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Momo Steering Wheel Install

'88 - '91 Prelude Discussion
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tamaraw
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Joined: 12 Oct 2018, 09:14
Location: Seattle, WA
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Momo Steering Wheel Install

#1

Post by tamaraw » 17 Jun 2019, 03:23

I put a momo steering wheel in my prelude the other day and thought I would post up a few pictures and a brief walkthrough of the install. The pictures are mostly ones that I sent to a friend as I worked, so bear with phone orientation/snapchat text overlays.

First of all, a big thank you to MustardCat, lude_rider89, and 88SE Lude for the info in this thread:
https://www.preludepower.com/forums/sho ... p?t=391354

There's also a write-up on the main page under the interior section (can’t do a direct link)
https://www.prelude3g.com/p3g/frameset.htm

I chose to go with a Momo Mod. 03 because I liked the shape and wanted to go with a two spoke wheel. As it turns out, it's only available in Europe, so I had it shipped from DriftWorks in the UK. It ended up being backordered for about a month from Momo, but as soon as DriftWorks received it, they had it shipped off to me and it arrived within just a few days. They even threw a bag of haribo gummies into the box!

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Momo doesn't ship their wheels with screws and NRG doesn't include them with their hubs either, so I stopped by a local hardware store to pick up some m5x0.75 10mm flush screws. Apparently these are interchangeable with the m5x0.8 spec and I didn't have any issues with fitment or binding. I think the total was something around $1.50 USD for 6, yay Tacoma Screw! I used an NRG SRK-190H hub here, as per MustardCat's write-up.

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When I finally had a day off to install, I pulled off the center cap on the wheel and set to work with a jurry-rigged breaker bar. Yes, I know that's not great for the ratchet, but it's all I had on hand. Also, sorry for the missing speaker cover, I have them pulled to recover with fresh fabric. I tried to break the 19mm locknut free with the above combo, but had no luck. I didn't have a second person to help hold the wheel, so I was relying on the steering lock and felt like I was putting way too much pressure on it.

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After a few minutes of deliberating and exercising google-fu to find out if an impact would mess up the steering rack, I decided to go for it with the reasoning that it would probably mess it up less than the breaker bar method. Sitting in the driver's seat and holding the wheel with my knees, I used my cordless impact and the nut came off in literally 0.5s with no drama whatsoever. Spoiler alert: I haven't found any damage or extra play in the steering and can't imagine trying to use a breaker bar unless you are the hulk. If you don't have an impact gun, I would strongly recommend picking one up. Mine was something like 250USD including a socket set and has been an invaluable tool while learning to work on my car. And yes, that's a NIB airmass header waiting to be installed in the background. :D

I had heard horror stories of wheels being practically welded to the steering column splines, but mine came loose as soon as I took the nut off. If your wheel is stuck, be sure to thread the nut back on a few turns as a safety measure so that you don't smack yourself in the face with the wheel when it does free up. :)

Before you pull the wheel off, if for some reason your steering lock is not engaged, now would be a good time to straighten the wheel and do so. At this stage, there is one electrical plug just below the center shaft on the wheel. If you pull the wheel up, you can reach under the wheel and unplug it. The squeeze latch for the plug was on the right hand side of the plug for me, but you might have to find it by feel. Now, you can pull the wheel off. Doesn't that feel good? :D

As long as the wheel is straight when you remove it and your steering lock is engaged, there is no way to put the new wheel on crooked by accident, so you don't have to worry about marking things. If the wheel isn't straight or is free-spinning when you remove it, you're on your own.

If you have a non-cruise control car, you should be good to skip the next step. If your prelude is equipped with cruise control, read on. There is a rotating cruise control ring that relays the signal from the button input on the steering wheel to the rest of the system. This is about half an inch thick, but has taller plastic prongs sticking out of it from it, so it would require you to mount your wheel about an inch or more forward with a gap between your aftermarket hub and steering column plastic. I don't care for that and unless you decide to wire cruise control buttons into your new wheel, it's pointless to keep in place.

In order to remove it, you will have to separate the steering column upper and lower clamshell panels. There are four screws underneath the steering column, go ahead and remove these and then gently pull the upper and lower plastic panels apart. There are two plastic snaps on the front of the column clamshells that will release, one on each side. There is no need to fully remove the clamshells, just pry them apart to give clearance for the cruise control ring screws.

Remove 4 screws from the cruise control ring, one from each corner and the whole assembly falls off, only attached by the electrical connector. Go ahead and unplug this connector and put the cruise control ring away for safekeeping, give it away, or sell it to another luder; we won't need it again here. My ring and wiring was sticky with some sort of grease or residue, but no other part was. I'm not sure if that's unique to my car or if they all come like this, but it's something to keep in mind if you want to avoid making a mess.

Another thing to note is that if your stock steering wheel makes a scratchy sound when you turn it as mine did, the culprit is most likely this cruise control ring. Clean and re-lube as necessary if you want to keep the stock system.

