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Aftermarket Gauges: Micromanaging Your Wrangler’s Engine

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Shop Jeep Wrangler Gauges

Most associate aftermarket gauges with the small import cars, sporting shopping cart wings and stuttering blow off valves. Aftermarket gauges are more useful than decorating your interior, however, and even have a place inside your Jeep. Monitoring trans temperatures, for example, will keep you abreast of any issues while you're crawling over tougher obstacles.

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There are a lot of things you know about your Jeep. You know about its suspension. You know about the tires. You even know about the differential gear ratio you’re running underneath it. The engine and transmission are something that you know a lot about too. You understand the way the system works and all the specs that define its genetic makeup. But without the proper gauges, there’s no way of understanding how these components are functioning at any given time.

Understanding Your System with Gauges

Gauges give a vehicle a certain look. They make a cabin of a Jeep feel a lot more like a cockpit. Their purpose in a vehicle goes way deeper than the aesthetic appeal though. Gauges are a way you can see how the operating systems of the Jeep are performing at any point and allow you to pinpoint or identify issues within.

Oil Pressure: An oil pressure gauge is used to give you a reading of the pressure of the oil as it flows through the engine of your Jeep. Monitoring oil pressure is important as it tells you that the engine is receiving appropriate lubrication.

Too low of a reading and too high will tell you something is wrong within. Fluctuations in oil pressure can indicate the fill level is too low or some sort of mechanical failure has occurred. Without the gauge, you can go on without realizing the oil isn’t doing its job which can result in the destruction of the engine.

Water Temp: One of the worst things you can do to your engine is overheating it. Motoring the water temperature in your vehicle is how you can ensure you keep yourself from running into the range of overheating your vehicle.

When water temperature spikes, it can indicate a leak or other issue is present in the cooling system. Seeing as the Jeep will be subjected to all sorts of abuse that can cause issues like this to occur, it’s a good idea to have one present.

Volts: The battery may be responsible for getting an engine going but the charging system is what keeps it going. An Ammeter will tap into the charging system and tell you whether or not the alternator is doing its job. With all the auxiliary accessories you will be running on your Jeep for the trails, you will want an ammeter aboard to tell you whether or not the alternator can keep up.

Trans Temperature: Just like the engine, the transmission is a component that you never want to run too hot. With the abuse you are throwing at a Wrangler while blasting around off-road, you will want to keep an eye on the temperature to ensure you aren’t overheating the transmission and potentially damaging it.

Boost: Unless you have a JL fitted with turbos, your stock Wrangler won’t have a need for you to monitor boost. If you have fitted, or are going to fit, your Wrangler with a turbocharger or supercharger you will want a boost gauge to let you know that the units are operating correctly and within an acceptable range for the engine.

Jeep Wrangler Gauge Installation

To install gauges in a vehicle is something that relies entirely on the operating system you are tapping into. Water temperature gauges, oil pressure gauges, and ammeters have very little in common other than appearance. The same is true for the variance in gauges that work electronically and those that work mechanically. 

Mechanical: Gauges that operate mechanically rely on the system they are tapping into alone. These types of gauges will tap into the system in question with a sending unit that works the sweep of the gauge to let you know what is going on within the system you are working with. These units are easy to install and usually only require a few moments of your time. 

Electronic: The major difference between electrical and mechanical gauges is that they use electronic sensors rather than mechanical sensors to give you the reading you are looking for. These units give a much cleaner look and don’t rely on tubing and other unattractive components mechanical gauges might. The sensor is simply set in place and a wire is run back to the gauge to control the motor on the dials.

Updating Your Jeep Wrangler Speedo

Jeep Wranglers come equipped from the factory with a standard set of gauges. One incredibly important gauge is the speedometer. The speedometers reading will change once gears and tire sizes are changed. When you are building up your Wrangler to your desire, you are going to need to pay attention to this.

Programmable Speedometer: A computer programmer can be used to recalibrate the speedometer once tires and wheels are changed. You can opt to run a programmable speedometer that will be calibrated to the specs of the vehicle and ensure that your reading is as accurate as possible.

Jeep Wrangler Gauge Face Kits

The problem with aftermarket gauges is how unnatural they can feel to the vehicle. When your gauges don’t match up just perfectly, you get the feeling that they awkwardly peer out at you.

A gauge face kit bundles all the aftermarket gauges you are interested in together in a package where they all match. This will keep you from having to spend countless hours shopping for the matching units if you’re going piece by piece.

Fitment includes: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, JL, JK, TJ, YJ, Laredo, Sport, Islander, S, Sahara, Renegade, SE, X, Rubicon, Unlimited, Sport-S