Paddle-Shifters
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This is a discussion on Paddle-Shifters within the Tutorials & DIY forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Has anyone ever put paddle shifters in a subaru? I have an automatic and I want to make the best ...

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    Paddle-Shifters

    Has anyone ever put paddle shifters in a subaru? I have an automatic and I want to make the best of it and I think paddle shifters could be a really cool mod that would be mostly diy. I just know I couldn't do it alone so does anyone know of someone who's done it or have an outline of what would need to be done to put them in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_saucy View Post
    Has anyone ever put paddle shifters in a subaru? I have an automatic and I want to make the best of it and I think paddle shifters could be a really cool mod that would be mostly diy. I just know I couldn't do it alone so does anyone know of someone who's done it or have an outline of what would need to be done to put them in?
    You have a 4EAT right? If so, nope.

    5EATs had a manual shift mode stock, and the 2008-2014 Legacy GTs / Outback XTs had paddle shifters (Earlier models were only manually shifted from the stick, or had steering wheel buttons). The paddles can be retrofitted into other Legacies in that generation, but only that generation due to geometry constraints.

    Even if you could install paddles, it's not fun to manually shift an automatic Subaru (I can't speak for the CVTs). The automatics have way too much lag between commands. I only use it for dropping a gear to pass on the highway.

    A much more cost-effective mod for your 4eat would be installing a high stall toque converter and a Hexmods valve body. It will make the transmission shift MUCH faster:

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    So with a 4EAT transmission it is impossible to do this mod? Because I have a 2007 wrx auto so I assume its that 4EAT like you said, but I can't really find anywhere that confirms that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_saucy View Post
    So with a 4EAT transmission it is impossible to do this mod? Because I have a 2007 wrx auto so I assume its that 4EAT like you said, but I can't really find anywhere that confirms that.
    IN THEORY, if you swapped the 4EAT TCU with a 5EAT TCU and then reprogrammed, or even installed a JDM 4EAT TCU (JDM 4EAT had select-shift), it MIGHT be possible. I can't say as to whether it's ever been done and it's unlikely to even matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zax View Post
    IN THEORY, if you swapped the 4EAT TCU with a 5EAT TCU and then reprogrammed, or even installed a JDM 4EAT TCU (JDM 4EAT had select-shift), it MIGHT be possible. I can't say as to whether it's ever been done and it's unlikely to even matter.
    That would be quite the project for negligible benefit.

    J_saucy, as I said, I have a shiftable automatic 5EAT in my Outback. It even has a "Sport" mode. The reality is it's much too slow to make paddle shifters worthwhile. There is a noticeable amount of lag between commanding a shift and it actually changing gear. It's only really useful for planning a passing maneuver, or for engine braking down a slope. The "Sport" mode will hold revs up to redline, then slams through the gears. It's really not very useful.

    With the amount of effort all this reprogramming would take, plus finding a set of paddles and hacking them into your steering column, you'd be better off just swapping in a used WRX 5-speed.
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    It's all a matter of money. I'm sure you could make it happen, but I would venture to guess the cost would be well beyond what is reasonable to your average person, and likely more than the car is worth.

    Have you considered perhaps swapping in a manual, it would likely be less of a hassle as the car already came with a manual transmission at one point.

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    None of this seems even remotely worthwhile on an 8-year-old mass produced car that was also available in manual from the factory. It's likely more sensible to do either nothing, or buy a new car with a gearbox you like, or buy a used car like you have but with a gearbox you like. The money adds up quickly either way.
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    Meh.. just get a KAPS or Modena sequential gearbox and you're good to go.

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    I'm surprised with all of the negative feedback in this thread; based on the response I suspect that no one has performed this mod. I wouldn't discourage it if you are interested in doing it as a challenge (it sounds like it could be fun to figure out)- but the risk of failure may be a big problem (as in -> losing control of the vehicle). I would discourage you from doing this mod if you are interested in maintaining resale value, maintaining reliability or in increasing performance of your vehicle (I take this as the gist of the other comments).

    If I had an interest in doing this mod, I would consider using a simple microcontroller to replace the signal from the transmission selector position sensor under certain conditions. The first thing to do would be to find this sensor and figure out what kind of signal it produces with respect to gear selector position- this way one could try and emulate it via external electronics and an algorithm. Figuring out what kind of paddles and how to mount them to the steering wheel or wheel column is another issue. If you have access to a machine shop and or 3d printer this will be much easier.

    If you do go down this route, post a thread on the forum and I (at least) will participate in your troubleshooting (as long as I have no responsibility if the mod results in big vehicle trouble).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeisance View Post
    I'm surprised with all of the negative feedback in this thread; based on the response I suspect that no one has performed this mod. I wouldn't discourage it if you are interested in doing it as a challenge (it sounds like it could be fun to figure out)- but the risk of failure may be a big problem (as in -> losing control of the vehicle). I would discourage you from doing this mod if you are interested in maintaining resale value, maintaining reliability or in increasing performance of your vehicle (I take this as the gist of the other comments).
    The negativity stems from the fact that the OP seemed to believe that adding paddle shifters to his car will magically make it shift faster, which is simply not true. This has been discussed in the OPs numerous other threads on this topic.

    If the goal is to simply increase shifting speed, I suggested some cost-effective methods of doing so. Also, the OP stated they are young, and they aren't going to have the background for emulating signals and all the R&D necessary to do this from scratch. Your suggested path makes this sound much easier than it really is.

    Think about what's at risk here: messing with the steering column could cause airbag malfunction, a misguided signal could send the car into reverse at 60mph, etc. There are much safer and worthwhile modifications the OP can explore to achieve their desired end result.
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