Basement Project

Looking to install a bathroom in the basement.  After looking at some reference materials and tips looks like there are a few things I’ll need to prepare for.  Before doing any digging it’s best to call Miss Utility

Space Design:
The bathroom area will be 5’x7′ and probably utilized the area under the staircase for storage.  It’s going to be pretty tight but it should work.  Not sure if I want to put in a pocket door or make the door swing out as opposed to swing in. 5x7.large

Floor Plan

Check if there is moisture in the walls

Seal the mudsill by applying caulk to preven entry for crawling insects.

Seal furnace ducts with duct tape

Exterior Apron insulation is an option.

Insulate foundation walls on the exterior side (and not the interior)
whenever you can. The easiest way to accomplish this is by installing
insulation in the apron area only, so you do not have to excavate all the
way to the bottom of the wall. By adding a layer of horizontal insulation in
the bottom of the trench, you can realize at least 70 percent of the energy
savings of insulating the whole wall,
Because you will be adding width to the foundation wall by installing
exterior insulation, you will need to install flashing to cover the top of the
insulation layer and whatever protective wall surface you cover it with.

Will need to dig out 18″ x 24″ wide trench next to the wall being insulated.
Coat the wall with a layer of bituminous coating to help create another layer of moisture protection for the basement
Line the trench with a 2″ thick layer of course sand, and then strips of rigid foam insulation.  The sand should slope away from the house slightly and the insulation strips should butt up against the foundation wall
Install drop edge flashing to protect the tops of the insulation board and new siding.
Bond strips of rigid foam insulation board to the foundation wall using a panel adhesive that is compatible with foam.
Install siding or faux stone panels.

Paint walls

Vent to outside
Vent hood

Frame room

Rough-ins: Run DWV (drain, waste, and vent) and water and agas supply pipes.  Install electrical boxes and run wiring.


Changing brake pads on Toyota Highlander

Here are my the instructions on how to replace the brake pads on the Toyota Highlander.   Note that these are just my instructions and is no means the only safest way to perform this maintenance. Consult with a professional mechanic to ensure the proper steps and safety measures are followed.
This brake pad change was performed for the first time since purchasing the car brand-new. The car has 48,000 miles on it.

The first thing you need to do is take off the two bolts to the plastic panel underneath the front of the car which will give you access to the checkpoint.

Jack up the car slightly and start loosening the lugnuts on one of the wheels.  Then jack up the car high enough so that there is clearance between the bottom of the tire and the floor. I think about 1 inch of clearance is good enough. From this point support vehicle by putting jackstands underneath the car. After this is completed take off all five lug nuts and remove the tire.
The next step is to take off the caliber. There will be two bolts near the back of the caliber that you will need to remove. Now take a piece of rope and tie the counter to the suspension of the car while removing it fall. Make sure you do not pinch the brake lines.

Remove the two V-shaped springs and take note of their location and fit. Next you want to remove the brake pads just by sliding in a screwdriver or even using your fingers to pry out the pads.

Remove the metal fittings from the original brake pads and place them on the new brake pads in the same orientation. Then apply some break grease only around the ends of the brake pads  where there will be contact and movement.

Place the brake pads back into the break housing in the same orientation as you took them out. Then take the V springs and place them in the brake pads to match the origin all orientation.
With a C clamp you will want to come press the brake caliper pistons and also use a 2 x 4 to help with the compression to avoid scratching or damaging the pistons.

After the Pistons I’ve been fully compressed remove the C clamp and 2 x 4 and apply grease to the Pistons. Only put a tiny amount. Remove the string tied to the caliper and place the caliper over the brake pads.

Insert and tighten the caliper bolts that were removed previously.

MR2 mechanical to electrical speedo conversion

USDM 91-92 Mechanical Cluster to 93+ JDM Conversion

By hmong337

Are you sick of replacing those unreliable mechanical speed sensors? Or, maybe you got a JDM cluster with your 93+ JDM engine/transmission/clip and don’t want to deal with finding a mechanical speed sensor? I’ve got the perfect solution for you! Plus, this write-up is to finally lay this topic to rest.

Astonishingly, this conversion cost me as much as buying a used mechanical speed sensor. So not only is it a great alternative, but also a cost effective solution. 93+ JDM electronic clusters sell for barely anything; as do the electronic speed sensors. So if when your mechanical unit dies, you’re better off converting to electronic. It’s a lot more reliable and smoother too!

