NB MX-5 Hey, it's Minnie!

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I replaced a few bits for the supercharger (bypass actuator, restrictor pill in the hose to same, idle bypass check valve), the check valve improved my boost a little since it appeared the old one was the original. Replaced the plugs, one heat range colder set to 0.032 per TDR's recommendations. I finally found out what was controlling the fuel for the supercharger, it was a DFMM (which indicated just how old my kit was). A little black box sold by Jackson Racing, this was basically the eBay resistor trick to tell the ECU that the intake temp was colder than it was, so more fuel was injected. Hey it worked, but I wanted something better.

Got her cornerweighted/aligned at a local place, they didn't normally do cornerweighting but turned out the owner had a set of scales from when he was dirt tracking, so he brought those in and they fixed me up. The tech who did the work is a nice guy who is very thorough. He loved the car. I go back there for any of my tire or alignment needs, it's good having somewhere that I can trust.

I had gotten a chip in the windshield while going out to dinner one night with the wife. SafeLite said they could repair it, but I would be able to see the repair. Since it was in my line of sight and I would just be annoyed, I had it replaced. Got some money off the bill because I removed the interior/exterior trim so they wouldn't have to. It was nice having a clear windshield without the years of little pits in it.

After some research I bought some Raammat to see if I could improve things on the noise side, mainly with the top up. I put it in the sounding chambers that connect the trunk with the cabin (you know, those openings that are on either side of the fuel tank). It was pretty difficult given the tightness back there and how the mat wants to fold over on itself on the sticky side. Got it in and it helped some, after talking to a local guy I bought a couple of nice fluffy pillows and put those in there as well. That helped even more.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had purchased a Thompson oil filter relocation kit from a local guy. I installed it towards the end of my vacation. Had a slight leak from the fitting on one of the hoses (the PO had made up a set of stainless braided hoses) so I took that apart to try and correct it. Thought I had it done except for a minor weep, but that turned out to be wrong.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
After some of the summer at home, it was back to work (hey, I have to do something to pay for all this!). While I was out, I bought a used combination switch (mine had the lettering on the cruise stalk worn off which looked bad), an instrument binnacle, Innovate MTX-L, Garage Star wiper cover, and a factory wiring manual. After some agonizing about it, I bought a BRP intercooled MP62 kit from someone on CR. I followed that up with the purchase of a Reverant enhanced MS2. Have I mentioned that I have a very understanding, wonderful wife?
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I got home the second week of October that year. I removed the leaking oil filter relocation kit, and took my stepdaughter to work. Car was dirty and needed air in the tires, as it was a little squirmy around corners. When I dropped her off she said she had forgotten how crazy I drive. I asked how she could do that! For the record I don't, it just seems like it to her (and of course it is amplified when in a small car sitting close to the road).

The KG Works gauge panel had finally arrived while I was gone, so that went in along with the needle caps. I also replaced the gauge hood and combination switch.

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I installed the Garage Star wiper cowl, it is a nice quality piece (no picture right now, I'll have one of it later). I had to buy a longer bolt for the one rear corner on the passenger side, and I shimmed under the cover on the same side with two washers so it didn't get pulled down.

I had bought a spare valve cover somewhere along the way and sent if off for powdercoating. After some consideration I decided to get a catch can setup from the same guy. He put an AN fitting in the valve cover and I got some black hose and fittings to complete my connections. That all showed up looking just fine:

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As you can see, I painted the lettering on the cover Mahogany Mica. I think it gives it a nice understated look which is what I like. My wife asked what was in the big box when the cover showed up, when I showed her she asked where it went. When I told her under the hood, she said, who cares? If you need any evidence of the difference in how men (gearheads) view cars versus (most) women, look no further.

And here is how it all looked installed (valve cover, catch can, wiper cowl):

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
If you look closely you can see where the catch can was mounted at the rear on the passenger side. It turned out I mounted it too low and it started leaking from the drain valve on the bottom from being vibrated against the body. Even though it was my fault, the guy who I bought it from had me send it back and he replaced the drain valve with a 90 degree fitting. While I was waiting for it to come back, I scored a NoPro washer bottle from eBay for $50. Installing that gave me more room to play with in the back corner, so the catch can mounting was modified accordingly. Note that the new washer bottle was installed as has been noted elsewhere, I extended the wiring harness and reversed the way the discharge hose was routed to the nozzles.

