Installing an S2000 Steering Wheel in a 5th Gen

Author: Basil Guan

There aren't many options out there for someone who wants to upgrade the steering wheel in their Prelude. A steering hub adapter can be used to "adapt" your factory steering column to an aftermarket steering wheel. It also has the side effect, though, of removing the driver's airbag. Due to this fact, they are hard to get in the US and typically are imported from Japan. Keep in mind that some hubs available here will either not allow for automatic turn signal canceling or for the ATTS or 4WS subsections to work (if you have them). Check with your supplier first! If they don't know, chances are it will NOT work. For info on installing one, see our writeup here.

An alternative is described here- installing a wheel from an S2000. The wheel is roughly the same size as many aftermarket wheels, smaller in diameter with a larger rim that is easier to grip. It comes equipped with cruise control switches and an airbag, maintaining two features that many people prefer to keep. These wheels can usually be had, used, for around $300. A good place to check is on S2000 International in the Forums. You may not see one for sale in the classifieds, but if you search find someone that recently installed an aftermarket wheel, they might be interested in selling their stock one. You can also purchase the parts new, but for everything you need you are looking at probably $600 or more even off of the internet.

If you decide to purchase your wheel new, or simply need to replace some missing parts on the wheel that you have purchased, you can see an exploded view of the parts needed here (and here).

Keep in mind that not all Honda wheels are created equal. The AP1 (00-03) S2000 wheel is the only one that will fit a 5th gen (97-01) Prelude. 1996 and earlier Preludes use a different shaft spline (are not compatible with the 5g/S2k). I am not certain if the AP2 (04+) S2k wheel is different in splines but it has a two-stage airbag that will not work with the Prelude's SRS system. Not all Honda wheels will swap, it's best to check before you commit to buying an OEM wheel or parts from someone!

What You Need
Once you have everything in front of you, this shouldn't take more than an hour. It's pretty easy and straightforward.
- Tools needed for Install
- Torx T30
- Torque wrench
- Flathead and phillips screwdrivers
- Steering wheel puller (rent/buy from your local auto parts store)
- Long thumb tack about 3/4th a inch- 1 inch long
- 14mm socket and ratchet
- 10mm wrench
- Permanent marker

Removing the Factory Wheel
The absolute first thing you must do is disconnect the battery. Not doing so is not only dangerous (you could deploy the airbag), you will also end up with a SRS light if the ignition is turned on with the airbag disconnected. Using the 10mm wrench, disconnect the negative cable from the battery. Also disconnect the positive terminal as well. This precaution should be followed to help prevent accidental deployment of the airbag.

Now you can work on the stock wheel. Remove the 2 screw covers from the LH side of the wheel and the RH side of the wheel as shown (use the flathead):


Once you remove these covers you can access the two T30 torx screws that hold the airbag in place:


Now remove the cable access cover on the underside of the wheel:

And then disconnect the airbag cable. To do this, you will need to pull back on a "sleeve" on one side (towards the wires) and pull the other side out. The sleeve has to be slid back to release the connector locking mechanism.

Now you can gently remove the airbag. Note the connectors you have to disconnect: the horn wires (from the column and to the airbag horn buttons) and the cruise control switch.


Be sure to store the airbag in a cool, dry place that won't be subject to a lot of vibration- you don't want it going off!!! With the airbag out you can now remove the factory wheel from the column. At this point you have to be VERY sure your wheels are straight. Your steering wheel needs to be perfectly straight. This may require you to put you key in, turn it so the steering wheel unlocks, and straighten out the wheels. If they are not straight you may need to removed and re-center the hub all over again.

Using the 14mm socket and breaker bar, break torque on the hub bolt. Be sure to hold the wheel while you do this! If you move the wheel off of center, carefully center it back before you loosen the hub bolt/nut. Once you have loosened the bolt/nut, loosen it 5 or 6 turns (but don't remove it).

Now use the steering wheel puller you've rented (or bought) to remove the wheel. There are two holes just outside of the hub bolt/nut; use these to mount the puller, with the center bolt of the puller pressing against the hub nut/bolt:

It may take a little force but you should be able to pop the wheel off. The first time I did it I thought I was going to break something, then it popped. Again, be careful not to uncenter the steering wheel. Once you have the wheel loose (and still centered!) carefully remove the bolt/nut and then remove the wheel and set it aside. Don't turn the wheel while taking it off! You should now be looking at the cable reel:

The cable reel allows all the horn, SRS (airbag), and cruise wires to be spun around with the steering wheel and not get tangled. The importance of not turning the steering wheel is twofold: First, if the cable reel moves (and you're not sure where center is), it has to be recentered. It's designed to turn with the wheel and will only turn 2.xx? times until it locks up. You'll need to turn it until it locks, turn it back (until it's straight up), then turn it again (away from the lock) one more time. The second reason to not turn the wheel is the ATTS (or 4WS for you euro guys) "Steering Angle Sensor." If you uncenter that, you have to return it to center similarly.

