1970 Barracuda Steering Wheel Replacment

(Using a Grant Classic 838 wheel and Grant 3314 install kit)

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001.jpg - 77 KB Mon 9/10/01

Here's the stock steering wheel. Although its not much to look at, I hadn't planned on replacing it; looks perfectly good to me. However, its a pretty big wheel, so I had some difficulty getting out of the car, it tended to trap my legs underneath. More importantly, the grip is pretty thin, and it just wasn't very confidence inspiring. (Reminds me of the wheel in the '87 Izuzu P'up I drove in high school!) After browsing through Grant's web site for a while, I decided on the Classic 838. Its got a nice thick grip, a smaller diameter, and looks good with a price tag of only about $25. (Compared to $200!) An installation kit is required (part number 3314 for my car), which is another $15 or so. This wheel has a 13.5" diameter with a 3.5" dish.
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002.jpg - 81 KB Mon 9/10/01

The first step in removing the stock wheel is to make sure your wheels are straight. Remove the three screws holding the plastic cover in place. (There is one screw in each arm, and they are removed from behind the wheel.)
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003.jpg - 80 KB Mon 9/10/01

Next you can pop the horn cover off. (It just pulls off; the cover is sitting on top of the steering column in this pic.)
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004.jpg - 83 KB Mon 9/10/01

Remove the three nuts holding the wheel in place and its outta here! (Unhook the electrical terminal from the wheel; its for the horn...) There is also a nut on the spindle WAY down at the back which will need to be removed.
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005.jpg - 83 KB Mon 9/10/01

Now comes the "fun" part! :-P Break out the puller and try to remove the wheel assembly from the spindle. I had to go to the hardware store and pick up a couple of 6" long 3/8-16 bolts, as the ones in my puller set were too short. Trying to get the hub off the spindle was "interesting". After getting the bolts spaced property with some spare nuts, washers, etc. I had laying around, I was finally able to pull it off.
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006.jpg - 85 KB Mon 9/10/01

This is what you're left with. Time to begin the reassembly! There is a sleeve included in the installation kit; slide it onto the splindle now, and make sure it bottoms out.
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007.jpg - 59 KB Mon 9/10/01

The hub that comes in the installation kit needs to have the back side greased. The grease is located in two little capsules. Spread the grease on the copper disk.
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008.jpg - 79 KB Mon 9/10/01

Slide the hub onto the spindle, making sure the arrow marked "Top" is facing where the top of the wheel should be. If you straightened your wheels before starting, this will be straight up, otherwise you will need to put a mark on the spindle before you take the wheel off, and align with this mark. Be sure the teeth on the hub and spindle actually engage. You don't want to tighten it down later and ruin the teeth.
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009.jpg - 81 KB Mon 9/10/01

Next, I held the wheel up to the hub just to be sure it was oriented properly.
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010.jpg - 83 KB Mon 9/10/01

Next, install the hub cover (included in the installation kit) and use the three bolts (also included) to hold the hub and the wheel in place. (Don't tighten the bolts, just thread them in far enough so that the wheel stays on.) Now, install the spindle nut. I torqued mine down to 27 lb-ft. Remove the three bolts. Prior to tightening down the spindle nut, you may want to touch the horn wire to one of the bolts or the spindle (ground it) to be sure the horn works.
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011.jpg - 86 KB Mon 9/10/01

Put the "horn wafer" on the wheel, with the metal side down, and the electrical terminal facing you. You may now install the three bolts. I torqued mine down to 11 lb-ft. Slide the horn wire onto the terminal on the wafer.
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012.jpg - 79 KB Mon 9/10/01

Now you need to install the spring and the horn cover. A piece of duct tape helps to hold the spring in place while you install the cover.
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013.jpg - 73 KB Mon 9/10/01

Like so! There are three dimples on the sides of the cover which line up with three holes on the wafer. You then press down on the cover and turn it about 1/4-1/2 inch to the right or left to lock it in place.
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014.jpg - 74 KB Mon 9/10/01

And here's what it looks like!
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015.jpg - 74 KB Mon 9/10/01

A comparison to the stock wheel.
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016.jpg - 80 KB Mon 9/10/01

All done, right? Well, maybe not. I got in the car to try it out, and I noticed that my left hand kept hitting the turn signal stalk; this was going to get really annoying really fast! Look how close it is; got to do something about that!
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017.jpg - 74 KB Mon 9/10/01

A tubing bender did the trick. Prior to bending the stalk, I heated it up with a mini butane torch. I didn't heat it red hot or anything, I didn't want the heat to damage the plastic turn signal cam inside the wheel, I just warmed it up a bit to help things along.
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018.jpg - 79 KB Mon 9/10/01

It worked like a charm! The stalk is perhaps a tad long for the wheel now, I may shorten it up someday, but its fine for now. Its not in the way at all, and I don't hit it while turning the wheel anymore. Plus, it almost looks factory! :-)
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019.jpg - 75 KB Mon 9/10/01

Finally, here's what it looks like. My apologies for the mess; I did this install in the middle of a "waiting for parts" delay during my EFI conversion. :-)
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This page was last updated Tue Aug 6 19:27:04 EDT 2002