This material contained on this page is informational in nature only, and does
not imply all knowledge needed to safely work on the steering system of your Elan!
I did not author this section, I will not warranty the contents, nor will I take
responsibility for your actions if you should attempt to work on your Elan's steering
based solely on these instructions. See DISCLAIMER.
The following procedure will remove the passive restraint system (airbag) from
your Elan. You may want to check with your insurance company and/or DMV to know
the repercussions of this act. Also, working on and around an airbag equipped
vehicle’s steering wheel can be extremely dangerous--it contains a LIVE
EXPLOSIVE charge. DO NOT place your head in front or close to the steering
wheel when disconnecting the airbag. If the bag accidentally deploys due to a
grounded wire or other highly unlikely, but possible accident – IT
COULD KILL YOU. Please be very careful with all tools and do not cut or
splice any wires until the airbag is safely disconnected.
That said, I have performed the conversion and am still here to write about
it. I just triple-checked everything I did until the bag was out. I will also
mention that I have a four-point racing harnesses in my car that I wear at all
times to more than compensate for any loss of “safety” from removing
- Momo steering wheel of your choice (mine is the Racing Line)
- Momo hub (#4603 – Isuzu Impulse / Storm)
- T-27 Torx screwdriver or socket bit
- Soldering iron
- Wire snips
- 3mm hex wrench
- Drill and various bits
- Socket to remove steering wheel bolt (size? Maybe 16mm?) and socket extension
- WD40, Liquid Wrench or the like
- Paper towels
I apologize in advance for my sketchy memory on a few details. I changed my
wheel almost 3 years ago and have forgotten some things here and there. This write-up
should cover the basics of what you need to do the replacement, however. Please
let me know if you encounter something not in the write-up, as I likely encountered
it, too and may be able to help. Plus we can add it to the write-up.
Before you begin, make sure you have pulled the car into your work area with
the front wheels pointed as straightforward as possible. This will help you “center”
the new wheel later.
First job at hand is to get the airbag disconnected and out. In the back of
the steering wheel are 4 Torx bolts. These hold the airbag mechanism. SEE
WARNING ABOVE. Once these are unscrewed (mine did not come out of the wheel)
gently pull the bag straight out. Wires also connect it, so be careful. Once out,
point the bag away from you and disconnect the plastic plug (See picture of airbag
and stock wheel at right. The plug is to the left on the back of the bag in the
picture.). There may also be a horn ground lead to be disconnected. I’m
not sure if there was something attached to the spade connection opposite the
airbag plug or not. See the spade in the picture to the right between the caution
Once this is done, take a deep breath. You’re safe. Put the airbag safely
away where it will not harm you or anyone else!! You can now access the bolt that
holds the wheel on. I forget the bolt size, but I remember that a socket extension
helps due to the bolt being inside the wheel. After the bolt is off, spray WD40
around the steering shaft where the wheel connects. Hold some paper towel underneath
so no drips hit your leather or carpet. The wheel will likely be on very tightly.
You will need to pull pretty hard to get it off. When pulling, alternate your
grip around the wheel to help “wiggle” it off. For example start at
12 o’clock, then 3, then 6, then 9, etc. Once the wheel is off, you may
want to screw the airbag back on and put it in a safe place for when and if you
sell the car. I would guess you should reconnect the bag if you ever sell. Also
once the bag is off, be careful of the plastic pieces still on and around the
steering shaft. One is a white collar that surrounds the steering shaft with two
tabs pointing out. This is the turn signal cancel mechanism. The other is a black
geared ring with the word “TOP” in yellow. I don’t remember
much about this piece other than that it appeared to be geared and looked like
something I couldn’t put back together if it fell apart! Keep the word “TOP”
at the top (obviously). If you know what this piece does, please let me know.
Once everything is off, take a look at the hub you ordered. As mentioned above,
the hub number that I was told would fit was #4603. I ordered it from The Wheel
Source in Dayton, OH for $43.00 (937-299-0610). This ended up working for me,
but required some modification. The most important thing of the hub is that the
teeth inside the “hub collar” (the piece that slides onto the shaft)
match the steering shaft. Before mounting the hub, you first may need to make
some modifications. First, I had to drill a small hole to route the stock wires
through so I could tuck them neatly into the center of the hub and to connect
the horn. See the picture with the large, black shrink-wrapped wire and the smaller
green wire coming through the hole.
This required clipping the airbag plug off to fit the group of wires through
the hole. Be sure to leave enough wire on both ends to someday solder this back
together, if need be, and put the plug in the box with all your other removed
stock parts! Second, I drilled holes in the hub to accept the tabs on the turn
signal cancel piece. I later found this step was not necessary, however. Upon
final assembly, the hub never slid far enough down the steering shaft to have
the tabs go into the holes.
You can see in the side-view picture that the tab doesn’t quite touch.
You might also be able to see the hole I drilled. The fit within the white turn
cancel piece was so tight that it spins with the wheel anyway, canceling the signals.
I did have to shave a little of the plastic off the inside of the turn cancel
piece to allow the hub to slide in without stressing or breaking the plastic.
Once these steps are done you are ready to mount the hub. The best way to make
sure your new wheel ends up straight when all is said and done is to mount the
wheel to the hub at this point. Then, after you’ve made sure your front
wheels are straight, slide the hub onto the shaft (make sure you slide all wires
through the holes!), keeping the steering wheel as straight as possible. Once
the hub is on securely, then remove the steering wheel to install the main nut.
The wiring for the horn is easy. The horn sounds when the green wire is grounded.
The Momo horn button has two spade connectors on its back (see close up picture).
I spliced one connector onto the end of the green wire. On a second, shorter wire
I put a spade connection for the horn button on one end, and a flat spade connector
on the other (the red terminal in the close up of the horn wiring). This flat
connector I pinched between the hub and the steering wheel when it was mounted.
When the horn button is pressed, it grounds the green wire to the hub and steering
After the horn is done, mount your wheel. Be sure to tighten the Allen bolts
as you would your lugs (in a “star” pattern). And make sure those
bad boys are plenty tight. These are not bolts you want coming loose. Maybe even
replace your “Momo” horn cap with a Lotus wheel center cap (I was
going to, but the Racing Line’s button was yellow and looked nice already),
and you’re ready to go. You can enjoy the new road feel you will get with
the smaller wheel and the fact that you now have one less GM part in your car.
Per a Pontiac engineer friend, the stock steering wheel is straight out of a Firebird
(among others – including the Esprit up until the present model!).
Write-up by David R. Meyers