Guide Add paddle shifters to Gen 2 (2017 KF) CX-5 with heated steering wheel. "Easy"

TBarney

'17 CX-5 AWD GT Prem. Original owner of 91 Miata.
:
Atlanta metro
Just thought I'd check in and report that I'm still very happy with this mod. Use them all the time. The car is always at least 2 gears too high going into sharp turns, so I've developed the habit already of giving the left paddle two flips while braking, just so I'm not waiting for that bog followed by a late, neck-snapping downshift that the car does if left to it's own devices. (By contrast, you can feel the wife's BMW downshifting on it's own as you brake, so it's always in the best gear for acceleration. Her car has paddles, too, but I almost never need them!)

I've also found that the car doesn't seem to know what to do with 3rd gear on a piece of road I frequent, and the paddles help there, too. In regular mode, it shifts up too soon unless you're really just loafing along. But if you put it in sport (auto) mode, it winds it out for too long it seems. By putting it into sport mode, it holds 3rd gear long enough, but I can easily bump it up to 4th before it thinks it's time.

Edit: Heh. Typing while CX-MCHNE was, apparently. We're of like minds!
 
Totally get where you guys are coming from. I drove exclusively sticks for 20 years, but the last time I needed to get a new vehicle I couldn't find any attractive manual options in my price range. When I decided on the CX-5, I didn't fault it for not having paddle shifters because I always use my right hand for shifting anyway, right?

Well after a couple years driving my CX-5, for me: no, not right. I never swing the gear selector over to manual mode. I'm James Bond when my left foot and right hand are working me though a manual gearbox. I'm Austin Powers when I'm using the auto gear selector manual mode. I think I've given it an honest shot, but I just feel silly clicking that knob up and down to get around town. Most of the time there's no point. So I don't use the manual mode regularly, so it hasn't become second nature, so kicking down a gear with it is not a fast process for me.

But now, with the paddle shifters installed, I have a lower gear literally at my fingertips. I don't need to be in manual mode, managing every shift all the time. But when I'm rolling along in a slow lane of traffic and I see a gap coming in a faster lane next to me, it's almost instantaneous to ask for a lower gear to prep for a burst of acceleration. I can leave it to the auto to manage the mundane parts, and any time I know something my transmission does not, it's fast and easy to give it a hint.

To do the same thing without the paddle shifters, you have to reach down to the selector, slide it over to manual mode, click down a gear, do whatever you needed the lower gear for, then reach back down and slide it back to auto mode. Not the end of the world, but it's hard to argue it's not significantly better to just click once with your hand on the wheel, where it already is.
Agree. If they are there, you will use them when you need to. Otherwise, I'd just resort to stabbing the gas to get an auto to downshift. I bought the aliexpress extenders because I think the OEM paddle are just too small. We'll see how that goes.
 

tibimakai

San Dimas CA
:
USA
:
2014 CX-5 Touring
There are differences between the old and the new kit? Should I remove my kit and I can transfer it to a new CX-5?

I usually use it to slow down (downshift), or sometimes when it takes to long to speed up.
 
I've seen someone selling on ebay a non heated steering wheel kit but their images show the same green harness as in this guide which doesn't make sense to me.

The seller said you just connect the cables which makes me think they are wrong.

I doubt I can use this harness on my touring with premium package with no heated steering wheel

Might have to go with the kit that uses the pin cables to insert into the oem harness like in this video

Hi guys, I hope you help me. My car is a Mazda CX-5 signature 2.5T 2020 and I would like to install Paddle Shifters. Could you please tell me what the product is and where can I buy it? I would like an instructions. Thank you!
 
:
2020 CX5 AWD
This has been discussed here in the past, but I wanted to add a few details on my recent install of paddle shifters in my 2017 CX-5 Grand Touring w/ Premium Package.

Here are relevant threads I referenced when researching this mod:

2017 Paddle Shifters
Possibly a paddle shift swap into Gen 2 CX-5

My goal in posting this new thread is just to confirm a couple of things to those thinking about this upgrade, and issue a warning.

The warning first:
When removing the steering wheel, make sure ALL CONNECTORS ARE DISCONNECTED before tugging the wheel off of the shaft. All of the videos show this. I just wasn't thinking, or maybe I thought I'd pull the connectors once the wheel was loose. But the wire from the wheel to the clock spring is VERY short, so when the steering wheel came loose, it yanked apart my clock spring. This can be an expensive mistake! The replacement clock spring for the GT Premium package is $200+.

I had a very uncomfortable 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to get the clock spring back together. There's a LOT of ribbon cable wrapped up in there, and it has to be in the correct orientation for the steering angle sensor to work. I finally got things to slide back together, and everything appears to be working normally - drove it last night and got no errors, I can go full lock both directions and the adaptive headlights seem to be aiming. So I think I'm good.

