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Steering Wheel Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Steering Wheel Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

T30 Torx driver, 10mm Allen, breaker bar, small Philips screw driver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07)

Parts Required:

Steering wheel, driver airbag

Hot Tip:

Be sure to disconnect the battery and wait 30 minutes

Performance Gain:

Access to components behind steering wheel.

Complementary Modification:

Replace steering wheel with upgraded model

The air bag and steering wheel removal is required for a few repairs, including the steering column switches. When you remove the driver airbag, it is important you disconnect the battery and wait at least 30 minutes for any residual electricity in the system to dissipate. Once the airbag is removed, store it in a safe place facing up. If you connect the battery with the air bag removed it will cause a fault code and warning light that you will have to reset, if you do not connect the battery you can put everything back together with out having to worry about this.

Make sure your steering wheel is centered and the front wheels are pointing straight ahead before you disconnect the battery.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Make sure it can't make accidental contact with the battery and allow 30 minutes for all the electricity to dissipate out of the vehicle.

There are two access holes for the T30 Torx screws that hold the airbag to the steering wheel. They are located at approximately three and nine o'clock on the back side of the wheel. You will not be able to get a regular Torx driver in due to limited space between the steering wheel and dash, so I recommend you pick up a small set of collapsible Torx. These make access simple and allow you enough grip to be able to loosen the screw.

Insert the Torx into the hole and carefully feel around until it is seated fully in the screw. You have to do this by feel only and so take your time, you don't strip the screw. Once the screw is loosened you can take the Torx off the handle to help with the lack of space.

Pull the air bag away from the wheel and turn it away from you towards the open door. Remove the yellow wire and the two green and yellow air bag connections. NOTE: the air bag connections are a tight fit and will need a fair amount of force to remove them. Grab them by the clips and NOT the wires. ALSO NOTE: the connector has plastic locks at the center of the connector, these have to be levered out to release the connector. If not, the connector may break.

With the airbag removed you can see the 10mm Allen screw that holds the wheel on. You will need to use a breaker bar and a friend to hold the wheel in place to get the Allen Screw loose. DO NOT use the wheel lock to hold the wheel in place while you break the screw loose. Mercedes uses a little Loctite on the screw and it requires a fair amount of force to break loose.

With the screw removed you can see the locating marks. Pull the wheel off, passing the wires through the opening.

If the wheel was level when you took it off you will see the three small Philips head screws holding wiring ring on. Loosen the three screws and wiggle it off the shaft.

You can now see the accessory shafts attached to the steering column.

There are two access holes for the T30 Torx screws that hold the airbag to the steering wheel.
Figure 1

There are two access holes for the T30 Torx screws that hold the airbag to the steering wheel. They are located at approximately three and nine o'clock on the back side of the wheel. You will not be able to get a regular Torx driver in due to limited space between the steering wheel and dash, so I recommend you pick up a small set of collapsible Torx. These make access simple and allow you enough grip to be able to loosen the screw. Insert the Torx into the hole (red arrow) and carefully feel around until it is seated fully in the screw. You have to do this by feel only and so take your time, you don't strip the screw.

Once the screw is loosened you can take the Torx off the handle (red arrow) to help with the lack of space.
Figure 2

Once the screw is loosened you can take the Torx off the handle (red arrow) to help with the lack of space.

Pull the air bag away from the wheel and turn it away from you towards the open door.
Figure 3

Pull the air bag away from the wheel and turn it away from you towards the open door. Remove the yellow wire (yellow arrow) and the two green and yellow air bag connections (red arrows). NOTE: the air bag connections are a tight fit and will need a fair amount of force to remove them. Grab them by the clips and NOT the wires. ALSO NOTE: the connector has plastic locks at the center of the connector, these have to be levered out to release the connector. If not, the connector may break.

This photo illustrates what the connection looks like when removed from the airbag.
Figure 4

This photo illustrates what the connection looks like when removed from the airbag.

With the airbag removed you can see the 10mm Allen screw (red arrow) that holds the wheel on.
Figure 5

With the airbag removed you can see the 10mm Allen screw (red arrow) that holds the wheel on. You will need to use a breaker bar and a friend to hold the wheel in place to get the Allen Screw loose. DO NOT use the wheel lock to hold the wheel in place while you break the screw loose. Mercedes uses a little Loctite on the screw and it requires a fair amount of force to break loose.

