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.
- Dry 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.
- Paper towels.
- 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.
- I got a smudge on my gauge. Can I wipe it off with rubbing alcohol?
NO!!!! No liquid should ever touch your gauges. Water, rubbing alcohol, spit, nothing. You can wipe the gauges a bit with the
included dry dusting wipe, but not with anything else. If you have a smudge, don't worry too much. Try installing the gauges and see
if you notice the mark when the plexi is in place. Mistakes like that usually vanish once the gauges are covered and in the
shadows of your dashboard.
- 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 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.
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. Use both hands when holding the screwdriver to avoid
it bouncing off and scratching a face. Be careful, since the metal is quite soft and
the screws strip easily. Set the screws aside for re-installation in a moment.
Dummy Light Housing Trimming
- Why does the bottom part of my tachometer (or area around the high beam light) stay dark at night?
You need to follow the steps below. The partitions around the three indicator lights have to be cut out. It isn't hard
to do this, but if you ignore this step, the bottom of your tach and speedometer will not light up.
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. If your gauges came with the corner indicator pieces, trim out
all partitions on the speedometer.
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.
Bulb Mods (LED and otherwise)
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?
If you ordered LEDs with your gauges, now is the time to install them. You'll have to remove your stock bulbs from the twist
bases. This is pretty simple with a couple photos. Without the photos, it can be pretty confusing.
The green or black base and bulb come apart. Just pull! It's easiest with gloves on your hands and the stock green cover on the
bulb. The two parts should come apart very easily.
Plug the LED bulb into the base. If the fit is loose, take a small screwdriver and pry the connections inside the base out away
from the walls slightly. Just enough to give a good fit.
Lastly, you need to know that LED bulbs have a polarity. They can be installed backwards and not light up. This can be beyond annoying
to find out after you've tightened the last screw on your gauge install. You should test-light your cluster before you button the
car up. Any LEDs that don't light can just be unscrewed, rotated 180 degrees (no need to remove the bulb from the twist base) and
reinstalled in the cluster. On the NB, the plug in the center above the oil gauge is the one that controls the lighting.
Needle Stopper Install - Poke Through
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 minutes 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?
There have been three methods of dealing with needle stoppers over the years: 1) cut off and re-glue your originals,
2) glue on the needle stoppers included with your gauges, and 3) poke the needle stoppers through the little holes in your
tach and OPG. For the past couple of years, genuine revlimiter Gauges include non-glue stoppers for you to install.
You shouldn't have to follow the cut-off-the-stopper or the glue-on procedure any more.
MOST of the gauges I'm making right now use this type of needle stopper. Check for the small hole
in your tach near the zero. If there IS a small hole, you need to follow these steps.
Custom gauges with different zero
rotations usually ship with the glue-on needle stoppers.
Hold the gauge face by the edges. Hold the needle stopper with your free hand. Poke the stopper through the face.
Note: Pix are of an NA oil gauge face. That's fine as the procedure is the same for NBs.
If it's hard to get the stopper through the tiny hole, twist the stopper while you insert it. A drilling motion will let the
stopper get through the face without much pressure.
If you can't get the stopper through, put one gloved finger over the center hole of the gauge face front side. That will limit your contact
with the actual gauge face, but still reinforce the face to let you press the stopper hard enough to poke it through the back.
Apply a small square of tape to the back to hold the stopper in place. Black electrical tape works best, but clear "Magic" tape
is fine too. If you use black tape, make sure none of the numbers or tick marks are blocked by it.
Ta-da! Nothing to it. The gauge is now ready to be installed.
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.
Wiring the Corner Indicators
This section has a lot of photos for very little work. What you need to do depends on the gauges you ordered. If your gauges
have corner indicators (the small plastic panels) for both the CEL and high beam, you'll need to follow all the steps. If you have
a CEL but no high beam panel, you'll need to only do the CEL mod. Use common sense and really read the below sections.
Do you have a set of older gauges that didn't ship with the wired sockets? Go read the
OLD CEL/Beam wiring guide. The wired sockets started shipping with gauges around April 2016,
so if you ordered before that and set the gauges aside for a while, you'll need to follow the old CEL/Beam wiring guide.
Indicator Light Overview and Tips
Your gauges shipped with between zero and two of these wired sockets to help you relocate your CEL and high beam lights. With your
cluster laid face down, the CEL stuff is on the left and the high beam stuff is on the right.
To make the wired sockets work, you need to remove the OEM bulb from its socket and put it in the new wired one. It can be hard
to do this. A curved tool like an insulated terminal crimper will help. CAREFULLY grab the bulb with the crimper and wiggle it
up and out of the socket. If you grip too hard you'll smash the bulb (it's a #74 that you can get from any auto parts store), so
To connect the new wired socket, you place the wires under the copper terminals on your OEM socket (the one you just removed the bulb
from) and twist it back onto the cluster. Pressure will hold it in place.
This photo is jumping ahead to the end. It's just here to show you how things will look once you're done installing the wired sockets.
High Beam Indictor Install
If your new revlimiter Gauges features a new indicators piece for your high beam, you'll want to do the work in this section.
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.
As mentioned above, turn the cluster over and look at the right side. The two upper #74 bulbs are what you'll be working on.
Remove the bulb from the OEM high beam socket and install it in the new wired socket. Keep the OEM socket handy because you'll
be using it.
Twist the wired socket into place. Route the wires down and around to connect under the stock high beam connector. Twist the
stock high beam connector into place and make sure the wires stay put under it while you're twisting it tight.
Spend some time to get things perfect. If a wire is sticking out as in the top photo, untwist the high beam socket and re-do it.
You might also add some electrical tape to insulate the connection. You don't want to risk burning out your gauge circuit membrane.
CEL Indicator Install
Take a look at your new speedometer face. If it has a CEL indicator on it next to the zero, you'll be putting the wired
socket in one place. If you don't have a CEL on the face but it's moved to the corner indicator, you'll be putting the wired
socket in a different place.
If you have the corner indicator CEL, you'll be following the above photo. Remove the bulb from the OEM socket and put it in the
wired socket. Add some black electrical tape immediately beside the stock CEL location to protect the circuit membrane.
Twist the wired socket into place. Route the wires down and around to connect under the stock CEL connector. Twist the
stock high beam connector into place and make sure the wires stay put under it while you're twisting it tight.
If you have a set of 6 o'clock zero gauges (zero at the bottom) with the CEL next to the zero, you'll follow the above pic. Remove
the bulb from the OEM socket. Add some black electrical tape immediately beside the stock CEL location to protect the circuit membrane.
Routing the wire might be a bit difficult since it's long and the distance traveled is short. Make sure the wires do not come out from
under the OEM CEL connector when you install the cluster back in your car.
Setting the Needles
Install your cluster in the car. Plug in the connectors. You can screw it in on all four corners and
install the black bezel if you want. The bezel and glass can be popped on with the cluster screwed into the car.
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.
Do not use a lot of force to press the needles into place. If the black needle center contacts the gauge face, it will
not be able to spin. A little shove is all that you need.
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.
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.
Speedometer: There's three ways to calibrate. 1: calibration mark on your speedometer. 2:
using an OBDII reader to display speed. 3: Using a GPS app on your phone.
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.
- Calibration mark method:
See the tiny dot with all the arrows pointing to it? This is where you should point the speedometer needle. You can do this with
the needle stopper installed. The needle center "hub" is long enough to contact the pin and still clear the needle stopper. Please
be careful if you have glue-on needle stoppers. Don't bump it and accidentally knock it off.
Point the needle at the calibration mark and very very lightly press it on. Leave room for it to clear the stopper. Wind the needle
up to 20 or 30 mph and let it fall back down. Does it go back to the mark? Good. Now lift it back up to around 30 mph, and press the
needle center down toward the gauge face. Don't press too hard! You don't want the black center making contact with the face.
Just press it down enough so that it makes contact with the stopper and zeroes.
- OBDII reader method:
The OBDII reader shows your speed
while driving. Factory needle calibration is a couple MPH slower than the ECU reports. So, if your computer is showing
your speed at 27-28 mph, set your needle at 25 mph. Very carefully set your needle while driving. It helps to have someone
along as a co-driver/passenger. Again, be very careful. I am not claiming responsibility for careless driving.
- GPS method:
Another way is to use a GPS app on your phone that displays speed. Get up to an even speed and have your co-driver read
from your GPS. Again, factory speedometer calibration is a couple MPH slow. If you're used to this calibration, it's best to
reset the needle to that speed. Otherwise, it's far too easy to drive faster than you're used to and get tickets. Been there,
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.
The After-Install FAQ
- My (speedo/tach/etc) needle seems to get stuck. What's going on?
99% of the time, the problem is too much force being used when you installed the gauges. If the black needle center comes into
contact with the gauge face, it won't be able to spin. You don't need Hulk-levels of force to install the needles. Just place it
on the needle boss (the metal pin) gently and verify that the gauge is reading right. After that, give it a small extra nudge to
seat it. Then look at the gauge at an angle to verify there's space between the face and the needle center.
- My speedometer needle jumps all around. And then it died. Help?
The NB speedo is driven by a small generator in your transmission. And that little thing can die at any time. I did a blog post
about fixing a dead NB speedometer. You just need a
jack, soldering iron, and solder to save yourself $200.
- My fuel gauge needle doesn't go back to zero after the gauge install?
Yup. And it didn't fall back before the install either! The NA and NB Miatas have fuel needles that don't fall back to zero
when you turn the car off. It's supposed to work like that. You just never noticed it before the gauge install.
- Why does the bottom part of my tachometer and speedometer stay dark at night?
The partitions around the three indicator lights have to be cut out. It isn't hard
to do this, but if you don't read the whole tutorial and skip cutting the partitions out, the bottom areas in your tach and
speedo will not light up.
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.
Latest Blog Posts
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This time, the spotlight shines on something a bit smaller than a Miata. I finally meet a long time automotive muse, the Suzuki Cappuccino. I want one.
Sharka goes to KINOD
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A long time Bucket List item is crossed off - Sharka gets to attend a KINOD meet.
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5 Minute Mod – Fix Your KGW Cluster Alignment
Posted on Wed, 31 May 2017 03:12:09 +0000
Got a row of hidden text on your Miata's KGW cluster? This will fix it.
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