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How-To: Add a Working Paddle Shift Steering Wheel

12786 Views 8 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Blasirl
This is not the only thread on this subject, but I wrote this to clarify some misinformation and my procedure was a bit different, so I hope you do not get upset with me for posting this.


This idea started one day when I read a Sonic Forum post about adding paddle shifters. I also read about one of our members finding and subsequently selling a Hot Wheels Camaro steering wheel. I was hooked. It is probably not very practical, but the concept was intriguing. I set about finding myself a Hot Wheels steering wheel with red stitching and paddle shifters. I posted WTB ads in about four Camaro forums as well as the Sonic and Cruze forums. It was not looking good and I surely did not want to buy one new from GM. Not only is finding the correct part number extremely frustrating, but the wheel itself is very expensive considering you also need to buy the shifters separately. I received two offers total during my search. One guy was very cryptic, wanted more information than he needed, and I just flat did not trust him to complete the transaction. Another offered me a damaged wheel. I went around and round with him and since no one else had what I needed, I made an offer and he decided to sell it to me.
My next issue was to collect information about how to do this. I searched far and wide and found a number of resources that all gave partial instructions or occasionally unclear instructions. I did try and ask for clarification in a few of the threads, but most of the posters were long gone. My final bits of information I needed were kindly supplied by Maven.

So here are the links to the many posts I consulted, in case I missed something myself, you can follow up as well. These are in no particular order.

Vauxhall Workshop Manuals
Transmission repair manuals GM 6T45 — 6T40 / 6T50 /6T30 (6F30, 6F35)
Powertrain and Transmission control modules wiring diagram ... (CruzeTalk)
Paddle Shifters.... (Malibu forum)
How To: Installing Hurst's 2010-up 5th Gen Camaro Paddle Shifters (aftermarket video)
Steering Wheel Bolt - GM (11610164) (parts house)
ATS paddle shift retrofit DIY (Cadillac forum)
Paddle shifter add on circuit (electronics forum)
PADDLE SHIFTER (aftermarket)
Need help with a paddle shifter circuit (electronics forum)
New to the site- Question about making a paddle shifter for my car (electronics forum)
How do I cause one switch to “lock out” other switches in parallel? (electronics forum)
Shift Solenoid Signal Circuit for Automatic Transmission (training video)
DIY - Complete PNP Harness for Paddle Shifter Retrofit - A Pictorial Guide (BMW forum)
new project! paddle shifters in my 2008 G6 GT! (Pontiac Forum)
Paddle shifter video (Cruze)
DIY: Installing Paddle Shifters and Changing Steering Wheel Buttons (Sonic Forum)
A different Free Paddle shift mod (Corvette forum)
DIY paddle shift - wiring test (Arduino video)
convert manual transmission to (+ and - shifting) (Arduino forum)
Automatic Transmission Shifter Idea (Arduino forum)
Automatic transmission controller I made a few years ago (Reddit forum)
Wiring diagram for factory paddle shifter? (Camaro forum)
Input Interfacing Circuits (electronics forum)
Output Interfacing Circuits (electronics forum)
How to remove and replace your steering wheel (CruzeTalk)
Install paddle shift on cruze? (CruzeTalk)

Tools Required:

  • Torx bit – I think this is a T50 – mine are not labeled.
  • Ratchet
  • Short extension
  • Torque wrench
  • 10mm socket
  • 7mm socket
  • Plastic Trim Tools
  • Heat Gun

Parts Required:

  • Your choice of steering wheel. I have seen some nice flat bottom Sonic RS wheels, Alcantara Camaro wheels and many others. I know you can choose from 5th Gen Camaros and 1st Gen Sonics, but I would also think any appropriate Generation GM would be a possible candidate.
  • Approximately 6’ of wire (I used 22 gauge)
  • Either a SPDT on-on switch or a DPDT on-on switch depending on if you want an indicator LED or not. (I really wanted to use an Arduino or Rasberry Pi, but I’m not at that level yet – if you figure out how, please share.)
  • A donor steering wheel harness end to salvage a pin from. (I acquired mine from a nearby LKQ when I bought my leather seats) or if you can figure out what the part number is, some new pins and the proper crimper.

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- Assorted shrink wrap.