With the screw removed you can see the locating marks (red arrows).
Figure 6

With the screw removed you can see the locating marks (red arrows). Pull the wheel off, passing the wires through the opening.

If the wheel was level when you took it off you will see the three small Philips head screws (red arrows) holding wiring ring on.
Figure 7

If the wheel was level when you took it off you will see the three small Philips head screws (red arrows) holding wiring ring on. Loosen the three screws and wiggle it off the shaft.

You can now see the accessory shafts attached to the steering column.
Figure 8

You can now see the accessory shafts attached to the steering column. Installing is reverse of removal. Once airbag is installed, reconnect battery.

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Comments and Suggestions:
CliffC Comments: The air bag connectors on my car were slightly different and had an orange locking tab that needs to be prized up first in order not to break to the securing latch on the plug. Unfortunately I learned this the hard way.
July 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Correct and I apologize for the learning experience not being the best. Fig 3 in this article, the connector has plastic locks at the center of the connector, these have to be levered out to release the connector. I will have this info added to article.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Louie Comments: Just remove the Negative connection only and leave Positive connected for this repair?
June 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the negative cable will disconnect the battery from the electrical system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
nickedw Comments: My blinker started flashing on left side in neutral position. Replacing switch was easy with your great guide. Definitely solved my blinker problem.
April 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Max Comments: I have a W203 coupe kompresor it currently has the older plastic buttons. I have purchased the later R171 steering wheel with the metal buttons which is compatible, however, on removing the steering wheel there are 2 connections on the R171 there are 3 connection points, can you please help? Is there a conversion kit, or do I need to sort another lead through Many Thanks. Max.
April 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not familiar with this swap.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jonny Comments: Hello
Can i install a 2011 slk200 steering wheel In a Sls amg 2011¿
August 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure, it may fit.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Doc Comments: I have a 2015 ML with paddle shifters. For the life of me I cannot find the access holes in back of the steering wheel to remove the first 2 torx screws. There is a large plastic fitting which seems to be in the way. Any suggestions would truly be appreciated, thanks.
July 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There should be two holes at the sides of the steering wheel, you will have to use a T20 Torx driver in each side to press a spring to release the airbag. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jerryy Comments: I pulled the steering wheel on my 1999 clk 320 to replace cruise control switch. After reassembly the SRS code came up. How do I reset the SRS light on the dash?
May 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need to clear the fault code using a Mercedes-Benz scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MSG Comments: I got it all apart without disconnecting the battery. Now have error code: SRS saftey Restraint system. Can I reset that myself? Or need MB scan toll?
March 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need a Mercedes-Benz scan tool to clear the fault code. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
HANK Comments: I am going to replace my signal switch. Read comments Sept.24,2013 as to steering angle sensor are you referring to the angle of the tilt of the steering wheel or are you referring to a sensor located where? If fault appears how do I clear it? THANK YOU FOR YOUR ANSWER.
January 31, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The Steering angle sensor is used to monitor the rotation of the steering wheel. It is mounted around the steering column, behind the steering wheel. You will need an Mercedes-Benz scan tool to reset it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Anton Comments: Hello from Australia..I would like to know hoe to replace the thumb controls on the steering wheel of a 2000 australiaCLK320 elegance.They have gone sticky and feel as though someone has used a solvent to clean them.It looks to me like they have to be replaced..?hope you can help..rgds Tony Strickland
November 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
gus Comments: You guys are awesome.I followed all you're steps in how to replace the steering wheel turn signal and everything went fine,except that when i put back the battery it's giving me a ESP fault reading. What do i do now?
December 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can try clearing the fault code. The issue may be with the steering angle sensor. It could be a fault from the repair, need to be calibrated, or have been damaged during the repair. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rulis Comments: Thank you very much. I'll continue to visit your informative website.
September 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the kudos - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Rulis Comments: Very good and detailed information. Once the steering wheel is removed, how do remove and replace the turn signal switch? My car is a 2003 Mercedez E320. Thanks in advance.
September 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are three or four screws that hold down the switch and you do have to unplug qtwo to three electrical connecotrs as well. Be careful not to turn the wheel. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  

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