Harrys

Fix for Harry’s Laptimer Error: The OBD sensor does not receive data at an expected rate

Some people are reporting an OBD data error when using the PLX cable and Harry’s laptimer. Mostly it seems to be with 996/997 Porsches but it could affect other cars as well.

If you’re getting the following error: “The OBD sensor does not receive data at an expected rate. Please check compatibility between car, OBD dongle, and LapTimer.” Harry offered the following workaround:

Please add the following string to LapTimer ‣ Administration ‣ Settings ‣ Expert Settings ‣ OBD Tweaks / Exclude PIDs:

Code:
0900092009400902

With 0902 disabled (because it is not available anyway), LapTimer will not be able to receive the vehicle identification number and consequently will not switch to this car automatically. This is usually not an issue, just make sure you select your 911 manually once (e.g. in Timer ‣ Status).

You can test it on the street.  Let us know if you had the problem and if this fixed it, thanks.

The Doctor is In

Doctor ColorChip Will See You Now

I always love it when someone makes a product that performs as advertised. One of those products is the Doctor ColorChip Automotive Paint Repair Kit.  Often imitated, the original is still the best. Follow the directions and work only on a small area at a time and it works wonders.  Dab on some paint, smooth it before it dries, use the blender as directed, and then buff to polish.  No more touch-up paint lumps and near color-matches — perfect blend to your factory paint code.  We used it before on our 2004 MINI.  The photos below show it on our 2004 Jetta.

Before:

before

After:

after

Messy Engine

Wash Your Engine

Every see the can of Gunk Engine Foamy Engine Cleaner in your local parts store and wonder if it really works? Well, yes it does.

  1. Start with a messy but cold engine.
  2. Cover any electrical bits you don’t want to soak.
  3. Spray Gunk Foamy Engine Cleaner and let it soak for 15 min. (You may have to scrub a little for really caked-on grime.)
  4. Rinse.
  5. Remove any plastic used to protect electrical bits.
  6. Start engine and let idle to dry.
  7. Stand back and enjoy the view.

Cover Electrical BitsAfter rinseAhhhhh

Jetta Headlight

Headlight Restoration Kit

We bought a used Jetta for my daughter last week.  It’s a solid car if a bit neglected, but not abused by the previous owner.  We spend much of the last week trying to catch up on delayed maintenance and then started to sort the car.  The car is screaming for a set of lowering springs, but I have vowed not to turn it into another trackcar.  So the challenge here is to try to keep it as stock as possible and not break the bank.  One of the first things you noticed about this car was the hazy headlights.  I’ve seen the ads for Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kits so I picked one up at the local Wallyworld for about $20 and gave it a try. Think of it as cataract surgery for your car.

  1. Start with a set of hazy headlights.
  2. Tape around to protect the paint.
  3. Wet sand with the included 1000 and 3000 grit sanding pads.
  4. The result before polishing looks worse than when you started, but is ready for polishing.
  5. Attach polishing wheel to your drill and polish with the included polishing compound.
  6. Wipe with clean towel and apply protective coating. Done.

10 minutes per side.

Hazy Before ShotTape Off EdgesWet SandSandedPolishWipe with clean towel

Finished Gauge Pod

Oil Pressure & Temperature Gauge Pod for MINI

I always felt the MINI was missing two critical gauges: Boost and Oil Pressure.  Back in 2005, I fabricated my first gauge pod and I’m still using it 10 years later.  [Rather than fabricate your own if you have an R56, check out the CravenSpeed Gauge Pod for Gen 2 MINIs.  We don’t list them on the website yet, but we can special order them if you’re interested.] I decided that adding the sender for oil pressure was a bridge too far back then, so I installed Boost and Voltage.  MINI offered a nice bracket at the time that tucked under the stitches and sat above the cup holders so I always thought I’d get one of those later.  Well now is later and MINI has discontinued that bracket (though you might still find some complete gauge kits on fleabay.) I thought I’d try to see what I could piece together using Autometer parts. If ever I have reason to disconnect and reinstall all of the Autometer gauges, I’d put boost and oil pressure up by the tach, but for now, boost and voltage stay where they are, and oil pressure and temperature will be added below the switches.

