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Steering Wheel Swap

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As you probably can tell, I want to start personalizing my '06 GMC Envoy SLT to an extent. Thanks to all the input on the rim question in the other post. Now for something else...


One "luxury" feature of modern vehicles I like is the leather and wood steering wheel. The Envoy SLT model never offered it, but the Envoy Denali came standard with one (pictured above). The "wood" on the wheel matches the "wood" on my dash, so I think it would be a great item for me to enjoy. Of course I don't have the tools needed, so either I would have to find someone that does or take it to a shop/dealer to have it done. Anyone have an idea of how difficult this is, or how expensive it would be if done by a professional? There's three "salvage yards" near me with modern iron, so that is where I would start my search (of course eBay has them between $99-$249, but I think it will be cheaper finding one in a local salvage yard). I don't want the airbag - mine's fine - and the steering wheel cover can stay too (I don't want the Denali cap, I'm happy with my GMC one).

Another add-on I'm planning, but not anytime soon, is the GM Accessories chrome and painted door handles:



Too tacky???

Edited by GMTruckGuy74
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Swapping the wheels isn't too hard... you just need a steering wheel puller... $10-$15 at your local Parts place. Disconnect the airbag safety wire under the dash (bright yellow). Typically, you'll have a few screws (Torx (on new ones) or phillips) in the back that hold the airbag/cover. Under that, there is a big nut. Remove that. Mark the position of the wheel and shaft. Put the puller on, crank it a few times, and it comes right off. Use the big nut to push the wheel back on.

On a good day, its a 10 minute routine.

I'm assuming here that the two wheels are sharing typical GM parts bin parts... I.E., the same steering wheel controls, etc.

Also, if you buy the wheel from a junkyard, I've found that a lot of junkyards are a PITA about separating the wheel and airbag, since some are kind of a matched set... the airbag and cover are packaged together... but having a spare airbag (granted, one with the wrong emblem) can be a bonus later.

Doing the door latches is more work, and I'm not sure it would be worth the hassle.

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Not sure about GMT360s, but on cars I've dealt with swapping out door handles is a pretty straightforward process. Remove the door panel. Disconnect the latch cable and lock cable. There's usually 2 bolts, 10mm or so holding it on. Then you just maneuver it out.

Inside door handles are more ticky because they're held in place with a pin, and you have to be careful not to break the plastic housing.

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Not sure about GMT360s, but on cars I've dealt with swapping out door handles is a pretty straightforward process. Remove the door panel. Disconnect the latch cable and lock cable. There's usually 2 bolts, 10mm or so holding it on. Then you just maneuver it out.

Oh, I didn't mean to imply they are difficult, but much more work since you have to tear open 4 doors.

Also, since doors get slammed all the time and are held together with retainers that tend to get broken or damaged, I don't like pulling apart door unless its absolutely needed. GM cars get creaky and fall apart fast enough without, say, the guys at BestBuy helping it along while putting in upgraded door speakers with a giant prybar, sawszall and 2 miles of electrical tape. ;-)

Thanks for the info, SAmadei. And you statement above made me realize I forgot to say that when I do buy the door handles, those will definitely be a dealer-installed item!!

Your welcome. The steering wheel sounds like a good upgrade that you will enjoy.

I don't know what kind of pricing the dealer and you have worked out, but opening four doors up can be a laborious proposition, and I'm not sure its worth the upgrade. Especially knowing that GM wants $2-$3 for each tree retainer they break at the parts counter.

Back when I got the Bonneville, it had a broken driver's side mirror and the dealer offered to fix it. I also asked them to fix the plastic molding on the rear door. Well, both required opening up the doors... and everything was fine for about 2 years. By then the goo they used to hold everything together started to drip out of the interior parts and everything start rattling. 8-0 After taking it apart to inspect, whoever took apart the door broke clips and retainers left and right... and didn't bother replacing the retainers... just goo'd everything together...so I had to clean it all up, replace most of the clips and hunt junkyards for a few pieces.

Many doors I've opened myself suffer some damage or looseness if I don't replace every last retainer, so if the dealer does the swap make sure he does.

For me, I now need a compelling reason to open the doors up... something broken. ;-)

Edited by SAmadei
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Great food for thought, SAmadei. I don't have any problems with the door panels, and the truck will be turning 5 years old next month. I am definitely reconsidering this modification. While searching for pics, I did find some postings of Envoy/Bravada/Rainier owners that found chrome overlays that seemed to work for the effect I desire. I just don't want something that looks like it came from Pep Boys :confused0071:

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