Pickup temperature issues

I have a 1995 Pickup whose temperature guage has never (owned for 6 years) read quite right. It begins showing about 140F and at full running temp (about 195F) still reads only about 1/4 scale. I can't
seem to find the temp sending unit to check if that is the problem.
Also lately, the thermostat has gone soft, but the only replacement I can find is another 190+ degree, and I am wondering if there is a source for any other temp - preferably around 160 to 175?
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The sending unit should be near where the hose comes out of the block to return to the top of the radiator.
I would stay with the factory thermostat. If you start running it that much cooler, the computer will think it's still in warm up mode and add extra gas and/or not start checking other parameters and you will probably see a drop in fuel economy as well as drivability (throttle response, etc.). Gas engines get more efficient the hotter they run, it's a matter of how hot the materials can be that determines the thermostat to use.

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Thanks for the info. If all else fails, I will replace with the factory thermostat, but at this time I am seeing temps between 140 and 160 with no significant loss of milage. As this truck has nearly a quarter million miles on it, I am not too concerned with performance - more interested in not blowing hoses and gaskets. Any temperature thermostat would help it warm up quicker though.
TRex
Ed H. wrote:

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You will drastically increase the wear occurring in your engine by running it that cool. Ed H is right about the efficiency of gasoline engines - what goes along with that is cylinder wall wear and bearing wear is much much less in engines that are running hotter. You should be working with a 195 degree temp thermostat. If you are having hose problems, replace them with new and solve your worries. Green Gas

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