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Steering Wheel Swap/Mod by William

I like the steering wheel from my 95 F150 better then the one from my new 94. The 250’s and 350’s didn’t come with SRS steering wheels, only the F150’s did. I grew quite attached to the better buttons and sleeker design of the SRS steering wheel, and decided to pull it from the old clunker and put it into the new F250 Power Stroke Diesel.

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First we have to take the air bag unit off, which is just 4 10mm nuts on the back of the wheel. You can see it’s pretty bright in the cab, I made it convertible 15 mins before these photo’s.  Gotta love a convertible truck. (So, just a reminder to those out there who want to pull an SRS steering wheel out of a good truck with a battery. Take out the battery!) Anyways. Pull the 4 nuts off, and the unit comes out.

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Unhook the air bag, and unscrew the center bolt that holds it all together. Then throw on the steering wheel puller and pull that suka off!

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It didn’t know what was coming. The 95 has a newer style setup for the controls, which is what proved to soon be the problem. There is a ribbon cable inside which powers the controls, 3 wires, and the airbag, 2 wires. The older steering wheel on my new truck is a different setup. I did not know this till today however.  Lets get to work on that old crappy looking thing.

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Here is the ugly thing. It’s boring and the buttons don’t work very well. I do like the steering wheel cover. Which is going on the old one. I used a white stick, a special tool from my aunt for doing trim and other things. The uses are endless, oh back on track. So there is a clip on the bottom center, pop it open there and pull strait out.

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There is just a 3 prong connector in the old style, with a rotor/prong sorta deal. I’m not sure on the technical name for this, but it’s 3 spring driven pins that touch on the wheel on the left, and make the connection. Yes, I know I didn’t show you how to pull this one off, they are almost identical in removal. Anyways, we have more important fish to fry, cause nothing matches except the spline for the wheel!

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I pulled the ring from the back of the old wheel. It was held in by 3 T25 screws. You can see it fits in the back of the new wheel just fine, but there is a problem.

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The screws don’t line up. I know some Engineer at Ford was sitting there when he did this and said, “this Bill guy in the future is going to have a web sight and show everyone how to fix this issue.” Well, he is right. Cause, I is a Zip Tie Master! They should have certifications for this stuff.

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Open your drawer of Zip Ties, and throw on some Billy Idol. I have a whole drawer on the box devoted to these wonders. No, the Billy Idol isn’t mandatory, but it helps.

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It looked like I needed some leeway and a direction change, so I threw on some starters on the rotor, and then inserted it into the back of the wheel and proceeded to connect it to the most solid structures I could. Unfortunately one was plastic, but It will do. The extensions allowed me to put less stress in certain area’s on the ring. I’d love to explain it, but it seems to only work in my head. Which is true for a lot of things.

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Alright, It’s on there. Cut the flaps and put it in! 26-33 ft lbs says the label. I had to use an extension, so I set it to 33, then torque it in. I disengaged the wheel lock and it spun beautifully! Now for our next issue.

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We have 2 connectors, they are both 3 prongs, and they are both female. In the electronics connector world same sex marriage doesn’t work. We need to make this 2some a 4some with some male connectors. No, I didn’t make a bad joke. Plugging connectors together is Marrying them.  I only had one from the old wheel, and I dug around on the old column and found the same connector as well.

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I checked how the wires worked out and just had to match the colors, thankfully! Twist em up and solder away. I talked about good soldering before, and this is an opportunity to show some more on it.

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See how the solder holds on to the tip of my 5 dollar iron? You don’t need an expensive one, just need to take care of the one you have. The solder must be able to hold onto the tip to transfer heat, cause the solder is the medium. Wires are always a pain to solder, but these turned out good! There is not to much solder on the connection and they are firm and strong.

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I’m a bit to poor for Heat Shrink Tubing, so here is how to properly tape wires with tape. You cut the length you need, and you roll it on. It’s opposite of what you would normally think. To just start the tape and wrap it around. That works if your doing a long distance, or a really large wire. But for small wires, pull some out just longer then your bare area, like above, cut, and then use it sideways. There is no excess or bad taping this way. They look much better when done. Then I threw on a zip tie for a quick finish. To keep zip ties from being sharp, use a knife to cut the tail off, not a pair of side cutters. The knife will cut it flush with the connector if you do it right and it will be safe and not scratch you or other things.

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Plug the connector in, and wait for the rain. Yea, it started pouring right when I got in the truck to plug it in. I did not take it for a test drive, but the horn works. The way it is setup inside, if the horn works. I’m quite sure the rest of it will work. There is only 3 wires. and the horn connects to 2 of the 3 components in the wheel. Then reinstall the air bag system, which we didn’t plug in, cause there is no where too, and because we don’t need it anyways, and your done! Don’t let a simple problem get in your way if the systems are similar. Try and make them work with what you have instead of giving up.

I should re-warn anyone trying to use this article as a How-To is probably not a good idea. This is a listing of what I did to my things, not an article on how to swap your steering wheel. Notice it is listed as a Modification in the title. I took the SRS steering wheel from a junked truck. We will not be responsible for you deploying your air bag due to your own incompetence.


Brett said...

I would have done this mod using 'Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen' but that's just me...

Anonymous said...

I would have done Bob Segar myself, but I like Bret's idea of Billy Ocean too. Hey, nice white stick you have there, don't let that little secret out. My former engineer (Jim G.) would have a stroke if he saw this. lol

Anonymous said...

I deployed my air bags following your instructions here.

Do you have insurance?

William said...

Cool. I never thought I would need to tell everyone to un-hook the battery before removing an airbag, which is electronically sensitive to things. Probably should pull the fuse too.

I'm glad you know that your airbag works now.

William said...

I should remind everyone also, this is not a "how-to" article. This is not instructions on how to remove your steering wheel and replace it in other trucks.

Anonymous said...

i have the same set up in my truck, except i used the whole colume. the connections i had to make were just changing the plug to make it fit the trucks wireing harness. no need for the air bag, being as i have a f250. but in the future, i have extra wires in the wheel itself that i can connect to one of the horn buttons if i need a extra button up there. train horn or any extra acc... -chicagodragon.

William said...

Thanks George. I thought of that solution, but decided not to do all that and tear the dash apart and wiring and other things.

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