Turn Signal Intakes

Crappy, burned out TSI

Crappy, burned out TSI

Miata turn signal intakes, or TSIs as the cool kids call them, have interested me for years. There’s a half dozen different styles and there’s at least as many ways to make a set of them yourself (DIY). For years I’ve been indecisive about what style I wanted, so I just left it alone. Then the Zest style started to grow on me. It’s similar to the ABS plastic one that they sell here in the states, but it has these retro-looking round indicators. Love them.

Original Zest TSI

Original Zest TSI

Nice, huh? But pretty hard to get here in the states. Plus, I’m not crazy about how far those small indicator lights are recessed. I’d hate to spend a couple hundred and then be unhappy and start hacking up my rare Zest TSIs…. so, I bought the things you see at the top of the post here. They were $55 on ebay. The lenses were broken and melted, but the housings were otherwise perfect. Buy-it-now, a few weeks wait for shipping from Puerto Rico, and I was on my way.

Allergy pills have so many uses

Allergy pills have so many uses

Yeah. Allergy pills. I’m not gonna explain my madness.

All hacked up.

All hacked up.

A little work with my dremel turned that sad little half moon hole into a nice, sorta sad roundish one.

Like magic!

Like magic!

Yes, I have indicators. They are dead ringers for the Zest indicators. Same size and shape. They’re for a scooter. I found them with Google’s shopping search. Four of them were $9 plus shipping from China.

This used to be a pill bottle.

This used to be a pill bottle.

All filled up with bondo.

All filled up with bondo.

Very exciting bondo action here. Even more exciting is trying to keep your camera clean while you bondo and shoot.

Bondo smoothed down with my fancy smoothing tool.

Bondo smoothed down with my fancy smoothing tool.

Bondo sanded.

Bondo sanded.

I’ve not had a chance to work with bondo for a little while. It was enjoyable. The sanding is a very Zen exercise. It came out far nicer than I’d hoped.

Blinkers!

Blinkers!

Here are three of my four blinkers. The bottom is unmodified and just for reference. I wanted something with a dual filament bulb, so I sourced some bulbs and sockets that would fit. The middle one is drilled for the new socket. The top one is drilled and has a spiffy bracket on top to mount the indicator on the TSI. The top two got some clear silicon to seal up the holes after I shot this.

Nifty bracket, eh?

Nifty bracket, eh?

The Zest indicators are able to be mounted on the side of the TSI duct. The way mine are put together, the little screws would point up and down if I mounted my indicators like that. It’s picky, but I didn’t like that. Instead, I created these 90 to 180 degree angle brackets. The juuuuuust fit in the turn signal hole.

Indicators mounted

Indicators mounted

Indicator from the side. It pokes out just enough.

Indicator from the side. It pokes out just enough.

Test fitting. I was far too happy about this.

Test fitting. I was far too happy about this.

Not bad. The indicators stick out just enough and are a good match for my Zoom Engineering side markers. And I’ll get this out of the way now, I took no close-ups of the lights lit up. I’m ashamed. This will be fixed soon.

Primered. 5 coats to get it smooth.

Primered. 5 coats to get it smooth.

Painting in progress. I think this was coat 3.

Painting in progress. I think this was coat 3.

Painted Zest knockoff TSIs in my lightbox

Painted Zest knockoff TSIs in my lightbox

MO makes quick work of sanding and polishing.

MO makes quick work of sanding and polishing.

And finally…
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.
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The TSIs installed. Click to see larger (as you can with any of the pix)

The TSIs installed. Click to see larger (as you can with any of the pix)

Driver's side close-up.

Driver's side close-up.

and from the side, showing the indicator.

and from the side, showing the indicator.

I’m very happy with how these turned out. They look just how I wanted, gave me a couple weekends of garage work, and didn’t break the bank. I just hope those pill bottles hold up…

Outtakes-

The Uglydolls invaded my lightbox.

The Uglydolls invaded my lightbox.

Gurren and Lagann say HELL YEAH!

Gurren and Lagann say HELL YEAH!

What the heck is Hot Rod doing with these black hoses?

What the heck is Hot Rod doing with these black hoses?

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  • XCLR8TN says:

    I was browsing and I was like, whoa, why haven’t I seen these yet?!?!? Then I looked at the date lol.

    I <3 them, like really. They rock.

    FWIW, the light housing shape on the TSIs is the only thing I don't like on mine (same ones).

    That montego paint looks badass!

  • revlimiter says:

    My spam filter caught this!?! I have no idea why. Stupid spam filter.

    And thanks!!! I’m SO happy with these. Happy enough that I forgot to take pix of the lights in both modes. MAYBE when I get around to those pix I’ll have new wheels…

  • Dave MacLeod says:

    Very impressive work.

