revlimiter Gauges (Version Stirling) - waiting for some attention.
Your Shopping List
- A set of genuine revlimiter Gauges. - You can buy them right here on this site! Check out
the revlimiter.net Store. Other gauges may be of lesser quality or not
compatible with the steps below. Don't settle for anything but the best!
- Powder-free gloves - These come with your gauges. Because you'll never be able to wipe off finger prints from most gauges,
including your old stock ones.
- Pry tools - These come with your gauges. This is to remove your gauge needles without damaging
the old gauge faces.
- Needle Stoppers - These come with your gauges. If you have an old set of gauges before I started
shipping needle stoppers, you can follow the steps below to liberate the stoppers from your OEM gauges.
- Grab-Its dust cloth - This comes with your gauges. It's normal for gauges to become a bit dusty
while you work on them. This cloth gets them looking good before sealing up your cluster.
- Super glue - To stick the needle stoppers onto your new gauge faces.
- Tweezers - to help in gluing on your needle stoppers.
- Paper towels.
- An X-acto knife - to aid in the removal of the needle stoppers from your OEM gauge faces.
- 2 Phillips screwdrivers, one fine (#0) and one regular (#2).
- Needle-nose pilers - to nibble out plastic from behind your tach and speedometer faces.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I have an NA. Is it the same process?
It's very close. I did the NA instructions before I wrote up this set and even used a few NA photos below.
Hit my NA Gauge Install.
- How do I install the needles?
Whoa whoa whoa. Getting a little ahead of things! That section is at the bottom of this document, under
Setting the Needles.
- Where can I get the gauges in these pix???
I sell them here on this site! Check out the revlimiter.net Store.
- What's the deal with those funky gauges with non-stock zero positions?
Miatas are quite blessed from the factory in that the tach and speedometer are round with the needle in the middle.
The gauges have absolutely no idea where o'clock the needle is pointing. As long as you follow the Setting the Needles
section correctly, the gauge will think that zero is zero. It doesn't matter if zero is at the stock 7 o'clock position
or anywhere else. It will rotate all the way around and stop before it loops back on itself around the stock 9500ish
mechanical hard stop.
- How do I know the tach is accurate after doing this?
There are a few tricks, the best of which is using an OBDII scanner with live view to check your gauges against
the ECU. Really, a fine way to assure yourself of
yourself of tachometer (and speedometer) accuracy is to take some readings before you crack anything open.
For example, an NB with the 5 speed and 4.3 diff will have 2500 rpm as the sweet spot. 2500 in 3rd = 30 mph. 2500 in
4th = 40 mph. 2500 in 5th is just a hair over 50 mph. But take these readings for your car and don't take my word
for it. Different tire sizes will change even the list I just typed.
After you're finished with the gauge face install, check your speed and gearing against your own
- Will this make my odometer read wrong?
No. The odometer is not affected by this job. Removing and reinstalling will not change it. But your trip odometer
will be reset. Some folks use that to track their mileage (including me) and this fact is nice to know before you
put the cluster back in only to see 0 on the trip meter.
- What happens if I don't hack out the extra plastic behind the tach?
That area on the bottom will not light up at all. It will be a perfectly black area at night. This is fine for a
stock-style gauge with zero at 7 o'clock, but for any other gauge it will look a bit silly. Really, it's
very easy to hack out that extra plastic.
- What's the deal with the relocated Check light?
This is a feature of certain styles of aftermarket gauge faces. It involves a tiny bit of extra work
moving a wire
inside one of your cluster connectors. But once this is done, you have a working CEL along with a non-stock speedometer
- What about the little corner indicators (CEL and high beam)?
This is a lot like the relocated check engine light, but with more work. Go to the corner indicator mod
section to read about it.
- Some other shop sent me to this page. Is it cool if I use the info here?
Well, sure! The thing I enjoy most is helping out my fellow Miata enthusiast. However, I'd greatly appreciate
it if you would drop me a note and tell me about these other manufacturers who are ripping off my hard work.
Gauge Cluster Removal
To get access to the gauge cluster, you need to remove two plastic panels - the steering column cover
and the gauge hood - and 3 screws. Check out the diagram above and whip out your #2 Phillips screwdriver. Tackle
the column cover first.
After removing the 3 screws, just pop the top of the steering column cover off. The bottom half stays in place.
No screws need to be removed to get the gauge hood to come off an NB. It's held in place by 5 little metal
pressure fittings - 1 each on the lower front corner and 3 around the far back curve.
This particular plastic piece is notoriously delicate on NA cars. On the NB, Mazda used a slightly more forgiving
type of plastic. It bends before it breaks. Still, you should be careful. But not too careful. Prying gently can make the
plastic tabs gently tear free from the gauge hood. A forceful yank forward (toward your face) should get the hood off in one piece.
4 screws are holding the cluster in place. Well, 4 screws and 3 plastic clip connections on the back side. We'll
get to those in a minute. For now, just remove these screws and set them aside. Then pull the cluster forward slightly
(less than 1 inch or 2 cm) to give yourself a little room in the back.
There are 3 electrical connections to remove on the back. There should be enough slack in the wiring harness so that
you can pull the cluster forward and see what you're doing. Pull each and either take your cluster inside to swap
gauges or continue on to the CEL relocation step.
This section is a bit overwhelming at first. There really isn't much work to do and all of is easily reversible. Do not
worry. You can do it.
You will have to do ONE of these steps or the other. You do not need to worry about both sections. 90% of the gauges I make
use the new corner indicators, so this first section is probably the one you need.
High Beam and CEL Corner Indictors
If your new revlimiter Gauges feature new indicators for your high beam and CEL, you'll want to do the work in this section.
It's not difficult, but these instructions may not get you all of the way there. 99-02s should have no problem, but
as of this writing, I'm not sure what the wiring looks like for 03-05s. Non-US Roadsters may also have different wiring.
You start out by prying off the small corner indicators. They're held in very tight. A blade or sharp screwdriver will
help you get them out.
The fit on your new ones will be as tight as the stock indicators. You'll need to apply pressure to get them over the
little posts. Do this without touching the face of the indicator. A gloved fingertip directly over the post will work.
90% of the work centers around moving this high beam light from the tach center to the corner indicator. On 99-00 cars,
the tach shares a ground with the turn signal indicators. On 2001 cars (and probably 2002s), the high beam has its own
high and low voltage wires. Both pull to ground when deactivated. Both have voltage when activated. One reads 12.5v
and the other .45v. This makes life difficult.
The easiest way to rewire the high beam is to duplicate what I've done in the photo. First cut the trace on the old
CRUISE indicator 12v (IGN) side. (If you need to go back in the future, it's easy to run a wire from any IGN screw to
the side of this bulb.) Then run a jumper wire from the hot side of the High Beam bulb over to the old CRUISE bulb. Then
swap the ground from Pin H to Pin B using the methods detailed in the section above. Really, this is 5 minutes of work.
But it took me hours to figure out due to the funky grounding method used on the high beam bulb.
Here is a detailed view of the connector showing the new pin locations.
The CRUISE was moved to an unused spot on the board. This is the same as just putting black tape around it, but
in a more sexy way. Take a look at your gauge circuit board and make note of any pins that don't go anywhere. Any
of these will work for the Cruise ground.
High Beam + remains in its original location.
High Beam - (the "ground") moves over to the original CRUISE location, slot B on the connector.
Moving the CEL over to the corner indicator is easy. You follow the exact same method as outlined above, but instead
of moving the CEL pin to the far right, you move it over one slot to the left.
CEL pin: Moves from O (the OEM location) to N, the slot next door to the left. (If you already had it in slot P due
to a speedometer with a relocated CEL, move it from P to N.)
The wire that was already installed in N (not present in 99-00s; a door lock indicator on 01-02s) gets moved to an unused
slot in the connector just like the CRUISE wire above. There are a lot of unused slots on this black connector. I chose
slot G. Just make sure there's nothing on the gauge circuit board that goes to this pin.
If you have any problems with these steps or own a 2003-2005, please use my contact form and I'll try to help you
as much as possible.
CEL Relocation for 6 o'clock gauges
If your new revlimiter Gauges feature a Check Engine Light that's been relocated, you'll want to do the work in this section. It's
very easy. You just pop open this little black connector and move a wire from one slot to another. This enables you to
keep your CEL, but get rid of the 8 o'clock zero position that the stock tach and speedometer use.
First task: pop open the back of this little connector. This is easier said than done. It's held closed in 3 spots.
Pop open the center clasp first, then try to open up one side. If you can get both of these open, the third clasp is
easy to pop.
Each pin is held in the connector with a very small tab right in that black center area. Take a push pin or
jeweler's screwdriver, or anything really small and press that tab down. Then just pull the pin out by the wire. If you
got the back of the connector open correctly in the last step, the pin will just slide free.
Move the pin into the far right slot, right next to its old location.
Final step: Move the bulb over. It's on the back side of the speedometer. There should just be an empty slot
next to the old/OEM CEL location. At least, there's an empty slot on 99s and 01s. I suspect 02-05s are the same.
And that's it. The computer will still light the CEL happily and have no idea anything is different.
Gauge Face Installation
Take the cluster out of the car and to a comfortable, dust-free work area. You might consider putting on your
gloves now. No gauge face I've ever seen is able to have finger prints or skin oils wiped clean, not even the stock
ones. If you think you'll ever want to go back to stock faces, put those gloves on now.
NB clusters have two steps to get the front cover off. You remove the "glass" and then you can remove the plastic
gauge bezel. This is really a lot easier than the one-piece NA bezel to remove. The tabs are bigger and more forgiving
to your thumbs.
Just take your thumb and press a tab inward. Then sorta hold the bezel up with the other hand and move your thumb to the
next nearest tab. Once you get two popped free, you're good. The rest come out easily. And this trick is the same for the
clear glass cover and the black plastic bezel.
Next, it's time to remove your needles. There are no better tools in the world for this than these small plastic
pry tools. I include them with every set of gauges. Using the face mounting screws as a fulcrum, put one pry tool under
either side of a needle...
... then just lift up! The most stubborn needle will pop free with very little effort and no damage will come to
your gauge face. If you rush, you might scratch the face slightly with the back of the pry tool, but any damage should be
under the needle center itself.
Finally, out come the small screws holding the gauge faces in place. Be careful, since the metal is quite soft and
the screws strip easily. Set the screws aside for re-installation in a moment.
Indicator Light Removal Subsection
If your new revlimiter Gauges put the tach or speedometer zero position in a different place than the stock 7 o'clock spot, you'll need
to modify your cluster a bit. Notice the little boxy sections of plastic at the bottom of the tach
and speedo? Those need to get modified. And the big bad tools in the foreground are what you need to do it.
My favorite way to accurately chew away the plastic in an NB cluster is to start with some nice slices like this. Take
the wire cutters and take quite a few bites out of the plastic. The more cuts, the better you'll be able to do with the
You can see where this is going...
And there we have it. This will enable your tach to light up evenly at the bottom. If you ever want to go back, you
can glue or tape a small tube of something in place to make up the space from the cluster to the bottom of the gauge
face. A chapstick tube glues on nice, but those little cardboard tubes they pack around a new sparkplug's electrode work
A little extra care should be used with the speedometer indicator lights. If your new gauge style doesn't include
a CEL, just hack all of the plastic away like you did with the tach. If your new gauges relocate the CEL to the next
spot over, you'll just remove the left side partition.
Lastly, the high beam indicator. If your revlimiter Gauges came with the corner indicators, you will need to chew away
just a little bit in order to get even lighting on your tach face.
I like to just use the wire cutters for this. Pliers just make a mess of it.
And there we go. Just a little off the top. Mine looks a bit jagged here, but it doesn't matter. The light will still
shine through nicely and light the surrounding numbers.
Dial Face Install (continued)
If you have an NB with the factory green lighting and are wanting to change to something else, you'll need to remove
the green condom. And if you have an NB with the factory orange lighting and want to change to something else, you'll
need to remove the red condom. Pretty simple, yes?
PUT YOUR GLOVES ON. You will working with your new gauge faces a lot now. Treat them like they would
self-destruct the moment anything touches the front side. A few mintues of extra care here will be worth it. Would you,
like to stare at an oily (or even dusty if using powdered gloves) finger print for the rest of your car's life?
Time to screw your new gauges in place. Just be careful. Don't let the screwdriver slip off the screw and gouge your
new tach face. Been there, done that. It sucks.
The speedometer is the only gauge needle you can install right away. The rest need to wait till you're outside
with the cluster in your car.
See the tiny dot with all the arrows pointing to it? This is where you should point the speedometer needle. Unlike
the NA speedometer, it does not self-zero at the correct zero point. This tiny dot is as close as you can come. Most
aftermarket gauge manufacturers give you a mark like this.
Place the needle on the post gently. You want to be able to easily remove it for if/when you don't quite get the
positioning right and have to fix things. And notice how you've not yet glued on the needle stoppers?
Setting the Needles
Take your cluster back out to the car and loosely install it. I like to use one screw. As you can see, I put my black
bezel back in place. You don't have to. I just thought I'd do it so things looked nicer for photos. Then I remembered
you can't really photograph the needle setting part of this job.
This little tool makes life a whole lot easier. It's an OBDII scanner with a live view screen. No guessing
about your tach. No wondering if the car is warm yet. Just read it from the screen. I highly suggest buying,
begging, or borrowing one. It'll come in handy for more than just this job in the future.
There is no good way to photograph each step of this. Sorry, but this involves a lot of reading. I'll try
to make it as easy to understand as possible.
Oil Pressure: Start the car. Then pop the oil pressure gauge on anywhere you want. 99% of NBs have
dummy oil gauges. If yours has an aftermarket sender to make it actually work, chances are you remember
how to reset it correctly. =)
Tachometer: When your engine has warmed up enough and you hear it idling normally, pop the tach needle in place
with it pointing somewhere around 850 rpm. Next, rev up to your rev limit. For most NBs, 7200 is the limit.
OR save a lot of guesswork and use the OBDII scanner with the car at idle.
Water Temp: Once you've finished messing around with the tach needle, your engine should be warm enough to
put the water needle in place. The stock position is approximately 11:30 o'clock. Put the needle in place and then
press it down firmly. Of course, you can verify the water temp on your live data screen...
Test drive time. On this test drive, you'll get your speedometer accurate. Refer to the little chart of speed
to RPM in various gears that you made earlier. Also verify your speed between your speedometer and the live view
screen on your OBDII scanner. Once you're happy with the speedometer, press the needle on fully (remember, it was just
barely installed before). As for your test drive,
I suggest driving around in a pretty deserted area for this. You're going to be
quite distracted. And you should try to plan it so that you end up at a gas station at the end.
Fuel: Last but not least, the gas gauge. As I said before, drive to a gas station. Fill your tank. Then go
home and set your gas needle as close to the F as you like. I like to give it a few minutes between filling
the tank and setting the needle on the gauge. It takes the NB a few minutes to register a full tank.
Turn off the car. Take the cluster back out. Go back to your work area. It's time to glue
on the needle stoppers and be finished with this project!
Next, you'll need to deal with your needle stoppers. Genuine revlimiter Gauges include new stoppers for you to glue
on. At least as of March, 2013... Before that, I instructed folks to just remove their old needle stoppers. This removal is quite
Take your stock gauge and flip it over. On the back side is a small blob. Take an X-acto knife and slice it off. Then
pull the stopper out from the front side.
You'll be left with this. It needs to be sliced flat...
... like this! Pretty simple, but it's nice to have a photo to clear it up.
Apply a drop of super glue to the back of the needle stopper. Don't be shy. Make a big dome-shaped drop on the back.
You'll remove most of that glue in the next 3 seconds.
Use the corner of a paper towel to remove most of the glue from the stopper. You want to end up with just a thin
layer of glue covering the back. This way, you won't have any excess glue seeping out from the edges of the stopper,
making your new gauge faces look bad.
That's what you're after. Just a little glue. Let it dry for a few seconds according to the glue directions and then
get ready to start practicing the glue process.
Rescue the sheet of paper marked "needle stopper glue target" from your gauge pack and start practicing.
I find it best to use tweezers to hold the stopper before dropping it onto the dot. Tweezers are more accurate than your
fingers, especially fingers covered in gloves.
Drop and remove. How did the dot of glue look. Too big? Apply less and try again. Too small a drop? Don't remove as much with
the towel and try again. Did you miss the dot completely? Try another 3 times at least. Be very happy with how you're dropping
the stopper before you move onto the gauge.
When you're ready, bring a gauge cluster into your work area and glue up your needle stopper. Drop it on there. There's nothing to it.
Please note, that this photo was shot separately. You do not need to remove the gauge face again. I only
did it for the sake of taking a clear picture.
Swing your speedo (or tach) up a little ways. Hold it in place. Then place the needle stopper onto your gauge face
with the other hand. Continue to hold the needle away from the stopper until the glue has setup. For superglue, this is
around 10-20 seconds.
And that's it. All that's left to do is snap the cluster glass back on and reinstall the gauges into your car. Of
course, there's the celebratory test drive (much longer than the needle setting test drive) followed by the celebratory
beer, celebratory photos, and celebratory posting to your favorite Miata board.
My poor NB has worn a lot of gauges over the years. I had to add some pix to the end of this page.
Corner indicator CEL lit.
Corner indicator high beam in action.
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