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What Toyota?
2008 Saab 9-3
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10,477 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Disclaimer: I and/or TN cannot be responsible for any damages or problems that may occur

because of your actions. This DIY is simply a guide. I experienced no issues while doing this modification, but please be

careful and have someone qualified do this if you feel as if that is need.


ANYWAYS... on to the actual mod. My stock steering wheel was gray and NON-leather. It was also starting to

completely fall apart. I bought a new leather steering wheel on ebay... unfortunately it was beige instead of gray. So I

decided to go for the SE trim line look and paint it black.

Before we move on, I want to address an issue with the GEN3 camry steering wheels. Please check your VIN# before doing this

mod. If you have a J vin car and want to use your original airbag, youre going to need a J vin steering wheel. If you have

a 4T vin and want to use your original airbag, you're going to need a 4T vin steering wheel. IF you're unsure about what is

in your car, check the access panel on the steering wheel's left side. J vin's will have 2 T30 torx screws instead of one.

Basically:
4T wheel + J airbag = NO GO
J wheel + 4T airbag = NO GO
J wheel + J airbag = YES
4T airbag + 4T wheel = YES




That's the look we're going to shoot for. To start, let's paint the new wheel.


This is pretty much what we're going to need at this point:
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) [can be found at the hardware store in the paint section. Available as a liquid or powder]
Scuffing pad [Nothing too harsh. DO NOT USE SAND PAPER... but I suppose WET 2000 grit might work.]
Fabric & Vinyl Paint [Color of your choice... I used gloss black.]
Plastic Paint (not shown) [I also chose gloss black. Krylon Fusion works well.]
***Please not that Plastic Paint and Fabric/Vinyl Paint are NOT the same!
You'll also need a few other odds and ends... newspaper.... painter's tape... etc.

Go ahead and dilute the TSP per directions on the bottle or package. I used about a cap full per 1/4 SOLO cup full for

water. We want it strong, but NOT STRAIGHT TSP. Use a cloth or paper towel and scrub down every surface that's going to be

painted. Wait for everything to dry, then clean it again.

After that, we need to scuff up the leather surfaces.

There you can see the difference between the part that has been scuffed and the part that hasn't. We want a dull luster to

the leather. After all of the leather is scuffed up, clean everything again with the TSP solution.


Now we can prep for painting.

We'll take care of the leather surfaces first. Remember... we're only going to use the fabric/vinyl paint on the leather.

(The plastic paint will be used on hard leather surfaces.) Shake the can up per the directions on it. We're going for many

light coats of the paint. Please go very light on each coat. Also note that it's not necessarily going to come out smooth

to the touch. We'll take care of that on the final coat.



After you get the leather coated evenly, move onto the hard plastic parts. Tape and newspaper off the leather part, then

spray the hard plastic with the Krylon fusion paint. No prep is needed other than cleaning it with TSP. Go slow, and do light coats.


After the hard plastic paint drys, we can look into the final coat on the leather. Scuff it up with the pad, but be gentle.

If the leather paint hasn't completely cured, it behaves like a latex paint... when it cures, it acts like a dye. After you

scuff it up, clean it with TSP and wait for it to dry.

Go over the leather with one coat for the front, and one coat for the back. We want it nice and even and glossy BUT we

don't want the paint to run. If you screw up, no big deal. Just go back and scuff it up, TSP clean it, and try again. This

is what we want it to look like:


I didn't take many pictures of the airbag, but it gets the same process as the leather. This is because it isn't hard

plastic. Make sure you mask off areas you don't want painted. :thumbsup:



I didn't show the steps for this, but if you want to paint the steering wheel column cover, use the same process as you did on the hard plastic. If you want to paint your shifter, same deal. Plastic paint for hard plastic, vinyl/fabric paint for leather, rubbery plastic, etc. :)
 

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What Toyota?
2008 Saab 9-3
Joined
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10,477 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Disclaimer: I and/or TN cannot be responsible for any damages or problems that may occur because of your actions. This DIY is simply a guide. I experienced no issues while doing this modification, but please be careful and have someone qualified do this if you feel as if that is need.

Time to switch over and think about installation. BE SURE YOU'VE READ THE PREVIOUS POST COMPLETELY BEFORE DOING THIS WHETHER OR NOT YOU CHANGED THE COLOR OF THE WHEEL OR NOT.

I installed my wheel, then realized it was off center. :facepalm: So I'll show you how to remove it, then re-install it. Please note that this is dealing with a 4T vin wheel and airbag. J vin airbags and wheels are similar, but not exactly the same. :thumbsup:

First thing's first:

Remove your negative battery cable and wait 90 seconds minimum before moving on. According to Toyota, the entire airbag system has a 90 second internal power backup battery. This means that the airbag can still deploy up to 90 seconds after removing the negative battery cable. Be smart, and wait 2 minutes.

At this point, you may want to lock the steering wheel. Remove the keys from the ignition, and turn the wheel about 45 degrees clockwise until it locks in place. This will keep it in place throughout the rest of the install. You'll also want to mark where the wheel is so when we put it back on, we have it in the exact same position it was when we took it off. I used a piece of painters tape and traces the outline of the top of the wheel with a pencil.


After waiting 2 minutes, we can move on. Removal of the airbag is easier than you'd think. For 4T vin people, there's 2 torx T30 screws that we need to loosen. (J vin guys, you have 3 T30 screws... 2 on the left, 1 on the right.) We can access these behind the 2 small panels on either side of the steering wheel. They come off with a flat head screw driver. One is where the cruise control is, the other is on the left.

These T30 screws are in there TIGHT...and for good reason... it's the airbag after all. You may have to use your T30 bit in a socket wrench in order to apply enough force to loosen the screws.

You can also see the little black plastic tabs that the screw will hit when it is loosened fully. Make sure you loosen it all the way to these tabs.

