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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Four Rings mithril's Avatar
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    Swapping paddle shift frmo a B6 S4 onot a C5 S6

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    Swapping an RS6 style paddle wheel into a pre-facelift A6 has been well covered in BostonDriver's writeup. For those of us with S6's it's theoretically easier again as our Tip button steering wheels came from the factory with wiring in place to support the early style paddle wheels (ie. C5 RS6, euro C5 S6 or MKI TT Sport wheels). If you buy any of those paddle wheels it's a direct swap requiring nothing more the wheel and/or airbag.

    However as easy as the swap is it comes with downsides; those steering wheels are can be hard to find, as they are not particularly common those wheels can also be expensive (especially the RS6) and the styling of both TT and RS6 wheels do not seamlessly match the S6 interior. The S6 wheel of course does match perfectly and ETKA lists the part number for the S6 paddle wheel as being superseded by the part number used for the B6 S4 Sport Paddle wheel, other than the logo badge the S4 wheel is effectively the same as the S6. As there were significantly more B6 S4's w/ automatic trans sold than either S6 or RS6, the B6 S4 Sport wheel w/ paddles is a more common (and slightly more affordable) option for swap. That said, the B6 S4 wheels are still listing on AZ, Shokan, etc in the $300 - $350 range plus shipping and swapping buttons for paddles really wasn't worth that much to me. Last week though I came across a really good deal locally on an S4 wheel w/o airbag and finally pulled the trigger.

    When I bought the S4 wheel I had been working under the mis-impression for years that it was a direct swap with no other parts required, of course life isn't quite that easy. Audi changed self-cancelling ring between the C5 and B6 iterations of the paddle wheels and with it the airbag and control connectors. On the C5 and MKI TT wheels the shift buttons and airbag/horn are on separate wiring harnesses, the B6 S4 combined those 2 independent harnesses onto a single connector which as a result is incompatible with the S6 self-cancelling ring.

    While I'm sure that the S4 self-cancelling ring can be swapped in, I'm equally sure swapping that self-cancelling ring would also swapping to a different connector on the car side of the wiring harness. Rather than buy additional parts and hack up the car's harness, the easiest solution was to take the button/airbag/horn harnesses from both S6 and S4 wheels and splice them to recreate the S6 dual harness with the S4 connectors for the paddles. The worst case scenario was the new harness not functioning and just having to reverse all the splices to restore the original harnesses. As it turns out, the process was very very easy and took me about 35 min end to end once I'd figured out which wire was which.

    This is the process needed to create a working harness. Please note this applies only the S6 with Sport steering wheel, this process will not help you swap a paddle wheel into any A6 or Allroad that did not come with a wheel with tip buttons. You may however be able to adapt it if your car is one of the later C5's that came with the MFSW with Tip Buttons, I've never seen the wiring inside one of those wheels so your milage may vary. As always, you're going to be cutting up electrical harnesses here, double check that your wiring matches mine instead of just assuming it's all the same!

    What you'll need:

    • 10mm wrench (to disconnect battery ground)
    • M12 triple-square
    • T25 stubby torx driver
    • T30 torx driver
    • wire strippers
    • soldering pencil and solder
    • heat shrink
    • VAG-Com (in case you through any codes)

    To start you obviously have to remove the steering wheel. BostonDriver's write up covered this in detail but the steps are:

    1. Disconnect the battery, very important as you don't want to cause an accidental airbag discharge!!
    2. Loosen the two T25 torx screws that attach the airbag to the steering wheel. They are on the back of the wheel and can be very tight. They don't come out of the wheel.
    3. Disconnect the airbag and put aside for safety. Spontaneous discharges are rare, but can happen if the airbag is bounced too much and it is an explosive charge. I usually put the airbag off to the side with the Audi rings up, that way if it does discharge it doesn't turn the airbag into a rocket.
    4. Disconnect the tip button harness from the pigtail on the self-cancelling ring.
    5. Remove the yellow airbag harness connector from the self-cancelling ring itself.
    6. Remove the M12 triple-square nut that attaches the wheel to the steering column.
    7. Mark the column for wheel alignment. There is a notch on the wheel frame at top dead centre, I extend the line from that notch straight down and mark a line into the column with awl, line those 2 marks and your wheel is centered.
    8. Remove the wheel, be careful as the self-centering ring likes to move. You want to keep that ring more or less level so you don't have to guess how many twists are required to bring it back to centre.

