What follows is an outlined sequential explanation with pictures of the steps I took to remove and install a new aftermarket steering wheel - the Grant Elite GT 742. Much of what is written here was not fully explained in the Haynes manual or other posts that I could find as it’s specific to the Grant Steering wheel application.
I followed instructions from a Haynes manual for the steps of stock steering wheel removal so I will not include that part here. The direction pages that are included with the new adapter and steering wheel are worth looking at, but were not specific enough for the ’96 Impala application. Some parts were not used and directions became confusing. However, the exploded views did give a general idea of how the new unit is pieced together.
1. Park car so steering wheel is in the straight ahead position and ignition key in lock position. Disconnect negative battery cable.
2. Allow for several hours and even multiple removals and reinstalls of the new steering wheel as this may be necessary to get just the right spacing of the adapter on the steering shaft and deburring amount of the inner lip of the steering column for an acceptable smooth rotation. 2 different steering wheel pullers will be needed, one with the straight beam, center anchor screw and the 2 long fastening screws to be used for removing the stock wheel. The other is the 3 prong puller used for pulling off the new adapter (which will probably be needed if/when the new wheel is tightened down too much which creates binding of the unit). Both were “rented” at Autozone. It’s a trial and error process to get just the right spacing for the new bezel (post cover) and the adapter on the splined portion of the steering shaft so that there is maximum engagement, but also without binding which will make the wheel very difficult to turn. You want to get the post cover bezel (half bagel shaped black piece) inserted just inside the lip of the steering column bezel (about 1/8”), but not too much so the wheel rotates smoothly. I also put some bearing grease along the rim of the inner lip to promote smooth rotation.
3. The yellow air bag wire needs to come out by disconnecting it from its mate at the bottom under the dash, cutting off the connector end, and then pulling it out through the top with the removal of the clockspring. The small hole next to the yellow wire on the left is for the horn wire, which has been removed in the picture. I used the new horn wire and spring included with the Grant steering wheel, but used the stock black plastic tube retainer to install it as the white Grant retainer tube was too tall. I also needed to cut the black tube retainer in half as that one was also too tall once the new adapter was installed. Make sure to leave one of the little nipple tabs intact so it will engage in its slot and maintain proper position. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the horn wire piece).
4. Used a drill with a sanding barrel piece to remove the two tabs at the top of the steering column, which were there to hold clockspring in place. Also deburred/sanded the entire circumference of the inner lip of the steering column as the post cover bezel was just too tight of a fit and made the steering wheel very difficult to turn. This may have to be done several times to get it to an acceptable tolerance of turning resistance/smoothness. It took me 3 times to get it to a comfortable amount of free rotation – not too stiff. Be careful not to sand too much and compromise the integrity of the steering column outer housing.
5. Next, install the adapter onto the steering shaft by using the steering shaft nut (13/16” socket). First time, I tightened it all the way down and that was too much as the post cover bezel which attaches to the adapter was too far into the steering column – too tight. So needed to use the 3 prong puller to pull off the adapter and try it again to get the right depth for the post cover bezel. Finally settled on adapter top flat being about 1/8” above splined portion of shaft. This is about 98% engagement and very safe, I believe. This will prevent any washers from having to be used to create more space when the post cover bezel is attached in the next step. The bearing grease can be seen along the inner lip in the picture. This will help to give an accurate assessment of how the wheel will feel in its rotation when assembled. Also, see the horn wire coming thru the adapter at top. The adapter will need to be positioned onto the splined portion of the steering shaft just right so the steering wheel is at the straight ahead position, while at the same time allowing for the 5 steering wheel attachment holes and the horn hole on the (black)spacer to be lined up properly and in the straight ahead position also. This should make a lot more sense and be clear when the 3 pieces are put together to achieve alignment. Once correct position of the adapter is achieved, remove the steering shaft nut.
6. Install steering post cover bezel onto the adapter with 3 screw holes and horn holes matching. How is the insertion depth into the steering column? Hopefully,not too much. About 1/8” is good. If it’s more you may need to back off the adapter a little more.
7. Next, attach spacer to steering post bezel cover and adapter with 3 screws provided (use blue locktite), matching horn holes again.
8. Next, install steering shaft nut, not too tight to cause binding. When it just makes contact with spacer surface, just a tiny bit more tightening to achieve snug position (use blue locktite). I did not use a torque wrench, just feel.
9. Next, install steering wheel in straight ahead position. Insert key and unlock. Test steering wheel rotation. If it’s too stiff, the entire unit will need to be removed again and process done again to get the right adapter spacing and/or smoothness of inner column bezel. Note the steering shaft nut top surface is just below the steering shaft, about 2 threads on shaft are showing.
10. Once good rotation is achieved, the horn button can be inserted. Connect the wire to the center tab on the back of the button first.
11. Next, move on to the yellow air bag wire at bottom of dash. Inside the yellow outer sheath are a green and white wire. Install a 2 ohm, 10 watt resistor between them. Use 2 wire connectors with heat shrink sleeves to do so.
This should do it. Connect negative battery cable. Air bag light should go off after a few blinks. Enjoy.
steering wheel - the Grant Elite GT 742
Adapter kit - 5 Hole Billet Steering Wheel adapter 69-94 GM Chevy, 76-95 Jeep in BLACK
2 ohm, 10 watt
local electronic parts store ($1.60)
2 wire connectors with heat shrink insulation cover
Ace Hardware ($1. 69)
This adapter kit piece is not used: