Bumper to bumper, tires to roofline, there’s nothing you can’t customize on a late model Mustang. It’s one of those cars that nobody seems to leave stock, and whether it’s performance mods or styling upgrades, it’s easy to personalize your pony car to your liking.
One area that usually remains showroom stock, though, is the steering wheel – chances are the part of the car you come in contact with the most is exactly the same as it was when the car rolled off the assembly line, and for a good reason. Replacing the steering used to mean disabling the factory airbag. Now, Grant’s new Revolution line of custom steering wheels finally allow you to customize your Mustang’s wheel without losing this critical safety feature.
If you spend as much of your day surfing YouTube as we do, you’ve probably seen an airbag or two go off – a loose airbag module wired up as an improvised prank device (IPD) is a staple of amateur video, but it’s easy to see that there’s a considerable amount of energy stored in the supplemental restraint system, and it has to be treated with respect if you have any concern for your own safety. With a little care on your part and Grant’s easy to follow instructions, though, removing and replacing the airbag module in your Mustang is a safe and straightforward process.
Per Grant’s Dennis Noonchester, there’s more engineering and design involved than you might think. “In our initial development of the Revolution steering wheel, Grant was careful to consult our OEM Tier One partners to make sure we were in compliance with airbag removal safety regulations and airbag deployment conditions,” he explains. “Since Grant is a supplier to the OEM market through our Tier One partners, it was very helpful to resource their engineers, technologies and safety requirement data.” That close relationship with the factory means that the Revolution wheel performs just like the stock Mustang wheel in the event of a crash.
Grant's detailed installation instructions for the Revolution steering wheel use illustrations and procedures taken directly from Ford's factory service manual to ensure safety.
Along with the OEM airbag module, the Revolution wheel also retains all the factory switchgear, so in addition to keeping the factory safety device, you won’t lose any convenience either. Grant utilizes the factory frame as the core, to which they add their custom grip and inserts. The frame accepts all the original hardware, so what you end up with is a steering wheel that looks and feels completely different than stock, without any compromises in functionality.
Grant provides an application-specific manual that details every step in the swap, right down to how the different connectors look, and what order each part comes off and goes back on. There’s no one-size-fits-all photocopied sheet of instructions here – each Revolution wheel comes with specific directions, because each manufacturer does things a little bit differently, and the correct method for making sure that the SRS is disabled and safe to work on varies, as does the way you test the system for correct operation when the job is complete.
Don’t let the idea of working with the factory passive restraint system give you pause, though. Per Noonchester, “The perception of removing an airbag was certainly a barrier for this product. Removing an airbag was perceived as ‘dangerous’ or off limits to the DIY’er, when in fact if executed properly (according to the tech manual) there is zero risk of the airbag deploying. The DIY’er can perform this procedure as long as he takes care to read and follow the instructions.”
Let’s take a look at how we upgraded our 2010 project Mustang with a Revolution wheel to show you some highlights of how it’s done:
After following the detailed instructions from Grant to disable the SRS electronics and disconnecting the battery, the airbag module can be safely removed and set aside.
Once the module is out of the way, the bolt that retains the wheel can be accessed and removed.
When removing the stock wheel, it's a good idea to mark the "straight up" position on the shaft so that when you install the new wheel, you can clock it properly.
With the stock wheel removed, the steering column is ready to accept the new Grant wheel as soon as the switches are transferred over.
Comparing the stock wheel (on the left) to the Grant Revolution wheel, you can see the difference. The Revolution uses a leather grip with perforated leather inserts, and is shaped to provide a more ergonomic feel as well as additional clearance at the bottom of the wheel rim.
The stock control modules and switches are removed from the factory wheel and installed in the new Revolution frame.
The new Grant wheel goes back on the steering column just like the stock one came off, and the center bolt is torqued to spec.
The Mustang's two airbag connectors are keyed differently so it's impossible to get them switched up. When handling the module, you should always carry it with the trim cover pointed away from your body, and when setting it down it should always be placed face up. Grant recommends sitting it on the floor in the passenger side footwell while you work.
The airbag module is retained by two small bolts on the sides of the steering wheel.
The finished installation shows how the new Grant Revolution wheel changes the look and feel of the part of your Mustang you touch the most.
With the new Grant Revolution wheel installed, our Mustang’s control feel is completely transformed, with hand-filling grips at the ten and two positions – it literally feels like a different car. The Revolution is available for the Mustang with red, gray, or black perforated leather inserts to match your interior, for both base- and premium-style steering wheels.
As we learned first-hand installation is straightforward and takes no time. “The procedure, following the proper steps is relatively simple,” says Noonchester. “The average air bag steering wheel replacement takes approximately 30 – 40 minutes. Removal instructions are available on our web site at Grantproducts.com. We have also provided installation videos to help understand the steps involved in the airbag removal and replacement steering wheel installation.”
Grant is adding new applications in the Revolution line of steering wheels all the time, so check their website for a current list of cars and trucks.