I got some grief over my oil fill cap, it was the one I had purchased earlier. During one of my frequent surfings of eBay, I found one that matched almost perfectly so that went on. In this picture you can see how all of this came together:

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And I forgot that I had replaced the plug wires when I did the plugs, just went with a plain set of NGK blues.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Here's a picture of her next to her (then) big sister:

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
After looking through the parts of my new supercharger kit, I ordered some gaskets and fasteners from Stage One Tuning. This was who had taken over from BRP. Unfortunately about the same time the parent company decided to close up shop. There was one guy who was going through the piles of leftover spares and filling orders but he had to stop. I'm just glad I got what I needed before it all disappeared. I also got a ProSport boost gauge (have one on the Speed6 and it works just fine) and some luscious black vent trim rings from revlimiter. I replaced the huge folding cupholder the car came with, with a nice thin one. Unfortunately whoever installed the huge one drilled an extra hole in the lower part of the dash which is now in the open, so some day I'll be buying the bottom half of the dash to replace that. I'm just picky that way.

Reverant was having some problems with the MS. They would test just fine, but when put into a car wouldn't work. I'm just glad the man goes the extra steps to check that sort of thing before shipping them out. It kind of put the damper on my getting the MP62 install going though. I did go ahead and order the COP kit that Trackspeed Engineering offers. I could have put one together myself, there is certainly enough info available. However given my short time at home and how I have to cram so much into that time, I decided it would be easier and quicker to buy it all ready to install. I was right about the easier part...
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I bought a set of projectors off a guy on MT.net. Again I was going to put things together myself, but after having my brain explode trying to get everything straight with what was needed (type of bulbs, type of harness, etc) I decided it was going to be less painful to buy a whole kit from TRS. So that order was placed.

I pulled my vents to replace the felt as the middle two liked to nod at me. I had read up on it a lot and found the first one was a pain. What I used to release the hooks on the sides was plastic cut out of an extra cone of shame we had from one of the dogs getting snipped. It already had a curve to it which fit nicely into the gap between the vent and the dash, and the thickness is just right (Goldilocks would have loved it). I popped the vents apart as I wanted to remove all the old felt and residue, I know it's been done without doing that but I wanted to be thorough. The first felt pieces I had turned out to be too thick, so I picked up some sheets at a local hobby shop. They only had blue, I figured it wouldn't be noticeable so used it (four strips on each eyeball). As it turned out I was wrong, every time I glanced at the middle vent I could see the blue mocking me. It took a couple of weeks before I could get some black felt, but that got done. Glued rev's rings in place with some silicone and I was set. BTW, if you have considered getting a set of his rings, stop it and send the man your money. They are extremely well made, very heavy and really finish things off.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I bought some black braided stainless hose and fittings to redo the hoses for the oil filter relocation kit. Got that put back in and still had a slight leak. After fiddling with it a couple of times, I decided I really didn't need it and removed it for good. My arms can reach the filter in the stock location just fine, and as it turned out I needed the spot where the relocation housing went for my HID ballast on that side.

I bought a set of black cloth NB2 seats locally for cheap ($200). Sure they don't match, but I wanted something that felt better to me than my stock ones. They held me in place a lot better.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I wanted to try modifying my valve cover with some pot scrubbers to help reduce the amount of oil that made its way out to the catch can. The how-to is here: http://mx5unleashed.com/tech/valve-cover.html
Note for those who have 2000 (and I presume 1999) Miatas, the compartment on the intake side doesn't have a partition as shown in the how-to on MX-5 Unleashed, so nothing to put a notch in. I used pot scrubbers instead of the steel wool used in the how-to, this seems to be what most people are now using. I tried sleeving the first pot scrubber with paper to get it into the lint screen but it didn't work too well. I ended up elongating the scrubber, pushing it into the lint screen for a distance and then shaking it like you do when you are trying to get a sock unrolled. That worked pretty well. As a side note, initially I picked up the lint screens at my local Ace, but they were aluminum. I found some at Home Depot that appear to be stainless and that's what I used. No pictures of that, mine looks pretty much like on the how-to.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I was having problems with the catch can filling up. As in, running the car for a couple of days would fill it right up. I tried several different things to correct the problem but nothing helped. I ended up just going back to the chrome valve cover with a stock PCV valve, I have to make sure the car is somewhat reliable while I'm gone as I don't want to burden my wife with having to turn wrenches (that lets me sleep easier at night too).

The parts pile for the supercharger swap kept building. I picked up a M-Tuned dual feed fuel rail. There was a hole on the one side that the PO couldn't tell me what it was for (it turned out the stock pressure regulator bolted right up). There are conflicting stories over whether you need the dual feed rail for lower horsepower levels, but this one popped up and I figured since so much else was going to be changed, why not?