  • Koich says:

    Nice work! I ran a similar intake and turn signal kit in Japan http://www.flickr.com/photos/koich/189260076/in/set-1519437/

    My issue with the kit was: you need a bright bulb to create enough ‘load’ so that the turn signal doesn’t blink too fast. But the bright bulbs also caused the lens to melt. I forgot what the wattage was, but there was a fine balance there of brightness and melting the lens. I went through a set of lenses before I found the right pair. Keep in mind that the Japanese Miata doesn’t utilize this as a parking light, so it melted just by using it as a turn signal……

    • revlimiter says:

      I’ve not had a problem with load, actually. Mine blinks at the standard rate. And, after over a year, I’ve not had any melting problems.

      One of the beauty things about buying that virtualvillage set of lights is that you get 4 of them. If you melt one, you can replace it and still have a spare on your shelf.

  • Ron says:

    Hi, Those are cool looking. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got the indicators from. Very nice work.

  • Martin says:

    this job is so perfect!

  • Drew says:

    Jut wanted you to know that your walkthrough prompted me to have a go myself. First time I’ve every attempted something like this but I decided to have a go anyway using your instructions. I did my own write up as I went along. Hope you like the result – it’s down to you and Sharka inspiring me to get the job done! See it here http://www.mx5nutz.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=67647&st=0&gopid=851947&#entry851947

  • Chris Evans says:

    These look great and a inspiration on doing something unique to your Miata.
    Is there away to use the existing socket and twist it in like the existing housing on the turn signals or is the blinker housing too small?

    Thanks

    • revlimiter says:

      I *think* these are meant to work like that from the “factory” or wherever these turn signal intakes actually come from. The problem is that the stock bulbs are too much and melt the housings. I think. I’m not sure.

      If you follow the link to Nutz above, Drew has actually done something that twists into the new motorcycle marker housings. It’s really slick.

      • Drew says:

        Hey guys – slight change of plan there! That was my original design but I couldn’t get capless lamps over 5w for the twist fit and the lamp sat too far back. I ended up pulling apart the stock indicator lamp holders and using the internals and the seals from these. Drilled a hole the same size as the rear seal in the back of the indicator housing and passed both wires through the rear seal. Currently running 10w lamps (which flash quicker) but will uprate as soon as I find small higher wattage lamps to fit. Hope that helps – need to update my nutz posting with the solution!

        • revlimiter says:

          These little blinker housings can handle a lot of heat. I’ve got dual filament bulbs in mine so they act as both marker lights and blinkers.

          Looking forward to seeing your solution!

  • Mike says:

    I love what you have done to retro-ize those TSI’s! And I’ve been looking everywhere for some used ones, but I can’t find any under $100… any suggestions?

    • Adam says:

      Just keep checking on ebay. That’s where I found mine. Maybe the classified area on Clubroadster? But really, the cheap ones will probably be ebay.

  • Chris Evans says:

    I was planning this project kept looking for TSI put it on hold then last week I picked up a set KG Works Type B TSI for $40. Just luck out.

  • Dylan says:

    Hey, I keep seeing your cold air intake on google, I am trying to make up one of my own along with my own tsi’s. i have a 96 montego miata too and im trying to do up a cold side intake, but i have a shortage on space to jam a filter in. I see the one you made(to prove air went into the headlight airdam thing) but did you relocate your coolant tub and a/c relay bracket? this is really bugging me.
    Thanks

    • Adam says:

      Hmmm. I bet you’re seeing this image?

      This following one will explain it a bit better.

      I used to have a coldside supercharger. It ran very poorly and I dumped it after about a year. But I did do a lot of work to improve it, of which one project was to make a real intake for it.

      I’ve seen a few N/A NA coldside intakes on miata.net over the years. None were really great. The headlight motor gets in the way from making something really nice like the NB guys can do.

      Anyways, yes. I relocated the coolant tub. I put in a small one from a civic on the hotside of the motor. I also relocated the charcoal canister to the hotside. Running without that canister made my garage smell like gas after I parked.

      • Dylan says:

        ohh, yea i dont have a supercharger haha, that makes a little bit of a difference. i guess ill be better off running it on the hot side. i just didnt really want to make up a heat shield, but maybe ill give it a shot.

  • spindiscs says:

    Again a custom solution that looks almost OEM.

  • Skeeler says:

    Let me know if you decide to sell these in your store. If you offered a pair ready to paint for a reasonable price, say twice the $140 that Goodwin charges, I’d be quite interested.

  • speedypenguin says:

    Hey Adam! Just wondering, how many coats of paint and clear coat did you use? Just painted my turn signal intakes, but couldn’t get it as shiny as yours…

  • Andrew says:

    What dual filament bulb did you use for your TSIs?

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