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Adding a VW steering wheel
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1621
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject: Adding a VW steering wheel Reply with quote

I've had a few questions now on swapping to a different VW steering wheel, so I'll post how I did it here. While I'm not certain about all VW steering wheels, this did work with one from a '91 GTI. I think some earlier models might be a direct swap, but I'm not certain which ones. Just know that the Vanagons have the smaller diameter hub, while the later models use a larger diameter hub.

Swapping to a different VW steering wheel requires three simple changes. It requires a spacer on the steering column, a thin spacer under the steering wheel, and the larger hub adapter.

The good news is that all VWs have the small spline like our Vanagons, the later models simply use a pressed on adapter that is easily available at the dealerships for ~ $30. A quick modification of the aluminum adapter (cut off the bottom with a hacksaw) and it's ready to go on.

This picture is from VW vortex and shows the hub adapter.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here it is again. I cut it off at the neck where it flares out about midway up.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You can read a great thread about removing one of these here: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2059093


The spacer on the steering column between the metal collar welded on the column and the "ring" that rests on top of it (Bentley 48.2). I used 2 spacers approximately 2mm thick each.

The only other washer rests between the steering wheel and the steering column switch plate. Since this wheel is slightly shallower on the rear than the stock wheel, this thin spacer prevents the wheel from pressing down on the horn contact ring. It's fun to honk at people while driving around the neighborhood, but on every turn is a little much. Embarassed I made this ring spacer from a piece of hard plastic, umm about as thick as one of my DeWalt tool cases - or about 2mm.

It's really simple, no other modifications other than what I just stated. If you're familiar with the steering column design, this change can be completed in a couple hours. Also, since it's a VW steering wheel, the horn and turn signal work exactly the same. The wheel is smaller in diameter (~15 inches I think), but it's not hard to turn the wheel (I have power steering). The thicker grip is nice, the wheelskin makes it nicer still. And the best part is, I'm not paying the GoWesty price for a SA steering wheel ($430! Shocked )

Because I know the question will come up, it does block the clear view of the gauges. However, the old wheel did this for me too, and realistically I rarely look at my gauges as I can hear when to shift and know if I'm speeding or not. Besides, if I lean forward a bit I can actually see them easier than with the old wheel.

Anyway, that's it! PM any questions, and sorry I didn't take any photos during the process.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job! I appreciate the information, thanks!
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*Custom wheel hardware for Audi/VW, Porsche and Mercedes wheels - Urethane Suspension Bushings*
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same one. It's a total difference driving the van now. Seems like a normal car! (almost). I hated the "driving the school bus" experience...

JP
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otiswesty
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a bus Very Happy
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a914622
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI

The porsche 944 and some 928s are a direct bolt on swap as well...
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Mick Ord
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Resurected !!...
i have tried to follow these instructions- ive cut the adaptor down to size, but can't seem to figure out what and where exactly the spacers and washer mentioned are meant to go ???

Im in the middle of this, so any help would be really appreciated.. thxs !
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1621
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mick Ord wrote:
Resurected !!...
i have tried to follow these instructions- ive cut the adaptor down to size, but can't seem to figure out what and where exactly the spacers and washer mentioned are meant to go ???

Im in the middle of this, so any help would be really appreciated.. thxs !


Follow the link to this site, and about halfway down the page you'll find a couple images and a brief write up.

http://sites.google.com/site/vanagoncafe/vanagon-cafe-how-to-page
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Mick Ord
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thxs 1621,

I already looked at that and found it quite confusing !!!, i'll try and give it another go tho.

My "new" wheel came with a spacer that was unbelievably tight to fit !!...its now wrecked trying to get it off ( bearing puller would not get it off !)...im gonna have to get another one and cut it down as you described, is it a VW part ?, any idea on the part # ???

Ive already wrecked one steering column and a spacer trying to fit this wheel !!!!!, so any help would be great...thxs
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1621
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a part number for you, but you should be able to find it at the VW dealership's parts department. As for the spacers, they'll rest on top of the steel collar welded on about midway up the steering column, and below the plastic collar that normally sits atop the steel collar.

