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DIY - Steering Wheel Replacement (or side-spoke cover replacement)

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Old 06-09-2008, 05:20 PM   #1
Dreamin
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Default DIY - Steering Wheel Replacement (or side-spoke cover replacement)

This is a fairly easy do-it-yourself project... it'll take 2-3 hours and I was pretty slow and methodical. The only tricky (time-consuming) step is actually pulling the steering wheel off the hub... in reading other posts, the steering wheel came right off, on my car it was on very tight and took a while...

Tools

* Steering Wheel puller - I rented one for free from AutoZone
* Blunt tool ~1/8" in diameter - I used a drill bit
* Hex drivers: 3mm & 4mm
* Sockets: 10mm & 21mm
* Suitable wrenches

Install Steps

*** Standard disclaimers apply. I assume no responsibility for any damage. Please be careful –the consequences of a mistake or improper install could be disastrous ***

I’ve provided a lot of pictures and detail in the steps below - some of what I’ve written will be obvious – but I was on a roll.
Instructions and pictures are for a ’07 Z06 – there may be differences with other C6s.

1) Disconnect the battery - and wait 1 minute.
This is to disable the airbag. I did what the service manual said: pulled the negative terminal from the battery (not the wire on the fuse box), and waited 1 minute (I presume to let the capacitor inside the airbag discharge).
Battery:


2) Pop-out airbag assembly
As stated in another post, “The airbag is not a land-mine, but it does need to be treated with care and respect!”
With that said, this is a very easy step... see pics below.
There are two access holes on the sides of the steering wheel (one on each side). Find a blunt tool; I used the back of a 1/8" drill bit. Insert the tool *horizontally* (wrt the ground) about 1" into the hole and apply a light pressure. One side of the airbag will pop forward. Redo for other side. There is a small metal retainer holding the assembly in place, in needs to be pushed toward the center of the steering wheel.
Note: If you're applying a lot of pressure or have inserted the tool more than an inch or so, you're in the wrong place!
Access Hole:


Tool inserted and left side retainer being pushed inward:


Airbag assembly popped-out:


[Side spoke cover replacement, follow step 3; steering wheel replacement, go to step 4]
3a) Remove side covers:
Use a 3mm hex driver and suitable wrench.
Note: Pictures were taken after I had removed the airbag assembly, to do this step here, you'll have to hold the airbag assembly in place in one hand.
Wrench and hex driver in place:


3b) Flip cover over and disconnect electrical connector as needed.
Electrical connector:


3c) Repeat for other side cover

3d) Install new side covers

3e) Push airbag assembly back in on both side.

3f) That's it... You're done!

[Steering wheel replacement, skip step 3 for now, it's easier to do later.]
4) Disconnect airbag assembly
Remove plastic yellow retainer clip by inserting a small screw and lifting upward:


Remove airbag wiring harness by pressing both plastic clips inward with fingers:


Both wiring harnesses removed; Airbag placed somewhere safe, out of the way:


5) Unclip white wiring harness
Push up with your finger to unclip
Unclipped:


6) Remove side covers – now perform step (3) above
Both side covers removed:


7) Remove Horn electrical frame
Unscrew 3 bolts using 4mm hex driver and suitable wrench; bolts remain attached to the frame
Wrench in place:


Pull connector out from under metal piece and move frame on top of steering hub:


8) Remove Steering wheel center nut
Use 21mm socket and suitable wrench. The steering wheel will turn, but I was able to hold the wheel with one hand and use the wrench with the other.
Wrench in place:


Nut removed:


9) Check if steering wheel is loose
Wiggle, jiggle, pull on the steering wheel *Lightly*. DO NOT TRY TO FORCE IT OFF. Either it will come loose easily or it won’t.
If it comes off, you’re having a very good day, go buy a lottery ticket and continue to step 11, otherwise continue to step 10

10) Use steering wheel puller to pull steering wheel.
Follow the instructions for your steering wheel puller. The basic concept is: you attached two side bolts (silver bolts in pic) to the steering wheel, and then tighten a center bolt (black bolt in pic) against the center 'stock' of the steering wheel hub... so as you tighten, you're pulling the steering wheel very slowly toward you.
I didn't have the GM tool; I had a generic tool, so the side bolts did not attach properly to the steering wheel. I had to find some small nuts and slip them under the steering wheel, and screw the side bolts into the nuts (path of nut shown by arrow; nut under steering wheel is circled):


Once everything is in place, start tightening the center bolt. Expect a loud POP and everything to fall into your lap... i.e. the wheel may not peacefully slide off the hub:


11) Remove steering wheel
Unplug the larger white wiring harness, and the steering wheel (with horn frame) will be free.


12) Remove back plastic cover from steering wheel
Use 3mm hex driver and remove both bolts:


With bolts remove, the back plastic cover comes off, the horn frame comes off, and the steering wheel is loose:


13) That's it... to reinstall, reverse the steps above with your new steering wheel!
Torque spec for center nut: 27 lb-ft
All other bolts: Tighten until firm as everything else is plastic against metal.

