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Replacing the steering wheel in a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado. Doable with junkyard parts?

I recently purchased a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado truck with approximately 200,000 miles on it. It runs great, and is in decent condition body-wise, but the interior needs some help. This was used as a work truck, and in addition to tearing up the seat, the people who drove it somehow managed to tear up the foam rubber material on the steering wheel, so the metal underneath is exposed. Also, the horn does not work unless I push super-hard, and I assume that’s part of the airbag module.

So my question is if I purchase a complete steering wheel from a junkyard–with the airbag module–can I install this myself without needing a factory scan tool or anything of that nature? I heard that some vehicles have the VIN programmed into the airbag modules, or require reprogramming of the SRS computer. Obviously, I understand the safety procedures involved in doing this type of work, and I own a steering wheel puller tool.

I am sure they sell steering wheel cover for your vehicule.Google is your best friend here.

You could patch the existing one in place. They sell the same 2 part expanding foam used to make the wheel, or use something like this product:

You’d want to wrap it quickly to constrain it and reduce the amount of trimming required. The existing foam and these products are easily worked using acetone or mek and a scrubbing pad. You can even achieve the same surface pattern using a heat gun and texture pad. An option to avoid labor of r&r…

Sure you can. Driver air bag and clock spring (if needed) are plug and play. No programming required.


Thank you!

Believe me, this has nothing to do with the way it was used

The GM foam style steering wheels from that time weren’t high quality

As for the horn, I could tell you what it’s going to take to fix it, but you probably won’t like it

By the way, your idea of buying the junkyard parts still won’t fix the problem with the horn

Do you want to hear it . . . beware it typically requires some special tools, extremely good eye sight, a lot of patience, and you don’t mind stabbing yourself in the finger and palm


What does it take (if the junkyard horn switch/clockspring, etc. do not work OK?)

I would go the junkyard option if I can find good parts there. Might even test the horn before deciding on which steering wheel to pull. A wiring diagram and an ohmmeter would help if no battery is in the junkyard truck.

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slip rings . . . also known as turn signal cancel cam in this instance

turn signal switch

The slip rings get grooved and wavy

The turn signal has a spring-loaded contact which wears out

The horn contacts are usually not the problem for this particular truck

The parts won’t be good

The horn contact will have the problems I mentioned, so will the turn signal switch. If you hold a new turn signal switch next to the old one, you’ll see just how worn out the contact is

I’ve done a lot of these repairs at work . . . there’s no quick fix

Remove the airbag

Remove the steering wheel

Use the lock plate depressor AND and additional gm special tool to remove the clip, and then the slip ring, spring and so forth

Replace turn signal switch

You get the picture

I’ve seen lots of guys take short cuts, and it almost never works out satisfactorily

Thanks for describing that. Maybe a mechanic familiar with the job would be tickled pink to have the steering wheel assembly brought in, able to be fixed on the bench?

Fortunately, the turn signals work fine, and the auto-cancel mechanism works fine as well. I just need to replace the steering wheel because most of the foam is gone, and the metal layer (die cast zinc?) is sharp on the back. I just ordered the used steering wheel and airbag assembly online, will install it next weekend.

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It’s not the steering wheel assembly that’s the problem

It’s what underneath, in the steering column

Sure the turn signal works fine, as does the auto-cancel mechanism

Doesn’t change the fact that the contacts on the turn signal switch and the corresponding slip rings on the cancel cam are most likely worn to the point that the horn no longer works the way it’s supposed to

I’m out of here, since some of you seem to be doubting me . . . pointless for me to stick around, I’ll just move to another discussion

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Hypothetically speaking, if replacing the steering wheel and airbag module does not result in a properly-functioning horn, how much does it cost (ballpark) to have this additional repair done, which sounds too difficult to DIY?