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4EAT Paddle Shifter Build Thread


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#1 eulogious

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 04:09 AM

Hello all,

To start, a shout out to presslab, he really helped me worked through alot of my problems, thanks dude!

A while ago I was browsing through this forum, and I came across this awesome thread about building paddle shifters for the 4EAT. Here's the link:

http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=93670

This was my inspiration. So about the beginning of February I PM'ed presslab to see what really needed to be done and if this was really possible for me to do.

I guess I should also give a little background on myself before going any farther. Right now I am training to become a IBM Mainframe systems programmer, I have modded xboxes and other SOC (system on a chip) devices including routers, and I have a good background working with computer systems in general. So this whole car thing is new to me, but not electronics. So with that said...

After talking with presslab, I came up with a list of things that needed to happen so that I could get paddle shifters in my loyale. Here's the list:

1. Get TCU
2. Build simple cable to interface with TCU
3. Download original TCU ROM using the cable that I just built and the linux software
4. Compare original TCU ROM Code to new modified ROM code to check for differences to make sure the ROM is compatible and modify any settings
5. Install DIP 28 socket onto TCU PCB
6. Burn new ROM image onto new EEPROM
7. Install new EEPROM into the new DIP socket on the TCU, and disable the original ROM
8. Splice in new plugs into exsisting TCU harness for the new TCU, but keeping the old as a backup
9. Modify the RPM signal going to the new TCU via the new harness. Use a 1k resistor and place it inline from the ECU to the TCU.
On the TCU input install a 4.7V zener diode after the resistor with the cathode on the TCU input and the anode to ground.
10. Build the DCCD switch using a six position rotary switch and wire in some 1N4001 diodes in a series between each pole. The FWD switch pole is attached to ground and the common is attached to the atmospheric sensor input.
11. Build the paddle shifter assembly and install it

With such a short list, it should take me no time to do it all :lol:

Needless to say I have spent ALOT of hours just researching and trying to figure out how all this works, and I just got it working today, a month and a half after I started. So this project isn't for the weak hearted, that's for sure!

Personally I don't want to modify something in my car, especially anything having to do with the transmission, unless I honestly can understand what has been modified, how it was modified, and why it was modified. Once I can figure all that out, I will feel much more comfortable installing this into my car. So I set out learning assembly code for the Motorola 68CH11 processor.

Lucky for me I am already somewhat comfortable in a low level machine language due to my training on the Mainframe, so picking up the assembly wasn't that hard. It wasn't easy, but not that hard. The hardest part is knowing how to read a reference manual :rolleyes: Man that crap can put you to sleep!

Anyways, once I had figured out the jist of what was going on in the ROM, I set out on getting a TCU that had the same part number has presslabs. Once I found that, I needed to get the harness for the TCU, since the TCU I bought didn't come with the wiring harness. Wiring harness in hand, I set out to wire it up. Here's my thread on the wiring harness:

http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=110131

I broke this whole process up so that each step I did was more easily searchable, and more organized. Also these posts have a bunch of pics in them, so beware!

Read through that thread to see the problems I had with that and how I solved them.

Once it was wired in, I then had another problem, the AWD didn't work. I had a fried transistor on the TCU board that I had to replace. Here's my thread on how I fixed that:

http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=110121

After all the hassles and trouble shooting, trails and tribulations, I was finally able to install the moddified ROM onto the EJ TCU and got it working!

Granted I skip a few steps along the way... I had a buddy of mine burn the ROM image for me, so that was already done. I ordered the cable that I need to interface with the TCU, but I am still working on getting the tcuscan software to work for me :-\ I just gave up and moved on. I figured that if it didn't work with the new ROM, then I would have to figure out tcuscan. Since the modified ROM worked, I am not in a hurry to fool around with tcuscan. I will in the future, but for now, it can wait. With that, I have also not downloaded the stock ROM to verify against presslab's ROM, but since it his ROM worked in my TCU, I can assume that the ROM is the same.

Here's some pics of adding the new socket on the board, and with the new ROM on the board:

Before Modifiing:
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After:
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Here's some "action" shots, or something like that...