Installing the S2000 Wheel
Before installing the steering wheel make sure that you have the connector to the cruise control off the S2000. They actually use a different way to connect it that we do. As you can see in the picture they use a short wire that is connected to the cruise control to another grey plug. The grey plug is then connected to another plug coming from the steering reel. We will not be using the gray connector but we do need the green one that plugs into the cruise control for the S2000.


On the S2000 wheel remove the Cruise control buttons by unscrewing it on the side. Now remove the bracket that holds the buttons by unscrewing the screws on the back of the wheel. Put the new S2000 wheel on the hub put all the wires through the center again. Put the 14mm bolt back on finger tight so that the wheel will not jiggle or move around so it will be easier to work with. Now using a marker draw a little line so you can match it up later.

Now comes the hard part. The rewire of the harness. As you can see in the picture the green plug has 5 pins for the S2000 cruise control plug and the prelude is 4 pins. Both only use 3 actual pins. In the connector you can see that there is an upper and lower hole. There is 1 hole that is just a square and the other is indented a little. We will be working with the hole that is flat to remove the pins. The other hole is indented so that a pin from the other end can be slid in easier.


This is where we will be using our long thumb tack. Make sure the thumb tack is as long as the connecter and will fit in the plug.

Plug on the prelude cruise control with the unit facing normal so you can read it:

Plug on S2k cruise control unit facing up so you can read it:

First pop up the 2nd lock by prying it up lightly with the tack. Ok start this by doing it one wire at a time. Any wire is fine. Put the pin in the hole that is flat and gently push it. It should go in easily and then gently pull the pin. It should slowly move out. If not just try readjusting the pin. The lock on the plug is a simple V type of lock. You need to insert something in the V so that it can pass through the lock it has on the plug. Try as you pull to also push the pin if it does move. This way it keeps the V open. If you get unclear of how/where it goes, plug the connector into the cruise control unit and look at the position. Just remove 1 at a time and you will do fine.


Remove the pin and replace into the green S2000 connector in the correct spot. So say the ground wire from the prelude connector (1st pin) goes to the ground wire in the S2000 connector (middle pin). Repeat for the next 2 and your done.


The S2000 wheel actually had an extension on it so we eliminated that but now we have to run it to the cruise control buttons. You can do this anyway but I did it like this. Remove bolt and remove wheel remembering where it goes. Hold the wheel and now its time to finish up the cruise control. You already removed the cruise control buttons and bracket so what we do now is put the connector through the bracket and screw that back down. Now you can put the wheel back on the hub. Plug the connector into the cruise control and screw it down into the bracket. Now push the wires up so that it will not get between the horn contacts. Just look from the side and you will see what I mean. You can tape it down or whatever. I just moved it out. The wires never move so it shouldnít be a problem.

Plug in the horn connector with the tab facing up so you can remove it later. Put the bolt back in and torque it down to 28lbs.

MAKE SURE BATTERY IS DISCONECTED! Now put the airbag wires in the proper clips. Take the airbag and put the wires down. The harness from the hub goes down and the wire from the airbag goes up. Put them in the plastic clips but do not connect the harness yet. Put the bag in the wheel now making sure you align the 2 tabs at the bottom. Now gently screw the Torx screws in. You want to adjust the height of the bag so that it is flush on both sides or as flush as it will get. Now tighten the Torx bolts to 7 ft-lbs or just hand tight. 7 ft-lbs isnít a lot so be careful. Replace the plastic cover on the right side.

Now you can put the air bag connector together. Touch something metal on the carís chassis first to dishcarge any static electricity in you. Plug the connect in and put it in the clips on the wheel. Put the cover back on and you are all set.


Reconnect battery and you are ready to go for a drive. Your wheel will be off just slightly (there is a difference in the splines on the Prelude and S2k hubs) that you will need to get an alignment to fix. You can try adjusting the wheel but you will probably find it's just off even more when you do that.

I take no responsibility of what you do yourself. If you think this is hard do not try and do it. Certain parts require a little patience and finesse.

If you accidentally connected the battery before attaching the resistor and have an SRS light, you can view the procedure to reset the system and turn off the light here.

If you have questions email me at Basil Guan. Enjoy!

This page last updated 4/18/03.