Over 10 years ago, we built our first gauge pod for the Blue MINI. Recently we added oil pressure and temperature gauges. When we decided to move the oil pressure gauge from the center console to the speedo cluster, we also decided to swap out the DIY bracket for the CravenSpeed Flexpod.
Installation is very simple. Unbolt the speedo cluster, unplug the cable, and bolt the bracket on to the back of it. We wanted to reuse our old Autometer gauges so that took a little modification. First we had to make room in the gauge pod back cover for the lamp socket assembly (we’re using non-standard LED bulbs so they sit higher higher than stock ones.)
Next we had to cut down the threaded pins on the gauges. Cut them to about the same length as the electrical connectors and they will sit flush with the spin on nuts. Be sure to cover the lamp socket opening so you don’t fill the gauge with metal shavings
It’s a tight fit to the dash, but a very clean look. We were also able to lower the gauges relative to the steering wheel to better see the gauge faces in the smaller aftermarket Sparco wheel.
At some point you’re going to want to do this mod. Will it make you faster, better looking or get the chickweed out of your lawn? No. You’re going to want to do it for one of two reasons: 1.) You’ve become obsessed with removing all the shiny bits from your car; or 2.) Your current sill plates look like crap (my case). Whatever your reason, this is an easy 15 minute DIY project and the only tool you probably need is a plastic pry tool, and maybe some goo-gone.
First some background. If you look in the MINI parts catalog for sill plates, you’ll find part nr. 51717200469 for the Cooper S (number 4 in the drawing below). They’re bright aluminum with a printed “Cooper S” and sell for about $56 each. Their function is to cover up the four clips that hold the top of the side skirt to the sill. If you look on the inter-webs, you can find different versions, some with checkers, others JCW, some that even light up. Since ours got all banged up taking the stock seats in and out of the car a couple of times, we thought it was time to find something a little more substantial and a little less flashy. Enter the CravenSpeed black sill plates.
CravenSpeed used to make these plates primarily to people who want to black-out their cars. They’re a little less expensive than stock and are much more substantial. Swapping them out couldn’t be more straight forward. Find a plastic pry tool, start at one edge and pry away. Since the stock ones are fairly thin metal, be careful to not cut your hand as you run the tool along the edge. If the old ones do not come up cleanly, use some goo-gone to clean up the old adhesive. Since the 3M adhesive the new ones use is pretty robust, we didn’t bother to clean them up too much as we know this stuff sticks to almost anything. They certainly look better than the banged-up ones they replaced.