How Does One Remove Steering Wheel Cover?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by bresna, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. bresna

    bresna Member

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    How Does One Remove Steering Wheel Cover of a 2004 Prius?

    For the past few weeks, when I take a right hand turn, there is a slight "clunk" just under the center of the steering wheel, where the horn is. It sounds like there may be a wire or connector that is getting hung up on something and the clunk may be it "snapping" out of the hang-up. I don't want to wait until this wears out some wire under there so I want to take a peek under the steering wheel cover.

    I figured this would be straight-forward, with screws somewhere on the underside of the wheel. Well, I've turned the wheel left and right and checked underneath but I couldn't see any screws. Maybe I didn't turn it far enough?

    Can someone post instructions to remove the center cover of the steering wheel. Screws or clips? Easy or hard?

    I know that the airbag is in there and that it is dangerous to mess with it so any clues about what to avoid would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Kevin
    2004 Prius
    96,000 miles
    Driftwood Pearl
    Package #9
     
  2. jelloslug

    jelloslug It buffed right out!

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    First Ill start out with the usual reply here:

    Go buy a shop manual or a subscription to the shop manual service!

    Now for some real help:

    What you want to remove is the actual drivers side airbag. It should be handled with care and if you are not comfortable removing it don't. Also, if your car is under warranty just take it in.

    To remove it first disconnect the 12V battery in the hatch area. Next remove the 2 plates on the back side of the spokes (one if the surrounds the cruise stalk). They just clip in so they just pop out with a little effort. There is 1 bolt under each cover, remove both bolts and the airbag can be lifted out. Carefully remove the 2 airbag connectors and the ground connector and place the airbag face up on a work surface.

    A big word of warning:

    DO NOT TURN THE CAR ON WITH THE AIR BAG DISCONNECTED. YOU WILL STORE A PERMANETE AIRBAG FAULT THAT CANNOT BE REMOVED WITHOUT SENDING IN THE MODULE AND HAVING IT REPROGRAMED.
     
  3. prius729

    prius729 New Member

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    Just to add, the two screws that needs to be removed are most likely torque screws so make sure you have the correct tool. Also, after disconnecting the battery step on the brakes a few times to bleed off any residual charges.
     
  4. bresna

    bresna Member

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    Thanks, I should have expected that. :)

    I really don't think I need a shop manual for this quickie repair. I've had this 2004 (package #9) Prius for almost 5 years now with 96,000 trouble-free miles. I don't plan to start doing any repairs any time soon. Rockingham Toyota has a great service department for that stuff. I just want to see if this clunk is a sign of something loose in my steering wheel.

    I really don't want to remove the airbag, just the cover over the center of the steering wheel. If I remove these bolts, will the black plastic cover on the topside of the steering wheel come off with the airbag? Do I need to disconnect the 12V battery even if I'm not disconnecting the airbag? I really only need to peek underneath that black plastic cover to see if it's anything obvious. If it's not something obvious and easy, I'm off to Toyota.

    Kevin
     
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Hi Kevin,

    I suggest that you disconnect the 12V battery and wait 90 seconds before performing any repairs near the steering wheel. Don't underestimate the danger from the airbag.

    The black plastic cover which is visible is the top of the horn button assembly. If you want to look for something loose, I believe that you will want to remove the horn button assembly.

    That assembly also contains the driver's side airbag as an integral part. You will need a T30 torx wrench to remove the two screws that hold this assembly in place.

    If you are serious about doing this, I suggest you invest $10 to download the relevant repair manual pages from techinfo.toyota.com, to reduce the likelihood of causing damage to the steering wheel or to yourself. This will also help you to understand that the airbag is included within the horn button assy.
     
  6. jelloslug

    jelloslug It buffed right out!

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    The cover, airbag, and horn switch are all one piece. You will have to remove it all or nothing at all. Before you pull the airbag out you may want to see if the noise you are hearing is not in the steering column. The screws that hold the covers for the column on are located behind the steering wheel. To access them just turn the wheel 1/4 turn to the either direction and remove one screw and then turn the wheel the other way to remove the other screw. You can then pop the housing to off and check out the inner workings.
     
  7. Scott the fix it guy

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  8. Scott the fix it guy

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    Hi Kevin,

    Here is a video on how to do it: It's not too hard to do.
     
  9. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Same comment I have made before, you are posting a 'how to' video on a Gen III in response to a Gen II query. Can you please ensure you post in the correct forum. There may be a general commonality, but usually it is the details that are helpful. If people could work it out for themselves, (which they would need to do because your video is lacking the required detail for a Gen II), then they wouldn't need to refer to a 'how to' video.

    Secondly, on the technical aspect of your video skills, you need to invest in a tripod and a have a cameraman to do the videoing. Ensure you always video in landscape. Trying to effect a repair with one hand while holding the camera with the other makes this video unwatchable. Bits of crucial visual detail are missed while you pan your camera away (inadvertently, albeit) to a nice detail of the power button. It is just a distraction that makes for a poor instructional video.

    If you really want to flood this forum with your videos, you really need to raise your videography game to professional standards.
     
  10. DMC-5180

    DMC-5180 Active Member

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    Step 1: Remove 12 V battery ground and wait 5 minutes to bleed off any capacitive charge

    Step 2: Remove the 2 side access covers as shown in the previous video

    Step 3: Remove the #30 TORX screw (1 per side) note: Gen 3's use a wire spring clip retension method as shown in the previous video.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Step 4: Lift Steering wheel center forward to access Airbag connections.

    You can now easily access switch assemblies or remove the steering wheel retaining nut.
     

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