[11/16/16: Updated for remote mount.] 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. 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 ebay.)
I thought I’d try to see what I could piece together my own solution 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 in place of the radio. [Originally, I had the Autometer two-gauge pod that fits below the swich panel and above the cup holders, but it got get in the way of both the cupholders and the electrical socket.]
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. We do recommend that you remote mount the oil pressure sender to the firewall instead of mounting it on the engine though. (We went through two sending units before we figured out this tip.) Here’s another 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 around the sender or use vice-grips — don’t bother to try — just buy the socket.
Time Required: 2-4 Hours
Parts & Materials Required:
- Autometer Ultra-Lite Gauges (Oil Pressure Part #4327 & Oil Temperature #4348)
- DIN Two Gauge Radio Blank Plate, or 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)
- AMS EVO VII-IX Oil Pressure Sending Unit Remote Mount Line Kit (AMS 01.04.0104-1)
- SAE Flare Brass Fitting/Connector/Adapter Pipe Thread Male Connector (Gates part G60650-0402 available at your local NAPA auto parts store)
- Bracket to Mount Sender to Firewall (fabricate from a hose clamp)
- 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
- 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)
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? We have done both below the switches and in replace of the radio. If you have a track-car, the higher radio location is more in line of sight. If you want more of a stock look, go below the switches.
- 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?
- 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. (Skip ahead to #9 if going with the radio location.)
- Disconnect the battery ground wire.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the two Torx screws holding the switch panel to the center console, and pull the panel out toward you.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Carefully remove the stock sender with the Oil Pressure Switch Socket.
- 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.)
- Inspect and clean the threads on the oil pump.
- Put Teflon tape on the threads of the tapless sender adapter, leaving the first three threads free of tape for a good electrical ground. Put Teflon tape on both sets of threads of the Gates Adapter and thread/tighten it before installing the tapless sender adapter.
- 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 Gates adapter for the remote line facing straight up into the notch you identified in step 11.
- Put Teflon tape on the threads of the Autometer sender, leaving the first three threads free of tape. Thread/tighten the remote line to the sender.
- Hand tighten the right angle end of the remote line to the Gates adapter, and tighten with a wrench according to the instructions.
- Reinstall the heat shield and ensure it does not rub.
- Reinstall the stock sender switch and tighten. Reattach the connector. The red pin will now be facing up instead of down. (Optional: Wrap connector with heat shielding since it sits closer to the header now.)
- Check continuity of the sender wire and the sender unit.
- Attach the Autometer sender to the firewall and attach the power to the top of the sender.
- Replace oil filter, o-ring, and reinstall cover. Tighten and check.
- Put Teflon tape o the threads of the Autometer temperature sender, leaving the first three threads free of tape.
- Hand thread the sender into the CravenSpeed Sender Adapter and tighten according to the instructions.
- Inspect the Sender Adapter and ensure the O-ring is in still good.
- Thread the Sender Adapter and tighten according to the instructions.
- Check continuity of the sender wire and the sender unit.
- Attach wire to the Autometer sender.
- Fill oil.
- Hide all wires in the dash as appropriate and run through the openings to the gauges for a test fit.
- Connect all of the wires as appropriate.
- Reconnect the battery.
- 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.
- Start the car and the oil pressure gauge should be working correctly.
- Turn off the car and check the oil level. Fill as needed and restart the car.
- 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.
- Shut-off the car and complete installation of the gauges.