OK, so now some things that I wanted to highlight about doing this project:

1. Can confirm that This kit from JDM Yamato is pretty much plug-n-play for the 2017 GT w/ Prem. Pkg. I'll say, I'm impressed with this vendor. This was shipped from Japan and was at my house in less than a week. With international shipping, this cost me $218 in January 2021.

2. Every video I watched showed having to install pins into an existing connector. None of that is necessary with this kit, on the 2017 GT. This is simply a confirmation of what user Joaks said in the above-referenced thread. Here are the contents of the kit: Steering wheel rear cover, paddle shifters, wiring harness, 4 bolts to secure shifters, steering wheel bolt, zip ties (for securing wires at steering wheel button modules), 2-sided tape (for securing heater module? I did not use.) The Green covered wires are the new part, and they plug into the the wires from the paddles.
View attachment 234711

3. Removing the airbag is tricky. I had a hard time finding the tabs I had to press. I had to study these diagrams from the shop manual quite a bit before I could get it loose. The videos make it look easier than it really is for a first timer, IMO. For one thing, there were multiple holes on the back side of my steering wheel. You don't want the round hole, you want the rectangular hole that is closer to the shaft. The manuals calls for a T30 hex tool, but I use a smaller allen wrench. All you need is something to pry with that's somewhat stout. Here is a picture of the back of the air bag, and the inside of the steering wheel. The circled areas are what you are trying to lever loose - you've got to move that heavy wire enough to pop it free. The arrows point to the clips holding the wire and tabs.
View attachment 234710

View attachment 234709

4. The heater module has to be moved over to the new rear cover. There are instructions for removing the rear cover, but I didn't find anyone addressing the heater module. Here's what I figured out:

I removed the screws securing the heater module before prying off the rear cover. If you look through the front of the wheel, you can see the screws just above the lower spoke.
View attachment 234712

You can probably get away with leaving them in place to remove the rear cover, but you have to remove them to swap in the new cover. Here's what it looks like when you're putting it back together:
View attachment 234713

I think the 2-sided tape was supposed to be used to re-secure the padding on the heater module to the rear cover, but mine was still sticky, so I didn't use it. Hopefully I won't get any buzzing or rattling.

4. To fully utilize the new harness, you must remove the steering wheel controls from the steering wheel, remove the old wiring harness, and install the new. To remove the steering wheel controls, you must press out these pins. It looked like it was going to be harder than it was. They're mounted in a kind of hard rubber, and it took a decent amount of force, but press slowly and firmly and they'll come lose. They don't "pop," it's more of a slow release. I went back and forth between the two pins until it was fully loose.
View attachment 234714
To release the wiring harness, you'll have to clip the small zip ties near the connectors, and release the clips holding the wire harness to the steering wheel. Squeeze and push from the back side.
View attachment 234715

Here's what it looks like once it's out:

View attachment 234716

From this point, you "simply" install the new wiring harness to the steering wheel controls - use the small zip ties to secure the new harness near where they connect to the button modules - and press them back into to place, taking care to route the wires the way the old ones were.

Then, install the paddle shifters into the back of the new cover. It'll be pretty obvious how to route the wires in the channels on the cover, and then clip the big white connector into place near the top. Connect the new connector with the green-covered wires to the paddle shifter harness. (I didn't take a pic of this all assembled. Doh! Was getting exciting to get it back together, I guess!)

Then reinstall the steering wheel and connect the air bag, ensuring your wires are crossing or twisting around themselves.

Hope this helps someone in the future.

Couple of comments about the paddle shifters in general:

My only real complaint about the CX-5 is that it seems slow at times - and that's not that it doesn't have adequate horsepower, it's that the transmission is slow to drop down into the proper gear for quick acceleration. The worst is when you want to accelerate through a turn, and you don't get the downshift until halfway through. But it's also annoying when you just want a quick burst of acceleration and you have to wait for the transmission to catch up. Using the shift lever to manually shift alleviates this, but there are times when I don't necessarily want to be driving in manual mode, but I DO want a quick downshift in anticipation of a curve or burst of speed. Now, I can just bump the paddle shifter to downshift AHEAD of the curve, without the extra mechanics of moving the shift lever to the left, then bumping it forward a couple of times, then moving it back to the right to slip back into Drive mode.

A few have made comments about the shifters being small, and therefore awkward to use in a curve. To which I say this: If you're in curve that's sharp enough that you can't take it without moving your hands from 9 & 3, you shouldn't be trying to shift, anyway. Braking and downshifting should be done while you're relatively straight, or you risk an upsetting weight shift. Folks complaining about that need some lessons on performance driving. Also, if I'm canyon carving - well, for one thing, it won't be in the CX-5, it'll be in the Miata, but if I were - I'm going into Sport mode and using the lever with my right hand, like I would a traditional manual. In my mind, the paddle shifters are best for those quick little bumps for when I'm anticipating and responding faster than the transmission control module.

