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How to Install Steering Wheel Radio Controls


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I have always felt that this car should have come from the factory with steering wheel radio controls. When I found out that they were sold on the L.L. Bean edition and Spec B, I knew I could get them to work with my car. And with the awesome help of many members on this board I have been successful. (special thanks to cschneider, for selling me his wheel and controls after he purchased the L.L. Bean wheel, and to Opie for the part numbers, and to everyone who replied to and contributed to the “steering wheel controls” post: http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1388)

 

Standard disclaimers apply, I am not responsible if you blow up yourself and your car or short out your expensive radio, or discharge your airbag into your groin…

 

That said, if you hard wired your radar detector, or hooked up a subwoofer, or did the fog light mod, then you can do this.

 

I did this on a manual transmission Legacy GT, if you have an automatic, then some stuff, most likely, will be different. I will try to tell you when you might come across something different, hopefully you can post back with your results to make this walkthrough perfect. Also if you have a 2.5i and want to try this I would be happy to help you find out if it is possible (I would be shocked if it is not).

 

What you need:

 

Steering wheel with Radio controls (Spec B with all leather / MOMO) P/N: 34311AG23AJC ($366 - $310 EST.)

OR

Steering wheel with Radio controls (L.L. Bean with wood / MOMO) P/N: 34311AG18AJC ($366 – $310 EST.)

OR

Radio Controls to replace your shift buttons (if you drive an automatic) P/N: 83153AG000 ($113 - $82 EST.)

 

Hookup wire (4, 3ft. lengths to run from the steering column to the stereo) I used solid core hookup wire from Radio Shack, but any wire will do. P/N: 278-1222 ($6)

 

Various wire connectors if you don’t use solid core wire, or if you have an automatic.

 

Wire stripper

 

17mm Socket and wrench with 3 inch extension

 

10mm Socket

 

T-30 Torx screwdriver

 

#2 Phillips screwdriver

 

A small flat head screwdriver

 

Steering wheel puller (not likely, but maybe)

 

Electrical tape and or zip ties

 

Please PM me and let me know if you notice any spelling errors or errors with my process. Also if you get confused on a step or if you think I did not give enough detail then do a search, there are several posts with, for example, better directions on how to remove the stereo.

 

I would gladly help if someone wants to come to Toledo, Ohio; I think I could do this in about an hour, it should take a first timer about 2 hours.

 

EDIT: Attached Directions in PDF form...

EDIT #2: Link to Stereo Removal Directions: http://www.trabbic.com/legacy/radio%20install.pdf

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Steering wheel radio controls install directions.pdf

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Step 1.

Center the wheel as much as possible. Disconnect the battery, if you don’t the airbag may go off. Remove the airbag from the steering wheel: Use the T-30 torx screwdriver. There are two torx screws that hold the air bag in place, one on each side of the wheel. It may take a #300 lb gorilla to break these screws free. Once you have the screws backed out (they will not come all the way out) then you can wiggle the air bag off the wheel.

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Step 2.

Unplug the airbag by using the small flat head screw driver and prying up on the yellow tabs on the back of the connectors on the airbag and then pull the plugs off. Use the screwdriver to unplug the horn connector by pushing in on the little metal tab when pulling off the plug. Set the airbag aside.

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Step 3.

Unplug the Green and White plugs from the roll connector. Use the 17mm Socket and extension and unscrew the center nut holding the wheel on. Pull the wheel off; mine and most others came right off, but you may need a steering wheel puller to get it off.

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Step 4.

Put on the new wheel (AT: or swap out the controls and then put your wheel back on), and plug in the green and white connectors. Put the nut back on and crank that baby down TIGHT. Plug in the horn and airbag connectors, don’t forget to push the yellow tabs back down and make sure they are tight. Place the airbag back inside the wheel, and screw the Torx screws back in and crank them down. Reconnect the Battery.

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Step 5.

Remove the lower kick panel by pulling out the two pop-its on either side and pulling FIRMLY on the center plastic plug. The cover will rotate down and out of the way but will not come off. Remove the Screw on the right hand side of the upper kick panel above the lower kick panel, pull the rest of that panel off, again you do not need to pull it all the way off only shift it down and out of the way. Use the 10mm socket to remove the two bolts holding on the metal plate under the upper kick panel, and set that aside.

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Step 7.

 

Remove the stereo. Start by unscrewing the shift knob and then pulling straight up on the back of the shifter trim, unplug the lighter plug and set that aside. (Automatics have a different process to get this piece off, I believe you remove a trim ring and then pull the part back and off.) Unscrew the two exposed screws on the side trim and then pull each side slowly off by pivoting the piece up from the back. Unscrew the 6 screws holding the stereo in place and pull the stereo out enough to disconnect the hazard/warning switch. Pull the stereo out enough to get at the back of the unit; you do not have to disconnect the connectors.

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Step 8.

Cut 4 lengths of different color wire about 3 -4 feet long (the hookup wire from Radio Shack has only three colors, so I drew a line on one of the green wire sections with permanent marker to tell the difference.) Feed the wire from the back of the stereo to the white connector, trying as much as possible, to keep the wire behind structure and running along the factory harnesses.