Received my HID order so set about getting that done. I got lucky enough to pick up another set of headlights so those went on the car while I worked on the stockers. Did the bake and disassemble thing (with no grief about using the oven). I painted the outer chrome trim pieces body color, I used blue painter's tape to mask off the areas (like the turn signal recess) that I was going to leave chrome. When I removed the tape it pulled some of the chrome off with it, so much for it not sticking to things. I ended up solving that issue with a small brush and some model paint. Removed the orange cup off the turn signal so I could use one of those lights that doesn't look amber until it lights up. With the complete kit, installation of the projectors was very easy. Got the headlights all buttoned back up and then put the ballasts and wiring in. This was pretty basic stuff, I did find a door on the outside of the fuse box (you have to remove the fuse box to get to it) that has a 10mm head bolt underneath holding the power supply cable on. That was where I tied into the power connection for the lights. Ground went in the same area. Got everything all done and tried the lights out. Success! Well, almost. I only had low beams. Back to research, found out the Miata has a ground switched system so I needed to swap two of the wires on the connector plugged into the headlight socket. Did that and promptly blew the fuses for the headlights. Then started a long process of going back and forth, researching and trying different wire connection configurations with no luck. I would have either lows, highs or blow the fuses. Finally called TRS, and they said they had a new harness setup that should take care of the problem. We arranged for them to swap the harness with the one I had (I think I only had to pay shipping and maybe a couple of dollars more for the difference). I got the new harness and put it on, nice bright lights were now mine. If you order one of their kits now you will receive the updated harness so shouldn't have the problem I did. I can recommend TRS, they are another good vendor with great customer service. They have a very good forum too with lots of info on HID upgrades.

Here is a small shot of one headlight as finished:

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I know a lot of people paint the reflector as well, but I wanted something that looked just a little out of the usual. If I change my mind I can always pull them back apart and paint the rest. I really like how it looks from the side now, but I have somehow not taken any pictures from that angle (shocking for me, I know!).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
During all this time I was buying various factory manuals on eBay, I now have everything (workshop, engine, 6 speed tranny, wiring, service highlights). The workshop manual was the most expensive but I waited until I found one that wasn't too bad. I am old school and prefer working from a paper book (I do have some stuff on computer but books work better for me). Since I keep my cars for a long time I like having the real manuals.

I bought a Canton metal radiator overflow tank from eBay, this looks the same as the one sold by Moroso and I suspect they make it for Moroso. I sent that off for powdercoating to match the valve cover. Also bought a set of Tuckin' 99 front fender braces. These are nicer in my opinion than the Boss Frog arms because you don't have to cut anything under the fenders. You do have to drill one 6mm hole.

I installed the braces on a coldish day, which gave me a couple of problems with fasteners (as in, I broke a couple). Taking the fenders off revealed a small collection of debris on both sides, it wasn't too bad and there were no signs of any rust so I doubt it had been in there too long. Couple of hints for those removing their Miata fenders. There's a nut inside back towards the door that is accessed once you pull the fender liner off. You do not have to remove the nut completely as the tab on the fender has a C shape. If you have the side skirts the rearward bolt on the bottom of the fender has both a metal ferrule and a plastic spacer that goes underneath the front (small) side skirt piece.

Got the braces installed finally and the fenders back on (no pictures, did I mention it was cold?). Even though I only removed a couple of the bolts in the door hinges, the doors sagged enough to throw off their alignment. I ended up going back a day or two later, removed the fenders again and adjusted the doors. I did that by using the car's jack to move the doors up and down and then tightening the bolts. It just took a small movement to get things where they should be.

One of the fasteners I broke was the ball pin for the hood lift on one side. I wrote to RSpeed asking if they had the part and what it cost. I got a nice response back asking my mailing address and that they would send me one out. Couple of days later the envelope showed up, but it was empty with a nice pin sized rip in it. I went back to RSpeed and humbly asked if they might have another one, they did (their last one as it turned out). I got this one ok although the envelope showed signs of similar distress so I suspect it had something to do with the machine it passed through. Even though this was no fault of theirs or the parts they sold, RSpeed took care of this completely out of their pocket. Needless to say they rate highly on my vendor list and I will keep buying from them.

Here is a picture of everything in place including the coolant tank (note this was before I switched back to the other valve cover). You can also see the final position of the catch can:

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
About this time The Parts Group (who are no longer in business) was parting out a 2000 SE with about 27,000 miles. I ended up buying the carpet (mine had some small burn holes in it), the power window switch, ashtray (original owner had put a pin switch in it for a garage door opener and it looked bad) and the jack. My jack was extremely tight, even after repeated lubrication and working it back and forth. It was so bad that the handle was starting to bend whenever I used it. Didn't want anyone to have to fight it in case of a flat.

