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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since I've been stuck at home the past couple months now, I got to thinking and came up with an absolutely ridiculous idea: installing paddle shifters.

I will post a full tutorial this weekend, but first a picture of the finished product.


The carbon fiber ones were found on eBay, the standard look of the paddle shifters would match the silver trim most wheels have. I swapped in the black trim plates from a base model wheel as I thought it looked pretty badass.

First I'm going to provide an essential parts list. One of these is hard to find, so if you're interested in doing this project buy these now! Note that this mod as I've done it will only work on 2011-2014 models.

Downshift Paddle: 1YR88DX9AA
Upshift Paddle: 1YR89DX9AA
Paddle Shifter Covers: 1YT66DX9AA, 1YT67DX9AA
Steering Wheel Rear Cover: 1XW251X9AA <-- this appears to be discontinued already!!! Check eBay for the slim remaining inventory!
Steering Wheel Bolt: 6509102AA (service manual says not to reuse existing bolts, I would buy an extra or two in case something happens and you need to pull the wheel multiple times)

From Digikey or similar electronics parts supplier, you will need: Molex 0050579405 (qty: 2) (5 pin latching connector)
A donor Avenger steering wheel wiring harness is very helpful, you'll be able to depin some wires from it and just drop them into the cruise control connectors and paddle shifter connectors directly. Alternatively you can order Molex 0016020088 (qty: 6, plus some spares if you mess up a crimp) and about 8 feet of 22 awg wire.

If you manage to find a junked 2011-2014 Dodge Charger that has paddle shifters on the steering wheel you can get all these parts from it, but the wheel itself will NOT fit. The splines do not fit on the Avenger steering wheel shaft.

The Charger wheel back cover is not a perfect fit. Here's a picture showing the problems:


The most obvious issue is that the trim cover flares out at the ends further than the Avenger wheel is designed for. For now I just put some closed cell foam in the gap, I plan on trimming it down after the foam breaks in a bit more. A more talented fabricator might be able to fiberglass a slope out to the edge of the wheel, or 3D print an extension and glue it to the trim cover. Personally I'm fine with the foam, you never see it and nobody else will either unless you point it out to them.
The secondary issue is the trim cover doesn't have an extension at the base to fill the gap to the steering column shroud. You can see a little bit of the wheel in there. To me this is not important, just don't dangle a GPS cord around your wheel or something and you'll be fine.

In terms of wiring, the way this works is it replaces your volume buttons. The two pin connector going to each volume button is going to turn into a 5 pin connector (4 wires) and you'll be adding two additional wires to the cruise control switch harness. The cruise control switch is basically a giant steering wheel button mux, it sends the state of the steering wheel buttons off to the car on the LIN bus and up to the instrument cluster (the LIN bus master node). Think of LIN bus as CAN's little brother. The catch is the Avenger's cluster does not recognize the paddle shifters; it doesn't act on those signals. The only way around this is adding an Arduino or similar device inside the dash that decodes the LIN bus and sends the signals off to the AutoStick wiring at the base of the shifter.


I will provide all the necessary code to program the Arduino, but the wiring is not an easy process. The little header pins on an Arduino board are not reliable in an automotive environment, you will need to solder wires to the Arduino. I'm not in a position to offer kits to people, it's a time consuming process and this is already a fairly pricey project for an Avenger. If you're able to splice the wires in the car in the first place you should be able to do what you need to do to the Arduino.

Overall I'm really happy with how everything turned out, but I spent too much money on the project. The steering wheel rear cover was $80, the paddle shifters are $50 a pop for standard ones (I got the custom carbon fiber ones for $75 each), a junkyard Avenger wheel was $30, the Arduino and acrylic case were $30, to pull the steering wheel cost $50 in tools... it adds up fast.

I will leave you with a video of the paddle shifters in action:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, how were you able to figure all of that out? Thanks for sharing!
This is the kind of thing that happens when you mix a software developer with a home mechanic/electronics wizard. Also caffeine.

A spare car so you can have one torn apart and still get to work is also beneficial. A 2000 Dodge Intrepid actually! :)
 
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