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Porsche 911 Carrera Steering Wheel Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Porsche 911 Carrera Steering Wheel Replacement

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$150 to $1,000

Talent:

**

Tools:

Torx driver set

Applicable Models:

Porsche 996 Carrera models (1999-05)
Porsche 996 Turbo, GT2, GT3 (2001-05)

Parts Required:

Steering wheel and hub adapter

Hot Tip:

Use a steering lock bar to help loosen the wheel

Performance Gain:

Good improvement in driving feelâ€

Complementary Modification:

Upgrade your dashboard information computer

One of the most exciting and rewarding projects that you can perform on your 911 is the replacement of the standard four-spoke steering wheel. In addition to the gorgeous factory three-spoke wheel, there are a wide variety of aftermarket wheels to choose from. Let's face it--the stock 911 Carrera wheel is not something that many people can get too excited about. Installing a wheel of your choosing cures all that.

It's important to mention a word about safety here. All the later-model Carreras came from the factory equipped with driver's side air bags built into the steering wheel. Air bags are important pieces of safety equipment, and I fully recommend keeping them in place. That said, you cannot install a non-factory aftermarket steering wheel and also keep your air bag in place, unless you purchase an aftermarket wheel specifically made for the Carrera with an integrated air bag (Aitwe manufactures one such wheel). With that in mind, I recommend that you install an aftermarket wheel only if your car originally didn't come with one or if you are converting your car into a club racer or weekend track car. You can still choose to install the wheel into your street car, but be forewarned--air bags are probably the best protection you will have in a crash. Also, state and local regulations may legally restrict what you can do with your air bag.

That said, I recommend upgrading to the factory three-spoke wheel with the integrated air bag. The wheel is a bolt-on upgrade, and it looks very good too--particularly the gold crest in the center of the air bag.

The first step is to disconnect the battery and wait at least 15 minutes (see Project 81 for details). This is very important, as the air bag itself is a dangerous explosive package and can be accidentally set off by a variety of factors. Also, the air bag control system is designed to remain operational for up to 15 minutes after the battery has been disconnected. The next step is to remove the air bag from the steering wheel by disconnecting the two T27 Torx screws that attach it to the front of the wheel (see the insets in Figure 2). Extend the steering wheel as far toward the rear of the car as you can go to afford yourself the maximum amount of room to get your Torx tool in there. With the screws loosened (they do not come out of the air bag), the air bag should be loose from the wheel--disconnect the small harness, remove it, and place it aside.

The next step is to remove the wheel itself. If you don't happen to own an impact wrench, there is another neat trick that I developed for removing the steering wheel. First, take one of those obnoxiously large, red steering wheel locks and clamp it onto the steering wheel. The long handle on the lock will allow you to gain a significant amount of leverage on the wheel. Then insert the deep socket onto the center steering wheel nut. Compressing together the steering wheel lock handle and the long handle attached to the socket will enable you to loosen up the steering wheel nut. Under no circumstances should you ever turn the steering wheel all the way to the end of the rack and use the end stop to hold the wheel while you remove the nut. The steering wheel has a lot of leverage, and you can easily damage your rack and pinion if you apply a large amount of torque to the wheel.

Once you have the nut off of the wheel, take some white correction fluid or a marker pen and mark the steering wheel and the shaft so you know which spline to place it back on. Then simply pull the wheel off of the steering column. If the wheel is stuck on the splines and doesn't want to come off, then take a rubber mallet and gently tap the rear of the wheel until it begins to move. If you are installing an aftermarket wheel, place the new wheel onto the included steering wheel hub and then onto the car. Be sure that you properly hook up the horn and test it before you tighten the wheel down again. For the Porsche three-spoke wheel, the installation of the new wheel is basically the reverse of the removal process.

Shown here is one of my favorite steering wheels of all-time, the Porsche factory three-spoke wheel.
Figure 1

Shown here is one of my favorite steering wheels of all-time, the Porsche factory three-spoke wheel. Available as an option on the cars when they were new, this upgrade is pretty spendy (about $1,000 for the wheel and the new air bag), but in my opinion, definitely worth it. Remember, you can recover the cost of your new wheel by selling your old air bag on eBay or the classifieds section of PelicanParts.com. The part number for the wheel in black is Picture 347:-Picture 54:-A28, and the part number for the air bag with the gold crest is Picture 803:-Picture 02:-A28.

Removal of the air bag itself is pretty easy.
Figure 2

Removal of the air bag itself is pretty easy. Remove the two screws on either side of the back of the steering wheel column by using a T27 Torx driver (upper left photo). These holes are somewhat hidden from view and have tiny access holes in the backside of the steering wheel. The purple arrow shows you where you need to insert the Torx driver, and the orange arrow indicates the tail end of the Torx bolt. With these two screws loosened, the air bag should simply pop out of the center of the wheel. Disconnect the wire harness to the air bag (blue arrow shows where it plugs into the air bag), and place it aside. Also disconnect the horn wires (green and red arrows). Make sure you disconnect the battery and wait at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove the air bag.

A trick that I developed for removing steering wheels involves locking the wheel with one of those steering wheel locking devices like the Club.
Figure 3

A trick that I developed for removing steering wheels involves locking the wheel with one of those steering wheel locking devices like the Club. Don't allow the steering wheel to lock against the mechanism in the lock cylinder, and don't let it bottom out against the steering rack. Using a breaker bar and the Club in this fashion, you can easily remove the steering center nut.

Before you remove the wheel, mark its position on the shaft with a permanent marker (inset).
Figure 4

Before you remove the wheel, mark its position on the shaft with a permanent marker (inset). With the wheel retaining nut removed and the wire harnesses disconnected, you should be able to pull the steering wheel off of the splined hub in the center. Thread the wires through the hole in the wheel as you remove it from the steering shaft.

Although you lose the safety of the air bag, the new steering wheel really spices up the interior of the car and gives your Porsche that Motorsport feel.
Figure 5

Although you lose the safety of the air bag, the new steering wheel really spices up the interior of the car and gives your Porsche that Motorsport feel. If you are removing the air bag, you need to "trick" the air bag computer into thinking that it's still connected. Placing a 0.3 ohm resistor across the two terminals of the connector will indicate to the computer that the air bag is still in place, and it won't trigger your air bag lamp. This should allow your system to continue to properly control and operate the passenger side air bag. The installation of a MOMO aftermarket wheel requires the use of a 1/2-inch washer under the steering wheel nut because the shaft is not threaded deep enough for the aftermarket wheels.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Scott Comments: can you install a 2005 997 steering wheel in a 1999 996?
November 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. you can't. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Patrick911tail Comments: Hi Nick, is it possible to connect a 996 three spoke wheel to a 993? Cheers Patrick
August 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bindenver Comments: What about installing a 997 turbo or GT2 steering wheel?

Where do you get the airbag from as I don't think you can use your 996 steering wheel airbag.
January 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it would work, you need to buy an airbag as well.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
CMeSpeed Comments: I have removed the steering wheel from my 993 numerous times without disconnecting the battery. I've been told if the key is removed the CPU will not allow the airbag to be deployed.
June 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I do not recommend this practice. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
matt Comments: Hello,
I have a 2000 Porsche 996. I'm removing my steering wheel and going to a Momo wheel.
What about the round plastic spinner piece that is under my steering wheel? I'm having trouble removing unplugging it. Then how would I hook up my horn on my new momo wheel?
thanks
Matt
March 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check with MOMO. I do not have any experience bypassing the clock spring or airbag. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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