Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
2018 3.6 Outback Limited, 2013 2.5 Legacy Premium
Joined
·
534 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever done or thought about swapping steering wheels? Not necessarily between generations but trim levels.

For example, I've got a base model OB which is equipped with a hard plastic steering wheel. Not my favorite (the steering wheel on my 09 Legacy Premium was nicer (read: softer) and I know the higher trims of OB have the nicer steering wheels.

So what would it take to remove and install a steering wheel, say, from a Limited trim OB? Obviously there'd be something to do with the airbag and hooking up the electronics considering you can control volume, etc. Yes, I realize that there might be a button or two that would'nt hook up on my ill-equipped base model, but I'm more after the feel of the wheel itself.

Anyone ever done this? Or know where to get a steering wheel? would the dealer be able to order and install or possibly grab from a parts yard, and then have it inspected by a dealer?

Or is this more work than it would ever be worth? And as a side note: no, buying an aftermarket cover isn't for me; they're ugly, bulky, and just not the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
I don't see why not. I have driven a base model (loaner) and it seems to have the same wheel, just without the leather (or faux leather) wrapped on it. Buttons seem to be the same.

If you get a 2012 or 13 wheel the colors are different. They went to black buttons on a silver background, instead of the opposite.

You will probably need to have the dealer reset the airbag light after swapping. Most of the time, even if you d/c the battery it will still trigger an airbag fault if you unplug the bag.
 

·
Registered
Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
Joined
·
4,112 Posts
Yeh, watch how you treat the airbag. It has an explosive charge. Also need to make sure the button connectors are the same, assuming the base model has those steering wheel controls. Most newer cars do. You might also need a steering wheel puller. Once again I may be thinking of older models.

BTW I have three cars and the buttons are all different. Today I was trying to turn up the stereo via the steering wheel buttons and noticed I was going faster and the music wasn't getting any louder. I was increasing the cruise control because the cruise and stereo button positions are reversed left to right from the older car I was driving yesterday vs. the newer car I was driving today. LOL
 

·
Registered
2012 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
921 Posts
I've done this before on a recent Toyota product. It involved disconnecting the car battery, then removing the trim around the steering column. From there, I removed some Torx screws that hold in the airbag. Then loosen the airbag and disconnect the connector(s). You can then remove the wheel with basic tools and perhaps a steering wheel puller as stated above. I don't think I actually needed the puller, but I have one. On my particular installation, the radio buttons were not part of the wheel. When I put it all back together I did not have to reset anything. It looked 100x better. I hate plastic steering wheels!

Find the wheel from a junkyard. I think a new one would be around $400.
 

·
Registered
2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
Joined
·
3,322 Posts
Diminishing returns I would think, considering costs (after dealer labor).<O:p</O:p
I don’t see how a dealer would sign off unless he does the whole job, he has no control on used/supplied parts (to assume warranty/liability).<O:p</O:p
You’ll 99% need a wheel puller.<O:p</O:p
 

·
Registered
'13 Outback Premium 6MT
Joined
·
110 Posts
BMW makes wheel swaps super simple. No codes to reset, no complicated disassembly, no wheel puller required. Not sure how much extra effort is involved with a Subaru but its surely worth looking into. The lack of a "leather" wrap is actually one reason I'm getting an Outback instead of a Forester!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
When I get home I can look in the FSM to see the wheel procedure for Subaru and let you know what's involved.
 

·
Registered
'11 Outback 2.5i CVT - '06 Forester X 5MT
Joined
·
1,766 Posts
I've read about people swapping steering wheels alot in Subarus. Mostly on the Forester boards. It doesn't seem to be too involved, especially if you stick with the same gen. It seems like the biggest concern is using the same type of air-bag, newer ones have dual stage airbas whereas the old ones use a single stage.

I'm curious to see how this goes for you, as I'd love to put in a newer steering wheel in my Forester so I can get steering wheel controls.
 

·
Registered
2018 3.6 Outback Limited, 2013 2.5 Legacy Premium
Joined
·
534 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
When I get home I can look in the FSM to see the wheel procedure for Subaru and let you know what's involved.
Thanks for doing that! I'm wrestling with the whole thing. I'd love to have the leather wheel for comfort on long trips. I've only worked with a small-scale gear puller on printing presses, I didn't know they existed for steering wheels!

Disconnecting the battery and getting the screws on the steering column should be easy enough, but the airbag is what's a bit scary, and you're right, I'd probably run into liability issues from the dealer. Maybe I'll email a guy at the dealership and find out and report back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
Here ya go.

It's not clear if an airbag reset is needed. It says disconnect the battery for 60 seconds, but not sure if this will prevent an airbag fault.

The airbag seems to be retained by a unique set of clips not screws.

It recommends a wheel puller.

Also please note this is from the 2013 FSM. Not sure if 2010-12 are the same but I anticipate they are.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2018 3.6 Outback Limited, 2013 2.5 Legacy Premium
Joined
·
534 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks! If I decide to do this when I get home from overseas, I'll definitely post a how to of my experience!
 

·
Registered
2015 2.5i Limited Carbide Gray
Joined
·
832 Posts
As long as you aren't swapping buttons for additional functions it should be a simple remove and replace. And as long as you don't cycle the key when the airbag is removed you shouldn't need to visit the dealer. I've done it on a few Honda's without much problems.
 

·
Registered
'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
Joined
·
3,822 Posts
get a DAMD steering wheel, this will be insanely expensive but it will look cool.

oh I found it on this site, pg 38 of what did you do to your 4th gen today?
 

·
Registered
2018 3.6 Outback Limited, 2013 2.5 Legacy Premium
Joined
·
534 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
get a DAMD steering wheel, this will be insanely expensive but it will look cool.

oh I found it on this site, pg 38 of what did you do to your 4th gen today?
I remember seeing that wheel, looks really nice! Something I'd have trouble keeping my hands off of ;)
 

·
Registered
Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
Joined
·
4,112 Posts
I notice it is on a right hand drive car so it probably didn't come from the States. Also, NEEDS BUTTONS! I like lots of lights and buttons. I don't care what they do really. I just want them!
 

·
Registered
2010 OB 3.6R Ltd
Joined
·
45 Posts
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top