The temperature bulb is filled with a liquid which vaporizes and expands when the temperature increases. A capillary tube connects the bulb to the gauge, which is a pressure gauge. When the tube breaks or the bulb gets a hole or crack, then the liquid evaporates and it does not work. There are shops which can rebuild them, but it is more expensive then buying an expensive american-made (Rochester) replacement. Someone I know at the local airport had a temperature gauge rebuilt since it had an exceptionally long capillary tube (rear cockpit) that wasn't available new. If they bought a new one, then they would have had to have it rebuilt anyway to get the corrrect length tube.
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