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Step 9.

 

On the back of the stereo find the Orange wire with White Stripe and Purple wire with White Stripe. Trim ¼ inch off the hookup wire ends. Plug in the Green wire into the Purple with white stripe and the Red into the Orange with White Stripe. When you shove the wire in to the plug pull the stock wire down and push it in, it should go in over ½ and inch and be pretty firmly in the hole. Repeat this with the Green wire with your stripe drawn on it and the solid purple wire on the other side of the stereo and the black wire and the Black wire with the White Stripe. If you have an automatic or don’t feel like using solid core wire you must cut the above wires or use connectors to tap into them before the plug.

EDIT: After several hundred miles of TERRIBLE roads here in Toledo, one of the wires came loose on the stereo side, this can happen because the wire harness gets crammed back there. I used wire taps to attach them at this point, so this does not happen again...

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Step 10.

 

The white connector near the yellow airbag connector near the steering column, has 8 wires feeding it from the roll connector, coming out the other side on MT cars are only a few wires and several empty holes (AT cars will have the wires coming out for the shift controls). In MT’s take the solid core wire and trim off ¼ inch of shielding, and shove the empty end of the red wire and solid green wire into the holes shown, #’s 6 & 7 (the other side of those holes should have green with red stripe and white wires, heading up the column) then plug in the green stripe and black wires into holes 2 & 8 respectively. (The other sides of those holes are colored Sky Blue and Black with White Stripe). If you have an automatic or don’t feel like using solid core wire you must cut the above wires and use connectors to tap into them before the plug (if you have an automatic you SHOULD cut them first so the car does not shift when you try to turn up the volume, but others can just tap in if they want).

 

Plug layout (on the side facing away from the roll connector plug):

 

1 *.* 2 3

4 5 6 7 8

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Step 11.

Turn on the ignition and test the stereo controls, also turn on your headlights and make sure the illumination works. If something doesn’t work, make sure that you have the wires shoved in as much as possible to all connectors or reattach your taps and connectors. (Please contact me if you are sure that the wires are connected and it is still not working, I was working with a lot of wires and different connections and I might have written something down wrong.)

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Step 12.

If everything works correctly then tie off the wires close to the connectors to keep the wires from pulling out, and then tape up the rest of the wire to the other wiring harness to make sure that you don’t get any rattles (a drawback of using solid core wire is that it is harder and therefore more prone to rattling).

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Step 13.

Put everything back together and test again, be sure to use all screws and line up the yellow retainers before you push them in place. Hopefully everything still works and you have wonderful steering wheel controls that you should have had from the factory!

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Man, this is great, but.. I do have a question:

 

For the AT, we need to cut/splice 8 separate wires?

(4 at the steering wheel, 4 at the Stereo - why at the stereo?)

 

Also, will this REPLACE the shift ability, or will we be able to have one side for shifting, one side for stereo??

 

I've read through the procedure, but without having it in front of me, it sounds like step 10 says it won't do both (you don't want the car shifting when you want to turn up the volume).

 

Is this an either-or thing, or can we do both? Has anyone DONE both?

It sounds like the splicing "takes over" the four wires, meaning you can only have one function..

 

If that's the case, I'll stick with the shifting..

 

Thanks,

HV

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Man, this is great, but.. I do have a question:

 

For the AT, we need to cut/splice 8 separate wires?

(4 at the steering wheel, 4 at the Stereo - why at the stereo?)

 

I suppose you could cut at the harness side and then tap at the stereo side...

 

Also, will this REPLACE the shift ability, or will we be able to have one side for shifting, one side for stereo??

 

I've read through the procedure, but without having it in front of me, it sounds like step 10 says it won't do both (you don't want the car shifting when you want to turn up the volume).

 

You MIGHT be able to, in theory, have just say the volume controls and then have the other side to shift, but then U would loose the mode, and seek buttons. Also it would have to be determined what resistance the steering wheel shift buttons send out, and whether or not the stereo or transmission computer are effected by receiving this signal. I will try this on someones car if they want to come here to let me hack into it...:icon_tong )

 

Is this an either-or thing, or can we do both? Has anyone DONE both?

 

I am the only person to actually do this so far as far as I know...

 

It sounds like the splicing "takes over" the four wires, meaning you can only have one function.

 

If that's the case, I'll stick with the shifting..

 

 

Thanks,

HV

 

That may be the easiest solution, to pick one or the other...

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Since I have a 2.5i, you think I would be able to just buy a steering wheel, the extra buttons, some wire, and follow your directions? I would really like to try this, but a 400 dollar investiment isnt sounding too good right now...:icon_mad: Sucks not having big money...oh well...

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Since I have a 2.5i, you think I would be able to just buy a steering wheel, the extra buttons, some wire, and follow your directions? I would really like to try this, but a 400 dollar investiment isnt sounding too good right now...:icon_mad: Sucks not having big money...oh well...

 

Actually the Spec B and L.L. Bean Wheel come with the buttons already, so you are looking at around $310 or so wholesale, more like 370 or so retail...

 

I think it would work, I would be happy to help out, and I am sure you could sell the wheel if you ran into trouble...

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