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Why do many FDís have aftermarket steering wheels?

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Why do many FDís have aftermarket steering wheels?

Old 05-03-19, 03:29 PM
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Why do many FDís have aftermarket steering wheels?

Why is it that so many have the OEM steering wheel replaced with a removable one?
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Old 05-03-19, 03:41 PM
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Because the factory USDM steering wheel is ugly as hell.
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Old 05-03-19, 04:39 PM
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Thatís certainly one reason, but is there another benefit to it? I read that the 7 doesnít have an adjustable steering column so Iím wondering if thatís really it.
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Old 05-03-19, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Why View Post
Thatís certainly one reason, but is there another benefit to it? I read that the 7 doesnít have an adjustable steering column so Iím wondering if thatís really it.
The primary ergonomic reason is that the factory wheel diameter is annoying large. So a lot of people replace it to have a steering wheel with a smaller diameter.
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Old 05-03-19, 05:55 PM
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I don't really mind the look of it, but the size is definitely an issue since the column doesn't adjust. I'm only 6'0" tall, but even with the seat all the way back and leaned almost as far back as it'll go, the wheel still gets in the way. I've grown used to it, but at first I would always hit my knees against it when working the pedals.
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Old 05-03-19, 06:46 PM
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I switched mine because of size, and to get in with it removed is 10 times easier
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Old 05-03-19, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr357 View Post
I don't really mind the look of it, but the size is definitely an issue since the column doesn't adjust. I'm only 6'0" tall, but even with the seat all the way back and leaned almost as far back as it'll go, the wheel still gets in the way. I've grown used to it, but at first I would always hit my knees against it when working the pedals.
Here it is, the ah-ha moment. This is the gem Iíve been searching for. Iím 6í3Ē and I really worry about having one of these. Iíd hate to obligate myself into one only to find out I canít drive it. Are there any mods to drop the seat down or further back? Or dare I ask, swap in the RX-8 column?
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Old 05-03-19, 09:25 PM
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Old 05-04-19, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AE_Racer View Post
Because the factory USDM steering wheel is ugly as hell.
This.


And, it's freaking huge.
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Old 05-04-19, 08:12 AM
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Butt weight! You get all of the above!
*The interior is tight, the stock wheel was relative large, there was no tilt or adjustment and for big guys the seat didn't have sufficient adjustment either. A removable wheel made life a lot easier for the big and tall....and some like the boy-racer image too.
*The styling of the wheel was dated. Integrating the airbag into the wheel styling wasn't totally successful on the early cars.
*The later STOCK'ish wheels were slightly smaller...IIRC only about 10mm. But the styling was, IMO, more attractive.
*I say stock'ish, because the MIATA wheels were often used with little modification and easily sourced.


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Old 05-08-19, 09:52 AM
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Yup, the 99+ wheel is 10x better looking and about 10mm smaller, and you can retain cruise control with the right model 99+ wheel.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:38 AM
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One of those things I wished Iíd done years earlier....
If interested this guyís is a trusted seller....
https://www.rx7club.com/3rd-generati...heels-1129587/
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Old 05-08-19, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Why View Post
That’s certainly one reason, but is there another benefit to it? I read that the 7 doesn’t have an adjustable steering column so I’m wondering if that’s really it.
I might be of minority opinion, but I'd rather have no airbag than a 25+ year-old first-gen one. That, and also the fact that lots of cars might have airbag module issues anyways, would likely drive people to go with a nicer-looking aftermarket wheel.

With all the newer cars that have had airbag recalls for what essentially boils down to the airbag igniter degrading over many heat-cycles, I don't trust one as old as what you'd find in an RX7 to not grenade my face in case of a crash. And first-gen airbags (not sure if all FDs are first-gen airbags, later ones might not be) have no deployment logic... so get in a 15mph fender-bender and that bomb's going to explode in your face, with the same force it's designed to if you just hit a concrete wall going triple digits.
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Old 05-09-19, 11:30 PM
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Thanks to all for replying, I appreciate the insight. Sounds like itís a combination of many factors and I hadnít really considered what a deployment of a 25 year old airbag would be like.




I wonder if one can use a Nardi wheel with the airbag module carefully removed to keep aesthetics in place.

