How-To: Ford FR500 Steering Wheel Install For 1994-2004 Mustangs


The FR500 Steering Wheel, which comes to us from Ford, is a racing-style steering wheel that was featured in the Ford Racing Technology’s FR500 Mustang. The project car was to be a showcase of parts that Mustang owners could purchase to increase the performance and look of their Mustang.

So far, very few parts from the FR500 have been released, but, fortunately, the steering wheel has. It is one of the very few racing-style steering wheels available that allow for a stock-for-stock swap from the regular steering wheel. It allows for airbag, horn, and cruise control placement in the stock location.

The key feature to the FR500 wheel is that it is substantially fatter than the stock leather-wrapped steering wheel. The stock leather wheel measures 1.21″ thick, while the FR500 measures 1.42″. The feel is very noticeable. Also, there are perforations in the 3:00 and 9:00 postions to help with hand sweat, and the leather feels much softer than the stock one. It is also configured identically the same as the stock wheel, so replacing it is a very simple process. The wheel sells for ~$180 from various places. Gene Evans Ford is one source that I have found for them.

This article shows an install of the FR500 Steering Wheel on a 2001 Mustang. The wheel is listed as fitting 94-01 Mustangs, but the procedure is slightly different with some of the accessories. As with all procedures, consult the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations first. This is just How-I-Did-It.

The Hardware:

I purchased the steering wheel used from a friend. The only part that comes with the steering wheel is the wheel itself.

Preparation:

Workspace: A well lit area that allows you to open the driver’s side door.
Tools: 3/8 ratchet; 5/16 deep socket, T50 Torx bit and socket, steering wheel puller/gear puller, allen wrench, fat handle Phillips screwdriver, small standard screwdriver.
Parts: Nothing extra needed.
Left-over Parts:
Stock steering wheel.

Quick Instructions:

  1. Getting started
  2. Remove airbag
  3. Remove horn contact switches
  4. Remove connectors and additional screws
  5. Remove steering wheel
  6. Install the new steering wheel
  7. Install connectors, switches, screws
  8. Install airbag
  9. Finish up

Procedure:
Note:
Some full-sized images have additional information, arrows, etc.

(Click thumbnail for full-sized image)
Getting Started
When parking the car, be sure the wheels are straight and the steering wheel is in the straight-ahead position.

Next, disconnect the battery. This EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!! The airbag is fired by an electrical charge. If you do not disconnect the battery, you will risk discharging the airbag, and that is not good. It can be dangerous. Wait at least ten minutes (per SRS mandate) to allow the depletion of the airbag backup power supply.


Remove the Airbag
Pop the two steering wheel spoke covers from either side of the steering wheel. This will open the access to the airbag retaining screws. Remove the screws with the 5/16″ socket.
Carefully lift the airbag straight off the wheel.
Disconnect the yellow wire from the airbag module. Once the airbag module is detached, set aside. Be sure to put it cover-down. The white plastic part of the airbag (which contains the charge) will be pointing up.

Remove Horn Contact Switches
Remove the four allen head bolts that fasten the horn switches to the steering wheel. Lift them up and place them out of the way.

Remove the Additional Fasteners
Remove the two Phillips screws in the center of the wheel. Disconnect the black wire harness.
Next remove the cruise control switches. There are 2 phillips screws on each switch (use fat handled screwdriver for these). Slip them off and set off to the side.

Remove the Steering Wheel
Remove the steering wheel bolt. The bolt uses a T50 Torx bit to remove it.

Once the bolt is removed, position the wheel puller/gear puller* onto the steering wheel as shown. Slowly pull the wheel off of the shaft.

NOTE: Use care when removing the steering wheel. It should not take a lot of force.

*A steering wheel / gear puller can be purchased or rented from your local auto parts store.


Install the New Steering Wheel
Slip the new steering wheel onto the steering wheel shaft. DO NOT FORCE OR POUND IT ON – THIS WILL CREATE SLOP IN YOUR STEERING!

Insert the steering wheel bolt and begin threading. Once it is snug, turn the wheel slightly right and pinch into place with your leg. Continue to tighten the steering wheel bolt to 28 foot pounds.


Install Connectors, Switches, and Screws
First, install the two small phillips screws in the center of the wheel. Reconnect the black wire connector at the top of the steering wheel.

Next, install the cruise control switches. The bottom part of the switches slide onto the metal piece on the wheel. The top part of the switch sits on top of the metal tab.

Install the 2 horn contact switches with the allen bolts.The horn switches should push in and out easily when installed properly.
Install the 2 horn contact switches with the allen bolts.The horn switches should push in and out easily when installed properly. Insure all screws and connectors are installed.

Install the Airbag
Reconnect the yellow wire to the airbag module. Point the airbag module away from you while you do this (just to be safe). Slowly slip the airbag back into place. Install the two airbag retainer screws and spoke covers.


Finishing Up!
Pick up your stuff and reconnect the battery. Test out your horn, then sit behind the wheel and make vroom sounds while you grip your new wheel!!

Its Done!

Another very simple modification for your Mustang. The FR500 has a great feel, looks very good, and is able to use all of your current steering wheel accessories.

That’s it!

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FnSweet

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