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Old 06-19-2004, 08:04 AM   #1
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From the moment I sat in the driver's seat of my '04 W22 at the factory, I was not comfortable with my stock 14" steering wheel. After leaving the factory on the trip home, not only did it feel small, but I could not get the wheel tilted so that I could be comfortable and see all of the gauges. When I saw a post in this forum I knew right away I needed an 18" steering wheel.

On Friday my 18" VIP steering wheel purchased from Ron The Bus Nut arrived. Since I purchased this wheel after-market as opposed to from Workhorse, I had a number of options to choose from. I ended up with a black leather wrapped 18" steering wheel with a "GMC" horn button.

Total price, $105.68 including shipping.

The link above shows the standard rubber grip wheel for $79. I splurged and went with leather for $89.00. I had a choice of a number of horn buttons and I thought about "Freightliner" or "Spartan" as a gag but decided on "GMC". The horn button was $8.88 (included in the $105.68 total but specified separately). Although WH uses the VIP steering wheel, you can not purchase the WH horn button anywhere but from WH parts. Perhaps when my bank account replenishes I'll get the real thing from WH

I decided to go with black spokes rather than the standard WH silver since my unit has bronze dash panels with black buttons/knobs/dials. I didn't want to introduce a silver spoke wheel into the "motif".

Before starting, I pointed my wheels in a straight forward position and made the steering wheel look level.

Here is what I started with:



The first step was removing the horn pad which is held in place by friction (4 plastic tabs). It was a simple matter of gripping the pad from both sides and gently lifting.



There were two wires used for the horn. The black wire was permanently attached to the horn pad and had a spring clip grounding the other end into a hole in the old wheel. The red wire used a crimp style spade connector and simply pulled off the pad.

After loosening the nut on the end of steering post using a 13/16" socket (large spark plug socket), I then used a cheap steering wheel puller (Autozone or Advance Auto parts) to remove the old steering wheel. After a couple of turns on the puller, the wheel simply lifted off.



With the old wheel removed, I was left with just the steering column with horn wire:



Next I lined up the new wheel so it was straight, threaded the horn wire through the pre-drilled hole and gently pushed the wheel onto the steering column.



At this point you can already see the better view of the gauges.

Re-using the same steering column nut, I torqued it to 30 foot-lbs. per the service manual.

Next the horn wire was pushed onto the horn button connector. No soldering or new connectors required.



The horn button was lined up straight and gently pushed into place using my fingers. Here is the finished product. Notice the unobstructed view of the gauges.



Just for comparison, I placed the old wheel upside down onto the new wheel:



All in all it took me less than 15 minutes start to finish. One more project done

EDIT - BTW - it had made no difference in rotating the driver's seat while parked. On this model, I never could rotate the driver's seat more than ~100 degrees clockwise with the 14" wheel and have found no change with the 18" wheel in place.
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Old 06-19-2004, 08:04 AM   #2
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From the moment I sat in the driver's seat of my '04 W22 at the factory, I was not comfortable with my stock 14" steering wheel. After leaving the factory on the trip home, not only did it feel small, but I could not get the wheel tilted so that I could be comfortable and see all of the gauges. When I saw a post in this forum I knew right away I needed an 18" steering wheel.

On Friday my 18" VIP steering wheel purchased from Ron The Bus Nut arrived. Since I purchased this wheel after-market as opposed to from Workhorse, I had a number of options to choose from. I ended up with a black leather wrapped 18" steering wheel with a "GMC" horn button.

Total price, $105.68 including shipping.

The link above shows the standard rubber grip wheel for $79. I splurged and went with leather for $89.00. I had a choice of a number of horn buttons and I thought about "Freightliner" or "Spartan" as a gag but decided on "GMC". The horn button was $8.88 (included in the $105.68 total but specified separately). Although WH uses the VIP steering wheel, you can not purchase the WH horn button anywhere but from WH parts. Perhaps when my bank account replenishes I'll get the real thing from WH

I decided to go with black spokes rather than the standard WH silver since my unit has bronze dash panels with black buttons/knobs/dials. I didn't want to introduce a silver spoke wheel into the "motif".

Before starting, I pointed my wheels in a straight forward position and made the steering wheel look level.

Here is what I started with:



The first step was removing the horn pad which is held in place by friction (4 plastic tabs). It was a simple matter of gripping the pad from both sides and gently lifting.



There were two wires used for the horn. The black wire was permanently attached to the horn pad and had a spring clip grounding the other end into a hole in the old wheel. The red wire used a crimp style spade connector and simply pulled off the pad.

After loosening the nut on the end of steering post using a 13/16" socket (large spark plug socket), I then used a cheap steering wheel puller (Autozone or Advance Auto parts) to remove the old steering wheel. After a couple of turns on the puller, the wheel simply lifted off.



With the old wheel removed, I was left with just the steering column with horn wire:



Next I lined up the new wheel so it was straight, threaded the horn wire through the pre-drilled hole and gently pushed the wheel onto the steering column.



