The problem boils down to looks. Jon Maddux looked into having a VDO Vision refaced to match our stock gauges, but North Hollywood Speedometer quoted him over $1000.
LeatherZ wound up having VDO NA put chrome-ringed bezels on a VDO Vision gauge. The chrome ring matches our stock gauges, but the VDO Vision gauges have a black face instead of gray.
So, as of yet, there's no inexpensive way to get a stock-matching oil pressure gauge or voltmeter. I'm debating tearing apart a VDO Vision gauge to see if I can get something to work with self-adhesive film intended for backlighting, but I'm also seriously considering just replacing all three center console gauges. I want a voltmeter anyway, I might as well replace the stock oil temperature gauge too.
I'd like gray faces, and black would be my last choice. I'd like backlighting, but I can probably live with side-lighting. I want chrome bezels.
I'm looking at 6 different sets of gauges:
I'm considering changing the whole color scheme for the lighting in my car. While the orange isn't bad, and in general the instrumentation in the M looks nice, I'd like to see something different just to know my options on overall color scheme. To do this, I'd need to replace or cover three 194-type bulbs in the instrument cluster, three 194-type bulbs in the gauges, the bulb covers in the A/C and recirculate buttons, bulb(s) behind the HVAC controls, bulbs in the heat seater switches, the bulb in the DSC button, and the bulbs on the window controls. Am I missing any?
The ISSPRO EVM are backlit. I suspect I'm not going to be thrilled with the look in my car. The font isn't like anything else in the car, the markings are blue, and the needle is blue. On the other hand, blue is a significant color in the BMW roundel, and two shades of blue are in the M logo.Reviews seem to indicate these have the best backlighting on the market right now (December, 2003). They also have 270 degree sweep on oil pressure and oil temperature. The voltmeter is a 90 degree sweep.
If I go with these gauges, I'd want:
The ISSPRO EVA are backlit just like the EVM gauges. They're machanically the same as the EVM, but have a black bezel, black face, white lettering and white needle.ISSPRO sent me three fold-on chrome bezels (for free!) to place over the stock bezels on the EVA.
If I go with these gauges, I'd want:
The VDO Cockpit White do not have chrome bezels, but Jon Maddux said he can get them with chrome bezels (but it'll cost more than the VDO Visions). With chrome bezels, these are likely the best match to the instrument cluster in terms of needles and font. I also like these for their minimalist, race-oriented look. Easy to read, no-nonsense gauges. They have traditional side-lighting.If I go with these gauges, I'd want:
The VDO Contour have chrome bezels and domed glass. The font and markings will be a poor match to the instrument cluster. I'm mostly interested in the domed glass. Is it possible that LeatherZ could have it used on any of the same-sized VDO gauges?
If I go with these gauges, I'd want:
The Classic Instruments Silver Series look to have a face color that would work well in matching the stock gauge face color, and would work well in my black/gray interior. From pictures, I'm not thrilled with the look or the needles, but on their web site it looks like I can choose the needles, as well as bezel and glass. They also appear to not have the ranges I want for oil pressure (I want 80PSI max, they have 100psi max) and oil temperature (they have a 160-280F gauge).I've also been in contact with Classic Instruements about custom gauges. They do a lot of custom work, and they hand-assemble all of their gauges. Hence there is no setup fee, only a one-time customization fee of $400. I can send them the artwork (Adobe Illustrator file), and they'll also color-match to the stock gauges. I'd like the silver circle and red ring removed from the Silver Series, the function to be in white type instead of black, and the ///M logo on the gauge.
The VDO pressure sender that Randy has is M10 x 1.0.
To get to the unused port on the filter housing, I need an extension hose; the sender itself is too big to fit. I need to remove the air intake clamps, which are one-time-use (I need to order some).
The Classic Instruments gauges are American range: 240-33. Senders for this range are typically not metric, so I'll probably need an adapter on the extension hose if I use these gauges.
