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Softouch is the facility to turn the car into automatic gear change mode, avoiding the need to sequentially shift though the gears. Generally, all 'Pure' models come without softouch however, we have noticed that some early 'Pulse' models do not have it either. To check if the car has softouch or not, simply look at the gearknob. If there is a button on the left hand side then it is has. When driving the car in sequential shift mode, you will see the gear number displayed in the dash. Upon pressing the button, the display  will change to an 'A' telling you that the gear change control is automatic. Both display modes are shown as follows:

There is a hardware difference between cars with and without softouch. The SE drive, which holds the ignition barrel and the gearstick, is different. for cars without softouch, there is a small single pair wire which runs from the circuit board up the neck of the gearstick and connects to a microswitch for the side button. On cars without softouch, there is no wire or microswitch. The following pictures show the difference:

You can either replace the SE drive with one from a car that already has softouch or you can modify your own which is covered in this guide. In both cases you will need to get the softouch function activated on your ECU.

The SE drive is secured to the centre section of the car with 4No. 5 sided TXS-30 security bolts. These are different from the other torx screws and you will need the correct tool to undo them. You can either access the screws by removing the seats and reaching under the carpet or by removing the carpet entirely.  For clarity of the guide, we have removed the carpet completely.

With the SE drive free, disconnect both wiring looms and remove from the car. We need to access the PCB shown here:

Now examine the PCB underneath. The softouch function is activated by momentarily shorting the following two terminals. To be absolutely clear, these are the ones with the larger holes in the middle (not the smaller one to the right).

All you need to do is wire in a momentary push switch to these two terminals. We found a length of bell wire would fit through the PCB terminal holes and could then be soldered in place.

Now rather than trying to deal with fitting a microswitch to the top of the gear stick, we have run the wire to an external button location. This particular car did not have front fog lights so we utilised the fog light switch location. Start by refitting the SE drive and run the wire along the centre tunnel.

Run the wire to your preferred location

A simple push switch from Maplin was used to complete the connection.

This completes the installation. You will notice that the button won't work until you have the Softouch function activated on your ECU. To do this, you will need to visit a dealer (or independent) who has access to a STAR machine and TAN codes.

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