Half done:
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You can see where I started, and how my soldering skills got better as I went :rolleyes: First time I have ever tried doing anything like this. Good times :)

All done:
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Socket installed:
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So in order to get the DIP socket to work, you have to move a resistor...
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You have to move it from 421 to 422. The "000" on the resistor means 0 ohms, so you can just use a piece of wire as well, which is what I ended up doing, since that resistor is a huge PITA to move. I am going to install a switch so that I can flip between the two ROM's whenever I want. This way it makes this mod a little more reversible. To a point anyways :rolleyes:

At this point since the TCU is functioning "normally" in my car, I am ready to start running more wires for the paddle shifters and dccd knob, as well as the wire for the select monitor, and to start building and adding all the goodies and getting it installed (5 additional wires total). I have the DCCD knob already here, and I have some ideas on the paddle shifter assembly that I should be able to test out here soon, and I should be able to start wiring it all in starting this weekend.

My first plan is to install the DCCD knob and get that working, then the paddle shifters. I figure one thing at a time, that way I don't get to overwhelmed, so stay tuned!

Edited by eulogious, 24 March 2010 - 02:19 AM.


#2 eulogious

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:03 PM

Ok, so after I installed the new modded TCU, it started acting up. It would basically reboot itself. I would be driving down the road and all of a sudden the power light and the atf temp light would come on and the car was in 3rd gear locked in 4wd. The TCU had decided it didn't want to work anymore. So after looking at the board some more, and with the help of presslab, I was able to determine that all the electrolytic caps where bad and needed replacing. So that's where I am at with that TCU.

Now luckily for me I happen to find yet another TCU with that same part number, this time out of a car that was t-boned, so at least this TCU was functioning before the accident. It arrived in the mail on Saturday, thanks Uberoo!, so I was able to start playing with it.

I plugged it in just to see what would happen, and it worked normally! Yay! It worked without any modification! So that meant that this TCU was already in better condition than my previous one.

I then removed the solder from the holes to prepare it for a DIP socket. I unfortunately was unable to find a DIP 28 socket, but I got a DIP 40 socket and just trimmed it down to 28 and it that worked out good. I then left it in the stock configuration and test drove it around for two days and about 70 miles just to make sure that it was working before I tired to modify it. After putting it through the crucible, I decided it was time, all or nothing! So after practicing lifting the pins of the stock rom on my other TCU, I set out for some experiments.

First I tried running a 10k resistor to pin 22 (OE Output Enable) from 5v, just to make sure that the OE was turned off. Tried it in my car, power light and atf light, so no go. I then lifted the CE (Chip Enable) pin 20, and the OE pin 20, and the same result, double lights. I then lifted the power and the ground for the chip to completely disable the chip, and I still got the double lights. So it was time for this stupid stock ROM to come off! So 30 min later I had the chip removed, I went down to my car, started it up, and the atf light went out, and then shortly after the power light went out as well! This is good. Turned it off tried again hoping for no errors and I got no errors! It seemed to work!

After taking it for a test drive for about 20 miles all seems well. It shifts better, and feels more fun to drive. I have not tried out the paddle shifters, but its only running my modded ROM, so i should work fine.

I have some caps on order for my other TCU, so when then come in I am going to try to figure out why I HAD to remove the stock ROM in order for my other ROM to work, so that should be fun. I want to be able to switch between the two ROMs, but really that's just to say I did :grin: I won't let this stupid thing beat me!

This week I will have some time to be able to start running those wires, I have been busy trying to get this TCU to work, and then I will start building the paddle shifter assembly itself. I hope this all starts going smoother from this point forward thats for sure!

Edited by eulogious, 24 March 2010 - 02:25 AM.


#3 grossgary

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:45 PM

you're amazing that's absolutely awesome. wish i lived closer to see hands on what you're up to and the interfacing and all. that's great.

#4 eulogious

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 04:39 AM

you're amazing that's absolutely awesome. wish i lived closer to see hands on what you're up to and the interfacing and all. that's great.


:o Thanks. I am just trying to copy the really smart guy here. This whole project has been a challenge for sure. Let's just say before I started this my soldering skill were adequate to say the least :rolleyes: But between soldering in 30 wires for the harness and replacing transistors, I can now remove a 28 pin chip off of a pcb board without messing anything up, so they have improved just a little. It's been alot of fun as well.