Time to head back to work (again), as a going away present I got to drive her to lunch with my wife with the top down. I also won one of the picnic backpacks the car originally came with on eBay (but didn't get to see it until I got home in three months).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Going to put a few small things here that I noticed I didn't touch on. When I put the HIDs in my headlights, I finished up by covering them with XPel film for protection. If you have never put any product like this on, it isn't an easy task. I did it while holding the lights on my lap which was a mistake. You really need to have them mounted on the car so they don't shift on you. A hairdryer doesn't really give you the amount of heat you need either, the lights have a pretty good complex curve to them so you need to be able to flex the vinyl a lot. Mine didn't end up too terribly bad, but I decided to redo them (this time with them mounted and using a Harbor Freight heat gun).

You may recall my mentioning a page or so back about buying a replacement inner fender liner. Just so you are all aware, I actually ended up getting a new one cheaper than what used ones are selling for on eBay. I had bought a used one initially but it was shipped folded up and was not in the pristine condition it was advertised. At least the seller was the stand-up sort and refunded my money. That was when I decided to buy a new factory piece, and was shocked at how inexpensive it was. Lesson here is always check how much the new piece will be first, you might be surprised.

I mentioned about my COP setup from Trackspeed Engineering being easy but not quick. I placed my order on 24 October 2011. At that time I was told it would be 4-6 weeks delivery, understandable since they are all made up per order. I heard from them about a month later saying they would be shipping after Thanksgiving. I didn't hear anything about shipping info so the third week in December I wrote them again. This time I was told they had experienced delays due a lack of time to put the kits together. This seemed a bit odd since I had been previously told they were going to be shipped soon. I was given a new delivery date and asked if I wanted a refund. I went ahead and kept my order, finally got the kit on 06 January. The kit is worth it, very nicely made and it comes with good instructions. I can't say if this is how things normally are with TSE or if they just had one of those times. Bottom line if you order something from them and don't hear within the promised time frame then get in touch with them. I would buy from them again if that means anything. (NOTE: TSE is no longer in business, but there are other suppliers for a COP setup).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had bought a set of Supra light green injectors. I had read the capacity of those is anywhere from 305 to 320cc. At that point it seemed like that would be what I needed with my M45. Then once I bought the MP62 I knew I would need something bigger. Some judicious research showed that 550cc should give me enough headroom to be safe. I decided on a set of EV14s from FiveO Motorsports (bought from them on eBay). I received them in good order and a test sheet was included with them showing the corrected output of each. Since that time I have read a few stories of people having problems with either FiveO or the EV14s. All I can say is that I had no such issues.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
So, there I was back to sea with extra time on my hands. What else to do but buy more parts?! Good thing my wife loves me so. I actually didn't buy much compared to my previous sprees (at least going by my notes from elsewhere). I picked up the last remaining new NB CNC'd Lexan fan shroud made by 3/4Cobra (think that was his screenname). I finally bought a MiataRoadster short shifter, and a couple of Spal fans to complete my new cooling arrangement. I did buy some other stuff but it was for other vehicles.

I got home just the night before Mother's Day. After a night at a B&B, got home and promptly installed the short shifter. Well, not really promptly, I spent a little time letting all the two and four legged animals get reacquainted with me. I wasn't able to take a drive then to test it, but I liked how it felt rowing through the gears sitting still.

Picked up a new Walbro 255lph fuel pump. The car already had one in it, but since I was putting so many other new things on I figured why not. One less item for worry. Also bought a EUDM 4-2-1 exhaust mani with a MSM midpipe. I used her as a pickup one day, went to the pick and pull to get a front bumper cover for the wife's mistake (aka '99 VW Cabrio she bought so the remaining kids could learn to drive on an auto. Don't get me started about what all I've had to do to it in my precious short times at home). Got some looks driving home with it sticking out of the passenger seat.

I was trying to find the buzzing noise I mentioned a while back. Every time I thought I had it nailed down because it would stop after I moved something or insulated something, it would start again. This would elude me until I started the supercharger swap.

Before my next autocross I decided to try running with the rear sway disconnected. That helped me a lot with my power oversteer. I managed to win my class straight up against a 240SX with a monster turbo. He was running some 18" wheels that looked like boat anchors which probably didn't help him much. But I won!!

