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Has stiffer springs
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4,875 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My biggest driveability problem with the GTO has been that I just cannot find
a comfortable driving position. I like to drive pretty straight-armed, and
even with the steering wheel at full height this causes my left hand to whack
into my left leg when doing left turns and working the clutch. I put the seat
as low as possible to get some clearance and just put up with my elbow hitting
the console when shifting. It drives me nuts.

A smaller steering wheel would fix this, but then you lose the air bag and the
stereo controls and I expect it is illegal.

So I bought an '04 steering wheel from the salvage yard ($40) (edit: $70), got a crappy
"13 inch" wheel off ebay ($15) and went at it:



It's taken a couple of days to get used to, but I'd have to say that this is
already a "when you take it from my cold dead hands" sort of mod. It looked
funny for a while, but you get used to that. Now the original 15" wheel looks
like it came off a school bus.

Driving impressions:

a) I don't whack my left hand on my left leg any more! It'll take some time
to unlearn all the stupid tricks I was playing - excess hand-shuffling,
bending the left knee outwards, sliding the foot off the clutch rather than
lifting it.

b) It's surprising how much heavier the steering becomes when you lose 16% of
the leverage

c) OTOH, it's surprising how much smaller your hand movements become, too.

d) It makes the car feel like a big heavy go-kart. Hard to describe.

e) It turns out that I never put my fingers inside the ring except for
straight-ahead cruising, so the reduced clearances around the stereo controls
are not a problem. I was expecting that I'd need to remove the controls.

e) I like it. More than I expected to. It's by far the most impactful mod
I've done, and I doubt if there is any mod which can be done which affects you
more than this (except perhaps driver's-seat-delete) It's your steering wheel,
for heaven's sake.

Anyway, I dumped all the photos at

http://s240.photobucket.com/albums/ff67/flink-gto/gto-steering-wheel/

It's pretty self-explanatory.

It's an easy but fiddly job and it takes a looooooooong time. It took six
hours just to reduce the diameter of the OE leather cover and to stitch it on.
And when it comes to boiling the rear plastic cover so it can be reshaped,
your wife decides you've gone insane and the kids walk around the place
cracking jokes about deep-fried steering wheels.
 

Attachments

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:mrrg:
Joined
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10,466 Posts
Can you still see the gauges o.k.?
 

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wat it fis mofo
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1,551 Posts
awesome idea. Have been wanting a smaller wheel for a long time, but saw no alternatives.

Looks like alot of work
 

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Hater of Ignorance. . .
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5,720 Posts
Props for the creativity but I'm not really feeling it.

Looks good for what it is though.
 

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CAUTION!!!!
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9,883 Posts
Thats crazy! I guess if you don't care about gauges and you have a shift light, then you'd be good to go. nice work!
 

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Registered
Joined
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3,237 Posts
could always retro fit a ZO6, solstice, or sky steering wheel. They have smaller diameter wheels as well. Looks cool to me just surprised there wasnt enough adjustability with tilt and telescope.
 

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The Entenmann's Shim-Sham
Joined
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12,143 Posts
could always retro fit a ZO6, solstice, or sky steering wheel. They have smaller diameter wheels as well. Looks cool to me just surprised there wasnt enough adjustability with tilt and telescope.
If the Solstice steering wheel comes in the same colored stitching, that could very well be a viable option.
 

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1LE
Joined
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13,384 Posts
Wow
That's a whole lot of work, but it looks like you got what you were looking for, nice job.
I know what you mean by the 'go-cart' reference, I had a small wheel on my old Cutlass, I liked it.
 

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The DAR
Joined
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291 Posts
Big points for skill and creativity! I always wished the GTO's wheel was a little thicker and smaller diameter, but I figured there would be no way to ever have that.

And since we're talking about swaps, does anyone know if the new G8/Commodore wheels will fit? They look really cool!
 

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Registered
Joined
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960 Posts
Good job man, a little tight getting your hands around the radio controls. but an A+ for creativity.
i know what you mean about, go cart feel.
i had an 88 IROC that i installed an grant steering wheel.
remember the ones that had a key, and you could take the wheel off. lol
 

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Oh it's Friday night
Joined
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5,658 Posts
Props for identifying a problem and going right after it. There is way more talk than action these days about everything under the sun so its nice to see somebody show some drive! Great job!!!
 
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