I believe the ISSPRO senders are 1/8" NPT? ISSPRO makes an M12x1.5 to 1/8" NPT adapter (P/N R7962), but it's brass; need to be careful to not break it. I don't think this is what I need anyway... I need an angle adapter on the oil filter housing. Randy says the VDO angle adapter mounts M12 (with a Banjo bolt) and has an M10 tapped port for the remote hose. I can get a steel M10x1.0 male to 1/8" NPT female adapter from McMaster-Carr (P/N 4936K153).
Randy has offered to make an angle adapter that's M12 to NPT. I might take him up on the offer if I go with American-range gauges.
For oil temperature, I'm not sure what I can do yet for senders that aren't VDO range. The ISSPRO and Classic Instruments senders are all NPT. Here I suspect I'm stuck with a part like R7962 from ISSPRO, and hope I don't twist it off installing it or find that it puts the temperature sender in a bad position (out of the oil flow).
The stock oil and outside temperature sensors are routed through the controller (A3984 in the ETM) behind the glove box. In the ETM, the oil pressure switch is B6231, and the M version is shown in 7100.0-45-1 (the Z3 version is in 7100.0-41-1). The oil temperature sensor is B6238 and shown in 7100.0-41-1. The thermal oil level switch is B6254, which has a hot-in-run-and-start lead on pin 1, a run to DME connector X60003 pin 39 (gray/brown wire), and a ground on pin 3. It is pictured in 7100.0-48-3 in the ETM. This is for future reference when I install the Turner oil temperature sensor flange.
Note the ETK only shows 'TEMPERATURE SENSOR OIL/WATER' and shows it inserted in the water 'RETURN PIPE'. It's part number 184.108.40.2063.076. Look here for the page from the ETK.
Randy, ever the gracious individual, sent me yet another good picture: the senders.
I ordered orange bulb covers for T-10 and T-5 bulbs. This is mainly to play with the ISSPRO EVA gauges to see what it looks like.
I've decided I like the ISSPRO EVM gauges, and I'll be using them. They should go well with an alcantara shift boot and handbrake boot with blue stitching from LeatherZ. I ordered the 100-280F electrical oil temperature gauge and the 0-80 PSI electrical oil pressure gauge from egauges.com. I also ordered an alcantara shift boot and handbrake boot from LeatherZ.
In order to take comparison pictures of the gauges with illumination, I should start working on making my new Sport mode harness, which will free up the illumination leads from the DSC button.
I have the whole center console out now, so I can clean up some wiring and run the wires for the motion sensor. I took some pictures of different gauges next to the stock gauges, and added them to the existing pages of gauge pictures.
For those who like pictures of a big mess revealed by removing trim, see this picture. It shows my center console just removed (glove box is still out and alarm dangling down for my simultaneous work on the alarm).
The EVM oil pressure and oil temperature gauges (with senders) arrived today from egauges.com, I took a picture of them just sitting in the center console (not fastened):
If I can get the gauge amplifiers installed on top of the SRS module, I'll probably tap pin 5 (violet/blue) of connector X74 for hot in accessory, run and start. This will power the gauge amplifiers, and will also be used for the voltmeter.
I suspect I'm going to mount the amplifiers on the HVAC box behind the center console. I can use velcro or foam tape, it doesn't really matter since I don't expect them to be removed once installed. Here's a picture of the box I'm taking about. the face of it (where the labes are located) has more than enough room to hold both amplifiers.
It's worth noting that the harness for the head unit goes under the carpet over the tunnel on the driver's side. So it's just as easy to tap power from there as the SRS box. So I'd prefer to do that, since I consider my airbags a critical element. :-) The wire of interest in the head unit harness is pin 5 on the X18126 connector, which is violet/white. This wire runs to a 15A fuse (#44), with a bunch of other things (telephone connector, wiper/washer stuff and clutch switch). It is hot in accessory, run and start. Q: do I have any violet 18 gauge hook-up wire left? I just checked, looks like I have one unopened 100-ft. spool. Pin 15 on the head unit harness (brown wire) could be tapped for ground.