After you loosen the 2 torx T30 screws, the airbag will come out with some minor effort. Don't be too rough, because it is still connected to the wiring harness on the back. If it doesn't want to come out, try loosening the T30 screws again. If it still doesn't want to come out, try putting you key in the ignition and unlocking the steering wheel so you can work on it from a different angle. Just be sure to re-lock the wheel in the same position afterwards.

After the airbag pops out, you'll have to remove the wire at the clip. It's a 3-part process. Remove the clip itself from the airbag back. Fairly simple to figure out:


After that, we have to unclip the safety clip that hold this connector together.

Just squeeze on both sides and lift up the safety clasp. After that we need to unplug the airbag. Just push down in the center here:

and pull the two wires apart. Then you have:

Make sure you store the airbag "CAMRY" side up.

Also, remove the cruise control harness from the spiral spring. It's the white clip on the top there.


This is the step I always forget. Remove the center nut from the wheel. It's on there TIGHT too... so use a socket wrench.


Now we want to remove the steering wheel. We're going to need a steering wheel puller. The one i used also doubles as a harmonic balancer puller. Your's may be different. You can rent them from autozone.


Because of the shape of the puller, we need to remove the left retaining bracket for the airbag. This also prevents damage to the bracket during working on the wheel. (If you want, you can remove both the right bracket too... same process more of less.) You're going to need the T30 torx bit again. And of course, these are in there pretty tight... use a socket wrench.


The tricky thing here... be careful not to fully remove the T30 torx bolts from the bracket. The next picture shows you what I mean.


Next, time to setup the steering wheel puller. MAKE SURE THE BOLTS YOU USE ARE THE RIGHT SIZE. This picture shows you were they will be installed. (Ignore the fact that the center nut is still there... I'm an idiot. :lol:)


Take the steering wheel puller and align it as shown below. we want the bolts in tight and screwed in about the same distance. You're gonna want to use a socket wrench for this.


Now we get to insert the center shaft of the steering wheel puller, as seen in the next picture. You'll eventually want to use a socket wrench.


Here you can see what we're going for... We want to line up the center shaft directly on the shaft on the steering column.


Mated up properly it should look like the picture below. You may have to loosen or tighten the other two bolts holding the puller on in order for it to line up correctly.


After it's lined up like the picture above, use the socket wrench to tighten the center bolt shaft until the steering wheel pops off.



That's it really. Re installation is basically the reverse. Just be sure everything gets put back in! Use the blue piece of tape you marked earlier to line the wheel back up to the right place upon installation. Also, when reinstalling the airbag brackets, the steering wheel center bolt, and the airbag its self, make sure you tighten them with a socket wrench. It's critical that they are as tight as they were before we removed them. Good luck. :thumbsup:
 

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What Toyota?
2008 Saab 9-3
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10,477 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'll be using this post spot to update the DIY with answers to questions or corrections. :)


UPDATE: I've also figured out that using LONG allen wrenches is also a good way to deal with any TORX head bolts and screws. Remember that these suckers for the airbags are torqued in there TIGHT... use use long allen wrenches!
 

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What Toyota?
2008 Saab 9-3
Joined
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10,477 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks man. Like I said, it acts like latex paint before it completely cures, then it acts like a dye. I've had it on for about 3 days now...no damage so far. I also put in A LOT of research to be sure the process I used was going to hold up to abuse. :)
 

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What Toyota?
2008 Saab 9-3
Joined
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10,477 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
thanks guys! :)

I wish I was had my HAM license... just a CB. HAM would just be another hole for my $$$. :lol:
 

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What Toyota?
2008 Saab 9-3
Joined
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10,477 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
^ Yep. That's a good way to tell. A 4T vin only has 1 screw on the left side and the J vin has 2.
 

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V8'sRGone
95 Cam
Joined
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1,956 Posts
^ Yep. That's a good way to tell. A 4T vin only has 1 screw on the left side and the J vin has 2.
My 95 J vin has two left, one right.

Also, when the bag doesn't pull out freely, using a pick to pop the bolt heads over that plastic retainer guard allowed the bag to come free with no effort at all.

Please read TSB for revised Torque spec. . . .

Toyota Released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 2001-02-16, which covers the CAMRY from 1992 - 2000 whereby they listed the following specification:

OLD TORQUE: 35 Nm (360 kgf cm, 26 ftlbf)
NEW TORQUE: 50 Nm (510 kgfcm, 37 ftlbf)

Thread:>>>
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/showthread.php?t=349986
TSB: >>>>
See page #278 of #356: http://www.camrystuff.com/manuals/Ge...neous/TSBs.pdf
 

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Registered
92 Corolla DX
Joined
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30 Posts
DIY: Steering Wheel removal

Don't even try to "pop" the airbag out. It's much easier to take a small flathead screwdriver and gently pry back one of the plastic tabs that keeps the airbag screws from coming all the way out, and then use needlenose pliers to pull the screws out. Just remove them. Once they're out, the airbag comes out with no problem, and then after putting it back, replacing the screws is simply a straight push back in. If you want to pry the tabs out a little, the screws go back in all the easier.
 

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Moderator
Various Toyotas
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4,813 Posts
Thanks for the excellent DIY and all the photos. I was able to use the steering wheel puller without having to remove the left retaining bracket for the air bag. My puller looks the same as yours in the photo, but I threaded that main bolt in much more. The puller will not be right up against the steering wheel, but out and away from it. The bolts on either side are plenty long enough, so the puller won't even come close to touching the brackets. Just tighten the main bolt and pop it off. No need to remove that bracket.

Just curious......how has the color change lasted over this period of time? You said it acts like a dye after it cures. Any flaking, peeling, or discoloration now that it's been a while?
 
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