I just installed Legacy steering wheel controls ("SWC") on my 06 XT. I struggled a bit finding the right information to do this, and had to takes bits and pieces from other posts and figure some stuff out on my own. So I'm putting this together so future people have it all in one place. Thanks to Wassneroo, Toddlamp and shelby4130 for their posts - parts of below are taken from their twriteups. So here we go:
Couple obvious requisites before we get into the steps - you need a steering wheel and the steering wheel controls.
Compatible Steering Wheels for '03-'08 Foresters:
First, you need the right wheel to accommodate steering wheel controls. Stock Subaru OEM steering wheels that allow this are the Legacy Spec-B wheel and the Momo wheel. DAMD obviously as well.
There are two types of stock controls - the momo four button ones, and the legacy spec b controls that have 6 buttons. This writeup only covers the latter (legacy spec b).
So where does one get these controls? At first, I thought I'd have to buy used, which is tough because Spec b steering wheels with controls that are in good shape are hard to come by. I almost bought a used one from Australia. But low and behold, the same part is actually available straight from Subaru dealers (Stealers)!
Part number: 83153AG000
They are not cheap - I bought a couple sets for around $100 each.
One thing to note - these come with RED LEDs, or in otherwords, the illumination is red. If you get your hands on an old set of these (i'm not sure what year), they were actually green - which matches the Forester green dash illumination. Some people might not care - some people will hate it. For the latter, here is the solution:
Switching the Red LEDs to Green:
If you open up the steering wheel controls, (very easy to do - they are just fastened with a zip tie and tabs), you'll see 3 red 0805 SMD LEDs on each circuit board. These can be removed and swapped for green LEDs.
You can order some 1206 Green SMD Leds
(they are slightly larger than the 0805 but easier to work with) - I ordered from Ebay. They are incredibly cheap - like $3 for 50 of them.
Be warned, these are very small LEDs and the solder points are even smaller - so some skill and patience will be needed so you don't damage the control boards. You may wan to bring this to someone who has experience in this kind of work (EE major anyone?).
Step 1: Cut this zip ties and push on tabs to separate the control boards from the wheel controls.
Step 2: Determine polarity of the replacement 1206 Green SMD LEDs. Mine were marked, but you could wire them up to a battery to test them. You need to make sure you orient them to match the polarity of the board.
Step 3. Remove the stock LEDs and replace with the 1206 Green SMD leds. *SOLDERING SKILLS REQUIRED - YOU CAN BURN THE BOARD BEYOND REPAIR - ASK ME HOW I KNOW?*
Step 4: Put back together
Testing the Steering Wheel Control Illumination
There are 5 wires going into the green connector on the steering wheel controls. From right to left:
Blue wire: this is the signal wire for the SWC (+)
Red wire: this is the ground for the SWC (-)
White wire: Ground for the illumination (-)
Orange wire: Power for illumination (+)
Black: Ground, this connects to the airbag
You can test the illumination of your SWC by connecting a battery to the opposite ends of the Orange and White connector (Strip wires, shove into green connector matching the white and orange wire pins, then connect to battery). It should illuminate.
INTERFACE FOR SWC: You'll need an interface that sits between the SWC and your radio (I assume most of you have third party radios like Pioneer, etc). Two popular ones are the PAC SWI-JACK SWC Interface
and the Metra Axxess ASWC Interface
. I chose the latter as I had read there is less lag vs. the PAC option.
I purchased on Amazon for around $50.
Ok, so onto the actual install and wiring:
STEP 1. REMOVE STEERING WHEEL AND AIRBAG
- T-30 Torx bit (and ratchet - makes it easier)
- Phillips screw driver
- Flat screw driver
- Breaker bar
- 17mm socket
- Torque wrench that goes up to 33 ft/lb
- Masking/duct tape
1. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. Step on the brake pedal for 20 sec to discharge any current in the system. *VERY IMPORTANT - YOU WILL BE REMOVING THE AIRBAG SO DON'T FORGET TO DO THIS - DON'T BLOW YOUR FACE OFF!*
2. Center steering wheel
3. Using the T-30 torx loosen the two torx bolts on the side of the steering wheel to remove the airbag. These screws will not come out all the way - they just loosen so you can remove the airbag.