I had bought a set of those Teflon window guides from the Jake the Guideman who is pretty much everywhere. The job is pretty easy, it helped that I had the door cards off before when installing my speakers. That job has been covered well so I won't go into it. I have always had good luck working around the black goo that holds the vapor barrier in place, just peel it back and be extra careful where I put my hands. The muck that was in the window tracks was pretty nasty. If you haven't at least cleaned yours and relubed I recommend it. Even better is to get a set of the window guides (they're cheap) and be done with it all at once.

I raised the car about 1/2" in front, 1/4" in rear. It was sitting too low (11 3/4" front, 12 1/4" rear) and the ride was much improved afterwards. After that I installed the old 949 front/rear subframe braces I bought off one of the forums. The front one is just a flat bar with a thick middle section, the rear is sort of a flattened U shape. They go on easily. I didn't really notice any difference with them in place compared to the butterfly brace, but it's kind of hard to top that.

The last piece that I purchased for the supercharger upgrade was a set of braided stainless fuel lines made specifically for the M-Tuned rail. Given the location of the rail I feel a lot better about having something that is resistant to abrasion. After my ill-fated attempt at making hoses for the oil filter relocation kit I was just going to get some made up, but luckily these came along.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Drum roll please...now, what you all (may) have been waiting for, the supercharger swap! Spent about 2 1/2 hours pulling the M45 setup off the car. In the process found out where that damn buzzing was coming from. There was a bracket located underneath the U-bend inlet to the supercharger. Apparently some time when I had been working on things I moved it enough for it to contact the bracket. How did I know this? There was a nice shiny area on top of the bracket staring me in the face when I removed the inlet. Kind of hard to miss.

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If you look just above the shock mount you should see a black box around the bracket that was causing the noise. I had already put touch-up paint on it when I took this picture. So for anyone with an NB and a M45 supercharger, if you get an annoying buzzing look there first.

Also removed the DDM Works CAI box, both radiator fans, upper intake manifold and stock fuel rail. Note that I bled the pressure off the fuel system first by pulling the fuel pump relay under the steering column and then running the car until it died (which didn't take very long). The stock fuel rail is pretty dinky compared to the M-Tuned piece. I had some trouble getting the stock fuel supply hose off, the manual showed it having a replaceable locking piece but mine didn't, there was just an orange colored locking piece. I ended up using a couple of jeweler's screwdrivers and some colorful language to get it off.

The next night I dove back into things. Removed the front bumper and both fender liners (I had new ones, they were both scraped from when I first got the car and it was very low). Worked on getting the lower intake manifold off, it was giving me fits until I remembered my own advice about removing things to gain easier access. Alternator came off and that did the trick. The coils came off for what should prove to be the last time.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got back into it a couple of days later, didn't get as much done as I wanted because I had something in my eye that didn't want to come out. In any event, I removed the exhaust back to the muffler (this entailed removing the butterfly brace). I was going to start installing the EUDM 4-2-1 factory manifold and downpipe I bought, but couldn't find the gaskets. I was afraid I had put them back in the box it all came in and then threw it out. I was making one last check, pulled a couple of things out and there was the envelope with the gaskets in it on the floor. Woohoo!! I finished up by installing the new front inner fender liners, and sprayed some PB Blaster on the rear O2 sensor so I can pull it out. I don't think I will need it with the MegaSquirt, but I had to take a couple of other pieces to a welder so I was going to have them put a bung on the MSM midpipe. As it turned out, with the EUDM manifold and MSM midpipe, I was shy about 2" of having things mate up at the muffler. I decided just to put the '01 manifold back on (in hindsight I should have put the EUDM arrangement on). I figured out where the O2 sensor for the MTX-L would go, marked the pipe and dropped that off at a muffler shop to have them weld in the bung.

I swapped out the fuel pumps, this was fairly easy as it was the same pump so I was able to use the wiring connector that was already in place (for a change on this car, that bit of wiring was done correctly). I made sure to remove the restrictor pill from the fuel line as I wouldn't need it with the rest of my new fuel system. I removed the JR timing controller, boost and AFR gauges along with the auto-dim rear view mirror. I like those, have them in other cars, but this one was aftermarket and the readout was in the mirror itself which annoyed me. Plus I was not entirely sure it was working as I seemed to get blinded a lot more at night in this car than the others. The same idiot wirer installed the mirror, I found speaker wire used (they must have gotten a lot at a fire sale) and to show how much class they had, bread wrapper twist ties were used to hold the wires together running up the A-pillar. Picked up a stock mirror off eBay to replace it with.