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172 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
***To mods: Sorry for my bad english and please correct any mistakes if you find them***

Draco24433 asked for a how-to to install 3 gauges in his beetle one week ago. He is installing a water temp, an oil pressure and a voltmeter gauges. Fortunately for him I have the same configuration in my beetle.

If you are installing an oil temp gauge this how-to can help you too. It’s basically the same as a water temp gauge. The only difference is the location of the sender.

Before starting I recommend installing all the gauges on the pod at home.
It should take you no more than 3 to 4 hours to complete the install. But if you don’t have enough time, you can do each step alone.
  1. Installing the senders
  2. Mounting the gauges on the pod
  3. Wiring everything.
I was lucky as I bought all my gauges already installed on the pod and glued to the central dash cover (from RCY here on the ORG) :)

From what I understood there are two gauge pods available for this location. The Bernt and the Automoter
The Bernt is quite expensive but it’ll replace the dash cover and you’ll need to paint it
The Autometer is the cheap alternative you can choose from black or carbon fiber and it sticks over the center dash cover.

To install these gauges here is what you’ll need:
  • Water temp gauge with temp sender
  • Oil pressure gauge with pressure sender
  • Voltmeter
  • A 3 gauges pod
  • Water temp Adapter 1 3/16” (I bought mine from this seller on eBay)
  • Oil pressure relocation kit (From 42 Draft Designs)
  • Wires (4 colors)
  • A simple inline fuse holder
  • 10 Amp fuse
  • A set of crimps and ring terminals
  • Electric tape
  • Teflon tape sealant
and some tools:
  • Torx screwdriver set
  • A metallic coat hanger and a drill with a drill bit as thick as the wire (if you have a 2.0 run by cable Engine)
  • A kitchen knife
  • 24mm deep socket
  • A wrench set
  • A socket set
Installing the senders

Engine must be cold. If you just used your car let it warm before installing the senders.

For the pressure sender you’ll need to buy the relocation kit from 42 Draft Designs. This kit will relocate the stock sender and give you another “hole” for the additional pressure sender.
Remove the wiring harness from the stock pressure sender (picture will follow). Using the 24 deep socket remove the sender from the oil flange and screw in the same hole one end of the extension hose that came with the relocation kit.(Don’t forget to wrap the threads with some Teflon). Install the oil pressure senders and tighten them (Use only one wrap of Teflon to ensure the electrical grounding.
The wiring harness of the stock oil pressure sender needs to be extended. Cut the wire and extend it with the same kind of wire.
Reinstall the wiring harness on the stock sender. Use the included ground wire and connect one end to the ground terminal of the relocation kit and the other end to the engine(See the picture)

Use some zip ties to secure the relocation kit.(See the picture)

Start the engine and watch for leaks.

For the Water-temp sender you'll need an adapter. I bought mine from this guy on Ebay. The adapter is made by AC Autothecnic and is available in 3 colors (blue, red and titanium). Don’t forget to order the right size: 1 3/16”. Now take your knife and cut the upper hose going from the water flange on the driver’s side of the engine to the radiator. Some coolant will spill but, it’s ok you’ll add it later. Measure the adapter’s size and cut the hose again so you’ll be able to insert the adapter. Now insert the water temp adapter with the hole facing up after inserting the clamps. Tighten them enough to ensure there will be no leaks. Wrap the temp sender’s threads only once with some Teflon (The sender should be grounded in order to function correctly) and screw it in the adapter. Don’t over tighten! Finish the installation by grounding the sender to the engine (See the picture).

Start the engine. Fill with coolant as needed (you’ll do it more than once) and watch for leaks.

Installing the gauges

Now that you’re done with your senders, time to install the gauges!
First of all, I suggest installing all the gauges on the pod and tapping the following wires together (See the picture)
Keep in mind that your wires should be long enough to connect to the different connectors.

Once you’re done you should be ending with something like this (picture will follow)


Now it’s time to run the wires and connect them

Start by disconnecting the negative battery cable to avoid any electrical problem later.

There are some parts of the dash that needs to be removed:
Center cover: Slide it toward front then up

Remove the retaining bolts -1- with a torx screwdriver to remove the left cover

Lift the left cover to unclip it from the dash (Arrow A) then toward the right (Arrow B) to remove it.

Pry the left side panel and pull it out

You’ll need to remove the foot-well cover too by removing the bolts -1- and pulling it out of retainers -3-.

The gauge’s [lights +] must be connected to the blue/grey wire on the back of the dimmer switch. This is very important. You’ll get a stable 12V source an you’ll be able to control the light with the dimmer.
You can use a self-stripping electrical tap connector if you want to do it quickly.
To access this wire you’ll need to remove the light switch and to unclip the dimmer switch. (See picture)
  • Turn rotating handle -1- of light switch to position “0”.
  • Push in rotating handle -arrow A- and turn toward the right -arrow B-.
  • Pull switch out of instrument panel -arrow C- and disconnect harness connectors.
  • Unclip the dimmer switch -2-

The gauges [lights –] and [gauges –] can be connected to the screw on the left side of the dash (picture will follow) or any grounded place that suits you.

The best [switched ignition] is on the relay panel under the left side of the dash.(see the picture)

Locate the relay panel (see the picture)

The stud marked 75X is the one that supplies switched 12V. Use an appropriate crimp and connect your wire. Don’t forget the 10 Amp fuse!