Here's a picture of the gauges installed, from behind. The illumination wiring is connected.
I mounted the signal amplifiers, and cut the wires from the signal amplifiers to the gauges to length. I tinned the end of these wires where they go into the amplifiers, since it uses terminal blocks. The signal amplifiers are mounted on the HVAC box with velcro. The hook side is on the amplifiers, in case I want to move them to the carpet.
I added wires with disconnects to the voltmeter for the voltage reading. These can go to the head unit taps too. I wrapped them a bit with friction tape, and also wrapped a bit of friction tape on the illumination wire tail.
I received the oil distribution block from Randy. Here's a picture of it with the ISSPRO EVM oil pressure sender and temperature sender. Note I won't be mounting my pressure sender like this, it'll be on a remote hose. This is just for illustrative purposes.
The intake clamps are not in yet, but hopefully will be in by Friday. I picked up oil and an oil filter change kit.
I ordered a 24" teflon hose with -4AN ends and 1/8 NPT fittings from Stack Car Products.
Just to have a backup for the Oetiker clamp pliers, I also ordered CV boot pliers from ZDMAK, which will probably work on the intake clamps. Those were $16.99 plus shipping. Unrelated, I also ordered the subframe bushing tool kit from ZDMAK. Expensive ($361), but it should pay for itself in one or two uses.
I cut the wires for the power ragtop button and soldered extensions on one end, so I can move the power ragtop button to the front of the console. I used my nylon fish tape to feed them under the carpet in the tunnel. I then cut the extensions to length (about 12 inches) and soldered them to the harness.
I tapped the cigar lighter illumination for gauge illumination. I put female disconnects on the end of the tap wires, so I can always fork for other things in the future w/o soldering or tapping again.
I made tap wires for voltmeter and amplifiers. Hot is violet with male ends, and I tapped the violet/white wire of the head unit harness. Ground is black, and I tapped the brown wire of the head unit harness.
I ran wires through the firewall to get from the senders to the amplifiers. I did this by opening up the fusebox and pushing my nylon fish tape through the hole for the large bundle into the cabin. Right now I've only got two colors, red and blue for each sender. That was probably a bad idea. Not a problem under the hood, but it could be a problem under the center console if I ever want to disconnect and reconnect the amplifiers (I might forget which is which).
I took a quick picture of the gauges illuminated. These are with the blue bulb covers removed, to neutralize the blue color a little bit. It's worth noting that the lighting is different between the 270-degree gauges (oil temp and pressure) and the 90-degree gauges (voltmeter). The 270-degree gauges use a pair of T5 bulbs mounted diagonally (at 10:30 and 4:30), while the 90-degree gauges use a single T10 bulb mounted at 12:00. The voltmeter winds up appearing brighter.
It's also worth noting that my power supply here was just under 12V, so the gauges will be brighter when the car is running and the dimmer is all the way up.
Finally, it's worth noting that a blue LED bulb in the voltmeter makes it easier to read, but very blue in color. I'll take some pictures with different colored bulbs in the voltmeter.
I soldered the oil pressure sender harness wires (in the engine compartment) to the wires I ran through the firewall. I did the same for the oil temperature sender harness. Each joint got 2 layers of heatshrink tubing, but I have not wrapped things up yet. I have HALAR braided sleeve and clear 3:1 dual-wall heatshrink tubing coming from cableorganizer.com.
I pulled the leads in the engine compartment to what I think is roughly the correct length, and put my relay/fuse box back together. I used my fish tape again to route the wires in the cabin under the carpet that covers the transmission tunnel. I'm almost ready to put the center console back in place.
I routed the sender wires in the cabin and put fire-retardant braided sleeve around them.
I made a new harness for my SportMode/DSC module, incorporating the second Apem IP for DSC and using its LED for alarm status.
