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Old 07-14-2019, 02:56 AM   #1
Clutch Dog
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949 Racing 50mm Spacer Install W/Photos

At 6 Foot 4, I was forced ( literal arm twisted) to accept myself in what I jokingly call the "biggest, small car" I could find. After literally trying every other option out there that wasnt BNW or ending in iat. I got myself a 15 FRS.

Coming quite literally from the Miata world as an ND owner ( which I do miss..)

I had bought myself one of Giacomo's Steering Wheel Spacers for the ND Miata and it does exactly the same as this one. Now, I won't confirm or deny where the spacer came from, but I will say this. The Spacer I had purchased from 949 came wrapped in Italian newspaper and was about 100 bucks cheaper than getting it from Girol, himself. So I applaud 949 on being proactive...



That said this is a DIY on how to Install your new 949 Steering Wheel Spacer.
First a Disclaimer:

The Following is not endorsed by 949 Racing, and should be concluded as a guide, less instructions. I cannot be held responsible for your actions; myself and 949 are not to blame for improper installation or mis-use. And the following opinions and guidelines are not in anyway intended to speak for 949 or anyone associated with FT86club. User Discretion is advised

Please refer to Factory Service Manuals for official how to instructions and torque specs.

There is a huge announcement thread as well as a bunch of yodels talking about justification for buying the spacer Here

The Spacer came Packaged with peanuts and newspaper:


(Click on the Image for Full Resolution)

Below are the tools I have used, You will need:


1. Torque Wrench that can read up to or exceeding 29 ft lbs ( I used a 1/2 in drive)
2. Breaker Bar (1/2in again)
3. 17 and 19 mm Sockets (1/2 inch)
4. 1/2 in extention
5. 5mm long handle allen key/wrench
6. Flat head screw Driver, medium sized
7. Philips head screw driver: Optional*
8. Paint Pen: Optional*
9. Battery Wrench: Optional*
10. Small Flat head Screw driver ( smaller the better)
11. Medium Locktite: Optional*

Factory Torque Spec for the Steering Wheel Nut is 29 Ft - Lbs.
(I torqued mine to 30 for simplicity)
I Torqued the Spacer nut to the same 29* ft-lbs
I Torqued the Adapter Hex Bolts to "Finger Tight" And then turned it one half of flat after (Im a ford guy..)

Step 1: Unplug Battery

We do this to prevent the horn from going off or the highly unlikely but still probably inadvertent airbag detonation. Airbags are to be handled like a loaded gun, always!
(Hi Perrin)

Step 2: Assemble your tools in the passenger seat and take a gander at the Steering Wheel. You will be looking for three Ports on the steering Column that gain access to the Air Bag Removal Pins

The Three Holes are located to the left of center, the right of center, and bottom of center



In Particular we are reaching for the Removal Pins with the Flat Head, be careful what you stab in there. Some stuff does not react well to Screwdrivers ..


This is what the Pins look like after you have removed the airbag, for conceptual knowledge


Step 3. Remove the Airbag

Your Airbag will pop out and sag a little, as you pull back you will see...

Wires. Do not tug these wires, they are important to maintain safety and convenience functions of your steering wheel.

We will begin by removing the Horn Button. Outlined Below are the different Plugs

The airbag Plugs are removed with a flat head screw driver and lifting up on the tab before removing the plug. Be ginger but firm. Like spanking your 3 year old for the first time.




The Airbag will be free at this point. place face down away from the car.


Now you have access to the Cruise Control Plug. Notice it has a holding bracket and a push connector.

I did not do this originally but you will want to loosen the two screws holding the Cruise Control module in place, and keep handy. You will need to loosen then to re-install the plug when the spacer is installed as tolerances are tight

Step 3. Steering Wheel removal

I marked the center turning shaft as well as the steering wheel itself with a paint pen. I was taught to mark it at 90 and then a 30 degree. I cant draw 30 degress from memory, but the idea is to be able to center up the wheel and the steering input shaft if you should revert back to stock as well as have the shaft marked for center with any alternative wheel or spacer.


Attach your 17mm to your breaker and lock the steering wheel straight ( btw I didn't mention, make sure your wheels are straight)

And give the nut a pop. It should come out relatively easily, remember to use counter torque

Now that the nut is loose, DO NOT REMOVE Leave the nut on the threads and give the Wheel a Jostle


My Prefered method is to give the wheel a shake, then shimmy left to right HARD, and then shimmy some more and working it out towards you. Newer cars are nice to work on so it came out relatively easily.


