Mass Air Sensor For A Tune Help

Hey guys. I have a question. I will ask it first then explain more.

Is a C&L Mass Air with tube for 42lb injectors, good enough to get a chip tuned for my setup? Or should I get a 90mm lightning mass air? Or is there a better/cheaper Mass Air sensor i should get BEFORE the tune? Trying to do it on the cheap like most people.

89 302 mass air, 5speed, with mild cam, port and polished intake, port polished heads (all done myself), 42lb injectors, C&L Mass air with 42lb tube, explorer throttle body 70mm, bbk 70mm egr (using as spacer), long tube headers, 255 pump, no smog, ac delete, msd coil, K&N filter, Ford plugs, Adj fuel press with gauge. Also have air/fuel gauge. Electric fans to.

Car runs beautiful. A little choppy idle, but not bad, it’s the cam. Air/fuel always around 12 ish. Going to get a chip sometime soon. I know everyone thinks the C&L is a POS, but is it only crappy because people don’t get a chip when they install it? I know the fuel maps are off with this current setup on the stock computer. If its not a good idea, do you think the lightning mass air is good for me to use? I can get one for about 100$. Just need to get some adapters to fit my filter and rest of intake. I know the 42lb are dumb to have right now, but I am going to put a turbo on eventually. I thought the tune would let me use them wisely till I get the turbo setup. Also going to throw a little nitrous into it for a little fun. I have an old kit that has been in a couple of my past cars. Car has a good amount of power. Just trying to figure out what to do with the Mass Air.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

Side note.....Went for another ride today, and for the first time, the Air/Fuel gauge was reading 10. So it was running rich. Im going to take a guess its because of the crappy C&L mass air in it now giving WRONG readings. Am I correct??? Its never done this before till today. I was scared to get on it because it was running rich.
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May 4, 2011
Dayton, Ohio
I ran a C&L 73mm MA for many years without issue, with both 19 and 24# tubes (with 19 and 24# injectors). Never tuned the car, always ran perfect, with TF TW heads, Crane Cobra Cam, full exhaust, 65mm TB, 1.7 RR, and Holley intake. Your 42# injectors sound oversized for your mods, and probably aren't helping your idle. Not sure what a "mild cam" means. With an 89 computer, and a 302/306, you shouldn't need a tune as long as the MA is sized to your injectors. Have you checked for any codes from the computer? Check the simple things, including the TPS voltage. You won't hurt the car running rich, you may foul the spark plugs, and have to clean them, but it won't hurt anything.
Yes the 42s are oversized right now, but they will be perfect once i get my turbo. I only changed them to 42 lbs when i tore the engine apart to do the gaskets. I am not worrying about the idle, its fine, the whole point of this thread was about the C&L mass air. I want to get it tuned so the 42lb injectors will run ok with my current setup. I know the fuel maps are way off when the computer is set to 19lb and i'm running 42lb. If you are only going from 19 to 24, then the tune isn't really needed. But when you jump up like i did, the fuel maps are way off. Maybe someone else can word this better than i did, but i do know it throws the fuel map way off. I am just getting into tuning a 50, so i don't know a ton yet.

The TPS is perfect, last i checked was .95 or .96. It rides like crap till its fully warm, then it runs good. just a little high, but that's not really the topic here. (thanks for helping tho)

Mild cam means it has a cam that's not to aggressive. This is what the guy told me when i bought the car. You can tell it has it by the way it idles. Think of it like a stage 1 cam. A stage 3 is really aggressive. Stage 1 is a little better than stock. I don't know brand or anything else about it.

Please keep the comments coming. They all help!!! Thanks again!!!


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Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
As suggested, dump the codes...

Dump the codes: Codes may be present even if the Check Engine Light (CEL) isn't on.

Dumping the computer diagnostic codes on 86-95 Mustangs

Revised 26-July-2011. Added need to make sure the clutch is pressed when dumping codes.

Codes may be present even if the check engine light hasn’t come on, so be sure to check for them.

Here's the way to dump the computer codes with only a jumper wire or paper clip and the check engine light, or test light or voltmeter. I’ve used it for years, and it works great. You watch the flashing test lamp or Check Engine Light and count the flashes.