    Now you're ready to make a couple new wiring harnesses



    As you can see the internals for the 2 wheels show different wiring harnesses for the shift buttons/paddles and the airbag/horn. The first step is to remove the airbag/horn harnesses from both wheels, in the case of the S4 wheel this is also the paddle harness. Removal is just disconnecting the spade terminals for the horn and the paddle connectors (S4).



    Once you have the S4 harness out you need to remove this cover from the top of the yellow connector to expose as much wiring as possible.



    Now cut the horn power wire from both S4 and S6 airbag/horn harnesses. Put the remainder of the S4 harness to the side for the moment, we'll still need the paddle connectors from it.



    The S4 wheel has a dual spade connector for horn power, one on the board between the airbag mount and one on the mount, vs the single connector to the mount on the S6. Solder the dual spade connector from the S4 harness onto the S6 airbag connector. Once you've sealed the heat shrink the new airbag harness is complete.



    As you can see, the S6 harness for the shift buttons is very different from the harness used on the S4 wheel. As the tip buttons on the S6 wheel can both up and downshift there's a lot more wiring in the S6 button harness than the simple 2 wire per side harness for the S4 paddle wheel. What you need from the S6 harness is the pigtail to connect the wiring back into the S6 self-cancelling ring. Cut the pigtail out by cutting the 4 wires (black, blue, grey and green) below the Y junction.



    This is the corresponding section from the S4 harness, these connectors clip into the paddle wiring. You want to join these connectors to the pigtail you cut off the S6 wheel to create the paddle harness that will connect to the S6 self-cancelling ring.



    This is the part that took the time to figure out, which wires go where. The wiring is different, of course, between the 2 harnesses however a process of elimination showed that on the S6 harness:

    • black - common ground
    • grey - 12v, illumination for the shift button back lights
    • green - downshift signal
    • blue - upshift signal

    For whatever reason, Audi used the same green and blue coding for the signal wires on the paddle button but not on the connector in the airbag harness. Tracing it back on the S4 harness section we cut out for splicing:

    • red - common ground
    • black - downshift signal
    • green w/ orange - upshift signal

    Therefore we solder:

    • S6 black to S4 red
    • S6 green to S4 black
    • S6 blue to S4 green/orange.

    Obviously the paddle shifts are not backlit like the tip buttons so the grey wire from the S6 harness is not needed in the new harness. However it does still carry 12V current so I tucked it back in on itself into the existing harness wrap and taped it down to prevent it from coming loose and grounding out the wheel harness. If you want to be really clean you could always use pin tools and remove the grey wire entirely from the connector.

    Now we have the 2 custom harnesses needed to connect the S4 wheel into the S6 self-cancelling ring.



    While the airbag and the mount the airbag bolts onto are exactly the same part on the S4 and S6 wheels, I found that for whatever reason the airbag from my S6 didn't bolt down quite evenly onto the S4 mount making the airbag stick out slightly on the passenger side. As a result the horn also didn't work when that side was pressed. Rather than spend a huge amount of time trying to tweak the mounting, I simply swapped the airbag mount from the S6 wheel onto the S4 wheel instead. The mount is attached to the wheel by three T30 torx screws, make sure that the T25 torx nuts for the airbag attachment are in place before you re-attach the mount as you can't fit them under after the fact. Once the mount is installed route the paddle wiring into it's retaining clips.



    Now you want to install the newly fabricated airbag harness. There is a power and ground connector for the horn underneath the airbag mount, you may find it easier to connect those wires by loosening off of the T30 torx screws to get a bit of slack in the mount (or just do it as part of the mount swap step). Connect your second horn power to the spade connector on the airbag mount. The airbag harness is now fully connected to the wheel. I forgot to take a picture of the connection for the new paddle harness, but it should be very obvious how that harness connects to the wheel.

    Now reinstall the S4 paddle wheel into your car, the process is the reverse of what you did to remove the S6 wheel at the start. Make sure you have the airbag connectors seated properly before you reconnect the battery and turn on the car. While it doesn't cause any damage if you forget, it will through a DTC turning the airbag light in the cluster which does not clear itself. If this happens you'll need to clear that code with VAG-Com to turn off the airbag light. You should be able to easily pry out the S4 and S6 logo badges at the bottom of the wheel with a micro-flathead screwdriver and swap them over. I think they may have originally been glued in as well as press fit, but on both these wheels the adhesive had long since dried up.