Now here is the trickiest part of the entire install. You’ll need to run the wires through the firewall to connect them to the senders and ground them to the engine.
If you have the 2.0 drive by wire engine this will be a simple task. Just locate the grommet/hole on the firewall above the accelerator pedal, make a small cut on the rubber with the knife and run all your wires (See the picture). It’s important to keep the rubber part: it seals the interior of the car.

If you have the 2.0 drive by cable engine (98-early 99 if I remember correctly) you can’t do that. The cable goes through that hole. I spent quite some time to figure out how to run the wires without drilling a hole and I finally found it with the help of some “forumers” here.
Your wires will go through the pendulum chamber and through the firewall with the harness that goes from the battery to the interior of the beetle
Start by removing the attachment bolts from the left endplate -1- and removing the endplate upward from the pendulum chamber (See the picture)

Under the endplate you should see the harness running through the firewall and going to the battery.
You’ll need to drill two holes on the endplate one for each wire. If you want to ground the gauges to the engine you’ll need another hole.

Time to go under the hood! You’ll need to remove the air filter housing first. Remove the air filter housing cover screws (Black arrows) then the filter housing bolts (Red arrows)

Once removed, pull out the plastic cover under it and you’ll see the harness. Take that metallic coat hanger, straighten it and with the pliers, bend one end and tie it to the wires’ end.
Now gently try to work your way from the interior to the engine bay. Once you’re done pull out the wires, reinstall the endplate, reinstall the harness cover, the filter housing and its cover. Keep the necessary length of wires, install the ring terminals and connect them to the senders.

Now you can reconnect your negative battery cable.
Start your engine and cross your fingers. The water temp gauge shouldn’t move instantly. Give it at least 10 min.
Reinstall all the covers and don’t forget to share some pictures with us!

57 Posts
Awesome how-to!!:thup: :thup: :thup:

Would you elaborate more on the grounding of the watertemp adapter?? I assume you are using a single wire temp sender?
Are you referring to grounding the body of the sender, as if it were actually screwing into an engine ground?

172 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Lnzbug said:
I have a 1.8t is there anything else I should know or are they installed the same?
Should be the same :)

99beetlefl said:
Would you elaborate more on the grounding of the watertemp adapter?? I assume you are using a single wire temp sender?
Are you referring to grounding the body of the sender, as if it were actually screwing into an engine ground?
Yes it's a single wire sender. To ground it, you just need to ground the body of the sender (there is a screw on the temp adapter) to the engine.

Premium Member
11,013 Posts
I'm in the middle of doing this and I'm stumped. When you pull out the light switch and disconnect the harness, what clip do I unclip to disconnect the dimmer?? Please help ASAP.
Thanks Ellen

172 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Lnzbug said:
I'm in the middle of doing this and I'm stumped. When you pull out the light switch and disconnect the harness, what clip do I unclip to disconnect the dimmer?? Please help ASAP.
Thanks Ellen
You should see it once the light switch is removed there is two wires on it and one of them is the blue/gray.
If you can't unclip it, try to pull out the dimmer switch before

11 Posts
Gauge installation Bernt 3 Pod

I have a 2004 VW GLS 1.8T.

Your gauge installation falls short of having to drill a hole through the firewall after removing the plastic bottom plate below the upper dash panel when it has been removed. There is a harness, but it connects to the engine control unit
and nothing can be squeezed through that portal.
You may have been assigning the installation guide to an earlier model volkswagen, but I do appreciate immensly the
schematic photos that you put on your post.

Mistakes that I made. Out of the three VDO gauges installed, one of which was and oil pressure gauge, I ordered a 80 PSI gauge.
The engine "cold" pressure is 102 PSI. The 80 PSI gauge just
pegged out! so I ordered and installed a 150 PSI gauge. I purchased a Bernt Pod from TVA and without knowing that it was warped, painted and installed with gauges.

Another mistake that may be unknown to the mass of VW lovers is that when installing the pod, be careful and use a towel
to place the Pod on when you are ready wired and installastion ready as the dash will scratch unbelievably easy, ss it is pure plastic. My next weekend project is removing the pod,gauges and upper dash panels and painting FLAT BLACK Krylon.

To end my installation story, 42 Designs has a oil pressure adaptor kit and my car being a Turbo model, they also provide
a Flange mount to the engine for the temperature sensor. The Flange mount is grounded automatically when bolted to the engine.

My engine now puts out 235 horsepower, which includes bolt ons
such as APR tuning chip, K & N cold air intake and Magna flow
catback exhaust. Stock Turbo Boost is 7-8 PSI and now borders
19-20 PSI. New South gauges makes a dandy Turbo Boost gauge
which I have mounted on a single gauge pod to the left
(driver) "A" Pillar.

Thanks again for the take down schematics!

Best Regards to all,



172 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
fordtruck said:
You may have been assigning the installation guide to an earlier model volkswagen, but I do appreciate immensly the
schematic photos that you put on your post.
This is was for the 2.0 engine but I'm happy to see your final pics. Installation looks neat :)

volks r cool
273 Posts
gauge installation

I wonder how u hook up oil pressure sending unit on the 2.5 motor...I do have the bernt gauge..but oil pressure is waiting to be hooked up....

488 Posts
I am curious what your average oil pressure and water temps run so I can make a choice on the gauges as they come in many flavors and ranges. I did note above not to go with the 80 pis oil pressure, but didn't see any recommendations for water. tks Bart my car is a 2.0 but may swap it for a VR in the future
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