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Made a mistake while replacing steering wheel... any advice?

emersonemerson

New Member
Oct 2, 2021
3
5
NY
Alright, so I made a major **** up when attempting to swap the stock steering wheel on my model 3 for a custom 3rd party wheel.

Here's my situation:
  • I removed and unplugged the steering wheel airbag, then unscrewed the bolt holding the steering wheel on.
  • I forgot to detach the other plug behind the steering wheel airbag before pulling it off, so when I pulled the wheel off, I popped off a cover that contains the ribbon cables and shield for the steering wheel plugs.
  • All the ribbon cables spilled out and I am unable to figure out how to get them back in their neatly.
  • It does not appear there is any damage to the cables, they did not rip or anything, and the pins were not bent or damaged - it's just a matter of recoiling them neatly so I can place the cover back over them.
  • Picture:



Other info:
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 LR
  • From what I can best tell, this part is referred to as a "clock spring." The whole part looks to be about $100 on eBay, but I'm only seeing pre-2021 parts available to sale that look different from what's in my 2021.
  • Tesla Service: I'm open to having Tesla fix this if it's the best move. I'm guessing they'd swap out whole part. However, when I schedule service, I can't choose mobile service for this AND obviously can't drive the car without a steering wheel.
  • Here is a picture of what it should look like roughly with the ribbon cables wound in a circle: (Note: this is from a Plaid but seems to look very similiar to 2021 model 3):

Does anybody have any advice or information to share about this part or my situation? I've done a ton of searching and I am having trouble finding any info. Thank you!
 
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gaswalla

Model S,3,X.. CT with Austin delivery
Sep 23, 2012
3,553
4,196
San Diego
agree with above, you need an expert to help you who ideally isn't Tesla (bc then you'll just want to start this project all over again after Tesla fixes it to OEM status). I think Electrified Garage is near you
 

bo3bdar

Member
Feb 21, 2021
199
265
Silicon Valley
That looks like the steering column control module, and is for the stalks. I'm sure that Tesla would just replace that module altogether, rather than try to repair it. I agree with tllmrrj that you can possibly fix it yourself if you play around with it. Nothing to lose really, worth some experimenting. The reason the cables wrap around like that is to handle the pole-to-pole steering.


You could also find a replacement, or buy this part from Tesla to fix this. Model 3 is really modular, so you can replace just this part without affecting anything else.
 
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emersonemerson

New Member
Oct 2, 2021
3
5
NY
Sounds like you should reach out to one of the 3rd party Tesla rebuild shops or flatbed it to your nearest SC.

Good luck…what is it you were going for with the aftermarket wheel?
That's a fair call, thank you!... Just was hoping to swap out the standard wheel for a yoke wheel. (I know this is controversial but I dig the yoke). YouTube videos make it look like a simple process (and it is) but none account for this colossal ****up.

agree with above, you need an expert to help you who ideally isn't Tesla (bc then you'll just want to start this project all over again after Tesla fixes it to OEM status). I think Electrified Garage is near you

Thanks. I think if I just have Tesla handle the initial fix I could then handle the swap myself just without the major mistake this time. Unfortunately Electrified Garage isn't near me. Best I could do there it seems is pay them for remote consulting.

You might be able to rewind your clockspring if you didn't damage the ribbon cable. You will need to remove the clockspring from the column, which shouldn't be too hard.

This video might help you:

Thanks, this is helpful!

That looks like the steering column control module, and is for the stalks. I'm sure that Tesla would just replace that module altogether, rather than try to repair it. I agree with tllmrrj that you can possibly fix it yourself if you play around with it. Nothing to lose really, worth some experimenting. The reason the cables wrap around like that is to handle the pole-to-pole steering.


You could also find a replacement, or buy this part from Tesla to fix this. Model 3 is really modular, so you can replace just this part without affecting anything else.
Good call! Didn't see these parts available for the 2021 model from a quick search but I should check again. I was just seeing pre-2021 parts available here.

Also just wanted to give you all a shout out for being kind and offering helpful advice. I also put up a thread on Reddit and the commenters weren't as kind nor helpful. Appreciate you all!
 

bo3bdar

Member
Feb 21, 2021
199
265
Silicon Valley
Good call! Didn't see these parts available for the 2021 model from a quick search but I should check again. I was just seeing pre-2021 parts available here.

Also just wanted to give you all a shout out for being kind and offering helpful advice. I also put up a thread on Reddit and the commenters weren't as kind nor helpful. Appreciate you all!

If you go to the Tesla parts catalog (log in using your account) you can find the control module:


It's an over-the-counter item, so you can just buy one from Tesla if you can't get yours back to functional, or just want a new one.

module.png
 
  • Informative
Reactions: MitchMitch

ochompsky

Member
Oct 26, 2020
99
77
md
i made the EXACT same mistake when removing the steering wheel. you cannot repair that part, it's lubricated and very difficult.

mobile service came out and replaced it for me (steering control module) - $500 installed. dont get one from ebay, a software update is needed after installation. i also needed to end up getting an alignment done.

choose 'other' in the app and send them the picture, they'll know exactly what you need. it only took the guy 10 mins to replace. you don't need a tow.
 

emersonemerson

New Member
Oct 2, 2021
3
5
NY
i made the EXACT same mistake when removing the steering wheel. you cannot repair that part, it's lubricated and very difficult.

mobile service came out and replaced it for me (steering control module) - $500 installed. dont get one from ebay, a software update is needed after installation. i also needed to end up getting an alignment done.

choose 'other' in the app and send them the picture, they'll know exactly what you need. it only took the guy 10 mins to replace. you don't need a tow.
Thanks, very helpful.

Looks like my best bet is to get mobile service out and replace the part themselves. You and another commenter both mentioned the same price point of $400-$500.

Selecting “other” in the app results in the appointment not being available for mobile service, only service center, but I will give my closest service center a call in the am to get this sorted.
 
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