My BMW 335i RIX Effects Boost Gauge Installation
I originally purchased the
first solution RIX Effects brought to
market in the form of a pod that wedged in the corner of the
dash/windshield/pillar with a VEI gauge but was not satisfied with it and
returned it- I was looking for a more integrated solution. Rick came out with
his idea for a more integrated approach a short while later, it replaced the
driver’s side vent with a gauge that perfectly matched the BMW OE lighting and
To see what the VEI gauge looks/works like, you can see Pikka’s video with RIX’s original solution here:
The vent gauge works similarly but has a few new things for RIX such as JB3 map switching.
I offered to evaluate one of the first units shipped and decided to take some pics of my installation, Please note that these might be used to supplement the RIX Effects instructions that came with your gauge but should not replace them. Details in the instructions were NOT replicated here so please refer to the RIX instructions.
I did things in a slightly different order, I started by removing the vent assembly- it is press fit and can be removed by hand with no tools, just pull it straight out.
I sat the vent assembly to the side and removed the shifter pieces to run the wiring. I removed the shift knob (pull up hard), the shift boot (four clips, removed by tugging upward gently at clip areas), and the foam insert around the shifter:
With all of the shifter pieces out of the way, I had enough room to access the plug for the ashtray. RIX has provided a plug-and-play solution for the wiring harness. The OE ashtray plug is held to a post in the console and can be removed by releasing the clip in the center of the plug. The plug can be removed from the socket by pushing the release tabs on either side while pulling apart. The wiring harness is then plugged in. Once the gauge wiring harness is plugged in, the plug can be reattached to the post by sliding it up until it clicks in place, the wiring can be tucked forward and out of the way. I ran the gauge end of the harness between the carpet and console and fished it out, it can then be tucked along the console edge up to the lower dash trim piece:
Three Torx screws for under dash cover are removed, cover can be pulled back and left to hang for access to run wire harness and vacuum line:
I tucked the wire in under the edge of the console and ran it across the lower dash and up to the left of the vent cavity. I was careful not to pinch the harness or make contact with screws when re-installing the lower dash cover.
I then ran the vacuum line. I found some baling wire, slid the vacuum line over the baling wire and then used electrical tape to make sure it would not separate. I found a fabric covered hose about ½” in diameter that looked like a good place to run the line, almost directly behind the clutch pedal, and carefully pushed the wire through the grommet surrounding it (a deviation from the RIX instructions). I found it on the other side, by the brake reservoir (cover removed) and pulled it through:
Wire was then run through an existing grommet and down under the diverter valves and to the diverter valve vacuum line junction. I put a slightly larger and harder piece of vacuum line around the main one to guard against abrasion from the grommet down. I also zip tied the rubber hose at the vacuum line and wrapped it with cloth based electrical tape. When tucked under the DVs (making sure not to kink any of the lines), you would never know there was a boost gauge hooked up:
Now, time to disassemble the vent and get the gauge ready to connect. The vent is removed from the trim piece by carefully unsnapping at four points shown (I used a small flat blade screwdriver), applying some pressure to release the clips on bottom, and sliding to the side to disengage:
Now that the vent is removed from the trim piece, the disassembly can begin. I unsnapped the vent door control arm from the socket carefully. While applying slight pressure the clips on top and bottom are unsnapped, the piece will then tilt and allow the clip on the side to be undone:
The horizontal louvers are removed from the vent by unsnapping at two points on either side:
The vertical louvers are removed by flexing the vent and popping the four snap-in points out, two on bottom and two on top:
The vacuum sensor plug is routed through the no-longer-used vent hole and plugged into the gauge, the gauge wiring is routed through the same hole:
The gauge is put in place after installing the foam guard in the empty vent assembly and the mounting screw is started (NOT tightened) ……and the reassembly starts. It is a little tricky, you have to hook the bottom of the vent cover on the bottom and carefully maneuver the smoked gauge face into place before snapping it back together. Once together, the gauge is mounted as per RIX instructions with a single screw, tightened while applying pressure to the smoked face. I found that if too tight, the direction of tightening force would twist the gauge and cause the switch to bind. The vent door control arm can be snapped back into the socket and the vent assembly can be reinstalled on to dash trim piece:
Back to the car to hook up the vacuum lines and wiring harness. I did not use the double sided tape for the vacuum sensor but wrapped it with some packing foam and tucked it down beside the vent area. Be careful when routing the wiring that it is not in the way of the vent door control arm. Wiring harness is color coded, plug in like wires and tighten screws to lock in place. Installation is reverse of removal:
Finished product looks great, kudos to RIX Effects for bringing such an integrated solution to market: