Steering Wheel Swap

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bobjr94
Scoobytruck Lurker
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:36 pm

Steering Wheel Swap

Post by bobjr94 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:17 pm

One thing I didn't care for about the baja was the big boat steering wheel, I think subaru had been using that same wheel since 1993.
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So I found one a bit smaller, more modern looking one and that feels better. The cruise switch is different between both wheels and not swappable, but you can splice the new switch into the old harness. The airbag connector is different, I had to splice a new connector into the old harness. You can find airbag connectors on ebay and amazon for around $5.00. I used this one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YROX0E8/

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Now a quick write-up on how I did it, I am not telling you how to do it, just how I personally did this swap on my own car. I take no responsibly for this information being correct or for any damages that may result from the use of this information.



But first, should you want to do what I did, only attempt this project if you are proficient at electrical work, wiring and soldering. A poorly/improperly connected air-bag could fail to deploy or deploy unintentionally, causing injury or death and/or damage of property. . A few tips, never solder wires still attached to an airbag, the current could cause deployment. Never use quick crimp connectors. Looks up airbag handling for more information.

First
Disconnect the battery or pull the airbag fuses. Wait several minutes for the system to bleed down.

Note the exact steering wheel position, unlike some cars the wheel and can installed in any direction, if not correct it won't be centered. Also do not turn the clockspring with out the steering wheel installed, a piece if tape will keep it in place.
Remove the airbag, place it safely away from you facing up. Remove the steering wheel.
Now take both steering wheels apart, removing both cruise switchs and cut the wires in the middle of both switches.

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The wire colors will be reversed on the new to old switch. White will connect to Yellow, Yellow will connect to White. Green stays the same and it is spliced to the flat terimnal as well for the horn. The Red and Black wires on the new switch will be unused, they originally went to the cruise on-off switch, while Baja's have this switch on the dash. Be sure to put heat shrink tubing on the wires before soldering them.
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You can see both airbags also have different connectors.
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Cut the plug off the old airbag and immediately strip the wires and wrap them together. Don't solder them or test them with a multimeter.
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Now solder the new connector to the old plug.
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After soldering and heat shrink tubing it looked like this.
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Now you can put the wheel back in the car, route the wires where the won't interfere.
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Then connect the harness and horn wire and put the airbag back in. Hook the batter back up or replace the airbag fuses then turn the key on. The airbag light should turn on for 3-5 seconds then turn back off. If the light stays on the is a problem with the airbag wiring.

I used a 2005 impreza steering wheel and airbag. Later ones might also work but they have dual speed airbags, low and high. If using one of these you will have to connect it to the high power activator and leave the secondary one unconnected.

sfeather11
Scoobytruck Master
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:07 pm
Location: Southeast PA (near PA/MD/DE state lines)

Re: Steering Wheel Swap

Post by sfeather11 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:14 pm

Nice job! Definitely gives it an updated look...

Say, how do you unplug that airbag connector? I have the same yellow connector with green safety on my '03, but it does not want to budge. I'm assuming I have tried to slide the green piece to the passenger side while pushing the yellow release tab? Is that correct? I'm wanting to remove my wheel for repair and painting, but can't seem to get the freaking connector loose! It shouldn't be this hard right? Even though my battery has been disconnected for weeks now, the more I try to unplug it, the more nervous I get. I'm afraid the more I handle it, the greater the chances of going BOOM! :shock: That would suck!

Peace!

bobjr94
Scoobytruck Lurker
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: Steering Wheel Swap

Post by bobjr94 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:34 pm

Mine was pretty hard the first time too, but yes push the clip and slide the slider all the way back and it will just pop out, eventually.

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