Be done with this:
-Cracked speedometer sensor gear shaft

-Worn out sub-assembly pin

The items you will need are:
-93+ JDM electronic cluster
-Electronic cluster plugs (Grab an extra one if you can. You may need to salvage pins from it later)
-Electronic speed sensor w/ its pigtail (female plug)

Step 1: Install your electronic speed sensor into the transmission. Here is an install link: (big thanks to: The homepage of Stephen Mason ( His work can be found here: MR2 Speedometer sub-assembly replacement How-To (

***The link is for installing a mechanical unit. But it’s no different for the electronic unit.

Step 2: Cut off the triangle plug that went into your old mechanical speed sensor and splice on your new 93+ electronic plug/pigtail. There should be three wires.

91-92: 93+ JDM
white/black (ground) ——> brown (ground)
black/yellow (power) ——> black/yellow (power)
violet (speed signal) ——-> yellow/red (speed signal)

Here is a picture of the 91-92 triangle plug.

Here is a picture of the 93+ JDM electronic plug.

Step 3: Remove your old mechanical cluster. Follow this link: (big thanks to MR2OC member: fosley)

Now, let’s compare clusters

***NOTE: If your JDM cluster didn’t come with plugs, you can find them from Toyota Camry’s of 93-96 and 97-2000. I think the V6 Camry’s of 97-2000 have all three plugs but I’m not 100% sure. I was lucky my JDM cluster came with plugs. But it’s not a big deal. You can find all three at junkyards pretty easily. While you’re there, make sure you grab an extra plug to salvage pins from. Anyways, here are the part numbers:

90980-11114 blue plug “B”
90980-11115 brown plug “A”
90980-11116 gray plug “C”

Step 4: For the JDM unit, you’re going to have to swap the mounting brackets over from your USDM unit. They are different as the JDM uses RHD brackets and the USDM uses LHD brackets. See here:

Now is the perfect time to do an LED light bulb conversion. I got four of these for like $4 shipped on Ebay. I highly recommend these.

The stock turbo gauge is a waste of space. So, I went ahead and swapped my NA volt-meter to the 93+ JDM cluster. These are the pins/screws you’re going to have to jump in order to get your volt-meter to work. (Big thanks to 5sfeTurbo.Com: MR2 | Celica | Camry | Turbo | Toyota | 2.0 | 2.2 | 5SFE, 3SGTE Information ( You can find his work here 5sfeTurbo.Com: MR2 | Celica | Camry | Turbo | Toyota | 2.0 | 2.2 | 5SFE, 3SGTE Information (

Just for kicks, have you ever seen a non-turbo, turbo cluster?

Step 5: The 91-92 harness does not have a wire for 93+ JDM B8 “vehicle speed pulse generator”. If your car has cruise control, you’re in luck! If your car does not have cruise control, you’re going to have to “hardwire”. That means finding a ground, a power source, running the speed signal wire all the way into the cabin, then to the back of your cluster from the electronic speed sensor at the transmission.

But for you cruise control guys, here is what you do. Find plug “IE3” at the driver’s side kick panel. On “IE3” locate “Pin 6”. The wire should be purple/white. This wire contains the speed signal that you need for the “vehicle speed pulse generator” JDM B8.

Here is another look at the whole JDM B8 wire tap:

Here is the wire that I brought up from “IE3 Pin6” to JDM B8

Step 6: Now on to the meat of the conversion. The wire splicing! Just because I’m a nice guy, I took all these schematics and condensed it into a nice and easy to understand worksheet. You can download it here: Mr2 Cluster Conversion.xlsx – – online file sharing and storage – download (

Here’s a closer look at the back of the 93+ JDM cluster:

93+ JDM Plug A: ***Notice how “A10” is empty? We’ll get to that later…

93+JDM Plug B:

93+ JDM Plug C:

The empty “A10” spot on the JDM plug is the cruise control indicator light. However, the JDM’s did not come with cruise control so they didn’t pin for it. Oddly enough, they still came with the indicator light. So, we’re going to have to pin that spot for our USDM cruise indicator to work. Hopefully you grabbed an extra plug from the junkyard to salvage some pins from. This is where they will be needed. If your USDM did not come with cruise, you can skip this step.

Also, the JDM’s did not come with air bags (not until 97-98, I think???) so we’re going to improvise here. They don’t have an “air bag” indicator light either so I went ahead and used the “hot muffler” light on the JDM cluster. This will now be your “air bag” indicator light. Looks funky, but I love it.

I will say that I am unsure on the “fog light” indicator issue as I don’t have fog lights. But according to what others have done, they spliced JDM B4 (fog light indicator – red) to the fog relay at the front fuse box in the frunk. I’m not 100% sure on how it’s done, but all I know is that you’re going to have to run a wire into the frunk fuse box for a tap somewhere to get the “fog light” indicator to work. Most likely it will be the fog light relay, but don’t quote me on that. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

Also with this conversion, your hazard button will now blink the “high beam” indicator light instead of both left and right turn signals simultaneously. Hopefully that isn’t a big deal to you.

Moving along…

JDM Plug “A” being disassembled to be pinned for A10 “cruise control”:

Since my car doesn’t have ABS, I took the pin from C9  and moved it to A10

***NOTE: I’ve already pinned it in the pictures but I disassembled the plug again for photo purposes.

VOILA! We’re now pinned for cruise control.

Here are the 91-92 USDM plugs:
***NOTE, the 5 longest wires that are laid flat are NOT used.

For a wiring novice, it looks pretty intimidating! But it’s not all that bad (especially now that I’ve made the conversion spreadsheet for you!). Wiring is not really my forte but I managed to get it done pretty easily.

From this:

To this:

To this:

And that’s it! Just verify that your cluster is working 100% before you put everything back together.

Tomato Rice

  • 2 medium sized tomatoes diced
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1 tsp garlic chopped
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tsp of oil

Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the mustard seeds and green chillies. When they stop  spluttering add the onion and fry till soft.
Add the tomato and ginger and mix well. Cook till the tomatoes turn pulpy.
Add the cumin and powders, salt to taste and mix well. Cook on a low flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Turn off the fire and add the rice. Mix well.

Chicken Biryani


For the marinade

6 chicken drumsticks
Small bunch of cilantro, with only the soft stalks
¼ cup mint
2 T ginger and garlic paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 T cream
Salt as needed

For the Curry

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-inch chunk of ginger, minced
1 large bunch of cilantro
½ cup mint
1 cup thick coconut milk
2 cups water/broth
1 T ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 T garam masala
6-7 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
6-7 whole peppercorns
3 whole star anise
3 dry bay leaves
Salt as needed

For the rice

3 cups Basmati rice
½ small onion, julienned
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods, cracked
1 bay leaf
2 T ghee
5 ½ cups of water

For garnish

Handful of cashews, roasted in ghee


Grind together the marinade ingredients. Make slits on the flesh of the drumsticks, coat with the marinade and let rest for a few hours or overnight.

To make the curry, saute the onions, garlic and ginger in oil until translucent. Remove from heat and cool. Grind together the cooked onions, cilantro and mint. In a deep bowl, roast the whole spices in ghee until their aromas are released. Return the onion mixture to the pan and cook until the oil starts seperating. Add the dry spices and salt, mix and saute for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on medium until the meat is fully cooked. Let the curry cool until just warm.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Roast the whole spices in ghee and the saute the onions in the same. When soft, add the Basmati rice and roast for a few minutes. Add water and salt and cook the rice until just done. Let it cool to warm. Do not touch the rice when hot as they are most brittle then.

When ready to assemble, spread the rice in a deep dish, oven proof pan. A little by little add the curry and gently tossed until it’s just wet. The recipe makes a lot of curry than you need. For 3 cups of raw rice, you will not need more a cup and a half of the curry. Arrange the chicken pieces around the dish, cover with a bit rice, so they don’t dry out. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Check in between to see if the biryani is drying out. If so, add more curry and gently toss.

To serve, scoop out the rice into a platter, arrange the drumsticks around and sprinkle roasted cashews over. Biryani is typically served with a simple raita made with diced onions in yogurt.

Chilli in Pressure Cooker


1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 cups water


Place the ground beef in the pressure cooker over medium high heat; cook until brown and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the ground beef, and drain off the excess fat.
Return the open pressure cooker to the burner over medium heat, pour in the olive oil, and stir in the onion, green pepper, and jalapeno pepper. Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, and cook and stir for about 30 more seconds. Return the meat to the pressure cooker; mix in the kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, cocoa powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, salt, and water.
Lock the lid, bring the cooker up to pressure, reduce heat to maintain pressure, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove cooker from the heat, and let the pressure reduce on its own, 5 to 10 minutes.
When the pressure is fully released, remove the lid, stir the chili, and serve.