Next, be sure to notice your wires from the Cruise Control, Airbag and Horn are attached to the clock spring. Be careful when pulling them through the *ahem* SMALL HOLE in the steering wheel. Do not yank these cables. The Clock Spring is expensive and costly to replace.



Step 4. Prepare and Install the Spacer
Your Spacer will have 6 Allen Head bolts holding the adapter onto the base.
Make note of the "this side up" and notice the base has two holes the smaller of which goes up as well.

Im gonna show you the holes, please do not get this wrong.






Feed your wires through the hole and Thread in the hex headed bolts


Here we will apply a small amount of Locktite* And torque the 17mm Nut to 29 ft-lbs, use counter torque but realize 29 ft lbs is not as much as you think. It's a firm handshake..


This side up for a reason..

Using standard engineering practises ( english pun) We will use a star pattern for tightening.

Starting with the rightmost center nut I brought each to hand tight
Then around again bringing them to "One Half of flat"

Note: For those of you who do not know what "Half of Flat is" A Flat refers to the flat portion of the hex, tightening one half of flat means you go to finger tight, and then you turn the hex so one pointy end of the hex is sitting in the middle of where the flat was. Essentially you are turning the bolt 30 degrees after being hand tight. Thank you Ford..



I added Locktite to the allen bolts as well, and then marked them with a Paint pen. Later on I can pop off the airbag and look to see if any allen bolts are rotating themselves loose. ( honestly this is great practise)

Step 5: Re-install Wheel
We will feed the wires through the small hole.
This is the part where you can feed the nut on the Adapter for the steering wheel, and Torque it down to 29 ft - lbs


After this, I backed out the screws from the Cruise Control Unit, and connected the white connector and screwed it back down

The spacing will be tight, but reconnect the airbag and horn wires and pop the airbag back in place.



The spacer works wonders. and with the telescoping wheel you can play with the distance you want.
For me, All the way out!
You can see the before and after arm angles from my seating position. The spacer does such a great job I even slid my seat forward a hair (all that knee room now) for a better seating position, and invariably... more helmet room. Ill have to re-do my harnesses but I am loving it



I hope you enjoyed the Install. and You enjoy a quality part. This should bring us joy and I will see you, out on the road!



Optional Stuff:

After the airbag is removed you can paint the steering wheel trim piece, which I had done.. I am not sure I love it, but I dont hate it and it is done. It can be removed with two philips head screws and a little pop out action.



I used 200 grit to scuff up the surface then laid down primer, a quick sand with 600 and ready for paint. finish off with a quick 1000 grit to get rid of the dirt nibs and then clear coat, and I hand polish with 2000 and then a clean rag.





And Finished! ( need a subaru emblem...)
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:30 AM   #2
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Thanks! Excellent tutorial.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:03 PM   #3
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Nice write-up. A quick question. I'm 6'6" and have no chance under the sun of getting into the driver's seat of a Miata. NONE. There is no way to move my legs because they are pinned under the steering wheel. I tried and had to call my son the fire fighter to extract me. On top of that (literally) I wind up looking over the top of the windscreen. There is no chance of the top going down and my head becomes the top of the roll cage.

How do you do it?
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:10 PM   #4
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Yes, how do you do it? Im just shy of 6 6. No way I can fit in one.
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:23 PM   #5
Clutch Dog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Spaulding View Post
Nice write-up. A quick question. I'm 6'6" and have no chance under the sun of getting into the driver's seat of a Miata. NONE. There is no way to move my legs because they are pinned under the steering wheel. I tried and had to call my son the fire fighter to extract me. On top of that (literally) I wind up looking over the top of the windscreen. There is no chance of the top going down and my head becomes the top of the roll cage.

How do you do it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by new2subaru View Post
Yes, how do you do it? I’m just shy of 6’ 6”. No way I can fit in one.

In the ND, I had to hunch down a little with the top up, if you autox you do it with the top down rain or shine. We played with the stock seat for a while I even bought another set of ND Miata seats to tear apart and look at on how to lower it and bolt it hard mount to the floor pans to no avail. Ended up trading it in for the FRS as you there is more room front to back and a little more room between the head and the roof.

The Spacer Giacomo makes helps with the knee situation and makes getting in and out a sinch, But inevitably you cannot fit in there with a roll bar and helmet at our sizes. Ultimately that is why I am in an twin now.

My attempt at Hacking the stock seat to lower it. COuld only gain about a half inch to 3/4 of an inch and lose adjustability

Follow the Link to the Miata Forum where I posted my excursion with my shop

This is basically what caused me to sell the car: I am sitting on the floor


And With a helmet I wouldnt pass any roll over broomstick test

Last edited by Clutch Dog; 07-17-2019 at 12:36 PM.
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