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Date: May 11, 2000
If I recall, the temp sensor on the old flathead is a mechanical setup. It has a large sensor that screws into the water jacket and a rigid, but bendable, line that extends to the gauge. I'm not sure how these function, but if they are like the fire detectors on an airplane, the line can not be bent or dented. Is that a possibility?...or had they converted to an electric sending unit by '59? Wish I could offer some better ideas, but it appears you've eliminated the ground, the gauge and the thermostat as the problem. All that remains is the connection between the two and the actual temperature at the sensor point.