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How To Install a Quick Release Steering Wheel On Your SN95

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So you want to put a quick release steering wheel on your SN95?  Okay then!


In my case, I had removed the stock steering wheel long ago.  So I won't be showing that.  Youtube or Google for how to remove a stock SN95 steering wheel.  It's pretty straight forward.


*Understand, you will be removing the driver side airbag.  You do this work at your own risk and I am not responsible for any injury that occurs to you as a result of this modification.*


Quick Release Primer


Okay, so in case you don't know what it is, a quick release is a mechanism that allows one to quickly and easily remove the steering wheel from the steering column.  This is to facilitate getting in and out of the car, usually due to the fact that your race seats are permanently mounted in place.  If you have slider seats still, a quick release may not really be necessary (and don't feel bad, I still have slider seats for the time being).  The other concern may be people stealing your steering wheel, as now it can very easily be removed from your car.  But fear not, you can be like Lil Bow Wow in Tokyo Drift and CARRY YO WHEEL!!!






Okay.  Moving on.  There are essentially 3 parts to the quick release: the hub (or sometimes called short hub), and two parts of the quick release itself, the part that stays attached to the hub, and the part that stays attached to the wheel.







And that's the gist of the quick release.



The NRG Innovations Hub And Quick Release?


I decided to go with NRG.  While their product seems good, the customer service was horrible.  The issue is the short hub.  I spent about a week talking with a customer service person that didn't like to use more then 5 words in his responses, and spent the majority of the time trying to convince me I had a Fox body steering column in my SN95.  Ugh.  Anyway.  If you use a different brand, your experience will be different.  But if you want to go with NRG like I did, here's what you will have to do.


The parts I used:

  • Short Hub: part # SRK-174H
  • Quick Release: I used a Gen 2.9 part # SRK-290GM-BK/CG 


A note about the different NRG Quick Releases: Gen 2.0, Gen 2.1, Gen 2.5, Gen 2.8, Gen 2.9 and Gen 3.0 all work essentially the same way.  They use ball bearings with springs to hold them in place.  The differences are really only in the way it looks, color options, and how easy/hard is to grab the release mechanism, especially with racing gloves on.  As you move up the Gen's, the lip gets larger and larger which supposedly makes it easier to remove with racing gloves on.  But they all function the same way and will attach to the SRK-174H hub.


One more note: some install vids on Youtube or whatever show people removing the little push button.  This push button is a secondary lock - in addition to sliding the ring up to release, you have to *also* push this button in.  I highly recommend that you do *NOT* remove the button.  It's there as a safety feature.  And while I can't imagine the hub ring would slide up on its own and the steering wheel pop off - why risk it?  The button adds like 1 step and 1 second to the removal process, which is well worth it to ensure the wheel has a secondary lock to prevent accidental removal.  Remove the button at your own peril.



The Issue Is The Short Hub, And The Work To Be Done


The short hub that supposedly fits the SN95 is part number SRK-174H.  In my car, the steering shaft has two flats on the shaft.  These flats are on the TOP and BOTTOM.  I triple checked by centering the steering column.  Before installing, you should do this too, just to make sure.  Jack up the front of the car to get the front wheels off the ground.  Make sure they are straight, and then turn the wheel to the right all the way to the lock.  Count the turns.  Then come back to center, and do the same thing to the left, counting the turns.  The turns, both left and right, should be very close to each other, if not the same.  This will ensure your steering column (and flats) are centered and correct.  In my case, this put the flats of the shaft on the top and bottom.  Which is unfortunate, as the NRG short hub is center drilled with the flats on the LEFT and RIGHT.  Ugggh.  In order to use it, you will need to turn it 90 degrees.


Oh, and the center bore of the hub is actually not large enough in the rear to fit far enough down the shaft.  Otherwise, the hub is great!!  Lol.  Seriously though, this 90 degree thing effs up the whole thing.  It means that the holes the hub portion of the quick release screw into is turned about 45 degrees, which means your wheel will *not* be installed straight up.


Some sites will want you to also by this: SRK-500     *DO NOT BUY THIS*




Supposedly it will help to realign the steering wheel to compensate for the 45 degree turn.  However, it doesn't.  It only offsets the wheel about 20 degrees, which means instead of a wheel 45 degrees sideways, it will be 25.  Still not at the top.  So save your money, and DON'T BUY IT.


Instead, use the money for your machinist.  I took the hub to a machine shop and had them drill new holes to correctly place the quick release at the top.  It cost me $40.  Here's an image of the problem:




In the image above, you can see where the new holes were drilled, allowing the quick release to be installed correctly.  The middle, you can see the problem.  The green lines are the round parts, and the purple are the flats.  On my car, the flats are top and bottom, thus the hub being turned 90 degrees.  If your shaft happens to have the flats on the sides, then you are actually in great luck, and do not need to make any modifications at all!  Lucky you!  However, I bet it still doesn't fit far enough down on the shaft.


So, here's an image showing the issue with the back of the hub:




As you can see, the hub doesn't slide down far enough, leaving a pretty big gap between the surface of the hub and the tip of the steering column:





To correct this, I used a Dremel and a sanding wheel, and carefully and patiently ground out some of the back.  You will want to go slow, and be patient, cut away only a little material and continually test fit.  Trust me.  You want to do this carefully.  The last thing you want to do is over-cut and introduce some play into the hub.







When I was clearancing the hub, I wasn't shooting for full flush because I was worried about the hub going too far down the shaft, which would introduce front-to-back play.  So I actually left it where there was about 6mm of distance between the shaft tip and face of the hub, to ensure that the hub sits solidly down on the shaft.  6mm won't affect the ability of the bolt to hold the hub.


