('06-'08) Installing Steering Wheel Controls - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-19-2017, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Installing Steering Wheel Controls

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.
See below.







Wheel Controls:

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

Tools needed:
- 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

Tools needed:
- 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:




Last edited by Wangta; 09-20-2017 at 12:04 PM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 02:37 AM
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I've had my steering wheel with audio controls bought from the wreckers since last December (nine months ago) sitting in the lounge room. Thanks for the write up!


Australian MY06 Regal Blue XSL Auto
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbean View Post
I've had my steering wheel with audio controls bought from the wreckers since last December (nine months ago) sitting in the lounge room. Thanks for the write up!
Yes sir - let me know how it goes. And let me know if any steps are confusing - happy to help and improve the write up if needed.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wangta View Post
Yes sir - let me know how it goes.
Ha ha, I was keen when looking for the steering wheel, now that I don't drive the Foz as often it's on the back burner - you know I also have a powered underseat subwoofer sitting in my office since January as well?

But thanks again. I will try to get the tools together as well. It's hard when I live in an apartment block so can't leave a car half baked in a garage which would be more my style. And all this started because I wanted CarPlay. I've got that unit 85% installed - it works, but SWC would be nice as it's just a bit of a stretch, and I also wanted to add a rear parking camera. I've got that sitting somewhere too! LOL

Australian MY06 Regal Blue XSL Auto
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2017, 05:04 AM
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Finally got my steering wheel installed. I did the install with the cruise control on the steering wheel as well not behind. The cruise works, illumination works but can't get this stupid interface to work.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2017, 06:46 AM
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If you are following the write-up on NASIOC make sure you wired in the Metra ASWC box correctly, as there was a typo on the wiring colours in the original write-up.

If you read the 2nd last comment on that thread, that will help clear things in that regard. https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/sho....php?t=2117392

Make sure to download the Axxess Box Updater software and install the newest version onto the box, you can also manually select the type of radio it will be communicating with. If you will be using it with an OEM headunit, most of them are either made by Panasonic or Clarion etc. If you pull the headunit, it will state it on a label on the backside of the unit.

Here are the Metra ASWC box install instructions if anyone needs it: http://metraonline.com/files/products/INSTASWC_web.pdf

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05 Impreza RS Sport 5MT
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2017, 07:04 AM
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I connected the Green and red wire from the steering wheel to the grey and red from the interface unit

And the white wire to the ground

The interface does see it's a kenwood unit I am using. But nothing is working when I press.

The led light on the interface is solid green
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2017, 08:57 AM
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Excellent write up. Pictures are great. Adding this to my to-do list now :)
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2017, 11:13 AM
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I'll post pics as well later

I just noticed something in the link you posted.

You can connect the negative of the illumination and the swc together?
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 11:23 AM
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I do not believe this modification is possible on the 2004 Forester XT without replacing the clockspring. Our clocksprings on the MY04 do not have the same plugs and wires protruding as your MY06 clockspring does.



My 2004 FXT clockspring only has 1 connector, like in these photos ^^



Your 2006 FXT clockspring has 3 connectors

Maybe some of the gurus can comment if there is a way around this?

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 01:55 PM
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great write up did this today on my 05 with a kenwood and automatically worked. would be perfect if the controls flipped through my presets rather than scroll through stations, does anyone know how to make that happen
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cre8value View Post
I do not believe this modification is possible on the 2004 Forester XT without replacing the clockspring. Our clocksprings on the MY04 do not have the same plugs and wires protruding as your MY06 clockspring does.


Maybe some of the gurus can comment if there is a way around this?
im sure it can be done..if you pull back the black cover to see the color wires, then you would have to follow those wires on the back of the clock spring and see which go where and splice accordingling the wrx are different as well someone posted a link earlier in the thread and there was some soldering involved a little more complex
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 01:27 PM
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Is this "Metra Axxess ASWC-1 Universal Steering Wheel Control Interface" compatible with Alpine receivers?

VF34, TMIC, ELH
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Yes i believe it will work with Alpine - but you can verify on their website.


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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-29-2018, 02:42 AM
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Hello

I am just about to order a wheel for to do this to my 2006 XS Forester,
Does anyone here have any experience with replacing the stock 06' XS wheel which has NO Steering wheel controls, to one which does which in this case is going to be an 07' Forester Steering Wheel.

I am concerned that the connections required for the SWC are not present, does anyone have any experience here?

I have attached an image of the wheel which is in my car now and the wheel which i am looking at purchasing, and once I purchase the wheel i am going to buy SWC's for the wheel as it doesn't come with any.

Thanks
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