Post the codes you get and I will post 86-93 model 5.0 Mustang specific code definitions and fixes. I do not have a complete listing for 94-95 model 5.0 Mustangs at this time.

Be sure to turn off the A/C, and put the transmission in neutral when dumping the codes. On a manual transmission car, be sure to press the clutch to the floor.
Fail to do this and you will generate a code 67 and not be able to dump the Engine Running codes.



If your car is an 86-88 stang, you'll have to use the test lamp or voltmeter method. There is no functional check engine light on the 86-88's except possibly the Cali Mass Air cars.


The STI has a gray connector shell and a white/red wire. It comes from the same bundle of wires as the self test connector.

89 through 95 cars have a working Check Engine light. Watch it instead of using a test lamp.


The STI has a gray connector shell and a white/red wire. It comes from the same bundle of wires as the self test connector.

WARNING!!! There is a single dark brown connector with a black/orange wire. It is the 12 volt power to the under the hood light. Do not jumper it to the computer test connector. If you do, you will damage the computer.

What to expect:
You should get a code 11 (two single flashes in succession). This says that the computer's internal workings are OK, and that the wiring to put the computer into diagnostic mode is good. No code 11 and you have some wiring problems. This is crucial: the same wire that provides the ground to dump the codes provides signal ground for the TPS, EGR, ACT and Map/Baro sensors. If it fails, you will have poor performance, economy and driveablity problems

Some codes have different answers if the engine is running from the answers that it has when the engine isn't running. It helps a lot to know if you had the engine running when you ran the test.

Dumping the Engine Running codes: The procedure is the same, you start the engine with the test jumper in place. Be sure the A/C is off, and clutch (if present) is pressed to the floor, and the transmission is in neutral. You'll get an 11, then a 4 and the engine will speed up to do the EGR test. After the engine speed decreases back to idle, it will dump the engine running codes.

Trouble codes are either 2 digit or 3 digit, there are no cars that use both 2 digit codes and 3 digit codes.

Your 86-88 5.0 won't have a working Check Engine Light, so you'll need a test light.
See AutoZone Part Number: 25886 , $10

Alternate methods:
For those who are intimidated by all the wires & connections, see Actron® for what a typical hand scanner looks like. Normal retail price is about $30 or so at AutoZone or Wal-Mart.

Or for a nicer scanner see Equus - Digital Ford Code Reader (3145) – It has a 3 digit LCD display so that you don’t have to count flashes or beeps.. Cost is $30-$36.


GTFO you fat, heavy bastard
15 Year Member
Oct 21, 2005
st. louis, mo
the problem most people have with the c&l's is the sample tube/stock electronics nature of them, theyre not as precise as a meter thats actually internally calibrated like the pro-ms, and often can have clocking issues because of it. its not that they CANT run good, its just that some others CAN run better for easier. also, the setups which rely on tricking the computer instead of a tune sometimes have starting/cold issues, especially the farther from the stock 19's you go (it takes some time for the eec to start reading the maf signal, and therefore will run the injectors as if they were stock, thus dumping fuel, which gets worse the higher the injector is for).


My wife likes my spool and blow-off valve.
Aug 8, 2007
Lancaster, PA
You won't hurt the car running rich, you may foul the spark plugs, and have to clean them, but it won't hurt anything.
Well I don't agree with this totally, depends on how rich. 10 all the time is not good. Wide open throttle 10 is still rich. That might kill your o2 sensors prematurely, And wash your cylinder walls.
Thanks for the long write up, i appreciate it!!! I really do. I checked all the codes today. I just didn't do the running codes yet. I will try to do them tomorrow. Here is what showed up...
Key on engine off.....22,32,81,82,84,85 then came the second set for the stored codes which are......22,32,41,61,91
I looked up the codes. I THINK the whole first set of codes are due to the mods i have. EGR gone, ac gone....
But i think a couple codes matter tho. Correct me if i am wrong please. 41 for the O2 sensor. They aren't that old, maybe 300 miles on them. But i had a thought that this code is there because of exhaust/fuel system being off due to big injectors. I think 91 confirms that. Then the 61 is coolant temp sensor. I'm going to guess this needs to be replaced???
Please give me all your thoughts, and let me know if im right and or wrong. Thanks for your time.


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Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
The 22 code is a must fix...

MAP/BARO sensor operation and code 22

Revised 19-Jul-2011 to add functional descriptions for MAP and BARO operation.

On a Speed Density car, the MAP/BARO sensor is connected to the intake manifold and acts to sense the manifold pressure. Lower vacuum inside the intake manifold when combined with more throttle opening measured by the TPS means more airflow through the engine. As airflow increases, fuel flow through the injectors needs to increase to keep the air/fuel ratio where it needs to be. When manifold vacuum increases, the engine is either decelerating or idling, and it needs to reduce the fuel flow through the injectors.

On a Mass Air car, the MAP/BARO sensor vents to open air and actually senses the barometric pressure due to changes in weather and altitude. Its purpose is to set a baseline for the computer to know the barometric pressure. As barometric pressure decreases, it leans out the fuel flow to compensate for less oxygen in the air. When the barometric pressure rises, it increases to add fuel since there is more oxygen in the air. The fuel requirements decrease as altitude increases, since the atmospheric pressure decreases.

Disconnecting the MAP or BARO sensor will set code 22.

Misconnecting the BARO sensor to vacuum on a Mass Air car will cause the computer to lean out the fuel mixture.

Code 22 or 126 MAP (vacuum) or BARO signal out of range. The MAP or BARO sensor is pretty much the same sensor for both Mass Air & Speed Density cars. The main difference is where it is connected. Mass Air cars vent it to the atmosphere, while Speed Density cars connect it to the intake manifold vacuum. Its purpose is to help set a baseline for the air/fuel mixture by sensing changes in barometric pressure. The MAP or BAP sensor puts out a 5 volt square wave that changes frequency with variations in atmospheric pressure. The base is 154 HZ at 29.92" of mercury - dry sunny day at sea level, about 68-72 degrees. You need an oscilloscope or frequency meter to measure it. There a very few DVM’s with a price tag under $40 that will measure frequency, but there are some out there.

The MAP/BARO sensor is mounted on the firewall behind the upper manifold on 86-93 Mustangs.

Baro or MAP test using a real frequency meter - run the test key on, engine off. The noise from the ignition system will likely upset the frequency meter. I used a 10 x oscilloscope probe connected from the frequency meter to the MAP/BAP to reduce the jitter in the meter's readout. And oscilloscope is very useful if you have access to one or know of someone who does. With an oscilloscope, you can see the waveform and amplitude.

If it is defective, your air/fuel ratio will be off and the car’s performance & emissions will suffer

Some basic checks you can make to be sure that the sensor is getting power & ground:
Note that all resistance tests must be done with power off. Measuring resistance with a circuit powered on will give false readings and possibly damage the meter.
Check the resistance between the black/white wire on the MAP/BARO sensor and then the black/white wire on the EGR and the same wire on the TPS. It should be less than 1 ohm. Next check the resistance between the black/white wire and the negative battery cable. It should be less than 1.5 ohm.

The following power on check requires you to turn the ignition switch to the Run position.
Use a DVM to check for 5 volts on the orange/white wire. If it is missing, look for +5 volts at the orange/white wire on the TPS or EGR sensors. Use the black/white wire for the ground for the DVM.

The 32 code may be due to missing emissions equipment...
Code 32 - Code 32 – EGR voltage below closed limit

Let’s put on our Inspector Gadget propeller head beanies and think about how this works:
The EGR sensor is a variable resistor with ground on one leg and Vref (5 volts) on the other. Its’ resistance ranges from 4000 to 5500 Ohms measured between Vref & ground, depending on the sensor. The center connection of the variable resistor is the slider that moves in response to the amount of vacuum applied. The slider has some minimum value of resistance greater than 100 ohms so that the computer always sees a voltage present at its’ input. If the value was 0 ohms, there would be no voltage output. Then the computer would not be able to distinguish between a properly functioning sensor and one that had a broken wire or bad connection. The EGR I have in hand reads 700 Ohms between the slider (EPV) and ground (SIG RTN) at rest with no vacuum applied.

As vacuum is applied, the voltage on the slider increases (EVP). As the voltage increases, the computer knows the how much the EGR valve is opened and how much exhaust gas is being recirculated. It uses the load table to calculate the amount of exhaust gas required depending on RPM, Mass Air Flow, ACT, ECT & TPS. It then sends a signal to the Electronic Vacuum Regulator to hold, increase or decrease the vacuum being applied to the EGR valve.

Theory class is over now, let’s spin up our propeller head beanies and get with it… Go Gadget, Go…

Measure the resistance of the EGR sensor between the two end pins. You should see between 3500 to 5500 Ohms. With the sensor removed, measure the resistance again while pressing on the plunger. You should see the resistance drop from its high value to a low reading of 200-700 ohms depending on the sensor. No resistance readings, or values way out of range, the sensor is bad.
If the Orange white wire has Vref, (5 volts =/-.25 volt) then you have some wiring problems because the computer isn’t seeing the minimum voltage on the EVR pin. Ohm the wiring back to the computer. Check for resistance between the brown/lt green wire on the EGR sensor and pin 27 on the computer: you should have less than 1 ohm. Repeat the process for the orange/white wire and pin 26. Do it again between the black/white wire and pin 46. In no case should you have more than 1 ohm. Remember that resistance checks are always done with the power off the circuit.

Voltage and resistance checks are good: Here’s an EGR test procedure I copied from cjones

to check the EGR valve:
bring the engine to normal temp.
connect a vacuum pump to the EGR Valve
apply 5 in vacuum to the valve.
if engine stumbled or died then EGR Valve and passage(there is a passageway through the heads and intake) are good.
if engine did NOT stumble or die then either the EGR Valve is bad and/or the passage is blocked.
if engine stumbled, connect vacuum gauge to the hose coming off of the EGR Valve
snap throttle to 2500 RPM’s (remember snap the throttle don't hold it there).
did the vacuum gauge show about 5 in vacuum?

if not, check for manifold vacuum at the EGR vacuum valve.
if you have manifold vacuum then connect vacuum gauge to the EGR valve side of the vacuum valve and snap throttle to 2500 RPM’s.
should read about 5 in vacuum

End of cjones's test.

If the test procedure fails to provide proper vacuum, check vacuum feed lines for cracks & damage. If the vacuum lines are good, check the electrical wiring to the EVR. If the EVR electrical wiring is good, look for 12 volts on the red wire for the EVR. If the 12 volts is good, look for a varying voltage on the dark green wire on the EVR. Case of last resort, replace the EVR and then the computer

All the rest of the codes are emissions equipment related.
Removing the pollution control equipment from a 5.0 Mustang is a bad idea. All you have accomplished is to make the computer mad and spit codes. The pollution control equipment all shuts off at wide open throttle, so the HP losses from it on the car are 2-5 HP. The catalytic converters may soak a few more HP than that. None of the pollution control equipment reduces the HP enough to cost you a race in anything but professional drag strip competition. I seriously doubt that you will be in the final runoff on “Pinks”, so leave the smog equipment in place and make sure it is working correctly.

Know what does what before removing it. Remove or disable the wrong thing and the computer sets the check engine light and runs in "limp mode". Limp mode means reduced power and fuel economy.

If you removed the smog pump and still have catalytic converters, they will ultimately clog and fail.

Here's a book that will get you started with how the Ford electronic engine control or "computer" works.

Ford Fuel Injection & Electronic Engine Control 1988-1993 by James Probst :ISBN 0-8376-0301-3.

It's about $20-$45 from see . Select books and then select search. Use the ISBN number (without dashes or spaces) to do a search

Use the ISBN number and your local library can get you a loaner copy for free. Only thing is you are limited to keeping the book for two weeks. It is very good, and I found it to be very helpful.

Remove any of the equipment and you will not pass a full smog check, cannot title the car in an area that does smog checks and have broken several federal laws. Granted that the Feds are short on people to check cars, but it is still Federal law.
thanks again for the write up. I did NOT remove all the emissions stuff, it was done by the guy before me. I bought the car this way. I didn't notice you say anything about the coolant sensor, does that need to get replaced to? They aren't that expensive? Should i just replace the MAP sensor to??? What do you recommend i replace? Thanks again bro, i cant thank you enough, for the time you used to help me out. THANKS SOOOOO MUCH!!! Anyone else can put their 2 cents in to please. Thanks!


wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
Kearney, NE
Unless I missed it, he told you how to test the sensor instead of throwing parts at the car. The readings for the temp sensor are on the site too. Use search, I am on a phone, sorry. But that one sensor is cheap. Up to you, but J's instructions will save money and get your car running better than most Ford techs will. Many techs were not born when the Fox body was new and this is alien to them.


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Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
I missed the ECT sensor, here's the code definition for it...

[Code 61 - Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor is or was too low. Failed sensor or bad wiring for the ECT.

Note that that if the outside air temp is below 50 degrees F that the test for the
ECT can be in error.

Check the resistance of the black/white wire to battery ground. If it is less than 1 ohm, it is good. If it is more than 1 ohm, the black/white wire has bad connections or a broken wire. Always take resistance measurements with the circuit powered off. Make sure that you do not touch the metal probe tips when you you’re your measurements. If you do, your readings will be off. Check the resistance of the Lt green/yellow wire at the sensor connector and Pin 7 on the computer. It should be less than 1 ohm. If it is more than 1 ohm, the Lt green/yellow wire has bad connections or a broken wire.

If those tests pass, remove the passenger side kick panel. Disconnect the computer connector and disconnect the sensor from the wiring connector. Measure the resistance between the Lt green/yellow wire at the sensor connector and ground. You should see 1 meg ohm or an infinite open circuit. Less than 1 meg ohm means you have some bad wiring, or the Lt green/yellow wire is shorted to ground.


The ECT sensor has absolutely nothing to do with the temperature gauge. They are
different animals. The ECT sensor is normally located it the RH front of the engine in
the water feed tubes for the heater.

See the graphic for the 10 pin connector circuit layout.


The ACT & ECT have the same thermistor, so the table values are the same

ACT & ECT test data:

Use Pin 46 on the computer for ground for both ECT & ACT to get most accurate

Pin 7 on the computer - ECT signal in. at 176 degrees F it should be .80 volts

Voltages may be measured across the ECT/ACT by probing the connector from
the rear. A pair of safety pins may be helpful in doing this. Use care in doing it
so that you don't damage the wiring or connector.

50 degrees F = 3.52 v
68 degrees F = 3.02 v
86 degrees F = 2.62 v
104 degrees F = 2.16 v
122 degrees F = 1.72 v
140 degrees F = 1.35 v
158 degrees F = 1.04 v
176 degrees F = .80 v
194 degrees F = .61
212 degrees F = .47 v
230 degrees F = .36 v
248 degrees F = .28 v

Ohms measures at the computer with the computer disconnected, or at the sensor with the sensor disconnected.

50 degrees F = 58.75 K ohms
68 degrees F = 37.30 K ohms
86 degrees F = 27.27 K ohms
104 degrees F = 16.15 K ohms
122 degrees F = 10.97 K ohms
140 degrees F = 7.60 K ohms
158 degrees F = 5.37 K ohms
176 degrees F = 3.84 K ohms
194 degrees F = 2.80 K ohms
212 degrees F = 2.07 K ohms
230 degrees F = 1.55 K ohms
248 degrees F = 1.18 k ohms

Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds


See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds
(website host) for help on 88-95 wiring

Ignition switch wiring

Fuel, alternator, A/C and ignition wiring

Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 88-91 Mass Air Mustangs

Vacuum diagram 89-93 Mustangs


wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
Kearney, NE
Thanks! I still think smart phones are misnamed. Dumb computers would be better.
In case you missed this, I also suggest spending some of the money you will save on parts and labor go get a GOOD multi meter. It is a must.
7991LXnSHO I did not see anything on the temp sensor, that's why i asked. They are cheap brand new, so i think, just to be safe, ill just change it. Im going to guess that the 2 wire coolant sensor is the temp sensor for the computer, and the single wire one is for the gauge. Taking a guess, that most gauges run on single wire. Uses a resistance to move the gauge. But this really doesnt matter right now.