I like that they don't obscure the stalks:
View attachment 234717

I was actually considering trading in the CX-5 for something with better driving characteristics, like, say, a BMW X3, but these paddles will eliminate probably 90% of my objections to everyday driving, so I think it was $200 well spent. YMMV.

-Todd
Hi just want to add the link for the un heated steering wheel paddle shifter kit from jdm enjoy shopping https://www.ebay.com (commissions earned)

Cheers
 
:
2020 CX5 AWD
Installing the unheated version of this kit does it matter where the 3 kit pins are plugged into the existing OE harness plug?

From the unheated steering wheel video it doesnt seem like the installer pairs each of the kit wires into specific unpopulated harness plugs. They just say youre results might vary..

Or does it matter as long as whatever harness plug the kit pin is inserted in connects with a unused powered pin in the OE harness plug?
 
:
2020 CX5 AWD
Just completed install and test drive. It took about 2 to 3 hours b/c i was going slow to make sure everything was correctly installed. Thanks to everyone for the instructions. Driving wise I like that they eliminate the latency of using M mode with the lever and the shifts seem pretty crisp. And being able to downshift in drive..nice.
 
Just completed install and test drive. It took about 2 to 3 hours b/c i was going slow to make sure everything was correctly installed. Thanks to everyone for the instructions. Driving wise I like that they eliminate the latency of using M mode with the lever and the shifts seem pretty crisp. And being able to downshift in drive..nice.
great news.
tell me. What was the order of the connection of the cables? Soon I will receive the order from Aliexpress. I'm afraid I'm wrong in the connection of the positive (+) negative (-) and ground cables. the head of land always goes in the middle

Thanks!
 
:
2020 CX5 AWD
great news.
tell me. What was the order of the connection of the cables? Soon I will receive the order from Aliexpress. I'm afraid I'm wrong in the connection of the positive (+) negative (-) and ground cables. the head of land always goes in the middle

Thanks!
The JDM enjoy shopping kit i received came with a replacement steering wheel controls harness that includes the connector for the paddle shifter harness. So paddle shifter, steering wheel control and main harnesses all just plug into one another. There are no +(-),splicing, connectors to open up or ground wires to deal with. Once i had everything in front of me and re watched parts of the various youtube videos as i progressed it became easier to understand.
 
Last edited:
The JDM enjoy shopping kit i received came with a replacement steering wheel controls harness that includes the connector for the paddle shifter harness. So paddle shifter, steering wheel control and main harnesses all just plug into one another. There are no +(-),splicing, connectors to open up or ground wires to deal with. Once i had everything in front of me and re watched parts of the various youtube videos as i progressed it became easier to understand.
Ok, thank you very much for the information.
Regards
 
This has been discussed here in the past, but I wanted to add a few details on my recent install of paddle shifters in my 2017 CX-5 Grand Touring w/ Premium Package.

Here are relevant threads I referenced when researching this mod:

2017 Paddle Shifters
Possibly a paddle shift swap into Gen 2 CX-5

My goal in posting this new thread is just to confirm a couple of things to those thinking about this upgrade, and issue a warning.

The warning first:
When removing the steering wheel, make sure ALL CONNECTORS ARE DISCONNECTED before tugging the wheel off of the shaft. All of the videos show this. I just wasn't thinking, or maybe I thought I'd pull the connectors once the wheel was loose. But the wire from the wheel to the clock spring is VERY short, so when the steering wheel came loose, it yanked apart my clock spring. This can be an expensive mistake! The replacement clock spring for the GT Premium package is $200+.

I had a very uncomfortable 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to get the clock spring back together. There's a LOT of ribbon cable wrapped up in there, and it has to be in the correct orientation for the steering angle sensor to work. I finally got things to slide back together, and everything appears to be working normally - drove it last night and got no errors, I can go full lock both directions and the adaptive headlights seem to be aiming. So I think I'm good.

OK, so now some things that I wanted to highlight about doing this project:

1. Can confirm that This kit from JDM Yamato is pretty much plug-n-play for the 2017 GT w/ Prem. Pkg. I'll say, I'm impressed with this vendor. This was shipped from Japan and was at my house in less than a week. With international shipping, this cost me $218 in January 2021.