Since we have just removed the oem method of routing horn wiring to the wheel, we will have to make a new one. In order to do this, we are going to need to make a contact for the metal ring on the back of your hub. This makes it so that the horn positive wire can stay in constant contact with the horn switch when you turn the wheel. Essentially, you are looking for a conductive tab that will rub against the metal plate on the back of the steering hub adapter. This can be any strip of metal, so if you have a brass or copper sheet sitting around somewhere, now would be a good time to break it out and cut off a bit. If you don't have these materials, don't worry, because even something as mundane as one of the brass paper fasteners below will work. There's also the option of going to a junkyard or ordering a tab from another honda model, but it's not worth the time/cost imho.

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I was lazy and didn't want to cut up a sheet of copper, so just I pulled apart the above fastener with a pair of pliers. After cutting the strip down to size, I drilled a hole in one end and made a little bump near the contact tip with a metal punch to emulate the oem tabs (see the pics on MustardCat's site). I'm not sure if this makes a big difference, but I did it.

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Looking at the cruise control plug below the steering column, there are three wires. The blue one is the positive horn contact, while the two brown ones are the cruise control up/down leads. What you want to do is rig up a connector between the blue wire on the plug and the slip ring tab, which you can mount using one of the screws from the cruise control ring. It should look something like the above pic. Bend the tab outwards and adjust the angle as necessary until it makes contact with the metal ring on your hub. A quick way to test this is to slide the hub onto the splines and briefly touch the two wires coming out of the hub; if the horn honks, you are good.

One thing that I had to change after taking the above picture is to cover the metal tab plugged into the oem plug near the bottom. If an exposed contact like in the above picture touches the "V" shaped bracket on either side of it, it will honk the horn since the system is designed to ground through the steering column. I just applied some electrical tape to prevent the issue.

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There are two important things to note at this point. First, while momo wheels include a horn button, they don't include the hardware to connect the horn to the wheel. Basically the hole in the middle of the wheel is slightly bigger than the rear diameter of the horn button, so it does not fit securely. The retainer ring is a thin sandwich plate that fits between the wheel and the hub with a hole of the correct diameter so that the horn fits snugly. You can either buy one of these online for 15-20 USD, or you can just make your own like I did. I ended up just cutting one out of a styrene sheet, but you could also use sheet metal. Mine is the slightly rough white edge peeking out from behind the center hole of the wheel.

The second important thing to note is that if you use an nrg srk-190h, you will either need to use a spacer or quick release if you want to use a standard momo horn. This is because the splines/nut on the steering column stick out to nearly level with the end of the hub, so there isn't space for the horn to slide in.

Since I have no need for a quick disconnect, am using a dished wheel, and want to maintain a stock placement of the wheel for easy turn signal usage, I had to get creative here. I decided that I would need to extend the horn forward from wheel so that it would sit just over the locknut. After messing about with various diameters of piping I had on hand and not finding a direct match, I ended up cutting a strip of styrene and bending it in a circle to fit the ID of the steering wheel hole. It just so happens that with the thickness of styrene that I used, this also matches the OD of the horn button, so I could slide it right on (I added a layer of electrical tape to the horn for a more snug fit). There is a seam where the two ends of the styrene strip meet, but I positioned it at the bottom, so it's hardly noticeable. Two coats of plastidip and 30 minutes later and the extension matches the rest of the wheel components. :D

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Better view of how far the horn protrudes from the wheel.

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I wasn't a big fan of the momo logo on the horn or the action of the button, so I took it apart, modified the mechanism, and covered it in the same cloth that I made my shift boot out of. Sorry, no pics of this process, but it's pretty easy when you can see the parts in-hand. You can also see the keychain I cut out of acrylic here.

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Mounted approximately the same distance from the turn signal/wiper stalks as the stock wheel.

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As for the driving experience, I wasn't expecting anything, as I primarily did the project for cosmetic/haptic reasons, but I did notice a few differences. First, although I didn't weigh them, I did notice that the momo wheel and nrg hub are a bit lighter than the stock wheel. Second, it feels easier to turn than the stock wheel. I don't know if I was just used to the flex in the stock rubber wheel, if my scratchy cruise control ring was adding friction, or if the slightly smaller wheel is providing a noticeable mechanical advantage (350mm vs 371mm), but I do notice a difference. I also find that having a two spoke wheel is handy in tight corners and feels less restrictive than a three spoke wheel, although I doubt there's much if any performance benefit. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures or find this info useful in installing your own wheel :)

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MustardCat
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Joined: 16 Aug 2017, 20:34
Location: Mount Vernon, WA
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Re: Momo Steering Wheel Install

#2

Post by MustardCat » 17 Jun 2019, 20:19

Nice job.
You can't rationalize cars like these. They're not something you buy with your head. You buy them with your heart because you love them, and who can explain love?
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