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Old 05-10-19, 06:43 AM
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Do what you want, but Clarice may indeed be in the minority. Haven’t searched, but don’t recall hearing about many/any accidental deployments. I think it’s as often a rationalization to put in an aftermarket wheel as anything. And not sure what steps will be needed to kill the dash warning light if removed.
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Old 05-10-19, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Why View Post
I hadnít really considered what a deployment of a 25 year old airbag would be like.
Without any data to suggest otherwise, I would assume a 25 y/o airbag is preferable to hitting a Momo with your face at 60 mph.
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Old 05-10-19, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Why View Post
I wonder if one can use a Nardi wheel with the airbag module carefully removed to keep aesthetics in place.
Should be doable. If you take an airbag module off a steering wheel, on the back there will be a metal disk where the wire from the clockspring plugs in. This is where the explosive charge is held; on the other side of this disk, there are vents which push "air" into the "bag" (fabric pillow part) to inflate it when the explosive goes off and the ensuing chemical reactions occur.

That metal disk, on every car I've ever worked on, is either bolted or riveted onto the rest of the airbag module (that is, the metal frame that the fabric pillow is attached to, and the plastic outer shell) using a square bracket with one fastener at each corner. You just need to undo the nuts (if it's bolted on) or drill out the heads (if it's riveted on), and the metal disk/igniter can be removed and discarded. This leave you with the airbag frame and plastic outer shell, which can be reattached to the steering wheel and visually look unmodified. It's also a bit spongy, so it's sort of equivalent to stock wheels on a lot of cars from the 80s where it had some pillowing as at least a slight softener in case of impact.

I've never looked at the back of an FD wheel's airbag module, though I do know that the NA Miata used bolts (with 10mm nuts) to hold the airbag igniter on instead of rivets. I'd wager a guess that it's probably the same design. Undoing nuts feels much less sketchy than having to drill out rivets on an explosive charge, which is nice.

If you do decide to do this, as with any airbag work, approach with EXTREME caution. Eye protection for sure, only face the rear of the airbag module, and work in an open area that nothing would be struck by an unexpected airbag ignition. Basically treat it like a firearm, which is pretty much what it is!

Originally Posted by Sgtblue View Post
And not sure what steps will be needed to kill the dash warning light if removed.
Again speaking in non-RX7 generalities, but:

1) Removing the airbag warning light will likely cause the airbag computer to start beeping. This is a design feature so that if the airbag light ever burned out, you would know that there is something wrong with the system.
2) To stop the beeping, you need to unplug the airbag computer. This will disable the whole airbag system, of course.
3) Before you actually unplug the airbag computer, determine if the airbag system in the vehicle uses a backup power source. Many vehicles use a large capacitor (probably buried under the dash). This is designed to be able to provide the power to trigger the airbags in case of an accident where the battery connection/circuit was severed.
4) Unplug the airbag capacitor/backup power source if it exists. If not disconnected, the system could still be powered and you risk having something trigger the airbags.
5) Actually disconnect the airbag computer. It's usually buried under the dashboard, often behind the radio stack or on the inner side of the steering column. Obviously the idea was to put it somewhere likely to survive the onset of a crash, so that the system will be able to operate. (a quick Google suggests it's behind the plastic cover of the trans tunnel on the FD, basically immediately to the right of the gas pedal)
6) At this point, I like to unplug the airbag(s) themselves before starting the car. That way, you've ensured there is no fail-safe circuit or something that's going to power the airbag igniter wires and trigger the airbag. Ideally, I'd just remove the igniter completely, as described above.

Sometimes you can get away with leaving the dash light in the cluster and just unplugging the computer, but other times, the circuit is designed to trigger the light if the computer's circuit is not completing.

Having a wiring diagram for the airbag system is very helpful when attempting to disable it. Reference a factory service manual or other source that outlines the whole system to ensure nothing is missed!

Last edited by Clarice; 05-10-19 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 05-10-19, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by alexdimen View Post
Without any data to suggest otherwise, I would assume a 25 y/o airbag is preferable to hitting a Momo with your face at 60 mph.
but a Momo is well,

RACECAR!
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Old 05-19-19, 05:58 PM
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I personally swap out all my steering wheels for a nardi deepcorn because:-
1) I prefer the way it looks. I think deep corns look amazing.
2) I prefer the ergonomics. Generally if my legs are at a comfortable position, my arms are stretched too far out. Having a QR + Deep corn has solved that on all of my cars.
3) QR is a blessing for bucket seats. I'm skinny enough to fit into a bucket without removing the steering wheel or moving the seat, but whenever I have a friend drive it, it's nice to have the option to save my seating position.
4) It looks cool! hahaha
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Old 06-28-19, 01:47 PM
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so fat and tall people can get in and out easily lol
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