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Old 01-18-2021, 02:31 PM   #1
alexiskai
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Default How to test vintage oil gauge

I just bought an oil gauge on eBay and would like to test it. Does anyone know a convenient way to test these, short of hooking it up to the engine? Seems to have a conventional threaded receiver in the back. I don't have much in the way of hydraulic gear lying around, so something that didn't require major tool investment would be ideal.

I thought about testing it with compressed air, but I thought it might break it.
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:37 PM   #2
Chuck Sea/Tac
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Possibly a bicycle pump. You would have to be very careful not to “over” pump. Maybe even a hand squeeze pump like I got for my foot boot after ankle surgery.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:46 PM   #3
MikeK
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Use water. Head pressure from elevated water is 1psi per 2.31 feet.
If you connect a hose and fill it with water 'till it is 6' 11 3/16" above the gauge it has exactly three psi, middle of the range for your gauge.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
Use water. Head pressure from elevated water is 1psi per 2.31 feet.
If you connect a hose and fill it with water 'till it is 6' 11 3/16" above the gauge it has exactly three psi, middle of the range for your gauge.
Thanks Mike - I saw that in this post from a few years ago you recommended a flow restrictor. Does this package from Bratton's include that restrictor, do you think? I'm not familiar with these fittings.
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Old 01-18-2021, 04:11 PM   #5
Ak Sourdough
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Just pull the plug out of the middle right side of the engine between the oil pan and the valve cover and screw the gauge in that hole.
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Old 01-18-2021, 04:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ak Sourdough View Post
Just pull the plug out of the middle right side of the engine between the oil pan and the valve cover and screw the gauge in that hole.
Ha, I would certainly know whether it worked. I do like MikeK's suggestion to see if it's accurate, but I'm well aware also that the main function of the oil gauge is just to show that the pump is working and not to give you reliable numeric data per se.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

No gauge hook-up kits include flow restrictors. After seeing two cars experience Niagara Falls when gauge lines failed I always use them.

You could make your own by solder plugging the first fitting out of the block and drilling a tiny hole.




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Old 01-18-2021, 05:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Stand in front of a mirror, seal your lips around the fitting on the gauge, blow hard while watching the needle in the mirror. You should be able to blow enough to make the needle move, that's all you really need to know.
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Old 01-18-2021, 07:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
Stand in front of a mirror, seal your lips around the fitting on the gauge, blow hard while watching the needle in the mirror. You should be able to blow enough to make the needle move, that's all you really need to know.
alexiskai.... Please have someone take a picture of you during this testing process, pictures always are better and most appreciated.

Sorry, we all need a good laugh during these covid times
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Trying to figure out whether Jim is kidding...

Thanks folks, these are all great solutions. I might try them all just to see.

This oil gauge was advertised as a Studebaker gauge, but with a 0-6 range and that perfect threaded fitting I couldn't pass it up. Hope it works.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Not kidding, not very scientific either!
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Old 01-19-2021, 03:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

I have an old hand hydraulic pump that is connected to a T-manifold with a test gauge on one side. I have all sorts of reducer bushings to fit the gauges to be tested and a cap plug to keep the test set clean when I'm not using it. I install the gauge to be tested on the other side of the T-manifold but leave it loose. I then bleed the air out & tighten the gauge to the manifold. I pump the handle to get pressure on the test gauge and compare to the tested unit through several stages. This way I only have to get one gauge calibrated per year and I can test the rest of them for calibration in house.

I use the same set up to test electric gauge indicating systems as well. It passes FAA requirements. I use motor oil for the test set since most of my stuff is for oil pressure. I just have to clean the fuel pressure gauges after testing to prevent any fuel system contamination.

Air or nitrogen gas pressure gauges are tested with compressed air and a regulator with a similar T-manifold. It's easier to test them. Gasses compress to a certain degree so I don't mix gaseous pressure gauges with liquid pressure gauges when testing them. For a basic test of any pressure indicator, compressed air works fine but the difference lies in accuracy and concerns for contamination.
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
Stand in front of a mirror, seal your lips around the fitting on the gauge, blow hard while watching the needle in the mirror. You should be able to blow enough to make the needle move, that's all you really need to know.
That is the way I do it.

Do not worry about the accuracy. Usually if these gages work at all, they are reasonable accurate. As previously stated, all they really tell you is if the oil pump is working or not.

Chris W.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: How to test vintage oil gauge

If the oil pump quits, you most likely will hear the engine knocking before you look at the gauge. By the time you look at the gauge, realize you don’t have oil pressure and you shut the engine down the damage will be done. It just takes a few seconds of no oil to ruin a engine. You can’t constantly watch the oil pressure gauge. If the oil pump quits, lack of oil pressure will happen instantly and it will devastating, unlike water pressure that changes gradually and is not normally devastating. If a oil pressure gauge makes you feel good do it.
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