I

followed this by packing it with ice and tugging some more.

No dice. What I neglected to notice was that for some reason it was now

easier to see that center pin. More PB Blaster was applied (drenched).


Finally today went to tug on that pin again and noticed that it was

actually sticking out of the well. Movement? I tugged again with the

pliers and it began to move. Then out it popped with about 2 cups

of antifreeze. I would celebrate with several beers except that 

I would get sick ... on some nasty antibiotics now.

I am so relieved!


PS: while trying to explain the problem to some friends I made a drawing

       to illustrate the bind I was in. That is attached below too.





Buick Water Temp Sensor extracted sm.JPG

water temp sensor.png

Edited by Roadmaster71
Changed and added imagges and text (see edit history)
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Excellent!  As you know, I will be doing the same job on my '41, and I'm hoping my old sensor comes out more easily!


I had somehow missed this thread when you started it.  I assume you got the gauge housing apart okay?  You were correct that you can easily remove the bezel, as Don also said, by just uncrimping the places where the bezel is crimped.  You then remove the bezel and the glass, pull the whole temperature gauge out through the front, and feed the new one back in the same way.

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Neil .... Yes it was easy to disassemble the gauge exactly as described.

These are things that I have to be told are possible before I attempt them.

I'll do almost anything if someone says "it worked for me".


I did not want to remove the rocker cover and go that route except as

a last resort. I have a habit of getting myself in trouble.

Those holes I drilled in the sensor never really penetrated the inside of

it. They essentially scraped the inside and cut through the rim of the

sensor (just like the rim of a rifle cartridge). I think that allowed the 

PB blaster to get underneath everything and help out. I may have chipped

the shelf it was pressed against but a little sealer of some kind should

take care of that.

Edited by Roadmaster71 (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

A quick update on my replacing of the water temperature sensor ...

I threaded the new sensor in tightly and made sure that the cable exited

with just enough curve to pass through the undercut in the spark plug

cover. Before securing the cover I started the engine to test everything.

The temperature rose slowly on the meter and was well stabilized at

about 179 degrees after about 7 minutes. I shut down after 10 minutes.


The only problem was the heater shutoff valve that leaked. I removed 

that, wrapped it with pipe tape again, and tightened the valve nut.

Now that is good. I also installed a new thermostat housing that I had

previously painted. Of course when I was removing the old housing

I broke one of the bolts off. My friends Tom and Bob (our AACA club Gaslighters patrol)

drilled out the old bolt and retapped the hole. All is secure now with a new radiator

hose thrown in for good measure.

I developed other problems but I will leave those for a blog post when I 

finally get beyond this instrument panel job. 

It never ends!


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