I have been taking pics along the way to document this, since I am doing it I might was well try to help others. It's good practice to document for my line of work anyways, so I will have lots of pics and I will explain everything once I get it all going. I hope that I can show that someone without a lot of experience can do this sort of thing if you put your mind to it. I am just really persistent and I refuse to let a computer, or a car for that matter, beat me! That's one of the main reasons I like computers, there is always a fix, and a right and wrong. You just need to know how to do it, but it makes finding the answer easier, because you know it exists. Same applies to cars, and that's why I started learning about cars. It either works or it doesn't, there is no in between. Works much better that way :)

#5 eulogious

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 01:24 PM

Ok, so I made some progress today. I ran six more wires from the TCU up to the front of the car, so the wires are all ready for the paddle shifter assembly that I am building tomorrow :grin: I think that I might try to get the DCCD knob worked out today or Monday, not sure which, but I should have all the goodies wired in and working by Monday evening!

Pics:

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All ready and waiting for the paddle shifters!
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I am getting close to wrapping this all up and I am getting all excited to use the paddle shifters!

#6 Breeke

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:57 PM

seriously...................AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana:

#7 eulogious

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 04:58 PM

Ok got the paddle shifters mounted, wired in, and working :banana: It's really sweet and they work great! I have a couple design flaws to work out, but they will work for now. Here's some pics:

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The thing that I didn't count on or think about when using these toggles switches was that they will rotate :mad: So right now they paddles rotate, and that's annoying, but I think I will just weld a guide plate above my coupler to keep it from rotating too much. They also look a little out of place/ghetto, but hey, who else do you know has paddle shifters! I choose this way as well because it super easy to swap out any parts that get broken, and the whole setup is super simple, so less to go wrong. I will try these out for a few days and see how they work, but so far they work well, and man the paddle shifters are alot of fun! Makes the auto not so bad anymore :grin:

Now onto my DCCD knob, but I don't know when I will get around to that. Hopfully I will have some time today/this afternoon to start working on it, but we shall see. Now off to test drive the paddle shifters some more :grin:

#8 Turbone

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 05:19 PM

Great job.
Now you should mount them on the back side of the steering wheel ;)

#9 eulogious

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 05:24 PM

Great job.
Now you should mount them on the back side of the steering wheel ;)


Thanks :)

Well I thought about that and the problem that I will run into is getting the wires for the steering wheel to the steering column. I could remove my cruise controls that I just installed, but i don't really want to do that since I use my cruise everyday, I want to keep them around. If you have any idea on how to do that, I would totally do that. In fact I would probably steal some actual paddles from a car somewhere and get them in there, but I just can't run anymore wires :( I wish though...

I still have some ideas about building a different assembly, but I want to try this out first and see how I like it.

#10 baccaruda

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:27 AM

bluetooth? :grin:

#11 eulogious

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 02:12 AM

bluetooth? :grin:


There's an idea, but from what I have seen and used of bluetooth, it's not very friendly and it's SLOW and doesn't like interference. Granted if I could find something cheap that could transmit the two signals, I would be interested in trying it...

Something I will keep on the back burner, thanks for the idea!

#12 eulogious

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 02:24 AM

An update. I ran into some troubles today with making my dccd knob. My six position rotatory switch is apparently a 9 position rotatory switch now. I don't know how that happened, but from when I had it on the bench testing it and turning the knob, there was only six positions, but when I got it into my car, what I thought was pin 1 was really pin 3 :mad: apparently and it had 9 positions instead of the six it had on the bench. Must of have needed more torque on bench when turning the knob :mad: I don't know why they even labeled the switch if pin 1 isn't the 1st position of the switch :-\

So I have to redo my switch, which doesn't sound like a big deal, except for these pins are so small, and I clipped the ones I thought I wouldn't need. Like pins 7 through 10, since it's supposed to only be a six position switch. Also in the process, I also broke 2 pins off, so now I have to redo the switch with half the pins to solder too :mad:

Now I would go buy a new switch, but I have to special order it and it's $26 :mad::mad: So I am really pissed. I think that I might be able to fix it, but it's going to be a challenge. I will take photos of how small this switch is, it's ridiculously small. It's great because I have a perfect spot for it and if it was bigger it wouldn't mount up easily, but seriously what a PITA.