Turbo Removal and Install

1 day to remove and 1 day to install

extension 3/8 and 1/2
Additional things I needed from local auto parts store:
27MM socket
1/2 extension
Universal swival joint 3/8 – mine broke
Coolant/Antifreeze 2 jugs incase
Silicone RV
12MM socket – mine cracked
Oil filter
Synthetic oil

Turbo Removal
take off intake
remove cross bars in engine bay
remove body molding on left and right of trunk
unplug mbc from actuator and compressor
take out intercooler pipes
take off hot pipe
take off coolant lines to turbo with the 2 10mm bolts.  put tray under car to catch coolant leaks
unbolt 27mm oil bolt
remove all hoses that maybe connected to the turbo
drain oil, remove oil filter and dip stick
Remove oxygen sensor on downpipe

Underneath the Car
Remove b-pipe.  later on it will get in the way of removing downpipe
Remove downpipe holder
Unscrew oil line bolts and remove bracket for oil lines
loosen (do not remove) 4 bolts that bolt the turbo to manifold
with the turbo loose wiggle it around to get the angle needed to loosen bolts on downpipe
drain oil

Above the Car
tie a rope to the turbo and secure the rope to an object so it can hold the turbo up.  Turbo can be heavy
Remove remaining bolts on downpipe and remove from turbo
Remove bolts and carefully take out turbo

Turbo Install
Test waste gate actuator by using air compressor to blow are into the actuator hose

Under the Car
Screw in loosely the oil pressure tubing (black metal tubing)
Connect 4 bolts to turbo loosely.
Attach downpipe and tighten.
Attach downpipe mount (the star trek looking symbol with 3 holes)
Attach b-pipe
Was suppose to install engine to turbo support bracket but the holes did not match properly.

Above the Car
Attach coolant pipes (silver looking thing).  Use RV silicone seal and gasket to ensure tight seal
Reinstalled hoses (use soap water or some lubricant to make it easier to fit hoses.  This also reduces the chances of tearing a hose), MBC (clock wise to increase boost, counter clock wise to lower boost), tightened all bolts
Fill car with coolant – do no install everything yet.  This will test to ensure there is nothing leaking.  Filled up oil and new oil filter
Connect hot pipe, air intake, zip ties, intercooler pipes
Changes spark plugs and spark plug wires

Burping cooling system
Fill up coolant until full.  Make sure no leaks under car.  Do not put cap back on
Turn on car and let engine run and keep an eye on temperature gauge.  Coolant system will bubble and burp.  I had to run the car for about 20-30 min.  Squeeze the coolant hose that is by the intercooler gently to get out any air pockets

Posted in MR2

Broken speedometer

Now, if your speedo stopped working it is most likely the rear cable. Here is how to check whether is is the front speedo cable or the rear one.

Step 1.) Take off the rear most underbody panel and you can pry out the speedo cable:

Step 2.) Remove the rubber boot covering the two speedo cables joining and seperate them by holding the rear cable with a 12mm wrench and pull the front off.
Step 3.) Attach a drill to the front cable and spin it counter clockwise and see if the speedo needle jumps or not. If the speedo needle jumps then the problem is with the rear cable, if the speedo cable doesn’t jump then the problem is with the front cable. I had a problem with my rear speedo cable.

Note: The car doesn’t have to be on to spin the cable.

Step 4.) Remove rear speedo cable (if that is the problem), I found laying under the exhaust with my head towards the passengers side gave me the best access to the tranny connector. There is a 10mm bolt holding it down, it is located to the right (pass. side) of the actual speedo cable.

Step 5.) After removing the 10mm with just a normal socket+ratchet you can twist out the speedo assembly, after its loose you can pull it out, which shouldn’t require very much force.

Step 6.) Inspect the rear assembly and see what the problem, in my instance the inner speedo cable had snapped. The cable is also being held on by 2 white brackets located by the drivers side motor mount and underneath behind the rear underbody panel.

Step 7.) Buy a new speedo cable and re-install, I’d start with putting the speedo assembly in the tranny first and then pull the cable up from the top of the engine bay

Here is the routing the speedo cable:

Speedo gear -> Cruise control speed sensor -> Speedo cable, rear -> Speedo cable, front -> Speedometer, instrument cluster

Y882 part number for the front cable.
Y849 part number for the rear cable.

Mexican tomato oatmeal soup


Serves four

1/2 cup oatmeal

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 or 2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

Toast the oats over moderate heat in heavy bottomed saucepan, using no fat, until they start to turn a light nut brown. Set aside. In the same pan, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Stir the oats into the onions until well mixed, then add the tomato sauce and broth. Simmer until the oats are tender, 15 minutes – half and hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pork Chops

1 cup plus 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided
4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white wine

Combine 1 cup orange juice,  and 1/2 cup lime juice. Add pork and let it sit and marinate for about 1 hour in refrigerator.

In a small mixing bowl, combine all dried spices. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and rub with the dry spice mixture.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear on 1 side until brown. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, and white wine. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. The chops should be cooked through.


Remove the chops from pan and put on a warm plate. Continue to reduce juices in pan by half. Pour over the chops and serve immediately.