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Yes, that's the coolant temp sensor, in the t-stat housing. The wire probably belongs there. It does use that type of connector, and the only other sensor that uses that type connector is the oil pressure switch, but that's half way down the right hand side of the block, rear of center.

Does the wire reach the coolant sensor? Plug it in and try it, you won't hurt anything. The coolant sensor is a variable resistor, so you should see the needle start to move after a couple minutes. Doesn't take long, especially if you're higher than idle.

P.S. The 'exhaust expansion chamber' is the muffler. Lol
 

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Temp gauge needle does move now but as jsb said only about an eighth to a quarter of an inch.
That's about normal for the stock 160° thermostat. I have a 180° in mine, and it goes just a tad higher than it did with the 160.
 
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