The second spacer is something perhaps unique to my situation, though it may be yours as well. I cut another thin (2mm) plastic spacer to rest between the turn signal housing and the steering wheel itself. My issue was the column would slide down just enough (1-2mm) to cause the horn to blast anytime I turned the steering wheel. Perhaps this could have been by other means, but this solution proved simple and effective. It's not worn down after 3+ years, and I haven't had any issues whatsoever.

The following is one of the illustrations lifted from BenT's Vanagon Cafe site (http://vanagoncafe.com/) with credit to a gentleman named Yoshi. While the illustration is a bit confusing, in practice it's not too bad.

One last thing that will help you considerably is to wedge a block of wood between the floor and the bottom of the steering column to prevent it from sliding down while you're working. It should also help you adjust your spacers to the correct size and perhaps negate the need for the additional spacer separating the turn signal housing and steering wheel.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Mick Ord
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, many thanks 1621...how was your adaptor to fit ?, did it slide on or was it really tight ?..are the splines the same size ?...the one i had was as tight as hell !!! and was basically detroyed taking it off
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1621
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's tight, it should be. Use a little anti-sieze or dish soap to get it to slide down on the original splines. I seem to recall using a deep socket and a small mallet for tapping it into place. You'll certainly want the block of wood under the steering column for this trick! Wink
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Noganav T3
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice job,

I had the SA wheel on my syncro for a couple years, nice with the arm rests when your hands sit right on the spokes of the wheel. this wheel shown looks like it would also work like that
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Mick Ord
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again 1621, sorry to keep bugging you...did you do the complete conversion as per the instructions- did you grind a new groove in the bottom of the rack ?, and if so how ?

Thxs
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1621
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mick Ord wrote:
Hi again 1621, sorry to keep bugging you...did you do the complete conversion as per the instructions- did you grind a new groove in the bottom of the rack ?, and if so how ?

Thxs


I may have, but honestly I don't recall and I don't really want to dismantle my steering assembly to check. If it doesn't make sense to grind a new groove, then I wouldn't. He had it in there for a reason though, so it's gonna be a game time decision for you to make. Can you see a need for it?

What is the purpose for the groove in the first place?
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Franklinstower
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished my GTI steering wheel mod today. thanks 1621 for the info you provided.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


At first i didn't realize I needed the spline adapter, so I went back to the pull a part and I figured out you can get those adapters off with just a screw driver and a hammer. Pry the screw driver against the lip on the adapter and whack the steering column down, about 3 hits later the adapter comes right off. To get the adapter onto the vanagon column, I used emery cloth on a drill to open up the adapter so it didn't need to be pressed on, I could then take it on and off by hand so fitting was much easier. To get the column, blinker and horn tabs all lined up correctly, I used the part of the adapter that i needed to cut off, basically at the grove in the adapter, as a spacer. I put that spacer below the key assembly and under the plastic bearing bushing. then I need to put a small spacer under the outer most black plastic spacer that the horn ring rides on so my horn wouldn't go off as i turned or pushed on the wheel....
the only issue is now my steering wheel lock out doesn't engage when the key is removed. But I don't really care about that.
I can fix that later...

Paul
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designer
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a914622 wrote:
FYI

The porsche 944 and some 928s are a direct bolt on swap as well...



If anybody is listening ... what years?

thanks!

-cc-
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goffoz
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

designer wrote:
a914622 wrote:
FYI

The porsche 944 and some 928s are a direct bolt on swap as well...



If anybody is listening ... what years?

thanks!

-cc-

I think All the 928's are the same ...I have a 928 in brownish that I'm not going to use. Confused
I like my vanagon (bus like) wheel
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SteveVanB
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

goffoz wrote:
designer wrote:
a914622 wrote:
FYI

The porsche 944 and some 928s are a direct bolt on swap as well...



If anybody is listening ... what years?

thanks!

-cc-

I think All the 928's are the same ...I have a 928 in brownish that I'm not going to use. Confused
I like my vanagon (bus like) wheel

Me too. I have one from a 944. While it did bolt on, it moved the wheel closer to me and felt abnormally small. Looks ok hangin on the garage wall Wink
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rubbachicken
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have the 4 button golf wheel, a direct bolt on, it covers the gauges a little, but when you can't make the speed limit, who cares how fast you are going
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WestyZetec
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The early euro van wheels are a direct swap to I just did mine a couple of weeks ago picket it up fo $30 looks good
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