2. Every video I watched showed having to install pins into an existing connector. None of that is necessary with this kit, on the 2017 GT. This is simply a confirmation of what user Joaks said in the above-referenced thread. Here are the contents of the kit: Steering wheel rear cover, paddle shifters, wiring harness, 4 bolts to secure shifters, steering wheel bolt, zip ties (for securing wires at steering wheel button modules), 2-sided tape (for securing heater module? I did not use.) The Green covered wires are the new part, and they plug into the the wires from the paddles.
View attachment 234711

3. Removing the airbag is tricky. I had a hard time finding the tabs I had to press. I had to study these diagrams from the shop manual quite a bit before I could get it loose. The videos make it look easier than it really is for a first timer, IMO. For one thing, there were multiple holes on the back side of my steering wheel. You don't want the round hole, you want the rectangular hole that is closer to the shaft. The manuals calls for a T30 hex tool, but I use a smaller allen wrench. All you need is something to pry with that's somewhat stout. Here is a picture of the back of the air bag, and the inside of the steering wheel. The circled areas are what you are trying to lever loose - you've got to move that heavy wire enough to pop it free. The arrows point to the clips holding the wire and tabs.
View attachment 234710

View attachment 234709

4. The heater module has to be moved over to the new rear cover. There are instructions for removing the rear cover, but I didn't find anyone addressing the heater module. Here's what I figured out:

I removed the screws securing the heater module before prying off the rear cover. If you look through the front of the wheel, you can see the screws just above the lower spoke.
View attachment 234712

You can probably get away with leaving them in place to remove the rear cover, but you have to remove them to swap in the new cover. Here's what it looks like when you're putting it back together:
View attachment 234713

I think the 2-sided tape was supposed to be used to re-secure the padding on the heater module to the rear cover, but mine was still sticky, so I didn't use it. Hopefully I won't get any buzzing or rattling.

4. To fully utilize the new harness, you must remove the steering wheel controls from the steering wheel, remove the old wiring harness, and install the new. To remove the steering wheel controls, you must press out these pins. It looked like it was going to be harder than it was. They're mounted in a kind of hard rubber, and it took a decent amount of force, but press slowly and firmly and they'll come lose. They don't "pop," it's more of a slow release. I went back and forth between the two pins until it was fully loose.
View attachment 234714
To release the wiring harness, you'll have to clip the small zip ties near the connectors, and release the clips holding the wire harness to the steering wheel. Squeeze and push from the back side.
View attachment 234715

Here's what it looks like once it's out:

View attachment 234716

From this point, you "simply" install the new wiring harness to the steering wheel controls - use the small zip ties to secure the new harness near where they connect to the button modules - and press them back into to place, taking care to route the wires the way the old ones were.

Then, install the paddle shifters into the back of the new cover. It'll be pretty obvious how to route the wires in the channels on the cover, and then clip the big white connector into place near the top. Connect the new connector with the green-covered wires to the paddle shifter harness. (I didn't take a pic of this all assembled. Doh! Was getting exciting to get it back together, I guess!)

Then reinstall the steering wheel and connect the air bag, ensuring your wires are crossing or twisting around themselves.

Hope this helps someone in the future.

Couple of comments about the paddle shifters in general:

My only real complaint about the CX-5 is that it seems slow at times - and that's not that it doesn't have adequate horsepower, it's that the transmission is slow to drop down into the proper gear for quick acceleration. The worst is when you want to accelerate through a turn, and you don't get the downshift until halfway through. But it's also annoying when you just want a quick burst of acceleration and you have to wait for the transmission to catch up. Using the shift lever to manually shift alleviates this, but there are times when I don't necessarily want to be driving in manual mode, but I DO want a quick downshift in anticipation of a curve or burst of speed. Now, I can just bump the paddle shifter to downshift AHEAD of the curve, without the extra mechanics of moving the shift lever to the left, then bumping it forward a couple of times, then moving it back to the right to slip back into Drive mode.

A few have made comments about the shifters being small, and therefore awkward to use in a curve. To which I say this: If you're in curve that's sharp enough that you can't take it without moving your hands from 9 & 3, you shouldn't be trying to shift, anyway. Braking and downshifting should be done while you're relatively straight, or you risk an upsetting weight shift. Folks complaining about that need some lessons on performance driving. Also, if I'm canyon carving - well, for one thing, it won't be in the CX-5, it'll be in the Miata, but if I were - I'm going into Sport mode and using the lever with my right hand, like I would a traditional manual. In my mind, the paddle shifters are best for those quick little bumps for when I'm anticipating and responding faster than the transmission control module.

I like that they don't obscure the stalks:
View attachment 234717

I was actually considering trading in the CX-5 for something with better driving characteristics, like, say, a BMW X3, but these paddles will eliminate probably 90% of my objections to everyday driving, so I think it was $200 well spent. YMMV.

-Todd
Hi everybody how are you! I have added the paddles on my 2020 mazda cx-5 but after installation it shows the airbag warning light blink. Please can you help me solve this problem.


Thanks!