This isn’t a particularly difficult DIY (if you’re patient) but I wouldn’t attempt it if you are not comfortable splicing wires, wielding a soldering iron and/or have especially large hands.  Here’s a tip that will save you hours of time: There is a socket available at your local auto parts store especially for oil pressure senders. It fits senders 1.0625 inches (1 1/16 in.) and is very deep.  There isn’t enough room to maneuver a wrench or vice-grips.  Don’t bother to try. Just buy the socket. [And if anyone wants the CravenSpeed Gen 1 Tapless Pressure Adapter or Oil Temp Adapter, use the contact form.  I have them available for $50 and $28 respectively, but they aren’t listed on the website.)

Difficulty: 3 wrenches

Difficulty ScaleTime Required: 2-4 Hours

Parts & Materials Required:

  • Autometer Ultra-Lite Gauges (Pressure Part #4327 & Temperature #4348)
  • Autometer 2 Gauge Pod (#2237)
  • 5 spools of different colored 18 gauge wire (+12V, Ground, Illumination, Pressure, Temperature)
  • Spade and eyelet type connectors
  • Wire Shrink Tubing
  • Electrical tape
  • Zip-ties (you always need zip-ties…)
  • CravenSpeed Tapless Sender Adapter (CRMC-0024)
  • CravenSpeed Temperature Sender Adapter (CRMC-0350)
  • Wire Shielding
  • 3M Auto Trim Adhesive
  • Two M4 x 10 bolts with nuts (optional)
  • No splice wire connectors
  • Soldering Iron, flux, & solder
  • Add-a-circuit
  • Teflon sealing tape
  • Since you’ll also be changing the oil, you also need 5-6 quarts of 5W30 synthetic oil and a new filter element

Special Tools Required:

  • Torx T-20 Socket
  • Oil Pressure Switch Socket
  • Wire stripper/crimper tool
  • Straightened coat-hanger (for phishing)

Instructions:

