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Interior/Exterior :: Modding JCW Wheel for OEM Paddle Shifters

Interior/Exterior :: Modding JCW Wheel for OEM Paddle Shifters

  #1  
Old 08-06-2010, 02:04 PM
OctaneGuy
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Interior/Exterior :: Modding JCW Wheel for OEM Paddle Shifters

So ever since MINI has been selling their JCW steering wheel, they said that it's not compatible with the automatic tranny's. Never having had an auto before, I never paid much attention, but now that I've got one, I don't think it's fair we are left out of the fun! So I set out to find out why MINI says the JCW wheel won't work with the paddle shifters.

First I acquired a used JCW Alcantara wheel. Then I got for cheap a stock wheel with paddle shifters. One of my biggest challenges has been finding torx bits to take things apart. Seems the ones I've got are slightly too small or too big! Gonna have to get a better kit tomorrow.

Tools Needed: T20 and T25 Torx bits. T20 for removing the MFSW pcs and the T25 for removing the 4 bolts around the panel that holds the steering wheel release wires. The MFSW wiring is placed behind this so if you remove this panel, it's much easier to remove and reinstall the wiring.

Comparing the R56 JCW wheel to the OEM wheel wheel with paddle shifters.


Closer view


Closer view


How the paddle shifter fits


Internally is there any difference?


Only very subtle differences


Here's the paddle shifter


The stock wheel is cut for the paddle shifter


Another angle


This is where I will have to cut on the JCW wheel.


I stacked the wheels to show that the oem wheel in back has an extra hole for the paddle shifter


Closer view of the hole


JCW wheel doesn't have a hole




I'm going to mod this wheel to accept the oem paddle shifters. In the future, I may experiment further and see about changing out the shifters with something different. For now this writeup will continue to show my process and how you can do the same too!

Day 2

So after a nights rest, I found some more Torx bits at home from an old computer repair kit and turns out they fit fine. T20 and T25 were all I needed.

So I marked out what I needed to cut


I started off with a hacksaw for the initial cuts


This is what I had


and where I wanted to go. I noticed the two nubs here, not sure if I'm going to have to replicate them.


After much cutting with all kinds of tools including my Dremel and an Xacto blade, I test fit the paddle shifter.



Then I needed to figure out how to locate the hole in the front of the steering wheel for the paddle shifter thread! After much measuring, and making templates, I decided to do the old eyeball way. I stuck a sharp object from where I believed the hole should be after comparing with the stock wheel.



Seeing where it came out, I tried to push the screw through it, but couldn't so pulled out my drill and drilled a larger hole.


It fits!!


Ooops but it's not aligned properly


So I cut some more until it fit properly and tested the operation. It works great! Plenty of clearance and the shifter is solid whether pushing or pulling!







Time to do the other side! Woohoo!!


Here is the rest of the writeup.

I decided to try locating the shifter a bit differently this time by starting with the hole/screw that holds the shifter in place. Using an Xacto I located the hole by eyeballing it and proceeded.


I then used a screwdriver like an Awl to punch a hole


Then I drilled it through


Then I put the screw inside


Then I started cutting


and carving


and more carving


and more carving


I could see the screw protruding now


I screwed the paddle shifter into place and checked my work. Looks good from here.


Woah, I'm way off from the back side, but the shifters are located correctly.


Closeup of the first one I installed


Closeup of the second side


Oh well, I won't be seeing the backside ever again, lol.

So now I wanted to test out how to remove the airbag. I used a Hex wrench to push the wires to practice.


Ok now for real. Let's pull the negative ground using a 10mm wrench


Time to release the airbag...it works!


Now using a 16mm socket, to pull off the steering column bolt. Made sure the wheel was centered before I got to this stage. Nothing like driving with a steering wheel off a bit from center!


Ok and here's the completed setup!


The "impossible" has been done! Woohoo!

Richard
 
  #2  
Old 08-06-2010, 02:20 PM
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iwashmycar
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amazing job. looks great
 
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:57 PM
stinkytofu
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props to you and your work
 
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:58 PM
OctaneGuy
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Thanks!!! I love it!


Originally Posted by iwashmycar View Post
amazing job. looks great
 
  #5  
Old 08-20-2010, 03:37 PM
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Sketch
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Very nice work. :tu:
 
  #6  
Old 09-10-2010, 05:55 PM
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That's really impressive . It's funny that I was just thinking today if it'd be possible to do this mod and then I find your thread. I kind of want to do this myself now! Maybe once I have a little less on my plate in terms of car related mods
 
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:06 PM
R56 Wi MINI
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Nice work! How many hours did it take start to finish?
 
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:21 PM
OctaneGuy
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Well I spent a lot of time analyzing the stock wheel and JCW wheel differences, but actual work to remove the wheel, take off the paddle shifters, transfer them to the JCW wheel after cutting it to fit..I probably spent about 5.5 hours. The biggest challenge was figuring out the best way to cut the wheel, as I didn't really have the proper tool other than a sharp knife! Should be able to do the mod in under 2 hours or less if you have a good tool to cut the wheel with.
Originally Posted by R56 Wi MINI View Post
Nice work! How many hours did it take start to finish?
 
  #9  
Old 01-05-2011, 01:18 AM
weslim
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Have you considered to change the paddles for bigger aftermarket ones?
 
