We've been wrenching on "Project Boxster Clubsport" for quite a while now, and it just keeps getting better. We purchased the Porsche for a song, and have been slowly making some moves to drop the car's weight and add a little more fun. So far, we're really happy with what the Boxster has become, even though the motion of the project has been halted and restarted in new directions a couple of times now. It's an excellent Porsche, and we aim to make it just a little bit more excellent with each improvement.
Before we get started we would need to thank Michelin. As many of you know, Michelin is a long-time sponsor of FLATSIXES.com. Recently, they have generously offered to sponsor Project Boxster Clubsport as part of their involvement with our site. Please consider checking out what Michelin has to offer by clicking their banners on this page. Without Michelin's support, and others like them, this site really wouldn't be possible.
Part 17 - Better Feeling Through The Steering Wheel
I'll be the first to admit that updates and projects done to this Porsche aren't always pre-planned. Sometimes our hand is forced and we need to make a few changes. Other times a good deal falls into our lap, and we decide to change tack. This project was a bit of that. While we were attending a recent Porsche-centric event, it could be said that a brand new Momo "Retro" steering wheel fell into our lap at an excellent price. It didn't come with a hub, but a deal is a deal. It needed to be installed on our Clubsport, post haste.*
*Keep in mind that the airbag in your car is a safety precaution for street driving, and there may be some municipalities that do not allow for the removal of factory safety restraints. Check your local laws before proceeding. As always, what works for us might not work with you. The following is not meant as a step by step guide or advise. Instead, it'a recap of what worked for us. Follow along and drive at your own risk.
Step 1 - Remove the Airbag
It's a good idea to remove power from the car for this step. Disconnect your battery and then wait 15-minutes or so, just to be safe. There are a couple of torx bits on the back of the steering wheel that retain the airbag to the car. Remove these, then you can slide it out of the wheel and carefully pull the connector apart, then set it aside.
Once you're inside, there is a large central nut that holds the wheel to the column. Under the wheel is a clocking spring for the airbag. You won't need this any longer so remove it entirely.
2 - Unplug and Disconnect
Behind the steering wheel, there is a clamshell over the column. You'll need to remove four screws to get this section off. Once removed, there is a connector that allows the clocking spring mechanism to be removed as an assembly. If you don't want your airbag light to be illuminated, you can craft a resistor to trick the computer into thinking the airbag is still intact.
Step 3 - Install The Hub
Now you can attach the hub. When you buy a wheel, you'll also need to buy a hub to mate the wheel to your car. In this case, for a Boxster, you need #7004. It goes on with the original steering wheel nut, but you also need a few millimeter thick washer for Boxsters. This hub fits a number of Porsche models, and there is a slight bit of slack on 986 and 996 models that require a washer to take it up. Luckily I had one in my spare hardware drawer.
- Align the hub with one of the of the steering wheel mounting holes pointed to the top.
- Make sure your wheels are pointed straight before you get this alignment correct. You'll want your steering wheel on straight, and this is imperative to making that happen.
- Once the hub is bolted on, you can slip the rubber accordion-style cover over it.
Step 4 - Wheel Good
- Put the horn ring in the center
- Align your new wheel properly and tighten six little allen-head bolts
- Then you can hook up the horn button and pop it into the middle
That's it. You're done.
My immediate impression is that this is quite a nice quality piece. The smaller diameter provides instant feedback and even easier steering input. There is less leverage on the wheel, but your hands are more connected to what the front axle is doing. The leather wrap is quite comfortable, and the finger indents are placed nearly perfectly. The one downside, however, is that the smaller diameter of the wheel blocks the very top of the tachometer gauge. It's a minor annoyance, as these days I mostly drive by sound anyhow.
Momo Steering Wheel Installation Costs
Momo "Retro" 360mm Steering Wheel - $239.93 (New - Amazon)
Momo #7004 Wheel Hub - $78.95 (New - Amazon)
Total Cost - $318.88