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Old 07-30-2003, 08:40 PM   #1
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Dizzy Steering wheel swap

I bought a 1993 SC2 steering wheel - leather wrapped - from a parts yard a while ago for my 1993 SL2. It was already pulled for me so I didn't get to see how to remove the steering wheel.

This afternoon I tried without success to swap out my plastic steering wheel and swap in my leather wrapped steering wheeel. Both have cruise control buttons. But I gave up.

First I disconnected the cable to the negative post of the battery, then I pulled the 10 amp fuse for the air bag from the fuse panel by the front right passenger area. I removed the 4 bolts on the back of the steering wheel that hold the air bad in place and disconnected the wire harness for the air bag. So far so good. I placed the air bag face up on the floor of the back seat. Next I removed the huge nut at the center of the steering wheel. So far so good. Next we have to disconnect the wires for the horn buttons and the cruise control, and use a gear puller to get the steering wheel to come off. But I could not get the steering wheel to budge at all with the gear puller. As a matter of fact the metal began cracking/bending around the base of the old steering wheel! :o:

How in the world do we get the steering wheel to come off? Am I missing something? It seems to me that it should not be this hard. And now that the metal parts around the center of the steering wheel are cracking/bending I feel that I must proceed with this steering wheel swap to get the replacement steering wheel in place... Should I use my Dremmel and literally cut off the old steering wheel at the base? What do you all suggest?
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 07-30-2003, 10:11 PM   #2
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David, I just did the same swap on Monday. Although I didn't have the cruise contol buttons to contend with, I still had to go through the same basic process.

I'm not sure if you're using a wheel puller or another type of tool. Make sure you have the flat base of the puller FIRMLY centered on the post. If it's slightly off, it will cause you problems. The other important thing to remember is to have each of your studs cranked down evenly. If one is slightly deeper than the other, the wheel will not come out straight and might bend or break something. I found myself counting the threads all the way into the column.

I wouldn't advise cutting anything up. I have heard that a few models had "frozen" steering wheel issues. I hope your's isn't one of the ones that was being described. Email me if you need to.
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Old 07-30-2003, 10:24 PM   #3
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it sounds like you have one that the steering wheels are stuck on the column. I hate to say it but if the threads came out of the steering wheel or your useing a flat hook puller and its ripping the wheel apart there's only 2 things you can do now. 1= put the puller back on and every 1/4 turn give the puller a good whack with a hammer where you put the wrech. your trying to jar it loose by hitting it with the hammer. you don't want to beat the crap out of it, just let it know who's boss. 2= if the wheel breaks all you can do is cut it off. HOWEVER, while cutting if you don't cover EVERYTHING with something heavy like vinyl or just plain remove the seats,carpet,door panels. YOU WILL HAVE CUSTOM INTERIOR FROM THE SPARKS! I know I've done it. not pretty! also becareful of the clockspring behind the wheel don't burn it or cut into it or you'll have to replace it too.
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Old 08-01-2003, 11:06 AM   #4
David 93 SL2m
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Thanks for the replies! I tried again last night but again without success. The metal around the base of the steering wheel itself began crumbling. Things are not looking good.
Quote:
Originally posted by mtlmutt
it sounds like you have one that the steering wheels are stuck on the column.
Yes, mine is definitely one of the ones that are stuck.
Quote:
Originally posted by mtlmutt
I hate to say it but if the threads came out of the steering wheel or your useing a flat hook puller and its ripping the wheel apart there's only 2 things you can do now...
Threads? Oh no... I don't recall seeing any threads except for that huge bolt that goes through the center of the steering wheel. I thought that after removing the air bag I was supposed to remove the big fat nut and then use a gear puller to extract the steering wheel.

I'll have to take a photo or two and post back again. I ran out of daylight and I'm not near the car right now. Thank goodness I have more cars than drivers in my household! Anyway, it looks like I have two options at this point: Dremmel or donate the car away. When I said that I wanted to keep this car until the wheels were falling off, I meant the wheels with the tires - not the steering wheel!!!
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-01-2003, 01:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by David 93 SL2m
I thought that after removing the air bag I was supposed to remove the big fat nut and then use a gear puller to extract the steering wheel.
David, if you're using a gear puller, you're just buckling the wheel in from the sides and tightening it around the nut. A steering wheel puller will pull it straight out from the center shaft. Sears should have a sturdy wheel puller for about $20. If not, I can priority mail you an extra one that I have.