I honestly don't know if I will get this done anytime soon, since I am pissed at it and really don't care to fix it right now. Stupid switch. Hopefully soon I will have the dccd knob in.

#13 eulogious

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 03:14 AM

Ok, so I got the switch fixed for the most part, and I installed the DCCD knob and it works! :banana:

Granted the switch is a total hack job, and the second position I couldn't get to work, but I got FWD, Normal, 150%, 200%, and 4WD. I should have a 75% after FWD, but like I said I couldn't get that to work and I really don't care at the moment about that.

I took it for a test drive and I tell you what, the AWD upgrade makes a HUGE difference. I couldn't really ever tell before, but driving around in a little bit of rain in FWD, the tires were spinning like mad! Flip the switch to "normal" and there is virtually NO slippage what so ever. It's AWESOME! The 4WD switch works as well, since I get torque bind in the corners with it on :lol:, so I know that I am in 4WD. Here's some pics for ya:

Here's my super small switch:
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Each number that you see is supposed to be a pin :-\ This is zoomed in as well. I am not proud of this solder job at all, but considering I had hardly any pins to work with, I am actually proud I got it to work. The only reason being it's soooo small.

Here's a size comparison to a lighter:
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Here's another shot, the piece of wire with solder on it is 20 AWG:
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Here's some photo's of my diode board that I made since I couldn't solder a diode in between each pole of the switch due to it's size:
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I then proceeded to incase the whole thing in hot glue to protect it from shorting and the elements:

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Here's the whole setup:
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So I am not happy with how the switch actually turned out, so I am going to order a new one and learn from my mistakes on this one and get all of the positions working like they should. I also found out that my mounting whole for the switch in my dash is about a 1/8 in to high, so the reason why the pins are breaking is because the switch is pushed up an 1/8 of an inch, therefore breaking some of the pins :rolleyes: So I am going to fix this as well when I install my new switch. But for the time being it works the way it should, and it's pretty sweet :grin:

Now the only thing that I have left to do is figure out why the tcuscan software wasn't working for me. So far so good, only one thing left to go!

Edited by eulogious, 02 April 2010 - 03:26 AM.


#14 presslab

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 03:54 PM

That's awesome you got it all working! How is your AWD working, did the EJ TCU get rid of the front wheel spin?

I'm going to come up with a new design for my paddles. The ones I have now are solid steel rod and they bounce around a bit. It's exaggerated too because my column isn't the stiffest thing either. I like your idea of using the hollow aluminum tubing.

#15 eulogious

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 08:07 AM

That's awesome you got it all working! How is your AWD working, did the EJ TCU get rid of the front wheel spin?


It's great! I like it sooo much better. I really didn't notice the difference until I installed my DCCD knob and tried out the FWD mode. Now that I have been driving it around for a little bit now, I really like the legacy TCU better for the AWD. When I used to gun it with the old TCU, the tires would spin, and there was a jolt when the back wheels kicked in. Kinda like nothing to the rear, and then all the power at once. Not gradual and sounded/felt horrible. Now it's super smooth and gradual and I don't even notice that the rear wheels have kicked in at all. At first I thought it was because my tires where new and warmed up, and there wasn't too much water on the road, so that's why I wasn't slipping, but when I turned on FWD mode and drove it around, the tires where spinning all the time! I was really surprised. I didn't even think that the AWD was working since I couldn't feel the jolt and there was no tire slippage, but running around in FWD mode made me realize it was working all the time, and working great to boot! No more jolts, and, most importantly, no more wheel slip!

I'm going to come up with a new design for my paddles. The ones I have now are solid steel rod and they bounce around a bit. It's exaggerated too because my column isn't the stiffest thing either. I like your idea of using the hollow aluminum tubing.


So far the toggles are working good. I need to do something about the design though. Keep me updated as to what you do. I might want to copy your ideas, it's not like I haven't done that already :rolleyes: I didn't use hollow tubing, it's solid aluminum, but it's super light and does the trick. Hollow tubes should work as well.

