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Old 07-23-2018, 03:48 PM   #1
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dutche99 will become famous soon enough
Join Date: May 2018
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Happy Tips for Aura Owners Interested in Mods

Just thought I would share a few things that I have learned while customizing and working on my 07 Aura XE.

Gauge Cluster Replacement:
It seems to me that I'm not alone when I say the right side gauge (fuel and engine temp) doesn't light up anymore. To save everyone some time, there is no fuse or anything to look for, or bulbs to replace, it is an LED system. There is a 99% chance that you have to get a new one. Save yourself some money and go to the scrapyard. I got one from a Saturn Aura XR for $30.

If you have this problem and are looking to repair it before you sell your car, think again. The odometer on the gauge cluster will display the distance that the donor car has travelled, not your own. My car only has 160000km on it, but for the past month it has displayed over 300,000. After 256 ignition cycles, the odometer should begin reading correctly. Luckily, trip odometers and all other feature work fine.

When removing the gauge cluster, most people try and start from the bottom and take the entire dash apart. The easiest way is to pull the steering wheel all the way out. On the bottom side of the steering column, there are 3 7mm bolts that will remove the steering wheel shroud. Then, undo 2 Torx T15 bolts that are directly above the gauge cluster, and pull that same piece of black plastic away from the dash, and rotate it 180 degrees around the steering column. Easy peasy.

Seat replacement:
My XE came with the stock grey cloth seats, which needless to say were left pretty nasty from the overweight Indian fellow I bought the car from. My second task in this car was to replace the seats with leather ones. Again at the scrapyard, I got a full set of grey leather seats from a 2009 Aura XR.

Firstly, if you have an XE, you have all the wiring in place to make the switch pretty easy. The wiring harnesses connect directly, and even if your XE doesn't have all the features of the donor, the swap is very simple. All I needed was a 20A fuse (pocketed from the donor car) for the heated seats (In the passenger footwell fusebox) and a 30A fuse for the passenger power seats (Rear drivers side fusebox, in the trunk.)

Removal of the seats is super easy, just 2 T50 bolts at the back of the seat rails. The difficult piece is moving the seats forward in a car without a battery. I ended up snipping the wires to the seat motor which moves the seat forward and backwards (navy blue and forest green wires) and attaching the terminals to a 12V drill battery. If the seat moves in the wrong direction switch the wires around. After you undo the bolts is just a matter of tipping the seats up and sliding them out. The rear bench is easy, just pull up on the bottom section and then undo the bolts holding in the seatbelts. Then pull the straps used to fold down the seats and some more black bolts will be exposed. Done.

Head Unit Installs:
This one took me a while, as I tried to do it cheaply at first. On some older cars it is easy just to cut into the factory harness and wire it up ghetto style. For the Aura I recommend actually buying the proper harness adapter. Since I don't use OnStar, I went with the PAC C2R-GM11. This adapter is on average $50 cheaper than the Metra one which supports OnStar, so for me it was the obvious choice. You can find this adapter on Amazon, which is where I purchased mine. Since I purchased a 10.1" android head unit, I knew the screen was going to cover up the gaps in the trim (See photos) so I didn't end up getting one of those double din adapters from metra. However if you are going with a 7" head unit or a more traditional one, it is necessary to purchase it, as there is no way to hold your head unit in with screws without it. However if you are adventurous like me, window caulk is surprisingly useful in an automotive setting. My head unit is glued to the heater controller using caulking, and there is a piece of foam wedged on top of the unit. over 10,000km with the unit and no vibrations or issues. Get creative people.

Transmission Issues:
After I did the Resonator Bong Delete, I did a reset of my ECM, by disconnecting the battery overnight and before I started the car touching the terminals together for a few seconds. It worked, and my engine ran noticeably better, likely not because of the bong delete, but the fresh ECM. According to Torque, my timing was about 5 degrees more advanced than usual, which did make it a bit more preppy. I know people will disagree but my butt dyno liked it so too bad.

The problem is my transmission controller was also reset, and as I later learned, it was trying to shift more aggressively than usual. Thus the transmission lines which fill with fluid to operate the planetary gear brakes where under more pressure, thus lowering the amount of fluid actually surrounding the gears. I started hearing grinding noises under throttle when the car was cold, and there was a noticeable shudder in the gear shifter. If you have a 3.5L Aura, there is no dipstick, and service to the transmission is a real pain in the ass. Don't bother doing it yourself, it really requires a lift. BTW, there is no service interval for the transmission. When I took it to my friends shop, we undid the bolt on the side of the transmission and the fluid was in fact low (the only way to check fluid level is this check bolt on the side of the transaxle casing). A simple flush fixed the issue fine. Be cautious with older vehicles. If you are having transmission issues, check the transmission lines for sweat. They are two silver tubes running near the front left side of the car, visible from underneath. This is a common spot for leaks, and costs about 300$ to repair.

That's it for now. I'm not the most experienced Aura owner, but these are some little things that I have discovered while working on this car.


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Old 07-24-2018, 08:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tips for Aura Owners Interested in Mods

Nice list. I have been looking at replacing my seats and you provided just the info I needed to know about the wiring, so thanks for that.


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