Ultimately I'll want a slightly longer distribution block, because the temperature sender bottoms out in either port of the distribution block. Randy offered to make another one, I'll take some measurements and pictures for him. I'll owe him for this, I think he could probably use another one of the lights that Andy sent out this week, and I'll have two to give away. I'll also give him 50' of the HALAR braided sleeve he wanted, at no cost.
I put new oil and filter in, but only put 5.24 liters of oil in. I will check and top off when I'm done.
Testing the gauges, I thought the pressure gauge was reading high. It was reading about 32 PSI at cold idle, and would go over 60 PSI when revving to 4500 rpm. After the oil warmed up to 160F, things looked normal; 20 PSI at idle, and 60 PSI at 4500 rpm and above.
Idling in the garage, the temperature gauge levelled off at 185F. This is roughly what the VDO said in these ambient temperatures, so I think I'm good to go. With the oil at this temperature, the pressure gauge read about 12 PSI at idle.
No leaks found. I started putting the center console back. I put the Sport/DSC module and gauge signal amplifiers in place. I reinstalled the hazard button and reconnected the window buttons. I put the gauges in the console and connected them, but have not yet fastened them. I connected the seat heater buttons, and the cigar lighter and its illumination. I pulled my new DSC and Sport button setup through its hole in the center console.
I plugged everything back in for the center console except my head unit, just to make sure it's all still working. Looks good. I temporarily fastened the gauges, and test fit the console with everything in place. I'm set to put the center console back together. I installed the alcantara handbrake boot, it looks very nice. I have not yet installed the shift boot.
I installed the ETK and TIS on the newly-loaded Windows XP box in the basement (old PIII dual-CPU rackmount). I once again have access via RDP so I can use the ETK and TIS from anywhere.
The center console is back in but for the screws in the back. I unscrewed one of the flanged plastic nuts holding the rubber to the firewall, so I could tuck my gauge and footwell lighting wires between the rubber and the firewall around the gas pedal. That's nice and tidy now. I also zip-tied the slack for the wire going to my in-dash jack for the V1 remote display. I then replaced the driver's side knee bolster, and am now working on getting the trim panel that covers it back into place (pain in the rear). I also reconnected the brake signal to my alarm so I can have autolocking (which needs to be programmed into the alarm).
I finally realized that with the design of the HVAC duct in the trim panel in the driver's footwell, the knee bolster makes any work involving removal of that panel too difficult. For now I'm going to leave the knee bolster out. I will look into redoing the way the HVAC duct connects. I have to buy the whole panel to play with, P/N 220.127.116.119.807.
I fastened the Oetiker clamps on the throttle bodies. This was a piece of cake using the CV boot pliers from ZDMAK. I reconnected the condensation return line, connected the other hoses, and fastened the lower mount points of the airbox. I then zip-tied the oil pressure sender to a hose using the silicone-cushioned strap. This is temporary until Randy installs a nutsert, but is in the desired location. I fastened the heat shield and the dipstick guide.
I secured the oil temperature and pressure sender wiring under the hood. I used teflon tape with silicone adhesive to seal up the connector a bit on the oil temperature harness, just so it's not inundated with water. I'll probably wrap it more thoroughly after nutserting the oil pressure sender in place.
I coated the fastened contacts on the oil pressure sender with liquid electrical tape, just to help prevent corrosion.
I wiped up dust from under the air filter box and then reinstalled the air filter box and duct. I think reinstalled my Strong-Strut and the cross-compartment wiring cover. I'm now in a drivable state under the hood.
I fastened the forward trim panel under the dash on the driver's side. The driver's side is now ready.
This week my oil temperature gauge has been reading differently. On Wednesday, it was fluctuating wildly on the highway, 10 minutes into my drive. 10 minutes later, it was pegged at 280F. I suspect a short near the sensor, which means my intake needs to come off to check things out. Last night on the drive to Randy and Sue's, it was read a steady 220F. This is well above my normal highway reading (200F or less). On the return trip, it read the usual 190F. I don't know whether to think I've got impending kaboom, or to just chalk all of this up to a wiring insulation issue. Oil pressure has been normal and stable. Oil and coolant levels are normal. The water temperature gauge was centered when I had the 280F reading. Not that I trust that thing, it's almost useless. When I stopped after the trip to Toledo last night, my aux fan was not on. So I think I've just got a sender or sender wiring issue.