Email or PM me.
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Old 08-01-2003, 05:20 PM   #6
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Idea

Quote:
Originally posted by SLeepr
David, if you're using a gear puller, you're just buckling the wheel in from the sides and tightening it around the nut. A steering wheel puller will pull it straight out from the center shaft. Sears should have a sturdy wheel puller for about $20. If not, I can priority mail you an extra one that I have.

Email or PM me.
Thanks, that is a very generous offer! I have Sears stores around here too. I'd rather get good directions on how to use the steering wheel puller than to borrow or buy your extra steering wheel puller. Might it be catalog item 00947626000 in the Sears catalog? I was using something very similar to catalog item 00930164000.

Images of the current state of my steering wheel are coming!
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:38 PM   #7
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That will work but actually Sears #: 00941833000 might be a little better. It's what I used. You want to keep the pull studs as close to the center as possible. If you pull too far out, away from the center, you risk bending the wheel and locking it up around that center post.

My other wheel puller is a harbor freight. You can have it if you want. I don't have a need for two.
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Old 08-01-2003, 09:54 PM   #8
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Idea

Ah ha! This all makes sense now! I saw the tools at Sears and bought the one that looks exactly like the one in the Hayne's manual. Near the center of the steering wheel there are two small threaded holes for steering wheel removers in the 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. I got it! Here is the picture from Haynes in case anybody is interested. The tool is the shiny thing shaped like an airplane in the photo with the bolt sticking out of it - and with a wrench on the end.

For the record I went to PepBoys with my leather wrapped steering wheel in hand and asked one of the employees for a tool that could be used to remove my original steering wheel. They gave me the gear puller, not a steering wheel puller.

Unfortunately for me, I don't know if the proper tool will work for me now. Remember I wrote that when I used the wrong tool the steering wheel began cracking around the center? Guess what... The crack runs right through one of these threaded holes that I need!!! It might be an all day event tomorrow with the Dremmel because I doubt the steering wheel puller (the correct tool) will help me at this point. What a bummer.

I won't be asking PepBoys employees for advice ever again, that is for sure!
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:01 PM   #9
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Post

Here is the tool at Harbor Freight: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=37824.

(Still fuming about PepBoys...)
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:23 PM   #10
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Install the correct puller with the two side bolts tightened in as far as they can go without spreading the crack open. Make sure they're at equal distance so the cross piece will be perpendicular. After you start cranking on the center (pulling) bolt and it gets to its tightest point, keep the leverage on it and smack that bolt with a rubber/composite mallet. If a couple smacks doesn't do it, try to tighten the bolt as you smack it repeatedly. This should cause vibration and break it loose.

You can always drill out the wheel holes and tap them for bigger bolts if all else fails.
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:35 PM   #11
David 93 SL2m
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2007 ION-3 Sedan
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Excellent advice! Thanks a million. SaturnFans is the greatest. We'll see how things go tomorrow. As the old saying goes, we need the right tool for the job.

I thought of another tip for this procedure: Liquid Wrench! It won't get the steering wheel off by itself of course, but a few sprays of this stuff shouldn't hurt.
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:37 PM   #12
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Devil

I wish I lived in San Jose right now!!!
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-03-2003, 07:58 PM   #13
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Mad

I ended following mtlmutt's second recommendation: cutting the old steering wheel out. 13 hours spread over the whole weekend and I'm almost there. Using my Dremmel and 20 cut off wheels I took the old steering wheel out in pieces but had to spend most of the time getting the base of the old steering wheel off from around the bolt at the center that the steering wheel goes on to. I thought I was done but part of the old steering wheel actually extends into the clockspring. Work, work, work. Lucky for me I have more cars than drivers!