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:36 AM
irontree
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Looks good. Thank you for the write up.
 
  #11  
Old 09-25-2011, 12:10 PM
jbourne
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Just did the same mod - thanks for the writeup!

Couple of notes from my install.

- you don't need to fish for the hole. It's only in the rubber - the metal substructure has one already so just be careful and you'll find it. Measure the paddle OEM wheel exactly and it's precisely where it is in the other one. 1/4", btw.

- be careful with what you do with the plastic paddle connectors after. They do NOT FIT in the same grooves on the outer rim as they (the grooves) aren't as deep. I routed them to the centre of the wheel - I think the airbag does not touch there so should be fine.

- start by cutting a bit then expand wider. Aso be careful how deep you cut: if you cut too deep and have too much space, your paddle will rotate on the screw if pushed. I guess that's the point of the two dimples on the OEM wheel.

All said and done, I'm uberhappy with the result - thanks for the writeup and I guess that makes two automatic JCW Alcantara wheels out there.
 
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:05 PM
TimL
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Nice mod!!

Are the r56 and r53 steering wheels essentially the same part? (Haven't checked part #s yet, sorry.) If so, I presume the process for the r53 would be pretty much the same....
 
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:41 PM
hamptup
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I'm about to try this with the standard option red stitch wheel off a 2011 JCW. Unlike OctaneGuy's alcantara wheel this wheel had the holes already exposed to mount the paddles which should be one less step to install.
 
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:09 PM
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nice....
 
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:04 AM
isthar
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Originally Posted by hamptup View Post
I'm about to try this with the standard option red stitch wheel off a 2011 JCW. Unlike OctaneGuy's alcantara wheel this wheel had the holes already exposed to mount the paddles which should be one less step to install.
hey @hamptup any updates? would be nice to have this port revived with working pictures (they show up broken to me)
 
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:18 AM
hamptup
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Originally Posted by isthar View Post
hey @hamptup any updates? would be nice to have this port revived with working pictures (they show up broken to me)
Sorry but I never got a chance to post pics of my install because I lost the SD card that had the pics on. Perhaps OctaneGuy can repost his pics.
 
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:21 AM
Bigry
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Pics Please

If anybody could post the pics for the OctaneGuy how to process I would really appreciate it.

I'm about to tackle the same mod myself and would really appreciate seeing the pics.

Thanks all.
Ryan
 
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Old 04-14-2013, 05:09 PM
mbwicz
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I did this today. Here are some pics, but I don't know how to imbed them into the thread.

Notes:

1. Getting the airbag off was a pain. There is a hole in the bottom of the wheel that leads to a wire spring. Put a screwdriver in the hole, then rotate the blade so that the blade is facing up and down the steering column.

2. Remove the 4 T5 screws that hold the silver plate in place, it makes it much easier to get to the wiring with the plate gone.

3. The paddles are held in by T25 screws from inside the wheel hub. One of the pics shows the brass threaded insert that holds the paddle in place.

4. The JCW wheel already has the hole in it for the paddle screw. I used an awl to probe inside the hub for the hole, then pushed it through. This was my starting point to begin removing material from the back side of the wheel.

5. I used an X-acto knife with a couple different blades, plus the awl and a small screwdriver to remove the soft material. Use sharp blades (the blood will wipe off easily), and cut about 1/8 strips off at a time.

6. Keep the hole small, especially on the back of the hub. Once you get the screw hole free, then you can start lining up the paddle, and this will guide where to cut next.

7. My paddles would not upshift because I didn't want to trim too much of the leather on the back. I put a heavy washer between the wheel and the paddle shifter (about .100 thick), and this gave me enough clearance for proper paddle function.

8. Since the wheel doesn't have the proper dimples to match the pins on the paddles, there is some flexibility of alignment. I kept the notches in the wheel small to give support on the sides of the paddle switch. Get the screw snug, then adjust for proper clearance for the downshift paddle above the wheel spoke. Make both sides even, then tighten and confirm function.

9. Like the above note says, there are some 'trenches' missing in the wheel hub, so be careful how you route the wiring before putting the silver plate back in place.

10. The MFSW switches are just pegs (with a ridge) that fit into holes in the wheel. Just use a screwdriver and constant pressure, and they will come out.

This took me about 3 hours, but most of that time was experimenting and fishing to figure things out. Sharp knives are really, really important.

I guess I was also nervous about working on a brand new, $370 wheel. You just have to get into it.

Have fun,
Mike
 
Attached Thumbnails Interior/Exterior :: Modding JCW Wheel for OEM Paddle Shifters-dsc05454.jpg   Interior/Exterior :: Modding JCW Wheel for OEM Paddle Shifters-dsc05457.jpg   Interior/Exterior :: Modding JCW Wheel for OEM Paddle Shifters-dsc05458.jpg  
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:09 PM
Claviger
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Sure would be neat if this forum could retain photos .... you know, for those people in the future looking for info.
 
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:46 AM
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Sometimes the photos get lost due to being hosted in photo box/dropbox or some other third party places, a good trick to find out photos from the forums is the site search on google this thread and then hit images. Sometimes they are still cached.
Like this: https://www.google.com/search?q=Inte...=2133&bih=1042
 
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