As for the meter, IMO i have the best one they make, Fluke. I have another hobby, small electronincs. Designing circuits, soldering them, nintendo 64 portable, weird little projects, that sort of stuff. So a good meter is a must, which i have. Thanks bro


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Mar 10, 2000
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If you have Fluke DVM and an electronics background, these codes will be very simple for you to fix quickly. You should be able to make good use of the engine computer and sensor diagram from TMoss. It has all the sensors that the computer uses to run the engine.

Keep us posted on your progress...
jrichker Thanks again bro for your write up. I will do as much as i can, and see if i can find some problems with sensors.

I started this thread about what i should do with the Mass Air sensor, and got a TON of information. LOL. Car doesn't run to bad, just needs a little fine tuning. Defiantly needs a chip to take care of the huge injector problem tho. Eventually i will find out what to do with the mass air meter. Till then ill try to fix as much as i can, to get rid of the engine codes.

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow is a nicer day outside, so i can get under the hood and do some testing with my meter.

I will post my results. Thanks again for your time bro!!!


wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
Kearney, NE
PLEASE HELP MY MEMORY OUT for this fellow gearhead! I know here is a picture someone labeled with all the sensor locations marked, but I am on the way out for the day and can not find it right quick. Is the ECT sensor in the black pipe on the passenger side, and the gauge sender in the intake manifold, or do I remember it backwards?? The ECT has two wires. Tmoss's picture at was not what we needed. This discussion talks about location.
"You can leave the fan sensor where it is, but the ect sensor needs to go back in the heater tube that runs down the passenger side of the intake manifold."


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PLEASE HELP MY MEMORY OUT for this fellow gearhead! I know here is a picture someone labeled with all the sensor locations marked, but I am on the way out for the day and can not find it right quick. Is the ECT sensor in the black pipe on the passenger side, and the gauge sender in the intake manifold, or do I remember it backwards?? The ECT has two wires. Tmoss's picture at was not what we needed. This discussion talks about location.
"You can leave the fan sensor where it is, but the ect sensor needs to go back in the heater tube that runs down the passenger side of the intake manifold."

Ok i did a little bit of testing today. This is what I came up with. The MAP sensor. The Ohm test between the black/white wires between the 3 sensors came up perfect. But when i tested the Ohms between the black/white and ground, i got 8 Ohms. The Green/Black had 4.4v with key on, and the Orange/white had 5.1v with key on. My Fluke meter has a Hz button, but when i tried it, the meter ALWAYS said 0 Hz. I tried it between the Green/black and black/white, and also tried the Green/black to ground and still always got 0 hz. I'm going to guess that's a problem and the sensor needs to be replaced. What do you think???

Now on to the EGR. EGR vac capped off. Plug is plugged into the EGR tho. Resistance between the black/white and the other sensors, tested good. I haven't gotten around to pulling the EGR off to test the resistance just yet. The orange/white wire had 5v to it. As well as the tps sensor.

I did notice another problem. ALL the vac sensors for the EGR are gone. I have 3 open plugs that are just sitting there. I'm 99% sure they are.....EVR, AM1, and AM2 sensors. I THINK they are also called the TAB and TAD solenoids, but i may be wrong. The 3 plugs are behind the passenger side strut tower between the strut tower and firewall. Just 3 plugs dangling there, UGGGGHHHHH. Like i said, i bought the car like this. The exhaust ports for the egr on the back of the heads are capped off, as well as the ones going into the exhaust. So my problem is now tricking the computer into thinking this stuff is all here now. Gotta get rid of the code 32. What do you recommend i do? Should i test the EGR to get the resistances? I also need to check if the guy before me put a plate in between the EGR and the sensor. I'm a little lost now, and could use some more help. Thanks again buddy.

Still haven't tested the temp sensor, the wife called me to do some crap, so i didn't get to finish my tests. Hopefully tomorrow.

Forgot to add, i do NOT have a vac pump tester.
The ECT sensor is just to the left of the distributor on the passenger side of the fuel rail. It is in the black pipe, it has 2 wires going to it. And the gauge sender is on the other side of the distributor tapped into the intake with one wire going to it.

Hope this helps buddy