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Removing Your Steering Wheel and Air Bag
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Removing Your Steering Wheel and Air Bag

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

N

Tools:

Short screwdriver, 12mm 12 point

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Hot Tip:

Store airbag facing up

Performance Gain:

Access to other components

Complementary Modification:

New shift knob

The air bag and steering wheel removal is required for a few repairs. When you remove the driver airbag, it is important you disconnect the battery and wait at least 15 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.

There are several different types and makes of air bags and steering wheels for the GTI. They are NOT interchangeable so make sure you get the proper air bag for the wheel. This article will demonstrate how to change out the three spoke wheel with a DSG transmission.

Disconnect the negative battery cable (yellow arrow) from the post (red arrow).
Figure 1

Disconnect the negative battery cable (yellow arrow) from the post (red arrow). Make sure it can't make accidental contact with the battery and allow 15 minutes for all the electricity to dissipate out of the vehicle.

Using the steering column adjustment and pull the steering wheel away from the dash (yellow arrow) and lower it as far is it will go (red arrow).
Figure 2

Using the steering column adjustment and pull the steering wheel away from the dash (yellow arrow) and lower it as far is it will go (red arrow).

Turn the wheel 90 degree.
Figure 3

Turn the wheel 90 degree. On the back side of the wheel there are two access openings (red arrows, one on each side).

Insert a short screwdriver (yellow arrow) approximately 1/2 inch into the hole.
Figure 4

Insert a short screwdriver (yellow arrow) approximately 1/2 inch into the hole. Twist or rotate the screwdriver towards the door. There is a clip that sits on a lug. Turning the screwdriver will release this and the airbag will move forward.

Turn the wheel 180 degrees and preform the same procedure on the other side.
Figure 5

Turn the wheel 180 degrees and preform the same procedure on the other side. You will be able to feel and see the airbag move when it is released from the clips. Turn the wheel so that the crossbar is level and pull the air bag out from the wheel (red arrow).

If your steering wheel has controls on it there will be two electrical connections; one for the controls (yellow arrow) and one for the two stage airbag (red arrow).
Figure 6

If your steering wheel has controls on it there will be two electrical connections; one for the controls (yellow arrow) and one for the two stage airbag (red arrow).

Squeeze in the small tab on the electrical connector for the controls (red arrow) and remove the connection.
Figure 7

Squeeze in the small tab on the electrical connector for the controls (red arrow) and remove the connection.

The two stage airbag connector has a special connection.
Figure 8

The two stage airbag connector has a special connection. You will need to slide the orange or top section forward (red arrow) to release it from the airbag.

This photo illustrates the release clip with the airbag off.
Figure 9

This photo illustrates the release clip with the airbag off. This is where you are sticking the screwdriver in (red arrow).

This photo illustrates the two connections to the airbag for the two stage system (red arrows).
Figure 10

This photo illustrates the two connections to the airbag for the two stage system (red arrows).

Use a 12mm 12 point and unscrew the circular bolt holding the wheel to the steering shaft (red arrow).
Figure 11

Use a 12mm 12 point and unscrew the circular bolt holding the wheel to the steering shaft (red arrow). Do NOT use the steering lock to hold the wheel in position while breaking the bolt loose. Brace the wheel with your other hand, legs or get a friend to help but do NOT use the steering lock.

The factory micro encapsulates the bolt to help keep it in position (red arrow).
Figure 12

The factory micro encapsulates the bolt to help keep it in position (red arrow). You can clean this up and use a little Blue Loctite.

The wheel and steering shaft should come pre marked (red arrows), so that when you install them the wheel is level when driving straight down the road.
Figure 13

The wheel and steering shaft should come pre marked (red arrows), so that when you install them the wheel is level when driving straight down the road. Make sure to line these up when re-installing.

You can now pull the wheel off the steering shaft (red arrow).
Figure 14

You can now pull the wheel off the steering shaft (red arrow). Installation is the reverse of removal. When installing the wiring connection from the airbag to wheel you should hear a click when it seats in position.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Jk boy Comments: I just recently replace my mk7 golf steering wheel with mk7 GTI steering wheels. Everything went well up until I reconnected the battery the steering light is in solid red. Any help will be appreciated.
November 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You set a fault code. The code will have to be cleared using a VW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brian Comments: RE: Figure 12 comment.
Your comment regarding using blue thread locker implies the bolt can be reused. The number of times the bolt can be reused may be limited. A Bentley shop manual for the A4 platform VWoA part number: LPV 800 118, Bentley stock number VG02 states the bolt can be reused up to 5 times and recommends marking the bolt with a center punch after each installation. The manual also lists the torque as 50 Nm 37 ft-lb.
October 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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