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Old 05-06-2004, 09:10 PM   #1
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How To - Swap a 2004 USDM STi Steering Wheel into a 2002 WRX

READ THIS FIRST:
I do not assume any liability or responsibility for any unwanted results that occur from doing this modification. Precautions must be taken because you are dealing with one of your carís safety features, the SRS / Airbag. If you do not feel that you can safely do this modification, then donít do it. Read ALL directions before even attempting to start this project.


Here is how you install a 2004 USDM STi steering wheel on a 2002-2003 WRX.

This installation retains factory cruise control, horn, and SRS. It is also completely reversible if you do not cut the parts off of your WRX steering wheel.

Start by removing your old steering wheel.
Start by disconnecting the negative terminal on the battery. Wait about 5 minutes and then step on the brake a few times. Make sure the tires are facing forwards and the steering wheel is straight. Next, loosen the Torx bolts. There is one on each side of the steering wheel shroud. They are located at 3:00 and 9:00. The screws will back out, but remain in the shroud. Now you can wiggle out the air bag.



To remove the airbag, you must push down on the yellow tab and slide the green piece all of the way over. Once the airbag is removed, set it aside, and you will be looking at this.



After the airbag is off, take a 17mm socket and a breaker bar and break the steering nut loose. It is best if you have someone hold the steering wheel while you break the nut loose. Once the nut is loose, unscrew it a little bit, but leave it on. This will allow you to tug on the steering wheel and not worry about it flying off into your face. Once the wheel breaks loose, remove the nut and steering wheel.

Getting the necessary parts off of the WRX steering wheel
We need to start by getting the cruise control switch off of the WRX steering wheel. To do this, remove the two Torx screw on the bracket on the right side.



Unplug the plug for the cruise control at the bottom and the spade for the horn. Remove the switch and the bracket.



Here is the WRX cruise control switch out of the wheel. You will need to remove it from the bracket by removing the two phillips head screws.



Set all of this aside and get your STi steering wheel.

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Old 05-06-2004, 09:11 PM   #2
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Prepping the STi steering wheel
Now we need to get the STi steering wheel ready. Presuming that the air bag is still attached, you will have to remove it in the same fashion as the WRX airbag. If the airbag is wired in, you will need to get a small flathead screwdriver and lift up the black clip on the airbag plug. Once the clip is lifted up, you can remove the plug from the airbag. If there is no plug on the back of the airbag then you need to stop reading this and get one. Once you have the plug, please continue with the install. The horn is hooked to the frame on the back of the airbag, undo the spade and set the airbag aside. Once the airbag is off, you will need to remove the 5 screws that hold on the rear plastic cover. There is a crab claw clip at the bottom, spead the two tabs apart and the plastic cover should come off.



Next, you will need to remove the cruise control switch. All of the screws should be out, so it should come out easily.



Then you will need to remove the metal plate that is underneath it.



Comparison of STi parts to WRX parts
Here are some pictures of the STi cruise control parts and the WRX cruise control parts.





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Old 05-06-2004, 09:11 PM   #3
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Fitting the WRX cruise control switch into the STi steering wheel.
You will need access to a sharp knife or chisel, a drill, and a drill bit to do this next part.
The WRX cruise control switch doesnít exactly fit into the STi cover very well, nor do the screws line up. To get it to fit you will need to cut the little piece of plastic by the screw hole, I used a fairly sharp wood chisel, but a knife will work as well.



It should look like this.



Then, you will need to remove the tab off of the WRX cruise control switch.



After these parts are removed, you need to set the cruise control switch into the STi cover and move it around until it fits properly. Once in place, take something and mark the center of each hole so you know where to drill it.



After you have marked the holes, use the appropriate sized drill bit and drill the cover where your marks are. I used 8-32 bolts and put the head on the back side of the cover. Since the head has a lower profile there is less chance of it hitting the column cover.



You will also need to cut the cable tie that holds the cruise control wires to the switch housing. Once the cable tie is cut, you need to cut off the plastic tab that sticks out. If you donít then the steering wheel will not fit back to the rear cover.



