How a $29 part enables easy oil temp readings on modified C5 Corvettes | Project C5 Corvette Z06

Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car
Jun 1, 2021

LS engines–especially ones in Corvettes–seem to be a little aggressive with oil temperatures. Without a lot of auxiliary cooling and airflow modifications, those oil temps can easily creep up to the point where a trip to the pits for a cool-down is a good idea.

On stock C5s, an oil temp gauge is built right into the Driver Information Center and accessible through a couple of button clicks with the menu switches. But when you start modifying things–whether through engine swaps, or standalone engine management systems, or oil system augmentations–that stock sensor position can disappear.

In the case with our C5 Corvette Z06 track car, our new LS3 didn’t provide the same sensor port as our original LS6. This left us without an easy way to monitor oil temps.

The solution is a clever and affordable hybrid sensor from Improved Racing that combines the C5-spec wiring plug with a sensor that features a more universal 1/8-inch NPT thread. Most aftermarket oil systems–coolers, thermostats, dry sumps, etc.–will feature plenty of 1/8 NPT ports, meaning the car’s original Driver Information Center can be retained.

In our case, the adapter for our remote oil filter in our Aviaid dry sump system had an unused port. We popped the $29 sensor into that port, and actually connected it to the plug formerly used by the coolant temp sensor. On the LS6, the water temp sensor and oil temp sensor are identical pieces, so the resistance curves and connectors match.

Our coolant temp is now monitored by our Holley Terminator, so by plugging the oil temp sensor into our old water temp gauge, we now have on-dash readout of oil temp, no menu-scrolling required.

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View comments on the GRM forums
obsolete GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/28/21 12:31 p.m.

A little less plug-and-play, but a little more grassroots: a coolant temp sensor from a 4.2L Trailblazer fits in place of the oil drain plug on the factory wet-sump pan. The connector is different, so you'll need to adapt it, but it reads on the same scale as all late-model GM coolant and oil temp sensors like you mentioned. This is how I've had my car set up for a couple years, since I used the factory temp sensor location for a turbo oil feed, and it's been working great.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
5/29/21 1:51 p.m.

Does that idiot light on the tach really say "CHECK GAGES?"


obsolete GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/29/21 1:58 p.m.
Jerry From LA said:

Does that idiot light on the tach really say "CHECK GAGES?"

Yeah, GM spelled it that way, without the "U", for years. It's all over the C5 owner's manual too.

californiamilleghia SuperDork
5/29/21 3:30 p.m.

Is there a way to use the same sensor for ATF fluid temps ?

maybe with a switch to go between water temp , oil temp , ATF temp ?

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