  • LED indicator lamp
  • Paddle shifter extenders
  • Paper towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Blue Thread-locker for the steering bolt


1. Acquire and if needed, prepare/repair your steering wheel, and associated wiring.

2. Gather the needed tools and materials.

3. Stage your work area.

4. Start the vehicle and rotate the steering wheel so the spokes are upside down. (see picture 9c below)

5. Open the hood

6. Disconnect the positive battery cable from the battery using the 10mm socket.
If you need to clean the cables, see this post.

7. Pull the steering column all the way out and down.

8. Pull the column cover up.

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9. Using a couple of Allen wrenches, move the air bag clips. Practice on your new wheel for a moment to familiarize yourself with the process. Be ready for the air bag to pop out if all goes well.

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Insert link video here

10. Pull up on the orange lock clip and then pull out the airbag plug. Set the air bag on the passenger seat for now.

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11. Using the largest Torx from my Harbor Freight kit (they are all labeled 3/8 instead of their sizes for some reason - cheap), I broke the steering wheel bolt loose with a breaker bar and finished removing it with a ratchet as it was still pretty stiff.

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12. Set the steering bolt aside next to the airbag for now.

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13. Pull the connector from the steering wheel harness out of the female socket on the clock spring. Warning: Do not move the clock spring more than a few degrees in either direction to help ensure it is in the proper position when you put on the new steering wheel.

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14. Grasp the wheel at about 9 and 3 o’clock and pull slowly and firmly inline with the steering wheel/column. The wheel generally should come of very easily. Most accounts I have read, myself included, have had no resistance pulling it off. Again, remember to pay attention to where the clock spring is in relationship to the notch and that you do not get the airbag connector caught up in the wheel as you pull it off.

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15. As you can see above, the clock spring was very dusty. I took a moment to brush it off with my clean parts brush I keep for stuff like that.

16. If you have not already done so, prepare the shift signal wire. I was able to cut about 3 inches of wire and the connector block from a donor Cruze (see picture of intact connector in 13 above.) I took the connector and carefully cut the block in a way to expose a pin. I have a small band-saw and that worked well. I got a little too close on the first try, but the second turned out much better. I also used a few pairs of pliers to carefully breakup the structure of the plastic as well as a razor knife to help peel out an intact pin. I then stripped a short bit of insulation from the end of both the connector and the new wire, slid on a piece of shrink tube, twisted the wires together inline, added a touch of flux and soldered them together. After a minute or so of cool down, I slid the shrink tube over the connection and heated it to shrink it.

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17. As you can see in the diagram (from a Camaro, but same thing in a Cruze) below, the connector is the X85. All of the posts I have read say to put the signal wire in Pin Hole number eight (8), but in reality, it is actually Pin Hole number three (3). It is just a nomenclature error, but an error none the less. If you look at the face of the connector, you will see the small numbers on the left and right, ten (10) being on the left and one (1) being on the right. Count from the right to the wire coming from the two paddle shifter connectors S2L & R and you will see this is actually pin hole number three (3).

Text Diagram Technical drawing Line Parallel

18. I decided to insert the pin first and then route the wire down the column as I was yet unsure of where it would end and wanted to start to incorporate it in the existing harness as I went along. Before inserting the pin into the block, look at this next picture to see the orientation of the pin to the block. I only had a cutoff from the donor harness, but you can still see the fins facing up and the skinny part of the pin is opposite that.

Finger Hand Thumb Nail Fashion accessory

19. Pin partially inserted

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20. I thought the pin would slide in easily, but I was mistaken. I tried using my fingers, my seal puller and an ice pick to push, but found the easiest thing to do was to grasp the pin with a needle nose about 1/8” to 3/16” from the connector body and push it in and repeated that until it felt like it was firmly in place. This included gripping the wire after the pin body was all the way in past where I could grip it. I was a bit cautious doing this as I did not want to crush the pin and then have it stuck in the connector with no way to get it out.

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21. Initially I thought I would not need to take the column shroud pieces off, but in the end, it made sense to get them out of my way. It made it much easier to thread the wire from the footwell to the steering wheel and wrap it, so it did not stick out due to my wire being yellow. This is where I wished I had bought some of the fuzzy black tape to blend in the wire. I used black Scotch 33+ in its place.

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22. I then finished threading the wire down to the foot-well and left it for later.

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23. Now to install the new wheel. Again, remember not to move the clock spring much as one member found it really screws things up later if it is improperly positioned. Bring the wheel close to the column and thread the airbag connector through and also aligning the two notches at the same time and if needed slightly adjust the clock spring to get it to the proper alignment. The wheel should slide on easy. Now plug in the harness.