Okay, once you have finished with all the mods to the hub, you are ready to get the installation going!!!



The Actual Install


Start by removing the knee panel under the steering wheel:





You will need to also remove the bottom part of the steering column to gain access to the horn wire there...assuming you want your horn to work.



The Column Cover


For the horn to work, I used a Ford OEM contact switch for 93 and earlier Mustang, part # E63Z-13A821-A.  This has little spring loaded pins that will wipe along the metal tracks on the underside of the hub, making an electrical connection even while the hub (and wheel) is turned.  You should be able to find one online or in any 93 or earlier Mustang in a salvage yard.


In my case, I decided to 3D print a cover for the steering column that also integrated a place to attach the horn contact switch.  If you don't have access to a 3D Printer, you still have a couple options.  You can cut up some thin aluminum sheet to size, paint it and install it - figuring out a way to attach the horn contact switch to it (make sure it's strong enough that the contact with the back side of the hub doesn't bend the mounting).  Or, you can do what I did with my old MOMO hub, and that's to screw the switch directly to the one of the 3 holes, lining it up and cutting the plastic to fit as necessary.  Or, I guess if all this is too much, just forgo the horn.  


This is what the cover looks like (it attaches to the 3 screw holes located at the top, right side and bottom):






The Black wire above will have an eye installed, and attach via a screw to the column for a ground contact.  The Yellow wire with Blue stripe will connect to the Purple w/ Orange stripe wire coming from the harness under the steering column.  It's located in a black sheath thing, along with a couple other wires.  You'll know you found it when you touch the wire to ground and your horn honks.


I used the bottom screw location for the ground.  So I sanded it a bit to make sure the metal was clean and didn't have any rust or corrosion to interfere with a good ground:





The cover installs with 3 back trim screws, and the ground goes between the bottom metal screw hole and back side of the cover, held in via the bolt.  I also sanded and painted the cover, though you can still see the marks from the 3D printing.  I'm not too worried about it, it's much harder to see without a camera flash on it, plus the hub covers most of it, and lastly it's not a show car.





On To The Hub!


Next goes on the hub.  But before you do, put some dielectric grease on the horn contact pins and rub some on the backside metal tracks.  In my case, the tracks I am using are the inner most track, and the outer most track.  The middle track is not used.  Make sure you use dielectric grease or equivalent, as you want it to conduct the electrical charge/contact and *not* insulate it.





The hub installed on the shaft:





I also 3D printed a little spacer that goes on top of the column tip and sits flush with the surface of the hub:





And then torque down the bolt.  Mine had some old thread locker on it, so I just left it on.  If yours doesn't, some blue loctite wouldn't be a bad idea:





Note, for above, the Black wire matches with the inner most metal track, and the Red wire matches the outer most track.  The green wire goes to the middle track, and is unused.  Also, make sure the horn still works by bridging the Black and Red wires momentarily (or which ever wires you used).  This should ground the horn wire, and sound the horn.  If it does, then good, on to the next step.  If no horn, double check your wires and stuff.  


And that's it done!



On To The Quick Release!!!


There's a modification that must be made to the hub portion of the quick release - the connector on one of the wires is the wrong type to match up with the short hub.  So cut off the female spade, and add on instead a male spade:





Hook up the hub portion of the quick release to the horn wires:





Check the horn again, touch the two metal contacts on the front of the quick release portion.  If you hear a horn, then it's time to attach the quick release bit to the hub (otherwise, check your wires):





This is where getting the hub re-drilled pays off.  It is absolutely critical that the "NRG" logo and little dot is at the center top, as this aligns the rest of the quick release and steering wheel.


Now attach the rest of the quick release:





The Quick Release comes with a metal ring - it's meant to hold the horn:




And installed:





For what it's worth - I'm not sure this actually does anything to hold the horn in.  But that's what it is supposed to be for.  Maybe I'm using it wrong or something - you might get it to work better for you.



Attach The Steering Wheel


Bolt up the steering wheel, depending on your brand it should fit up - NRG supports a large number of wheels, especially if they are 6 bolt style.  Mine is a MOMO, and fits just fine:




In the above image, you'll see a red connector - that's one more mod to make.  My horn button has two male spade connectors on the back.  The Quick Release has one male and one female spade connector.  So cut off the male spade connector and crimp on a female to attach to the horn.


Attach the horn, test it to make sure it works, and install it in the wheel:





And that's it!  Quick Release, installed!!  Put your bottom steering column trim piece back,and re-install the knee panel and you are all set.



Some Additional Images





The view from the side - the Quick Release brings the wheel certainly closer to the driver - it's longer then the MOMO hub I had installed previously.  It adds about 2 more inches beyond what the MOMO hub does: 








Final Thoughts


Overall, I think I like it.  I haven't driven the car with it yet, so I don't really know how it feels, but I don't expect any issues.  My only concern really is that it brings the wheel even closer to the driver - which, especially when racing, is not a Bad Thing, but actually a Good Thing.  However, it might be too close now, as my steering wheel is a "deep dish" style, with about 3" depth.  So, worst case, if it is too close, I can get a wheel with a shallower depth and it will move it back away from me a bit.


The only real gripe I have is the short hub.  Assuming my car is normal with regard to the location of the flats on the steering column, then NRG really dropped the ball with their vehicle research.  This is disappointing, made even worse by the shitty customer service when I asked about it.  Apart from this, though, the actual quality of the items seem to be there.  So, assuming one is okay with the mods to the short hub, then this is worthwhile.



Good luck with your project and I hope this helps!!















Edited by mcglsr2
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