Adding a Water Temp Sender

Written on 02/24/2021
Abel Longoria

I wanted a secondary water temperature gauge installed in my van so I can visually see a number on how my water temp is running. My stock gauge still works and this addition does not replace it. It's just a secondary gauge to keep tabs on your system. I've added one to my own van and this documentation is from adding one to another member's vans.

What I Used

  1. GlowShift 28mm (1 1/8") Inline Adapter
  2. Prosport Water Temperature Gauge
  3. Gates 91153 Hand Held Hose Cutter
  4. T3 Techniques Dual Gauge Pod

This install is done on a 1987 Vanagon Westfalia Camper, it's a 21.L engine. When standing at the rear of the van looking into the engine bay, you'll locate the Thermostat Housing towards the front, left side of the engine bay. The hose marked with the arrow is where we want the inline adapter to be.

This hose marked is "upstream" of the thermostat so it will always read the water temperature of the coolant within the system of the engine regardless if the thermostat is open or closed.

Place the GlowShift 28mm (1 1/8") Inline Adapter on the hose in order to get a good location for it and to mark where you will need to cut the hose in order to install the adapter.

Once you've marked the hose you can make your cut. I use a Gates Hand Held Hose Cutter in order to make a nice square cut but you can use a PVC pipe cutter which is what's used in this photo.

Once the first cut through the hose is completed. It's time to slide the cutter down and remove an additional inch or so of hose off the end of one of the hose sections. This is needed in order to get the Glowshift adapter to fit inline properly without creating any kinks in the hose.

The GlowShift 28mm (1 1/8") Inline Adapter comes complete with worm gear hose clamps, a threaded port for the temp sender unit that your gauge came with as well as a small phillips head screw.

Use a thread sealant on the threads of your temp sender prior to threading it into the inline adapter. This will help make the connection leak proof.

The small phillips head screw is there so that you can ground the adapter to the van. Some senders have a single lead off of the sender and it needs the sender itself to be grounded. When the sender is mounted into an engine block or oil sandwich adapter it's automatically grounded. Since this inline adapter is "floating" in between two pieces of rubber hose you need to complete the circuit by grounding it. A wire with a small crimped on eyelet or spade will do, run it to an existing grounding point or make a new one someplace on the metal firewall.

Once the entire process is completed you will need to run and bleed the cooling system since we've introduced air into the system. You'll also need to top off your coolant tank (the tank with the BLUE CAP) to help replace the coolant lost when cutting the hose.

This Brickwerks dual gauge pod sold by T3 Techniques is one of the best options on the market today. It pops right into the existing ashtray opening of the Vanagon's dash. The finished install looks nice and smooth. If you're also interested in installing an Oil Pressure gauge you can find my write up HERE.