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Note: For reference, my 2014 LT wheel harness has a tag that read 2426415-AF, 1832883-4, GM 07/08/2013 and the Hot Wheels steering wheel reads 2455746-AC, 1557299-2, GM 01/08/2013.

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24. Reinstall and tighten the steering wheel bolt (sometimes referred to as a steering wheel nut) to 33ft-lbs (45NM).

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25. Pick up and orient your air bag, plug in and lock the harness and align it with the wheel. It should only take a gentle push and it should pop right back in.

26. Reinstall the battery cable

27. Start the car, acknowledge the hood open warning, lower then raise your driver’s window to reset the system, then straighten out the steering wheel. I then checked to make sure all of the radio controls worked (the Sonic guys had an issue at this point for some reason.) I also made sure the on switch for the Cruise control also lit up the indicator light on the cluster. Since they all worked as expected, I decided to wait until after I cleaned up to go for a test run to make sure the rest of the Cruise control buttons work.

Note: If you needed to use the vehicle at this point you can as all the systems are back in order. Aside from some cleanup and trim replacement, the only thing left is to connect the switch and the BCM to complete the install.

28. Since I did not have the proper switch (I bought at least four different switches and did not like any of them) and I had had the shroud off and was doing some wiring, I decided to mount the small LED I was going to use as a position indicator between the auto stick and the paddles, in the ignition surround to illuminate the key slot. I spent a great deal of time trying to find a different solution for this dark spot and both of the possibilities I had found left much to be desired. Maybe later I will detail the steps for this. I have another of same type of LED I plan on using for the switch position indicator when I find a switch to my liking.

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29. Until I find a double pole double throw on-on switch that is small enough and in the correct form factor, I am going to wait to make the final connections and will detail them then. So next I ran the wire from the driver’s side to the passenger side of the console. I just removed both panels and used a socket extension and a bit of tape to help me thread it so. I coiled up the wire and put the panels back. I supposed I only needed to pull the drivers side off and coil it up there and put the panel back on as I will probably need to pull it back out depending on where I end up putting the switch.

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30. I purchased a set of paddle extenders in anticipation of doing this install. I first had to clean off the stock paddles with some rubbing alcohol as well as the pockets on the extenders. I then laid out the extenders and the double-sided tape and gently heated them up a bit to help facilitate adhesion.

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31. I then carefully put the tape on the extenders and then pressed them in place.

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32. This is a side and front view of the completed wheel.

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Post with Camaro and Sonic resister values

Post with info about Camaro and Malibu resister configuration

Still looking for a mini rocker DPDT on-on switch that looks good (also need a matching SPST)- so far can only find toggles that fit my requirements.
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I am no longer able to make edits without having to redo the entire post to follow the new rules, so here is the link to disassemble a steering wheel should you need to repair or modify yours prior to installing it.

How-To: Disassemble a steering wheel to rehab it.
Nice work Blasirl

But I have a question. How to complete the wiring between the shifter stick and the steering wheel?
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Nice work Blasirl

But I have a question. How to complete the wiring between the shifter stick and the steering wheel?
You will have to verify that the wire listed in the following post is the same one in your Cruze. This post is about a Sonic: Chevy Sonic Owners Forum - View Single Post - DIY: Installing Paddle Shifters and Changing Steering Wheel Buttons
Look at step 31
You will have to verify that the wire listed in the following post is the same one in your Cruze. This post is about a Sonic: Chevy Sonic Owners Forum - View Single Post - DIY: Installing Paddle Shifters and Changing Steering Wheel Buttons
Look at step 31
Oh no!!😱😱 I am really confused.

In sonic forum, a post that tells the resistors are different in Camaro ad Sonic cars


and in another post it tells that to connect the steering wheel directly to BCM!!... I don not recommend that.

I really don't know how to do this 😔😔😔
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Oh no!!😱😱 I am really confused.

In sonic forum, a post that tells the resistors are different in Camaro ad Sonic cars

and in another post it tells that to connect the steering wheel directly to BCM!!... I don not recommend that.

I really don't know how to do this 😔😔😔
You will need to find a switch and install it somewhere so you can switch between the shifter manual input and your paddle shifters. The BCM cannot handle two sets of inputs at the same time. From all that I can find, the resistance values should not make a difference.
Still waiting on this Sonic Forum member to reveal the secret sauce.

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