Coincidentally, I had ordered new gauges this week, the ISSPRO EVA gauges which they now offer with red needles. Unfortunately the voltmeter has multi-color graphics that I don't like, egauges.com sent me a 'trans oil temp' gauge instead of 'oil temp', and the oil pressurge gauge is being shipped directly from ISSPRO (it's not here yet). I think I'm going to keep the 'trans oil temp' gauge and use it for my transmission and differential. I've got a sender for the differential now, I just need to pull my diff cover and drill/tap a larger sender hole (1/4 NPT). I wish I had thought about this before I changed my transmission fluid last week. :-( In any event, I'll order a transmission drain plug this week so I can drill and tap it for a sender. I suspect I'll delete the voltmeter in the console for now, and have oil pressure, oil temperature and transmission/differential fluid temperature. I may later put an EGT and water temperature gauge on my A-pillar.
Today I enlarged the hole in the Turner oil temperature flange (using a 10.8mm drill bit), and tapped it 1/4 NPT. This lets me use my ISSPRO 1/8 NPT sender with a sleeve adapter bushing. Fitment looks good. Now I just need to figure out what my DME is going to say with the stock sensor removed.I also received a 24" kevlar hose to replace the stainless braided one on my oil pressure sensor.
I looked at the signal from the stock thermal oil level sensor. It's PWM, with a frequency of 2.5Hz. I also found some information on how it works. Unfortunately it's used as input to VANOS, so I'm reluctant to replace it with the Turner piece and my ISSPRO sender. The same source inf information says that the coolant temperature is used as a backup, but I'm even more leery of disconnecting the thermal oil level sensor now.
I asked Randy if he had some pictures of the inside of the oil pan and the sump cover. Sure enough, he did. The sump cover has a conical screen for one of the inlets of the oil pump. I'll order one, along with a gasket. Then we can look at putting a bung in it for my sender.
egauges.com shows this gauge as 24V. Hmm, I hope they're wrong. I do have more chrome bezels on order from ISSPRO, so worst-case, I wind up with a white-needled EVA gauge for oil pressure (I already have one in my box of gauges).
The new sump cover and other parts arrived from Jay Lilley. I'm not sure this is going to work out for a sender, but we'll see. I won't know until I pull the existing sump cover off and get a look at the draw tube for the oil pump. If I can stay out if its way, this should work fine. There is no orientation to the sump cover, so I will be able to spin it around after Randy welds the bung in place.
A funny thing about the screen attached to the sump cover; if anything big enough to be screened made it into my oil pan, I think it'd mean my motor was toast. :-)
No matter anyway, since I'll be replacing the gauge and sender soon, and hopefully the sump cover trick will work. This will let me trust the sender reading a little more, and I suspect it'll be much less erratic when the oil cooler thermostat opens since it'll be in the oil flow.
I drove the car to warm it up, then took a sample for analysis with the topsider. I then drained most of the rest of the oil with the topsider. I didn't wait at all for the oil to run into the pan, since I knew I'd be pulling the sump cover.
I removed the x-brace and the sump cover. I got maybe 100 ml to 150 ml more oil out. No measurement since I just had a pan under the car. It looks like a lot of this oil is due to sump cover removal letting the pump inlet completely empty out. The sump cover holds a bit of oil too (much to my chagrin because I didn't think about it before I tipped it and covered my forearm with dirty motor oil).
Note that the distance from the bottom of the x-brace to the bottom of the sump cover is about 1.17". So that's about how much room there is to work with without having the sender sticking out further than the x-brace.
I removed the air intake, in preparation for tomorrow's work. I also think I found the cause of my sometimes erratic oil temperature reading that cropped up a couple of weeks ago. The water pump/valve on the shock tower had come out of its mount and was stressing my sender wires.