Reinstall the rear cover to the steering wheel and then we will be ready to get the airbag ready for installation. You will only use 4 of the 5 screws, since the 5th came out of the cruise control switch. Here is the wheel bolted into my car.



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Old 05-06-2004, 09:12 PM   #4
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Wiring up the airbag
I had the benefit of having the STi clockspring. This means I had an extra plug for the airbag that I could use. If you do not want to cut your plug, then you will need to order one. I donít know the part number, so donít ask.
Here is the back of the STi airbag as I had it. At a minimum you will need the plug coming out of the back of it.



Take the wires coming out of the plug on the back of the STi airbag and strip some of the insulation off of the end of them. Then you will need to get an airbag plug. If you want you can cut it off of your WRX airbag, or you can order one. Either way, you will need one. Strip some insulation off of the end of the wires coming out of the plug. I matches up the colors of the wires on my airbag wires to the plug, but if you re-use your WRX plug then you need to make sure that you hook It up right. This is how I figured to wire it. If you set the airbag so that the wires come out of the plug pointing down (or towards you if it is on a table), then the wire on the left gets hook to the left side of the plug, and the right one to the right side of the plug. I reference the plug by the green release thingy. Once you get the wires matched up properly, it is best to solder them together and then shrink wrap them. I did not have either at the time, so I butt-spliced them together and wrapped them in electrical tape.



After you wire the plug to the end of the wires on the airbag, you are ready to install it into your car. Take the steering wheel, making sure that the clock spring is lined up properly, and slide it over the spline. Take the nut and screw it back onto the spline and torque it to around 22 ft/lbs. Once the nut is torqued you can hook up the cruise control and plug in the airbag. Once the airbag is plugged in, you can plug in the horn. There isnít much room inside the steering wheel, so you will need to tuck everything back in there. Line the airbag back up with the Torx bolts and tighten them down to hold the airbag.





Once the steering wheel is reinstalled, make sure no one is in front of the car and re-attach the battery. Once the battery is re-attached, and the airbag hopefully hasnít come out, go to the passengerís side door and place the key in the ignition. While you are doing this, be careful to keep your head clear in case either airbag deploys. Start your car, and if you did it right, everything should work.

Once Again:
I do not assume any liability or responsibility for any unwanted results that occur from doing this modification. Precautions must be taken because you are dealing with one of your carís safety features, the SRS / Airbag. If you do not feel that you can safely do this modification, then donít do it. Read ALL directions before even attempting to start this project.


Let me know if there are any questions,
Nick
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Old 07-20-2004, 10:40 AM   #5
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hey, nice write-up, looks like your car is displaying it's guts for a museum exhibit, awesome:banana:
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Old 07-20-2004, 03:40 PM   #6
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Talking

for those who had never been hit by and airbag before, would you suggest just starting the car in the driver seat? haha, just messing around. nice write up man.
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Old 07-20-2004, 03:46 PM   #7
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I was careful when I took it off. I was scared it might go, so I undid the passenger side screw on the airbag while sitting in the passenger seat with it slid all of the way back and just waiting for the passenger airbag to go off since that is the one I was in front of. I got lucky though and all went well.
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Old 07-21-2004, 12:03 PM   #8
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what was wrong with the original 02 wheel? i guess i'm so used to it i think it is the best of all the wrx model years, just my opinion

oh yes and thanks for a good writeup!
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Old 07-21-2004, 03:35 PM   #9
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Nothing was wrong with it, I just found a good deal on an STi interior.
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Old 07-27-2004, 07:18 PM   #10
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Thanks, nice write up!
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Old 07-27-2004, 07:33 PM   #11
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Nice write up! Someone should put this on scoobymods too
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Old 07-27-2004, 08:32 PM   #12
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I was thinking about putting it on Scoobymods, but didn't want to have to make a post for every picture because they have to be attached.
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Old 07-27-2004, 08:32 PM
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04, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, airbag, column, connector, fit, plug, removing, steering, sti, swapping, wheel, wrx


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