April 26, 2011

Removable Steering Wheel

I picked up a 330mm Nardi Torino steering wheel in black suede, matched with the NRG short hub and the version 2.0 quick release from my sponsor Dan at Assaultech. Having an aftermarket steering wheel has a lot of benefits such as being able to have the wheel close to you without having to have your seat so close (so you don't hit your knees), being able to turn the wheel less and get a lot more turning out of the car (when switching to a smaller steering wheel), easier to get in and out of the car when it is removable, and is an added layer of security.

Since I've used the steering wheel for several weeks now, I figure now would be a good time to write up the DIY on how to do this since I haven't run into any problems thus far. This should only take between 1-2 hours.

Tools & Materials

  • Phillips Screw Driver
  • Electrical Tape
  • 18 Gauge Electrical Wire
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • 2.2 Ohm 1/4th Watt Resistors
  • Steering Wheel Puller
  • 21mm Deep Socket
  • 12mm Deep Socket
  • 1/2" Ratchet

OEM Removal Process

I'm not going into detail too much on how to remove the steering wheel as there are many DIYs out there, as this is more for the removable steering wheel aspect.

  1. Start by making sure your wheels are completely straight, and your steering wheel is just as straight as your wheels.
  2. Disconnect the battery to the car and let it discharge. This is so you won't accidentally blow the airbag in your face
  3. Go ahead and remove the steering wheel airbag and then the steering wheel
  4. The black piece in front of you is the clock spring... BE CAREFUL with this as you can over rotate it and rip the wires within it. Unscrew that off and unplug the connectors to it. Maybe get a piece of tape to tape it down in place so it wont rotate on you

Horn Process

  1. Here comes the fun part. Be sure to reference the pictures as they'll make this easier to understand what I'm talking about.
  2. Lets start with wiring up the horn. Take the small connector as seen in the picture, and notice the holes in it
  3. The very far left hole is for the horn, so you'll want to cut a piece of that wire you purchased, cut the casing of the wire, and fit the wire into that hole. Wrap with electrical tape to secure in place
  4. Cut the other end of the wire casing so that the copper is exposed
  5. Fan out the copper of the wire so it is like a brush as it will be brushing up against the steering boss
  6. Tape it in place on the column as seen here as that seems to be the best location

Airbag Resistors Process

  1. The ends of the resistors fit perfectly into the holes for the airbag connector, but can get a bit cumbersome. I bent them backwards so they looped and brought them forward so the spacing was a perfect fit
  2. You will need a resistor for the first two holes, and another resistor for the other two holes
  3. Once down, I made sure they were in as deep as possible, then pressed the resistor against the body of the connector, then electrical taped them down

Steering Wheel Process

  1. The rest is easy from here. Take your steering boss and line it up so it is center on the steering column. NOTE be careful with the two plastic knobs that stick out. You should have two holes in the boss for those to fit into
  2. Once the boss is on straight, look behind it to make sure the plastic knobs are securely in the holes, and that the frayed wire is brushing against the contact surface of the boss
  3. Tighten the 21mm bolt back onto the column, making sure to hold the boss on straight when doing so
  4. Connect the two wire connectors for the horn then tighten down the cover for the boss. If you have a removable steering wheel, that is what your steering wheel will attach to
  5. Assemble the horn onto your wheel, and the back-end side of the wheel adapter onto the steering wheel
  6. Press the wheel onto the column to ensure it secures in place
  7. Double check the steering wheel is on straight and that the wheels are straight
  8. Connect the battery and start up the car to see if the airbag light comes on, and if your horn works. If both are good, you can patch up the steering column plastic covers and go for a test drive!

All in all, this was a fun DIY as I had to figure out what the resistance was for the airbags (which is the same as the seats, so that makes me think the whole car must be the same then), and get creative with making the horn work. There are some cleaner kits out there from Daiki BOSS or Fujita Engineering, but I didn't know this at the time of purchase so I had to come up with my own solutions. I hope this works out for everyone, but feel free to contact me if you run into any snags or have any questions. Stay tuned!