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Thread: DIY: Lessons learned from trying to install a 2008 Subaru steering wheel in my 2000 Legacy

  1. #1
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    DIY: Lessons learned from trying to install a 2008 Subaru steering wheel in my 2000 Legacy

    I have been wanting to do a steering wheel swap for my car for a while. Originally, I wanted a 4 spoke momo that would be period correct, but then seeing that its possible to swap a 3 spoke from an 05+ car, that caught my interest (info here: Off the bat, I already knew there's a decent amount of 4th gen Legacy components that would not work (dual stage air bag, resistance based cruise control switch instead of the older 12 volt signaling, and the respective clock spring). An Impreza airbag, clock spring and cruise control stalk have been known to work with the 3rd gen Legacy.

    Then... I got ambitious, what if I tried to swap an 08 wheel? The air bag charges are "interchangeable*", so that solves the dual versus single stage charge issue (originally, I was going to drill out the rivets and swap the "skin" of the airbag, seeing as they have the same connections, charge and rear housing, I would hedge a bet that its the same airbag). The issue then was getting the resistance based cruise control buttons to play nice with the older system. Since I have dabbled with electronics in the past, I was ready to use an IC to try and make an adapter that will read the input voltage from the button and output the correct signal, eventually I found a thread on NASIOC where someone swapped the 08 wheel to an 05 STI and modified the controller to work (reference

    *Yes, I am aware that just because you can swap airbag components, doesn't mean you should. Do at your own risk, not responsible for any injuries that may result from performing said swap.

    So where does this leave me? Well, I have 75% of the correct parts gathered:
    • 2008 airbag with single stage charge
    • Steering wheel off of a 2008 Legacy
    • 2 sets of switches, one with radio controls, and one with just cruise control
    • Clockspring off a 2005 Forester

    Now here is where things get interesting and why I say I have 75% of the parts. Turns out, Subaru does some interesting parts mixing. The 2005 Forester clock spring I received does not work for this application. The steering wheel side connections are correct, but the cruise control plug does not fit the 2000 Legacy plug. I specifically say I received, because there are other 2005 Forester clock springs I have seen that does use the correct plug. Since there are no 05 Imprezas in the wrecking yard at the moment, I went with the Forester one thinking it was compatible. The correct plug is black and not white. A friend of mine grabbed the clock spring for me, and did not realize the difference until receiving it.

    Anyways, once the project is done, I will do a proper DIY page with photos and which parts to get. Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    SLi Resident Tylerhartman's Avatar
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    I thought it was odd the 05-07 and 08-09 Clock spring was different too :/ Good luck man
    1999 Legacy GT Wagon 5SPD (Stella)" Race Wagon"
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    Thanks Tyler

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