Lotus Elan Central
Replacement of the Stock Elan Steering Wheel w/ Momo Wheel and Hub


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 the airbag.


Essential parts:

  • Momo steering wheel of your choice (mine is the Racing Line)
  • Momo hub (#4603 – Isuzu Impulse / Storm)

Tools Needed:

  • 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

New wheel

Installation Procedure

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 stickers.


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. I’m curious.

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.

Wire 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.

Side view

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 shaft.

Horn wiring

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

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