    Success

    Long before doing this steering wheel swap I had recoded my TCM's with VAG-Com to softcode 00032 which; sets D closer to S, disables the DSP auto-learn feature and allows the tip buttons on the steering wheel to override into manual shifting from either D or S without first moving the shift lever over to the tip gate. Unlike BostonDriver's experience with swapping a paddle wheel into a pre-facelift A6, this softcoding works the same with a paddle wheel as is does with a tip button wheel. Need to kick down to pass on the highway? A quick tap on the downshift button to enter tip override and click down to select lower gears.

    Is this swap a huge difference to the car? Nope. It's not like I've swapped the auto out for a 6MT. Would I pay $350 for a wheel to do this mod? Probably not, but it's certainly worth it if you can get a good deal.
    Last edited by mithril; 01-13-2015 at 06:59 PM. Reason: better pictures and fixed typos/speeling errors [:(]
    Current: 2008 FSI V8 Touareg, Galpagos Grey Metallic on Sienna interior
    Former: 2002 S6, Silver on Silver Pearl w/ Alcantara insert.... stolen, used in a targeted gang murder and given a Viking funeral
    Former: 2000 A6 4.2L... killed by a distracted driver

  2. #2
    Established Member Two Rings
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    I felt compelled to post a comment after reading your post. The willingness to share information and to help each other is incredible. Other people tend to guard what little information they have acquired. What more can you ask for? Each step beautifully broken down.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Four Rings mithril's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words. I've never seen the reason why people wouldn't share information. Stuff like headlight upgrades, 6MT conversions and paddle wheel swaps are pretty commonly discussed and searched here. It only makes sense to share that info when you find something that works, it's not like this is a competition or anything and we gain advantage by hording.

  4. #4
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    I wish to add my commendation for the time and expertise that you decided to share with us.

    I apologies for posting a question that may have been answered already but I am mechanically challenged and I wish to double check that I understood correctly what I read so far in this forum.

    I own a 2000 S6 (WAUZZZ4BZYN106092) with +/- rockers (left and right, on the front of the wheel) and I am thinking of upgrading to an RS6 steering wheel with RS6 logo and rear paddles, purely for aesthetic reasons as I rarely use manual (the gearbox is sluggish).

    I understand that there is only one RS6 wheel that I can swap in without having to do all the work that you describe in your great post (or any other work described in other posts): part number 4B0-419-091-CJ-8UD

    Am I correct?

    Thank you in advance for your time and willingness to share your expertise. As you said it is not a competition but I do value time and I do appreciate yours.

    Tommaso

  5. #5
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    Can the S6 logo on the wheel be swapped with an RS6 logo? HAs anyone tried or will this tear the leather? If yes, does anyone know where I can find the little RS6 logo?

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Four Rings rollerton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascanio1 View Post
    Can the S6 logo on the wheel be swapped with an RS6 logo? HAs anyone tried or will this tear the leather? If yes, does anyone know where I can find the little RS6 logo?
    The little logo is just a plastic thing that's stuck into the steering wheel. It comes right out. You can get the little emblem off Ebay or many places.

    The steering wheel swap threads are kind of interesting to me; I've swapped a couple different wheels into my (various) S6s' over the years..NEVER had to do any kind of wiring at all. Last one I did was in fact a paddle shift S4 wheel (before I put the 01E in) and it was plug-n-play. Exchanged the S4 badge for S6, they're the same size. Prior to that I got a Euro WOOD trim wheel from someone. Again, paddle shift, direct swap. Only time I have ever had to do anything was a steering wheel that came with no harness at all.

    Kind of curious..
    foley803 : What does an electrical surge sound like? Barking dogs? Watermelons?

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Four Rings mithril's Avatar
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    The B6 S4 wheel would be a direct swap if youíre also swapping the S6 clock spring to the S4. If youíre swapping only the wheel and keeping the S6 clock spring then you need to modify as the harnesses are different between the two models.