  1. The first step is to make a plan.  If you are going to proceed, you need to decide:
    • Where do you want to put the gauges?
    • Where are you going to tap into power & ground?
    • Where will you pick-up illumination?
    • How will you route wires through the firewall to the temperature and pressure senders?
    • Can I get my hand around the pressure sender to connect/disconnect the wire and thread the tapless-adapter?
  2. Assuming you still want to proceed, start by preparing the interior.  We’re going to place the Autometer 2-Gauge Pod below the switches so we need to remove the switch panel.
  3. Disconnect the battery ground wire.
  4. Remove the four Torx screws holding the pillar covers on either side of the center console. You may have to open the glove box to get to the ones on the passenger side.
  5. Work the pillar covers loose from the top (dash) so you can see the Torx screws holding the switch panel. The pillar covers do not need to be removed completely.
  6. Remove the two Torx screws holding the switch panel to the center console, and pull the panel out toward you.
  7. Disconnect the wire bundle at the connector. (If you have ever thought about adding an Auto-up Circuit, now’s the time to do it.)
  8. Carefully pry apart the switch panel.Take care not to dump the switch activators.  You want to use two of the holes in the bottom of the cover to attach the gauge pod.  Use screws and automotive adhesive to attach the pod.
  9. Time to think about wiring.  If you have not added any accessories, recommend you tap into the following:
    • Main Power: Choose an existing 5v fuse and Add-a-circuit. (Alternative location: Cigarette lighter plug.)
    • Ground: Cigarette lighter plug.
    • Illumination: Light ring around cigarette lighter plug.
    • Oil Temp Sender: Choose a color of wire that easily to identify.  You’ll need to route it through the firewall.  There’s a large rubber grommet above the steering column that you can use a coat hanger to phish through.  Make sure you make the wire long enough to route it away from heat sources down to the oil drain plug.  Use shrink tubing or other means of heat shielding if you need to run the wire past any hot parts.
    • Oil Pressure Sender: Choose a color of wire that’s different from the other four.  Routing is similar but to the back side of the oil canister. Route it along the cowl inside of the engine bay. Use shrink tubing or other means of heat shielding if you need to run the wire past any hot parts.
  10. Put the car on jack-stands and drain the oil. Leave the filter cover off for now so there’s more room to work around the oil pressure sender unit.
  11. Remove the top heat shield around the exhaust header.  Take note of the notch between the heat shield and the oil canister. You want to finish with the tapless sender pointing up toward this notch so there’s room to spin on the oil pressure sender. (One alternative it to remote mount the sender and attach a pressure hose to the tapless sender.)
  12. Remove the electrical connector to the stock sender by pulling out the red pin.  Do not remove the pin completely.  The plug will come free once it is partially removed.  (Sort of like the connector on the coil pack.)
  13. Carefully remove the stock sender with the Oil Pressure Switch Socket.
  14. Inspect and clean the threads of the stock sender.  Put new teflon tape on the threads, leaving the first three threads free of tape (to ensure a good ground.)
  15. Inspect and clean the threads on the oil pump.
  16. Put Teflon tape on the threads of the tapless sender, leaving the first three threads free of tape.
  17. Hand tighten the tapless sender, and then use the Oil Pressure Switch Socket to tighten, following the instructions from CravenSpeed.  You want to end with the opening for the pressure sender straight up into the notch you identified in step 11.
  18. Put Teflon tape on the threads of the Autometer sender, leaving the first three threads free of tape.
  19. Hand tighten Autometer sender, and tighten with a wrench according to the instructions.
  20. Reinstall the heat shield and ensure it does not rub.
  21. Reinstall the stock sender switch and tighten.  Reattach the connector.  The red pin will now be facing up instead of down.
  22. Check continuity of the sender wire and the sender unit.
  23. Attach wire to Autometer sender.
  24. Replace oil filter, o-ring, and reinstall cover.  Tighten and check.
  25. Put Teflon tape o the threads of the Autometer temperature sender, leaving the first three threads free of tape.
  26. Hand thread the sender into the CravenSpeed Sender Adapter and tighten according to the instructions.
  27. Inspect the Sender Adapter and ensure the O-ring is in still good.
  28. Thread the Sender Adapter and tighten according to the instructions.
  29. Check continuity of the sender wire and the sender unit.
  30. Attach wire to the Autometer sender.
  31. Fill oil.
  32. Hide all wires in the dash as appropriate and run through the openings to the gauges for a test fit.
  33. Connect all of the wires as appropriate.
  34. Reconnect the battery.
  35. Turn the key to the first position and turn on the headlights.  The gauges should be illuminated and the needles should move from the resting position.
  36. Start the car and the oil pressure gauge should be working correctly.
  37. Turn off the car and check the oil level.  Fill as needed and restart the car.
  38. Let the car fully warm up.  The oil temperature gauge should move when warm.  This may take 10 minutes even after the coolant is up to temperature.
  39. Shut-off the car and complete installation of the gauges.
Switch Panel Taken Apart

Switch Panel Taken Apart

Get one of these sockets

Get one of these sockets

Gauge Pod Backside and Auto Up Circuit

Gauge Pod Backside and Auto Up Circuit

Gone Phishing

Gone Phishing

Green Plug is Stock Sender Connector

Green Plug is Stock Sender Connector

Teflon Tape on Sender Adapters

Teflon Tape on Sender Adapters

Make sure opening is facing up when tight

Make sure opening is facing up when tight

Add Autometer Sender

Add Autometer Sender

Connector is now facing the other way

Connector is now facing the other way

Temp Sender Adapter Installed

Temp Sender Adapter Installed

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