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2008 R8 6-Speed Manual (Converted)
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724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Step By Step Instructions with Pictures and Detailed Videos

I absolutely love the design of the OEM Gen 2 R8 steering wheel. It's a very sleek, sporty, and well thought out design. After much research, I found a small startup in Belgium (WELCOME – Ambrace your driving experience) offering conversion kits to allow the Gen 2 steering wheel to be paired with the Gen 1 systems allowing full functionality of the OEM Gen 2 Steering wheel including the Start Button.

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Here is a step-by-step guide to help you install this fully OEM Gen 2 steering wheel.

What parts do I need?

  1. OEM Gen 2 Steering Wheel with Gen 2 Airbag and the Airbag harness.
  2. Ambrace Kit to allow the Gen 2 buttons to work with the Gen 1 CAN system: WELCOME – Ambrace your driving experience
What tools do I need?
  1. T-25 Torx to remove various trim pieces on the steering wheel column
  2. M12 Triple Spline to remove the steering wheel lock nut
  3. Ratchet
  4. Torque wrench
  5. Blue Loctite
  6. Various picks, especially the 90-Degree Pick (very important you have this)
  7. Terminal pin removal tools
How the Ambrace Kit Works

The kit comes with two modules: the CAN module that communicates with the Comfort CAN system and the LIN module that takes the steering wheel button commands and wirelessly transmits the commands to the CAN module.

They send you two harnesses, wire taps (highly recommend you use Posi-Taps instead), and some connectors to help build your complete harness. You're going to need to depin and repin some terminal pins on several connectors on your car to make this work. They send you a terminal pin removal tool, but I've found that tool to be too thick. I highly recommend you get a proper set of terminal pin removal tools to make the job easier.

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Remove the Old Steering Wheel

You can find instructions here: https://www.macarbon.com/install_guides/audi/R8/Audi R8 Steering Wheel Installation Guide.pdf

Remove the Lower Steering Column Cover

There are three T-25 screws that hold the bottom steering cover. Pry out the clips and unscrew them.

The third screw is located towards the lower left side closer to the steering wheel column adjuster.


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Remove the paddle on the column adjuster that's being held in place with 2 T-25 screws in order to allow you to slide out the lower steering column cover.

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You now have access to the Steering Wheel Electronic Control Module. There is one connector that needs to be modified, which is Connector C:

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Create the Airbag Wiring Harness

You will need to reuse your Gen 1 Main Airbag Connector because the Gen 2 Main Airbag Connector is different and will not fit into the male end of the connector on the Gen 1.

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Therefore, you need to completely depin all the female pins on the Gen 1 connector and Gen 2 connectors. You will need to rewire the Gen 2 wires into the Gen 1 connector.

Make sure to remove the purple lock that sits on the side of both of these connectors in order to remove the terminal pins.

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Here is how the Gen 2 wires should look like installed in the Gen 1 connector

Pin 3 to 6: Airbag Wires
Pin 7: GND
Pin 8: Horn (From LIN Harness)
Pin 9: LIN Signal
Pin 10: PWR

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Next, if your Gen 2 harness has a 6 pin connector. You will need to depin the three wires and repin them into a 4-pin connector Ambrace provides you. The wires should go to these pins in the new 4-Pin Female connector:

Pin 1: LIN Signal (Purple)
Pin 2: 12V (Red)
Pin 3: GND (Brown)

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· Registered
2008 R8 6-Speed Manual (Converted)
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724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Here is the full wiring diagram for the LIN harness that is paired with the Main Airbag Connector:

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I would check to make sure all these wires are pinned in the right spot for all of these connectors on the LIN harness. I actually found an error in one of the pins and had to move the terminal connector to the right pin.

Wiring the CAN Module

Now you can move on to wiring the CAN Module. You need to remove Connector C from the Steering Electronic Control Module. You need to push out the red lock tab to allow you to press the top tab of the connector in order to remove this connector.

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Once you have access to the connector, push out the smaller connectors within the bigger connector. It's being held on by a clip on the side:

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Now you have full access to this smaller connector.

You need to depin wires on pin 14 and 15 and install them on a new 2-pin connector Ambrace provides you:

Orange/Brown Wire on Pin 15 -> Goes to Pin 1 of new connector you will create
Orange/Green Wire on Pin 14 -> Goes to Pin 2 of new connector you will create

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Plug in the new 2-pin connector you made into the existing 2-pin connector on the CAN harness.

You can then proceed to plug in the 'CAN L' wire into Pin 15 of Connector C, and the 'CAN H' wire into Pin 14 of Connector C.

