This is a post that’s been a long time coming. I’ve wanted to change out Bucky’s stock Nardi (er… “Nardi”) steering wheel for years. The only thing that stopped me was it being Sarah’s car and my not having a hub on the parts pile. Now that I’m driving both Miatas, it was only a matter of time before the tired old OEM wheel was changed.
I should have done this so much sooner.
Sharka has a Daikei hub. It makes the steering wheel swap incredibly easy. I knew I wanted the same hub for Bucky. There’s so little work involved thanks to the Daikei, that it’s barely worth writing a blog post about. However, that didn’t stop me from taking 20 photos of the process…
This is everything you get. The hub and cover, airbag resistor, NB-specific horn jumper, horn retainer rings for both Momo and Nardi style steering wheels, a full set of bolts for both Momo and Nardi, a hex key, and Japanese instructions. And if you buy from Project-G, you get stickers and brochures and candy.
I’d HIGHLY suggest Project-G as your source for steering wheel goodies. They have a huge selection and great prices. My hub was to me within 2 days. They really know how to treat customers well.
Here’s one I’ve not seen on the internet – the thickness of a Daikei hub. It was hard to measure, hold, and photograph. The caliper opened up from 80 mm to 80.13 while I was taking the shot.
It’s not the thinnest of hubs, but it’s not supposed to be. The Daikei is designed so that you don’t need a spacer with most aftermarket steering wheels. It places the rim in about the same place as the OEM wheel.
This wheel has been in my collection for many years. It’s one from the late 80s / early 90s. One of the few D-cut Momo street models, the F1 or Formula1. It isn’t very common and there are photos of it in the late Road&Ster magazine. The perfect first wheel for Bucky.
I’ve been itching to use this wheel again. The problem is that it doesn’t really match Sharka’s interior anymore. Sharka is quite retro and this F1 is far from. But it is a nearly perfect match for Bucky’s more modern interior.
A couple quick words. This topic and all photos are for informational purposes only. I am not advocating you should use any of the photos or text below in order to remove your airbag. Remove at your own risk. While perfectly legal, it is a personal decision that you should not take lightly. Airbags can save your life. They can also hurt you very badly.
As factory steering wheels go, the NB has a very nice one. One of the least offensive OEM wheels I’ve ever encountered. That said, there’s room for improvement.
At this point, I realized I needed some help. Four hands are better than two, even if one pair is rather small and really enjoys his katana too much. Some of you might recognize Storm Shadow from a few previous blog posts.
There are two bolts holding the air bag in place. They’re on either side of the steering wheel on the bottom, covered by these two rubber plugs. Remove with something flat. Either a 10mm or 12mm socket was required after getting the plugs out of the way.
That sword is gonna get him into trouble…
It’s nice to do this with no power flowing through any circuits. I disconnected the battery earlier. Hitting the brake once ensures all electrons have left the building.
The airbag connector is a pain to disconnect and not at all easy to figure out. It is the main reason I ended up with 20 photos.
Take away your assistant’s sword sometime around now.
Not hard to figure out with a photo. However, I couldn’t find any. Not a single photo of the NB air bag connector. I will not share how long it took me to finally figure out where to press in order to unclip the bag.
Once I had the airbag free, I put it in an anti-static bag and set it on the shelf next to my NA steering wheel airbag. It’ll be comfortable there. I also plugged in the airbag resistor. It won’t interfere with any following steps.
The steering wheel is held on by a single bolt. A 21mm socket aids in removal. I also unclipped the horn connector.
I’m privileged to live where I do. We have almost zero rust in New Mexico. Folks in humid climates might have some work to do getting the wheel off. I understand there are devices called steering wheel pullers? I’ve never had to deal with one of those.
The clock-spring is one of these parts. I think it’s the large disc that rotates, but I’m not sure. All I know is you need to prevent the large disc from rotating. It’s actually very easy and doesn’t spin by itself. At least mine didn’t.
I slid the hub on quickly. There’s a slot on either side that connects to the white tabs on the clock-spring. They push in slightly as you tighten the hub.
I put the big nut back on the steering column and just barely tightened it. I actually left the hub rattling a little bit. There’s no way to completely tighten that bolt without having a wheel connected, so I didn’t want to do a so-so job and forget later. Better to let it rattle and remind you that the big nut hasn’t been torqued.
And then there’s the airbag resistor. I wrapped it around the hub and taped it on. I’m not sure what normal people do. This is how Sharka’s hub is put together also. It’s worked quite happily for over a decade like this.
In the final stretch now. Notice the shiny circle in the middle of the steering wheel in the top shot with Storm Shadow? That’s the horn retainer ring from the very beginning. If you skip this, your horn button won’t stay in the wheel very well and will fall out constantly.
Last thing, I torqued the big locknut. Very easy to do with one hand on the wheel and one on a big socket wrench. Not sure of the torque value. I just got it really damn tight.
All finished up. It looks so good! The yellow on my F1 wheel matches the yellow on my Sunstorm gauges so perfectly. And it FEELS great. The soft leather and anatomic hand grips are a world of improvement over the OEM wheel.
And best of all, Bucky can now participate in my steering wheel obsession. I’m sure the collection will be growing as a result.
Thanks for the help, little guy. And for not killing me in my sleep.