King-Seeley Water Temp & Fuel Gauges 🙄

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    Hi Folks:

    I’m relatively new to the P-A world, not yet an owner, and this weekend I am going to preview and drive a couple of possibilities that I’ve been eyeing. While I’ve had early Packards, Cadillacs and others, never a Pierce. So, I’ve not had any experience with the the K-S manometer-type gauges.

    In one (or perhaps both?) of these cars, I understand that the temp and fuel gauges aren’t working. From what I’ve read, it sounds as if the K-S fuel level indicator, when it does actually function, it’s a clear sign to purchase a lottery ticket! But, how about the temp gauge? Same story? I haven’t found any info that would help to diagnose it.

    I’ll accept direction on either of the gauges, although the temperature indicator would be the one I’d want to tackle first.

    Oh, one more question, for now – what are the ‘typical’ engine cooling system operating temperatures on a S-8 and a V-12 Pierce?




    What years are the cars you are looking at?

    Welcome and good luck with your search.



    The water temp gauge is more likely to work, unlike the fuel gauge it is a sealed system and as long as the seals are good it should work. The dye in the fluid may have disappeared making it hard to read. The solder joints connecting the tubing are a bit delicate and easy to lose the seal.

    I had mine repaired for a modest cost by the “The Temperature Gauge Guy” several years ago but at the time he was hoping to retire and pass the business to someone else, I don’t know the current status.

    The thermosylphon unit that controls the grille shutters on mid ’30’s was usually set to be fully open at 160 degrees. Engine temp will go above this on a hot day. The gauge on mine leaves it ambiguous, as it doesn’t read temp, just hot and cold.

    Good luck!




    Hi @Bill:

    Lookin’ at a ‘32 and a ‘33.




    Thanks for the info.

    I am dreaming of ways that I could modernize these gauges with a red cylinder that would substitute for the fluid, rising and dropping accordingly.

    Where might I find ‘the temperature gauge guy’ or his successor?

    For synchronizing the carburetors on motorcycles this was done with vacuum gauges or ‘Carb Stix’, mercury filled tubes that would rise or fall with the vacuum being pulled thru the intake manifold. There’s a modern version of this gadget called a ‘Carbtune’ that uses metal rods in the clear plastic tubes, instead of mercury. I love challenges!

    If I land one of these cars, not doubt, I’ll have lots more questions  😉.






    I have spent many hours trying to dream up a fuel gauge that would look original but have reliable workings, including some barber pole arrangement like a 64-66 T-Bird speedometer or coatings that change color with electric charge. Unfortunately my technical know how falls well short and I didn’t come up with anything. I am using the original gas gauge system but installed a bit of a cheat that I hope will keep it working in case of sending unit problems after sitting for awhile.

    A lot if cars retrofitted universal dial temp gauges in the original hole. They obviously don’t look original, but a compromise might be to replace the facia card with one that matches the ammeter and oil pressure style.

    I can dig up the temp gauge guy contact info if needed.



    Please do look for the temp gauge guy’s info for me.

    Was just thinking about a thin, red ‘COB’ chip-on-board LED arrangement that could supplant the tube in the gauge. Unlike individual LEDs, a COB can be in the shape of a solid bar. Google it and you’ll see what I mean. The circuit to drive this as a fuel level or water temp isn’t a big deal. Just thinkin’ out loud here.




    Of course this brings up one of the challenges and debates about restoration, form vs function and the compromises. Restoration – meaning to restore to a previous condition – implies everything is returned to what it once was. In practice auto restoration tends to be interpreted to mean that to score points it just needs to look original and anything goes if it isn’t easily visible. Form over function.

    Of course conditions are different now than 80 years ago and the way we use the cars is different – a lot if sitting and little if any actual driving. Fuels are different, freeways with uninterrupted high speed driving, etc, Original parts deteriorated and unavailable.

    Compromise is inevitable. I do like to work to make the original stuff work as original, and I like using the original parts as much as practical so I do patching and repair where feasible instead of ripping stuff out whole and replacing with new. I think of the USS Constitution where it once was estimated only about 1/7th of the original ship is still there. Restoration or reproduction? No definitive answer. However some things I do to improve practicality in the real world. Electric fuel pumps, bypass the leaking oil cooler, modern oil filter, auxiliary air source for the fuel gauge, coolant filters, halogen headlight bulbs, seat belts, etc. Restoration in reality is full of compromises that leave lots of room for debate.

    A bit off topic, but basically some members have been able to make the original fuel gauge work well with attention to detail, and I decided to try and do the same.


    I had a leak in the gas tank on my 1933 1236 right where the fuel line came out of the tank.  The KS Telegauge indicator was not working either.  I brought the car into Bob Lederer’s shop, and they pulled the gas tank, cleaned it out, repaired all of the seals, and replaced part of the fuel line that had been repaired with a piece of old air hose that had rotted out (!).  Upon inspection of the Telegauge system, it was found to be operational and the shop put in new fluid, and the gauge seems to be working fine now.  As far as the Telegauge water gauge, it was one of the first things that Scott changed on the car.  He felt it was too unreliable and the water temperature was too critical an item to be left to chance.  It was replaced with an “old look” SW temperature gauge.


    @Jim Chase – I will give a go at making the fuel and water temp gauges operational, as original. Maybe put in an auxilliary water temp gauge under the dash, as a backup. May need some guidance once I get into it. Ya… I bought a Pierce.



    That’s great! What kind if condition is the car, and what are your plans? Drive it as is fixing what needs to be fixed or some level of restorion?

    Have you determined the gauges aren’t working?


    Yes, inquiring (nosey) minds want to know what you bought…..


    @JimC and @DaveW – I bought the ’32 54-Club Sedan that was advertised in the Emporium, recently. Spent a good bit of time with the seller on the phone, email and photos. I flew to Chicago last weekend to see the car in-person and drive it. As a comparo, there’s a ’33 V12 Club Sedan on offer in Wisconsin. I drove there to check it out and take it on the road. Nice car, but I like this particular ’32 better.

    The ’32 is a nice car and surprisingly, there weren’t any suprises – yet 😏. I’ve learned to never buy a vehicle from photos – unless I’m the one selling, then my photos are detailed enough to make a reasonable assessment.

    My initial plans are a routine service and any things I might see that I can do so that when (hopefully) I’m at the National meet, I will have none, or minimal issues during the week. Detail the undercarriage a bit. Maybe the engine compartment a tad. Or not. The water and fuel gauges definitely need repair – they ain’t workin’.

    Where can I find or purchase a parts manual?



    Congratulations on the new (to you) car.  There digital owners manuals are available on the PAS website under the Publications tab.  Digital Parts books are possibly available through the PAS library held by the AACA Library.

    I am going to move the car from the prior owners record to yours, so when you get the transfer e-mail, that’s what’s going on.




    I sent you an e-mail with more info on Manuals.



    Thanks @DaveW Looking forward to the P-A experience.


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