Here is what things looked like after I used the wrong tool that the guy at PepBoys told me to use, but before I used my Dremmel (yes, I had the center nut off at the time):
Old-steering-wheel-1.jpg
Old-steering-wheel-2.jpg
Old-steering-wheel-3.jpg
Old-steering-wheel-4.jpg
Old-steering-wheel-5.jpg

Here is what things look like right now:
All-cleaned-up-1.jpg
All-cleaned-up-2.jpg
All-cleaned-up-3.jpg
All-cleaned-up-4.jpg
All-cleaned-up-5.jpg
All-cleaned-up-6.jpg
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-03-2003, 08:43 PM   #14
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WOW, that brought back some bad memories. I'm gonna have nightmares for a week!
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Old 08-03-2003, 11:35 PM   #15
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David 93 SL2m, I noticed in "All-cleaned-up-1" that the left side of your dash is not seated properly. Give it a good push downward... might cause some rattles to stop...
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Old 08-04-2003, 07:47 AM   #16
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saturn-Eh!
David 93 SL2m, I noticed in "All-cleaned-up-1" that the left side of your dash is not seated properly. Give it a good push downward... might cause some rattles to stop...
Thanks for noticing that! A month or two ago I had that large panel off because I was dealing with the lights for the instrument panel. I must have forgotten to get that last clip to catch. I'll go out to the car this afternoon and smack it with my fist!

Actually my 1993 SL2 does not have any rattles. My 1996 SC2 rattles when the sunroof sunshade is open all the way. To get that rattling to stop I simply pull the sunshade toward the front of the windshield about 2 inches.
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-07-2003, 10:52 PM   #17
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2007 ION-3 Sedan
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Quote:
Originally posted by mtlmutt
WOW, that brought back some bad memories. I'm gonna have nightmares for a week!
I did have nightmares for 1 week! Well, 9 days to be exact but I did not work on removing the steering wheel daily. I finally got the last bit of the original steering wheel out tonight!

Every day for the last 3 days I sprayed some Liquid Wrench at this last bit of the steering wheel. This evening I attempted to follow SLeepr's advice (through e-mail): drill holes, insert screws, and yank on the screws to pull it out. I began drilling two holes. First I used my smallest drill bit and then I went larger and larger. But screwing into metal was not possible - at least for me. So my goal was to make these two holes so large that they severed the "ring" into two halves. Unfortunately I began drilling very close to the center bolt-shaft thing so I stopped and tried pulling at the ring with a small pair of pointy pliers. After 2 minutes of tugging the ring popped off! I could not believe it! It turned out that I did score the sides of the center bolt-shaft thing but that is inside the clockspring and is hidden. Structurally it will be okay. In the morning when I've got daylight I'll snap a few more pictures of the steering wheel area...

Here are a few images of the last bit of the steering wheel that I never thought would come out. Overall this simple swap was indeed a nightmare - all because a moron at PepBoys sold me the wrong tool.

Last-bit-of-steering-wheel-out-1.jpg
Last-bit-of-steering-wheel-out-2.jpg
Last-bit-of-steering-wheel-out-3.jpg
Last-bit-of-steering-wheel-out-4.jpg

Next I have to pray that I will be able to get the big nut onto the center bolt-shaft thing because I might have damaged the threads slightly.
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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Old 08-07-2003, 11:41 PM   #18
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Well good luck with it. Oh, remember its amazing what a six-pack of beer will get you from your local Saturn tech. Not that I would have ever done anything like that. HEHE. you never know what we have laying around the shop,or house.
BTW, anyone in TX, dallas area need any engine parts. thier in my kitchen, I'm sick of looking at them!
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Old 08-08-2003, 12:17 PM   #19
David 93 SL2m
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Excellent news! The old steering wheel is completely out, the threads were okay, only slightly imperfect but the nut went on fine, and the replacement steering wheel is in place! My car is driveable once again! In the first set of images we can see where I scored the two sides of the center post with my drill. I used liberal amounts of LockNut on this part and the other part with the two flat sides before putting the steering wheel on, and I used LockNut on the threads of the four bolts that hold the air bag module in place.

Old-Steering-Wheel-History-1.jpg
Old-Steering-Wheel-History-2.jpg
Old-Steering-Wheel-History-3.jpg
Old-Steering-Wheel-History-4.jpg

Leather-Steering-Wheel-Installed-1.jpg
Leather-Steering-Wheel-Installed-2.jpg
Leather-Steering-Wheel-Installed-3.jpg

I owe a big thanks to everyone that helped me in any manner with this project - particularly SLeepr, mtlmutt, Saturn-Eh!, and even my wife. Also my friends Jim and Joe at work, and Gordon at an Exxon station who volunteered to finish the job for me.

Now I have to go visit the guy with orange hair and two rings in one of his his eyebrows at PepBoys #566 in Germantown Maryland...
...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...
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