'CAN L' Wire on CAN harness, goes from Pin 1 of Existing 2-Pin connector -> Goes to Pin 15 of Connector C
'CAN H' Wire on CAN harness, goes from Pin 2 of Existing 2-Pin connector -> Goes to Pin 14 of Connector C

Next, connect the wire labeled 'GND' into a ground connection and connect the wire labeled '12V' to a 12V source such as the Red/White wire on Pin 19 of Connector C.

Wiring the Ignition Switch for Start Button

You will need to access the wires connecting the Ignition Solenoid to the top of the Steering Electric Module (SEM) by tapping into the Yellow and Red wires that connect to Pin 12 and pin 7 of the connector going into the SEM unit.

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Space is really tight where this harness is located, so I recommend you take out the SEM. The SEM is held in place by:
  • One T9 Torx screw towards the front of the SEM
  • Two internal tabs
You can push the rear tab easily with your finger, but you will need a 90-degree pick to release the tab in the middle of the SEM unit:

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Once the SEM has been removed, you have better access to tap into the Yellow and Red wires with the wires labeled 'Start'. It does not matter which Start wire goes to which wire on the Ignition Harness.


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Here's another angle looking straight at the Ignition Solenoid for reference:

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Clean up everything and mount the CAN module in a discreet area such as the top of the lower airbag unit. I used double-sided mount tape.

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Checking the CAN Module Connections

Reconnect the SEM unit, MAKING sure that the ignition connection is clicked in all the way in on top of the SEM unit. My ignition connector initially did not seat in all the way and I couldn't start the car at all.

Reconnect your battery and check to make sure the CAN module lights up with blue and red lights. If it does not light up, recheck your wiring and all connection points to rule out any short circuits.

Next, go ahead and install the Gen 2 steering wheel and connect the connectors to the Airbag Main Connection point, Steering Wheel Buttons, Start Button, and Airbag Igniters.

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· Registered
2008 R8 6-Speed Manual (Converted)
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724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Insert your key and turn the key to ACC. Check that the scroll wheels on both sides of the steering wheel work. Check to make sure the LED diode on the LIN module flashes whenever you push a button. Press on the metal plate inside the steering wheel to check if the horn works.

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Next, start your car with the Start Button to confirm the Start button works.

Finally, install the locking nut onto the steering wheel and torque to 50 Nm. Make sure to remove the old Loctite on the nut and use new Blue Loctite.

Enjoy your new OEM steering wheel with Push Start!

If you need to see more details, check out the YouTube videos I shot that explains the steps in more detail:

Video Part 1


Video Part 2


Misc Wiring

The kit came with 3 additional wires you can tap into your:
  • Magnetic Ride Button
  • R-Tronic Sport Button
  • Spoiler
I have no Mag Rides and don't have an R-Tronic and don't care to wire my spoiler button to the steering wheel, so I did not bother to wire them.

You just need to lift the black trim piece surrounding your shifter base with a trim tool to gain access to the brown connector underneath the button cluster:

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From there you repin the Yellow wire (pin 12) for the spoiler and Yellow/White (pin 14) for the Mag Ride buttons into a supplied 6-pin connector on the CAN harness and wire the new supplied Spoiler and Mag Ride wires back into the original brown connector into pin 12 and 14 respectively, creating a daisy chain into the supplied CAN harness.

For the Sport button, you repin the connector underneath the Sport button on Pin 6 into the supplied 6-pin connector and wire the new supplied Sport wire into the original connector into Pin 6.

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Buttons Wired to the Steering Wheel for these 3 Functions:
  • Asterisk Button = Mag Ride (OUT 4 on CAN module - active for 150ms)
  • Drive Select Button = Sport Mode (OUT 3 on CAN module - active for 150ms)
  • View Button = Spoiler (OUT 2 on CAN module - active for 3000ms)
 

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2012 Audi R8 v10 coupe manual
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73 Posts
@skar829 I wouldn't consider myself super handy or hands-on, but this is so well done I feel like even I could do it. Thank you! How the hell did you get the courage and inspiration to try this out? Touching the ignition would've scared the crap out of me 🙈
 

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2008 R8 6-Speed Manual (Converted)
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724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
@skar829 I wouldn't consider myself super handy or hands-on, but this is so well done I feel like even I could do it. Thank you! How the hell did you get the courage and inspiration to try this out? Touching the ignition would've scared the crap out of me 🙈
Oh boy, I had that same feeling too when I started. I did my research and realized that you can buy the ignition wiring harness: 1K0979416

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I bought an extra harness, knowing that if I screwed up the wires, I can start over.

I also bought an extra Airbag Main Connector for the Gen 1 so I can quickly revert back to stock without having to depin the connector again: 3C0971584A / 1K0971584L / 1K0971584C

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And I like to use Posi-Taps to tap into wires too. I don't recommend you use the wire taps they supplied to you.
 

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Excellent work.
 

· Registered
2010 R8 V-10 R-tronic
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684 Posts
Well done! Thanks for sharing.
 
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