#16 eulogious

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 03:24 AM

I figured I would give an update since grossgary mentioned it, thanks for the reminder! :)

So I tried moving the paddles around a little to see if it would make a difference, and it did make a difference, but it sucked, so I went back to the original location showed in the pics above. I was impressed with myself that I got it comfortable the first time! So far they are holding up well, and I haven't had any issues. I also haven't really had any time to work on this, I have been involved with other projects.

I will say that I really like having the paddle shifters. Merging on to the freeway is better, freeway driving is better, it doesn't shift all crazy when trying to go up hills. I can floor it in any gear with the paddle shifters, so that's awesome, you don't have the stupid downshift you usually get when you floor it in an auto. I find myself using it more and more, but usually just going up hills (it disengages the tc lockup earlier because it uses the power shift maps, so it's better up hills) because I can floor it and not worry about the downshift, and merging because of the same reasons. Also not having any wheel slip is nice as well. I do notice that a lot now that I have driven it for a few thousand miles with the paddle shifters. It's soo much nicer :)

I also got in some more of my caps to finally, hopefully fix my other TCU that had the bad caps. So now I need to order up a chip and a chip burner so I can start working on that. I also need to work on the select monitor thing, but I just haven't really want to look into yet, so I haven't.

I still have some ideas for the paddle shifter assembly, but I haven't had the time to research it anymore, and my buddy with the welder has been busy, so it's not like I would be able to do anything right now anyways. But it's still on my mind. I will come up with something better, but for now, this works great!

So when I got more info and pics I will post back!

#17 grossgary

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 10:14 AM

so how exactly does it work - like what do you do and there's two paddles? give a quick run down of what you're doing to go from stop to free way speed up an incline for instance? i'd rather just come on over and watch, but yeah....:lol:

#18 eulogious

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 11:06 AM

so how exactly does it work - like what do you do and there's two paddles? give a quick run down of what you're doing to go from stop to free way speed up an incline for instance? i'd rather just come on over and watch, but yeah....:lol:


So the paddle shifters are two momentary on-off switches. To use them, just pull it forward, and it will then automatically spring back to the "rest" position. So you can just flick it and it goes back to default.

To activate "Paddle Mode" you pull both shifters towards you. At the same time paddle mode is turned on, the TCU starts to use the "Power" shift maps, and the "Power" light lights up on the dash. This is the indicator that lets you know if you are in paddle mode or not. If you are in paddle mode, it stays lit the whole time. You can do this on the fly, no matter what gear you are in. It figures out what gear you are in, and then keeps it in that gear until a) you shift it up or down, B) you hit redline, and then it will upshift for you. It will not downshift from what I can tell, which is good, lets me do 2nd gear starts :grin:

So starting out on a freeway on ramp going up a hill from a stop, I would start out in paddle mode, and then just pull the right shifter to shift up until I hit fourth, and then I would put it back into normal mode and cruise down the free way. If I want to downshift I put it into paddle mode and I then pull the left shifter, and it will downshift for me, to lets say pass. But it will not downshift if the shift will put the car in the redline, so I don't have to worry about accidentally pulling to many times on the paddle and blowing up my car. It's really sweet and intuitive. Presslab's code is really nifty and clever. It's good stuff.

What I normally do is this. The on ramp to get up to Seattle from my place is a right hand turn, then going straight for a short distance, then the on ramp lane turns into an off ramp, and you have to get over. Less than a 1/2 mile for sure to get this done, and it's on an incline :-\ Not making this up either. So I start out normally taking the turn, and the trans is usually in 2nd gear by this point, and then you have to floor it in order to get up speed. But you can only take the corner at about 15mph, so you are in 2nd at low speed and you floor it, well the car wants to shift into 1st to get you going quicker. Well this really doesn't get me going quicker, all it does is make a lot of noise for nothing, and then I get a hard shift because the poor thing has 210,000 miles on it :lol: It's annoying as all hell. Even with the stock TCU, if you put the shifter down into the "2nd" position, it will still shift into 1st, than 2nd, so there is no way to get around it in the stock configuration.