    The RS6 wheel is a straight swap on the S6 with no wiring mod needed. I went with the S4 wheel because Inpreferred the smooth leather over the perforated on the RS6. The S4 and RS6 wheels are identical otherwise.
    Current: 2008 FSI V8 Touareg, Galpagos Grey Metallic on Sienna interior
    Former: 2002 S6, Silver on Silver Pearl w/ Alcantara insert.... stolen, used in a targeted gang murder and given a Viking funeral
    Former: 2000 A6 4.2L... killed by a distracted driver

  8. #8
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    Thanks rollerton!
    What is the 01E?

  9. #9
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    @mithril,
    I agree that the smooth leather is nicer. What is the clock spring? Can you post an image or explain, pls?

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Four Rings mithril's Avatar
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    The clock spring is the rotational piece that the steering wheel connects to. It provides the electronic interface between the wheelís electronics (air bag, shifters, radio controls, etc) and the car as well as providing yaw info to the ECM so the car knows how much the wheels are turned at at given moment.

    O1E is the transmission code for the 6-speed manual transmission that can be swapped into the C5 platform cars.
    Current: 2008 FSI V8 Touareg, Galpagos Grey Metallic on Sienna interior
    Former: 2002 S6, Silver on Silver Pearl w/ Alcantara insert.... stolen, used in a targeted gang murder and given a Viking funeral
    Former: 2000 A6 4.2L... killed by a distracted driver

  11. #11
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by mithril View Post
    The clock spring is the rotational piece that the steering wheel connects to. It provides the electronic interface between the wheelís electronics (air bag, shifters, radio controls, etc) and the car as well as providing yaw info to the ECM so the car knows how much the wheels are turned at at given moment.
    If I have an S6 wheel, do I need to buy a new clock spring or can I use my S6 wheel clock spring?

    Quote Originally Posted by mithril View Post
    O1E is the transmission code for the 6-speed manual transmission that can be swapped into the C5 platform cars.
    Did you replace the whole transmission? Did you have automatic and replace it with manual?

    (My transmission is automatic, if that helps in advising me re the wheel swap and paddle functionality)

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Four Rings mithril's Avatar
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    I didnít swap the transmission in my S6, rollerton has done the swap in all his S6ís. Re clockspring, yes you can use your existing clockspring. The RS6 and S6 have the same clockspring so if youíre swapping in an RS6 wheel itís a direct plug and play swap. The B6 S4 and C5 S6/RS6 have different clockspring so if you want to swap a B6 S4 wheel and reuse your S6 clockspring you need to build a hybrid harness as I did in this thread.

    This video shows the clockspring and how to remove it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OXfjJIgNqD0
    Current: 2008 FSI V8 Touareg, Galpagos Grey Metallic on Sienna interior
    Former: 2002 S6, Silver on Silver Pearl w/ Alcantara insert.... stolen, used in a targeted gang murder and given a Viking funeral
    Former: 2000 A6 4.2L... killed by a distracted driver

  13. #13
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by mithril View Post
    I didnít swap the transmission in my S6, rollerton has done the swap in all his S6ís. Re clockspring, yes you can use your existing clockspring. The RS6 and S6 have the same clockspring so if youíre swapping in an RS6 wheel itís a direct plug and play swap. The B6 S4 and C5 S6/RS6 have different clockspring so if you want to swap a B6 S4 wheel and reuse your S6 clockspring you need to build a hybrid harness as I did in this thread.

    This video shows the clockspring and how to remove it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OXfjJIgNqD0
    Thank you. Understood. I will need to build the hybrid harness as I want the smooth leather wheel! I appreciate your help!

    Last question, if you did not swap gearbox, why did you put in the 01E manual gearbox code?

  14. #14
    Veteran Member Four Rings mithril's Avatar
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    The coding I put in controls the behaviour of the auto trans.
    Current: 2008 FSI V8 Touareg, Galpagos Grey Metallic on Sienna interior
    Former: 2002 S6, Silver on Silver Pearl w/ Alcantara insert.... stolen, used in a targeted gang murder and given a Viking funeral
    Former: 2000 A6 4.2L... killed by a distracted driver

  15. #15
    Registered Member Two Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by mithril View Post
    The coding I put in controls the behaviour of the auto trans.
    This is cool! Do you mean that I can select a faster downshift and upshift? What exactly does the coding alter?



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