Pete Epple Technical Editor
May 3, 2018

Keeping tabs on your engine is paramount in any performance application. Although many companies offer gauges, few offer the options that Innovate Motorsports does. Whether it’s the wideband O2 sensors and gauges Innovate has become known for, or its new multifunctional gauges, the company offers high-end, reliable gauges, with loads of style and functionality. Innovate Motorsports’ MTX-D dual pressure/temperature gauge allows you to monitor one pressure signal and one temperature signal using a single gauge. The gauge can be used for any combination of pressure and temperature (oil, water, transmission, etc.), and is easily calibrated using Innovate’s easy-to-use software.

When you look at pressure and temperature gauges, there are always a few inherent issues you face when it comes to the installation. One of the most common issues is ensuring the sensors or sending units are mounted in a position to give the most accurate and reliable data. After all, what good is monitoring data if it isn’t accurate?

“The challenge of installing any temp or pressure gauge is going to be finding a suitable location to mount the sensors,” explains Felipe Saez of Innovate Motorsports. “Sometimes you’ll be lucky and find an available port in the block or head, other times it is necessary to use adapters, fittings, or sandwich plates to mount the senders.” Although this is a challenge, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of using the gauges or having useful data. It all comes down to how much you have to compromise.

When it comes to mounting a sensor for temperature, where you mount it makes all the difference. Let’s say you want to monitor coolant temp but you can’t find a good place in the block, cylinder heads, or intake manifold to mount the sensor. You might need to find a place to mount the sensor in the coolant stream. This will give you data, but it might not be quite as accurate.

“Finding a suitable location will vary with every application,” explains Saez. “The location where you mount the sensor will influence the readings. For example, if you use a radiator hose adapter to mount a water temp sensor, you’ll get vastly different readings if you mount the sensor in the inlet vs. the outlet. Then comes interpreting those readings. If you were to compare the readings from the radiator hose to the OEM sensor, which is going to be in the block/head, they are most likely not going to correlate. Sometimes data logging or viewing information on a gauge is less about the actual numbers than it is looking for changes that indicate something different from the norm.”

Another possible issue you may face is ensuring the sensor probe is in the right place. While you may have a perfect location for a sensor, if the probe is touching something other than what it’s measuring, you could get false readings.

“It is important to make sure that the sensor’s probe not come in contact with anything,” explains Saez. “Meaning, you want the probe to be in the stream of liquid that you are measuring, but if it comes in contact with anything else, it will influence the readings.” The location of the sensor in relation to fluid flow is also important to keep in mind. If the sensor is in a turbulent spot in the coolant or oil’s flow path, or mounted too close to a pump, the reading could be affected.

Saez adds, “It is rare, but has happened, if the sensor is mounted near the oil pump or to the pressure switch you will see pulsations in the readings. These are not inaccurate reading since it is what is actually occurring in the galley, but an alternate location would be needed to get good consistent readings.”

So now that you have your sensors installed and the gauge mounted (yes we jumped ahead a bit), there are some great user-defined settings that take the MTX-D to the next level. With Innovate’s super easy-to-use software you can change LED lighting on the gauge to give you a quick visual references for temperature or pressure. You can set the LED lights to different colors so you know when the car pressure or temperature is in the optimal range. You also have warning light setting for either high or low readings. The visual alarms are designed to get you attention quickly to avoid any damage caused by low pressure or high temperatures.

In addition to the software-based changes, Innovate also includes different gauge faces so you can easily match any other gauges you may already have. You can use either the black or white gauge face, with a black or silver gauge bezel. Just another way Innovate lets you personalize the gauge for your Mustang!

1. Innovate Motorsports is known for accurate data acquisition. The company recently released its line of dual-purpose gauges. We’re installing the MTX-D Pressure/Temperature gauge.

2. The subject for our gauge is Kyle Miller’s single turbo 2004 Mach 1. Kyle works at Kesatie Motorsports in Sarasota, Florida. We made the trip down to the shop to follow along as Kyle installed the dual-purpose gauge.

3. The MTX-D gauge comes with just about everything you need for the installation. The wiring is simple and straightforward, and you even have options for gauge face and bezel color. The only thing you’ll need to figure out is where and how to mount the sensors.

4. The MTX-D gauge allows you to monitor one pressure and one temperature feed from your engine. You can monitor water temp, water pressure (if it’s a high-pressure cooling system), oil pressure or temperature, or any other temperature or pressure feed you want to monitor. For this application, we chose to monitor oil pressure and oil temperature.

5. The gauge comes with the required pressure and temperature sensors. They are both screw-in style sensors and the required adapter can be found at just about any parts store to complete the installation.

6. As we mentioned earlier, finding a good location for the sensors can be the most difficult part of adding any gauges. For this application we used the factory oil pressure housing. When the turbo kit was installed, Miller used this housing to supply oil to the turbocharger.

7. The brass elbow used to supply oil to the turbo is removed. It will be replaced with a T-fitting; this is where the oil pressure sensor will be added.

8. With the T-fitting added, the oil temperature sensor simply threads into the brass fitting.

9. For the pressure side, Miller simply replaced the factory oil pressure sensor with the one for the Innovate MTX-D gauge. The factory sensor is a 0-5 volt sensor. It does not read accurate oil pressure, so this will be a major upgrade. (The wires going to the sensor are simply cut and connected. This keeps the oil pressure gauge in the factory cluster from sitting at 0 and throwing a low oil pressure light.)

10. The wiring for the MTX-D gauge is very simple and straightforward. Miller solders a few basic connections (power, ground, illumination) in preparation for the gauge to be installed.

11. The rest of the wiring is simply plug and play with the sensors. Routing the wiring properly is very important, but we are not going to show the whole process. Just make sure to keep the wires neatly routed and away from heat sources, rotational, or suspension parts that could cause damage.

12. The connectors for the sensors simply plug in.

13. With the wiring routed into the car, all that needs to be done is supplying power and ground to the harness and connecting the wire for the dimmer. This ensures the MTX-D gauge works in unison with any other aftermarket gauges and the factory cluster.

14. Miller already had a dual pod gauge cluster bezel in his car. One of the gauges was filled with a dummy gauge so there wasn’t an open hole. The MTX-D gauge will be right at home.

15. With the gauge installed and the car running, it’s quick and easy to read the data being displayed on the gauge. For oil pressure, the data is displayed in large numbers. The temperature side of the gauge is displayed in lights around the parameter of the gauge that illuminate. This makes it east to quickly glance at the gauge and see the oil pressure and oil temperature data.

16. When it comes to setting the parameters and warning lights for the gauge, Innovate has made it super simple with its LM Programmer software. With this program you can set low and high warning lights, as well as color changes to represent different operating temperature ranges. All of this is designed to easily transfer data to the driver without distracting the driver from the road or track.


Additional Sources

Kesatie Motorsports
941.378.1630