14) Enjoy your new steering wheel:

Last edited by Dreamin; 05-10-2009 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:28 PM   #2
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very VERY well done thank you
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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Nice write up. Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:37 PM   #4
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So, are there any decent replacement wheels that retain the airbag? Or are you pretty much limited to having someone re-cover the original wheel w/ whatever you want (I would like a thicker alcantara covered rim, but I don't feel like spending 4 figures for wrapping 2 square foot worth of the stuff around a steering wheel...
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:40 PM   #5
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Very nice write-up. Do we have a library of these type write-ups somewhere? I'm looking forward to the Brembo one.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
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My steering wheel (and all the other leather in the car) was done by DS Vettes (sold by Top Flight Reproductions).

The dealer changed my wheel over for $25. I do have a good relationship with the dealer here though so other places might charge more.
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:47 PM   #7
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Default yes there is!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMung View Post
So, are there any decent replacement wheels that retain the airbag? Or are you pretty much limited to having someone re-cover the original wheel w/ whatever you want (I would like a thicker alcantara covered rim, but I don't feel like spending 4 figures for wrapping 2 square foot worth of the stuff around a steering wheel...
Caravaggio has a very nice one
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:33 PM   #8
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great job
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo View Post
Caravaggio has a very nice one
Hmm.. I'm actually looking for something a bit more "minimalist"... with an alcantara rim covering.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McMung View Post
Hmm.. I'm actually looking for something a bit more "minimalist"... with an alcantara rim covering.
You should give John @ Caravaggio a call... he does 'custom' work so he may be able to come up with a more minimalist steering wheel and he does offer alcantara.
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McMung View Post
Hmm.. I'm actually looking for something a bit more "minimalist"... with an alcantara rim covering.
Check APSIS USA. They can do anything you want. All leather, all Alcantara, CF with either. They can recover your original wheel of send you one of there's for a core exchange. They also have D Type wheels. I just bought CF with smooth letter. Awesome wheel.
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Old 02-14-2009, 12:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkerouac View Post
Check APSIS USA. They can do anything you want. All leather, all Alcantara, CF with either. They can recover your original wheel of send you one of there's for a core exchange. They also have D Type wheels. I just bought CF with smooth letter. Awesome wheel.
And I guess that I should be fortunate to have Apsis AND The Vette Doctors in my backyard, who installed the wheel for me in less than a half hour!! Great write up for the DIYer though!!


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Old 02-14-2009, 01:25 PM   #13
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Dreamin, another spectacular write up and pic's.

The CF should start a DYS section and show all of your great instructions with pic's that you have done, very helpfull!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you listening MODERATOR?
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoHo View Post
Dreamin, another spectacular write up and pic's.

The CF should start a DYS section and show all of your great instructions with pic's that you have done, very helpfull!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you listening MODERATOR?
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:30 PM   #15
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That is a great write up - very clear and very helpful!

Thanks for all your effort - much appreciated especially when, like me, you are 250 miles from the nearest dealer
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:47 PM   #16
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Default One minor issue - I hope

So the directions were perfect. Took less than an hour. Only issue I have now is that the airbag light stays on. I know I disconnected ground and let it sit before disassembly. No issue with airbag connectors and no issues putting everything back. I reconnected the negative terminal, waited a few minutes and started the car up. Airbag light stayed on. Let the car run, took it for a quick drive,hoping it just needed to reset and it still stayed on. Anyone know if the dealer just needs to reset the computer?
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkerouac View Post
So the directions were perfect. Took less than an hour. Only issue I have now is that the airbag light stays on. I know I disconnected ground and let it sit before disassembly. No issue with airbag connectors and no issues putting everything back. I reconnected the negative terminal, waited a few minutes and started the car up. Airbag light stayed on. Let the car run, took it for a quick drive,hoping it just needed to reset and it still stayed on. Anyone know if the dealer just needs to reset the computer?
Airbag light worked properly for me... I didn't have to go to the dealer.

Double/triple check all the wiring connections, esp. Step 4 wires.

Otherwise GM may have changed something with the 09's or the ZR1
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Airbag light worked properly for me... I didn't have to go to the dealer.

Double/triple check all the wiring connections, esp. Step 4 wires.

Otherwise GM may have changed something with the 09's or the ZR1

Everything is good. I triple checked. I even disconnected and reconnected the airbag a second time. Something must be different. They probably fault the computer if the airbag is disconnected for safety reasons. I don't see anyway that I blew this up, so I'm sure it's something simple. Thanks for the great DIY. Your directions and pictures saved me a bunch of time.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McMung View Post
So, are there any decent replacement wheels that retain the airbag? Or are you pretty much limited to having someone re-cover the original wheel w/ whatever you want (I would like a thicker alcantara covered rim, but I don't feel like spending 4 figures for wrapping 2 square foot worth of the stuff around a steering wheel...
I went with DSVettes "D" shaped sport wheel in a two tone, ebony and cashmere. It was $399.00. There is a core charge for the old wheel. They do Alcantra.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:35 PM   #20
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great write up i think im going to go do mine now!
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