At this point you can already see the better view of the gauges.

Re-using the same steering column nut, I torqued it to 30 foot-lbs. per the service manual.

Next the horn wire was pushed onto the horn button connector. No soldering or new connectors required.



The horn button was lined up straight and gently pushed into place using my fingers. Here is the finished product. Notice the unobstructed view of the gauges.



Just for comparison, I placed the old wheel upside down onto the new wheel:



All in all it took me less than 15 minutes start to finish. One more project done

EDIT - BTW - it had made no difference in rotating the driver's seat while parked. On this model, I never could rotate the driver's seat more than ~100 degrees clockwise with the 14" wheel and have found no change with the 18" wheel in place.
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Old 06-20-2004, 04:53 AM   #3
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Great post and great pictures!

I had concerns about the rotation of the seat, but your picture shows that not much would be given up - just as you said.

Because of my concern about the rotation, I did not get a new wheel although I initially had the same problem with seeing the gauges. I finally got used to the steering wheel being in a flatter position than I have been used to. I may still make the change though because I have an idea my wife will not be happy with the position of the wheel when she starts driving our coach.
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Old 06-20-2004, 12:55 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Clay L:
Because of my concern about the rotation, I did not get a new wheel although I initially had the same problem with seeing the gauges. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I can guarantee you that if the 18 inch wheel is installed on a Winnebago Adventurer you can spin the seat and subsequently recline it to a comfortable position. Been there and done that, this weekend! The trick to doing it is:

Tilt the wheel all the way up.
Pull the recline lever up and allow the seat back to come all the way forward.
Lower the left arm so it goes under the steering wheel while turning.
Move the seat all the way back on the tracks. (I have a Power Seat)

Spin when ready! Adjust to suit your individual preferences.
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Old 06-20-2004, 04:16 PM   #5
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DriVer: I just installed the 18" wheel. Followed your instructions for rotating the seat. The back of the seat will not go all the way back, hits the bottom of the steering wheel. Did not have this problem with the smaller wheel. I have no regrets about replacing the steering wheel, can at least see the gages. I slid the seat all the way to the rear. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:31 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Stumpjumper:
DriVer: Followed your instructions for rotating the seat. The back of the seat will not go all the way back, hits the bottom of the steering wheel. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I went out to the RV this morning and I took a couple of shots. Note the slideout is IN and this can still be accomplished.



Tilt the wheel all the way up.
Lower the left arm so it goes under the steering wheel while turning.
Pull the recline lever up and allow the seat back to come forward slightly past vertical.
Move the seat all the way forward on the tracks. (I have a Power Seat)

proceedure revised...



When the slideout is opened, there's a bit more wiggle room. Once spun the chair's back can be reclined to a comfortable level.
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Old 06-23-2004, 05:22 PM   #7
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Ordered my wheel today. Should have it in a week.
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:09 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rvten:
Ordered my wheel today. Should have it in a week. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>You can order the horn button from Workhorse parts like I did if you want it to look like an OEM job.
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Old 06-24-2004, 11:33 AM   #9
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I have a factory installed 18" steering wheel. One of the disavantages that I see right away is that the turn signal stick is now to short. It is awkward for me to reach, and operate cruise control and turn signals. I would like longer arms, or a longer turn signal stick. Vet Man
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Old 06-24-2004, 02:22 PM   #10
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Hello DriVer, I have the 35U and cannot turn the front seat around like yours. Maybe it's because yours is a 38 Ft. I measured from the slide it to the back of the bracket holding the seat and it is 17,1/4". I also have the factory installed 18" wheel and electric leather seat. When the seat is foward it comes up so far that you can't even get out from under the steering wheel. This is not a big problem with me but maybe it would be for someone. If my seat had been set back a little farther it would of worked.
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Old 06-24-2004, 03:28 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dick N.:
If my seat had been set back a little farther it would of worked. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Lower the arm and try turning the seat 90? sideways first. Move the seat rack all the way forward, and then keep turning the seat outward. The seat back should clear the wheel and you should be able to adjust it at that time.

YOU can do it! ....
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Old 06-28-2004, 04:47 PM   #12
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My 35u with factory 18" wheel and power seat, spins around with no problem. Vet Man
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Old 07-01-2004, 04:01 PM   #13
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The power seat seems to be the reason the seats will return to the vertical positon after rotation. I do not have power on my Brave 34D. The seat will rotate all the way around, but will not return to the full vertical positon, hits the 18" steering wheel. Any thoughts as to why?
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Old 07-01-2004, 05:32 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Stumpjumper:
The seat will rotate all the way around, but will not return to the full vertical position, hits the 18" steering wheel. Any thoughts as to why? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Bummer! I wonder if the power seat has anything to do with it. Unfortunately, I can't give a good opinion without seeing your application. I'm sure that you're enjoying the heck out of driving the MH with the new 18" wheel!
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