I replaced my braided stainless steel oil pressure hose with a Kevlar hose. There wasn't any trouble with the old hose, but the Kevlar one is more flexible and won't abrade anything. It's also lighter. :-)
I put everything back together and started the car. The new oil temperature sender works well. I still have the interior work to do (replacing the gauges).
I also ordered a case of Redline 80w140 for the differential work.
Center console is out.
I tested the new oil temperature sender. Idling in the garage, it peaks around 190F. It gets there faster than the old sender did. All good news.
I replaced the oil pressure sender that I broke, with a new one that arrived from ISSPRO today. Works fine, underhood work is done.
I'm running the wiring for the differential and transmission temperature senders. Up through the grommet in the trunk, etc. I'll probably mount the gauge amplifier in the trunk too, on or by my driver's side crossover. I'll probably put the switch or button to toggle between the two senders in the rear of my center console.
I removed the differential cover, drilled and tapped the sender hole to 1/4 NPT (was originally M10x1), and installed the sender.
I'm in the process of running the differential temperature sender wiring. The usual pain in the butt of coming in through the trunk. I'm through the trunk, under the ragtop liner, under the rear console and into the cabin now. I used PET braided sleeve around the wires. I'm essentially out of room for wiring in the driver's side grommet at this point. If I add any more wiring through there, I'll likely remove the grommet and install some edge trim on the sheet metal.
While I was under the ragtop liner, I tried a little trick with the nylon bearing I'm using the protect my ragtop from the shock adjustment tab: I filled bottom half of the bearing with RTV silicone. I wrapped splicing tape around it first, so silicone wouldn't spill out. I'll be keeping an eye on this trick, since I know the top of the shock moves up and down and side-to-side. This is temporary, I still intend to use a better solution coming off of the reinforcement plates at some point in the future. In fact I have more Rogue reinforcement plates on the way for my intended sulution.
Since I'm now officially out of flame-retardant PET braided sleeve, I ordered some more from cableorganizer.com. This time I ordered normal gray PET, black/red spider flame-retardant, and some more Halar (white with black tracer). I still have some black with white tracer Halar.
I torqued the front bolts of the x-brace to 22 Nm using the new small Snap-On Techwrench. I torqued the rear bolts of the x-brace to 45 Nm using my larger Techwrecnh.
I put the trunk back together.
I ran the harness for the transmission temperature sender. It comes into the cabin via a small hole in my shifter boot. It was either that or a new hole in the firewall; I'm out of space for more wiring via the hole in the firewall for the fusebox. Under the car, the harness is between the tunnel sheet metal and the tunnel insulation, so it can't ever touch the driveshaft or conflict with the selector rod. The braided sleeve is just flame-retardant PET, I don't think I need Halar here.
I made a new harness for the connection from the new amplifier to the transmission oil temperature gauge. I used gray PET braided sleeve here.
I double-checked the positioning of the harnesses behind the console, as well as my old labels on each connector to make my life easier putting the console back in. I'm ready to put the center console back.
I wasn't getting a reading from the differential temperature sender, but it was just an issue with the plug near the sender.
I corrected my head unit issue. It wasn't seated in the alarm post receiver. Worth noting for future head unit removal/installation... with all the wiring back there for my head unit, not to mention the DC-DC converter, it's easier to installthe head unit and sleeve at the same time, angling it down below the alarm post receiver until the sleeve is in to the point where about half of the retaining fingers are past the front edge of the console. Then pull the head unit out of the sleeve a bit and angle the back of thehead unit and sleeve upward and push the sleeve in the rest of the way, then puth the head unit in. This keeps the wiring out of the way of the alarm post receiver.
I installed the new connectors. Much better, I now don't need splicing tape around the connectors. This will make rear subframe removal easier in the future. I took the car for a test drive, all is well; gauge read 145F after about 15 minutes, which is normal.