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About Me, automobiles, cars, General, learning

TGIF and Happy Independence Day

Happy Friday and (belated) Happy Fourth!

Hope you all had a safe and fun holiday. I expect many of you who are working on Friday (like me) will be a bit tired after being out late watching fireworks.

I decided to spend a good deal of my day liberating the Miata from its old, tired airbag steering wheel. The first gen airbag module is nearly 20 years old now, and while I expect it would still perform as required in an accident I’m not sure I trust it. The Miata unibody structure was designed without airbags in mind, and the cars were not sold with airbags in every other market in the world; so I’m just as safe without it as most everyone has been all along. Also, by going with a smaller diameter steering wheel with a thicker rim, I will pick up much needed leg room as well as a better feel (the foam rim of the factory steering wheel had delaminated from the metal it surrounds in multiple places. This meant the steering wheel would squish around in your hand when you grip it–not the hot tip for precision driving.)

I selected a Momo steering wheel. Momo is an Italian company that is long known for producing accessories for both consumer and racing clientele.

The Momo steering wheel attaches to the car with an adapter hub that is designed to fit your specific car. However, this hub is designed for use on Miatas sold without airbags. So to fit an aftermarket steering wheel to a US market Miata, some modification of both the car and the adapter hub is required.

Deep breath–here we go:

I don’t know what’s going on here, but it sure looks exciting…

I am at the “OK, I have everything ripped apart. Now what?” phase in the photo above. This came before the “I have to modify this how?” phase of the project which is represented below. Both the Momo hub and part of the airbag system must be modified to get the hub (not designed for use on cars with airbags) to fit on an airbag-equipped car.

(Almost) Finished product:

Big improvement over stock, but it’s too far away from the seating position now. I’ve ordered a hub extender which will bring it back towards me a bit.

Have a great weekend!

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