4. Gently pull on the airbag out of the steering wheel, you will notice that there are two connectors connected to the back of the airbag. To remove the airbag harness there are small yellow tabs that must be pulled up (use small flat blade screwdriver) - then pop off the connectors. Disconnect the black wire with a spade connector. After that, the air bag should be free of the steering wheel. Make sure you put the airbag in a safe place where nobody is going to touch it (DON'T BLOW UP YOUR FACE!).
5. You are now looking at the frame of the steering wheel and the clock spring/roll connector that has 3 connectors on the top of it. From left to right - unplug the white connector on the left (cruise control), unplug the green connector in the middle (should only have one wire from it that connected to the steering wheel - which you disconnected in step 4 above). You can toss the green connector with the one wire - this will be replaced by the steering wheel controls.
6. Almost there - to install the steering wheel controls, you have to remove the steering wheel so you can access the back of it (there is one screw for each steering wheel control).
Using the 17mm socket and a breaker bar (do not use torque wrench - and make sure your driver side window is down or door open - you don't want the breaker bar to shatter your window!), loosen the 17mm nut that holds the steering wheel on. It is best to leave the nut on the steering column till you have pulled the steering wheel off so you don’t smack yourself in the face trying to pull off the steering wheel when it finally decides to let go. You can also use a steering wheel puller if you have one available. To remove the steering wheel, I put my hands at 9 and 3 o'clock, and pulled back and forth (alternating) until I felt it loosen. It will loosen - it took like 20 back and forths before it did so. Once loose remove the nut, but before removing the steering wheel, note the following:
***Be careful when pulling off the steering wheel - the airbag wires from the clock spring pass through the steering wheel, be mindful not to rip the wires or make the clock spring spin.***
***Be careful once the wheel is removed - MAKE SURE THE CLOCK SPRING DOES NOT SPIN EXCESSIVELY. IT WILL RUIN THE CLOCK SPRING (THE BLACK CIRCLE THING WITH THE 3 CONNECTORS ON IT***
***Once the steering wheel is off, take your tape and tape the sides of the clock spring so it cannot spin.***
7. Install your steering wheel controls to the wheel, or swap in the wheel that has the SWC. Remove the tape from the Clock spring.
8. Reinstall the steering wheel. Using your torque wrench, torque the nut to 33 ft/lbs.
9. Reconnect the cruise control connector (white) to the clock spring. Connect the SWC connector (green) into the middle connector, and black ground spade connector to the airbag.
10. Reattach the orange and black airbag connectors to the airbag (pay attention - make sure they are matched up!).
11. Put airbag back into position, and tighten the TORX bolts. Do not overtigthen. You are done.
STEP 2. Wiring SWC and ASWC Module
- Phillips screw driver
- 3x posi-lock connectors (may want more)
- 2x posi-tap connectors
- 1x circle terminals (for ground to chassis)
- 16-18 gauge wire (may want to extend wires)
- Wire strippers
- Trim removal tools (to help remove center console)
- Small zip ties (for wire management)
Step 1. Remove panels and center console
- Remove lower kick panel below steering wheel (two philips screws, loosen tabs, pull straight out). Disconnect OBDII connector, fog light connector, etc.
- Remove center dash panel that houses radio and hvac controls - you'll need access to the radio and the radio wiring harness. You may even need to remove the radio if you have it in the stock location (mine is in the dash pod so I didn't need to remove it). Use trim removal tools - can be a ***** to get out, but be patient and don't break anything. Will also have to remove the shifter housing, which pops right out.
Step 2. Locate ST1/B68 Connector:
Near the bottom of the steering column, you'll find the ST1/B68 connector. While it's difficult to see, the ST1 connector connects directly to the Clock Spring/Roll Connector that you plugged the SWC into (after removing the airbag). If you have difficulty finding it, refer to the pics below. Identify it with the wires colors. If you need more room to operate, once you find the connector you can follow the wires up and disconnect them from the bulky wiring bundle so you can pull the ST1 wires straight down below your steering wheel.
Once you have the ST1 connector exposed, cut
the following wires right at the connector (see pic):
Pin 2: Light Blue
Pin 6: White
Pin 7: Green/Red
Pin 8: Black/White
Step 3: Wiring
Then get out your extra wire and connectors, ground ring, along with your ASWC unit. Complete the wiring as follows:
After that - secure the ASWC unit - I used double sided tape. Use some zip ties for wire management. Put everything back together - and you should be set. You may need to program the ASWC manually - the "auto detect" did not work for me.
Let me know if I made any mistakes - I hope this is helpful for everyone. Here is the finished product: