Running a custom tune, I needed to install a mechanical boost gauge to get accurate boost numbers. TurboSmart makes a good mechanical boost gauge so I went with that and a boost tap from Forge Motorsports.
Multiple apps and gauges can pull the boost readings from the OBD2 port but those are very delayed. Mechanical boost gauges provide real-time boost pressure readings. I liked the TurboSmart setup because it read to 30psi. After my ByteTronik tune, I was well over the 20psi that most gauges read.
After installing several boost gauges over the years in various cars, I knew the process but being the first install in a Mini it was all different. Thankfully, CravenSpeed had a great set of instructions on how to run the wiring so I used them.
My Install Process:
- First I ran the wires from the fuse panel to the steering wheel. This was to make sure I would have more than enough wire.
- The fuse panel is located in the glovebox and with an “add a circuit” I tapped into fuse 50 which controls the backup camera and auto-dimming mirrors. This was a switchable fuse, meaning the gauge would shut off when the car was off
- Next step was to remove the instrument cluster on the steering column. That was pretty simple, just two screws.
- With the cluster off, I was able to pull the wire I ran from the ECU up through the steering column. I also installed the CravenSpeed gauge pod that bolts right onto the existing holes on the cluster.
- I needed to run a ground wire so I removed the two panels right under the steering wheel. That opened up the whole underside of the steering column giving me more than enough space to run a ground wire and connect it to metal to ground.
- A critical step, and one that worried me the most, running the vacuum line. Most cars in the past had easy access to the firewall, not Mini. You literally have to drill through a grommet and hope to not hit any wires. Lovely. The spot I picked was under the driver hood hinge. Using a drill bit extender I said a prayer and started drilling. Success, I was thorough ….. and the car started after too!
- With access to the cabin, I ran the vacuum hose from the front of the car, through the firewall and then worked my way up to the wheel.
- Now I had a vacuum line, ground wire, and power wire so I installed the cluster and wired everything up. Fingers crossed, I started the car and the gauge lit up! The last step, connect the vacuum line to the MAF sensor!
- With the help of a Forge Boost Tap, installation of the vacuum was easy. All I had to do was take the stock MAF off, install the Forge piece, then connect the MAF to it. Without the Forge part, I would have had to tap lines, run more wire and made a lot more work for myself. Moral of the story, get a boost tap!
- Last but not least, I zipped tied the vacuum line, put panels back and fired it up!
- IT WORKS!!
Overall, the install took about 3 hours. A lot of that was due to me trying to learn on the fly and figure the best plan of attack. The Add-a-Circuit and the Forge boost tap made the job so much easier.