So what I do is take the corner normally, and then coming out of the corner I put it into paddle mode, and then it stays in 2nd and I floor it. Then it's nice and smooth from 2nd to 3rd and then 4th, all with out having to move my hands from the wheel to shift, while at the same time trying to merge into traffic because my lane ends. It's really nice actually. I have hated getting on the freeway with any auto since I moved down here, but now it's all good :grin:

So then if I am cruising down the freeway and a hill is coming up and I know the car can make it up the hill without downshifting but I know that the TCU will automatically do it when I floor it. So I then activate paddle mode, and it locks it into 4th and uses the "power" shift maps, so it shifts quicker in and out of TC lockup, and also prevents the trans from "wandering" through the gears while driving up a hill, and I can floor it without issues :grin: That's really nice for freeway cruising. Especially with the dealer installed cruise because it doesn't turn off the cruise control when I put it into paddle mode, so even the cruise just floors it. It's really nice :grin:

It's the little things like that that made this mod really cool and worth it. Ya I guess the newer cars have this funtion, but it's sweet to have it in a 1990 car!

I hope that explains it a little better :)

Edited by eulogious, 11 June 2010 - 11:10 AM.


#19 Numbchux

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 07:08 PM

awesome. actually makes me sad that I'm not driving my 4EAT XT6....huh...never thought I'd say that :lol:


good work!

#20 eulogious

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:14 AM

awesome. actually makes me sad that I'm not driving my 4EAT XT6....huh...never thought I'd say that :lol:


good work!


:lol: That is funny! I honestly did think that I would like having an auto either, but I think that I can live with it now :) It's just so nice almost having the best of both worlds, an auto for "niceness" and for a DD, but a manual for all the "control" of the gearbox. It's close enough for me to keep the auto!

#21 kirbykirb

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 01:37 AM

Oh gosh, I had an idea like this but completley opposite. instead of modifying the ROM, I'll keep it stock and just manipulate what the transmission sensors are thinking; and "trick" the stock rom into switching gears, and moving power to the wheels I want (4eat handy dandy that thr 5mt don't have, variable awd.).


How did you reverse the code? It's all in assemble/asm....

#22 eulogious

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 12:56 PM

Oh gosh, I had an idea like this but completley opposite. instead of modifying the ROM, I'll keep it stock and just manipulate what the transmission sensors are thinking; and "trick" the stock rom into switching gears, and moving power to the wheels I want (4eat handy dandy that thr 5mt don't have, variable awd.).


How did you reverse the code? It's all in assemble/asm....


Refer to the link in my first post, presslab was the one that did it. He helped me out TONS with this whole project.

I used a program called IDF Pro to disassemble it, but presslab went through and commented the code and what not, so that made it MUCH easier than using my disassembly :)

#23 RE3Rotor

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:23 AM

Do you think something similar can be done on the 4EAT of an 04 FXT?

#24 eulogious

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 03:00 AM

Do you think something similar can be done on the 4EAT of an 04 FXT?


No... The only reason why this worked was because the older transmissions, phase 1, used a CPU that was easier to use and program for, AND subaru was nice enough to leave the diagnostic chip holes still there, so all you had to do was tap into what was there. I believe they took that out with the new stuff. But I could be wrong, as I have not looked into it, but the newer stuff is a phase 2 4EAT, and it talks with the ECU alot more that the phase 1 stuff because the newer stuff is ODBII, and the older is ODBI. So the modified ROM code wouldn't supply the signals needed by the ECU anyways, so nothing would work. You would not only have to figure out a way to get another chip onto the newer TCU, but then also come up with some new ROM code to make it all work. So it is possible, but not using the methods that I used here, and it's totally out of my ability to do :)

Hope that helps!

#25 RE3Rotor

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 03:19 AM

Thank you for the prompt reply.

I am a software engineer by trade. But I deal with high level stuff and all the low level experience I had was in school, which is mostly forgotten... My brother who is also a software engineer had tuned my car with the OBDII port. I am curious to see how much information we can get out of that port. Maybe I will open up the TCU just for the sake of looking at the board.

Thanks again. :grin:




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