How-to: Heated Leather Steering Wheel with SWC ['09+] - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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How-to: Heated Leather Steering Wheel with SWC ['09+]

This is my (long, picture-heavy) writeup of how to do the heated leather wheel mod.
First I will list the required items and then I will outline a two-part process to complete the mod.


You will need:
- 2009+ Xterra - this guide only involves what's required for an 09+ Xterra because those have the same harness pin-out as the 09+ Pathfinders, which means a lot less work. This mod will work on models below '09, but more effort(and maybe a new clockspring) will be required.

- 2009+ Pathfinder heated leather wheel(eBay for new, junkyard for 'lightly used')

Part one: Prepping the Pathfinder wheel. You can do this inside which is nice.
1) Look at the Pathfinder steering wheel. Get comfortable with it. Love it.



2) You've noticed that there's 8 connectors in the grey harness, right? Here is a pin-out of those connectors, thanks to another forum user:

Note that our 2009+ xterras are the same as 2009 Pathfinders, so we are only concerned with the 2009 pathfinder diagram, not the '06 frontier one.

Here are the connections(Thanks to forum user MikeS)
Below steering wheel(steering column connector):
Xterra wiring
21(0) Pink-Illum (wheel pink)
20(1) White-Aud2 (wheel white)
19(2) Yellow-Horn (wheel green)
18(3) Yellow-Illum (wheel yellow)
17(4) Brown-AudGnd (wheel brown)
16(5) Blue-Aud1 (wheel blue)
15(6) Black-CCgnd (wheel black)
14(7) SkyBlue-CC (wheel red)
Note that the colors on the dash(not airbag) side of the connector may vary, but your new wheel's(under airbag) connector must be pinned in this order(P,W,G,Y,BR,BL,BLK,R) if you are to be successful following this guide.

As you can see there's three ground wires. We have audio ground, cruise control ground, and illumination ground. We don't want to touch illumination ground since we want to keep the illumination function. We need to free up two of these to to run power for the heated steering wheel. We are ultimately going to use two wires for heated SW power(because the wires are very thin and might not be sufficient for the load of the heater), and ground the heating element, cruise control ground, and audio controls ground to a screw inside of the wheel.

3) Put together a ring terminal with one shorter wire and one longer wire, that will fit around the screw that holds in the audio controls:


4) Cut and strip black and brown(Cruise control ground and audio control ground, respectively):

3.5) Connect black and brown coming FROM THE STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS to the shorter wire. Cut the white harness of the heated steering harness(white connector, red and black wires, toward bottom of the inside of the wheel) and connect the heater element ground to the longer wire. Then ground the ring terminal by putting it on the torque #10 screw that holds down the steering wheel controls.



5) Connect the brown and black that are coming FROM THE GREY HARNESS to the positive wire of the heater element


6) Now, your wheel should look like this:

a) A ring terminal should connect audio control ground, cruise control ground, and heating element ground to a piece of metal within the wheel(ring terminal that holds down the steering wheel controls).
b) Brown and black from the harness-end are connected to positive(+) end of the heating element wiring

7) Now you need to go to your car, remove the negative battery terminal, wait 5 minutes, and then go disconnect your wheel. NOTE: If you fail to remove power or wait for the capacitors to drain, you might set off your airbag light. This will take a trip to the dealer(or a guide you can find on here) to fix.

To remove the wheel: stick a blunt object into the hole on the "bottom" of the wheel. Push hard and a mechanism inside the wheel will release the airbag. I suggest practicing how the mechanism works using your new replacement wheel so you can get a feel for it.


You will discover 3 wires that must be disconnected. One(singular green or yellow wire) is the horn wire. The two yellow and orange connectors are the airbag connectors. REMEMBER TO DISCONNECT POWER PRIOR TO F*CKING WITH THE AIRBAG CONNECTOR. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE OR PERSONAL INJURY RESULTING FROM FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE.

All the connectors can be removed fairly easily with a jewelers flat-head screwdriver. The technique for the airbag connectors is as follows: Use the flathead jewelers screwdriver to get under the black part of the connector, and pry it "up" so as to unlock the connectors from their sockets. Here's a photo of that(yellow connector has been pried up, orange has not yet):


8) CAREFULLY REMOVE THE AIRBAG/HORN ASSEMBLY. It is important to be extremely careful when handling airbags as they're essentially small explosive devices. You could easily knock yourself out(or worse) if you aren't careful while handling them. That said, they're also relatively safe if you're not stupid about it. Place the airbag in a safe place as that's going to get installed onto your new wheel.

Your wheel will look like this once you've done(The middle bolt is also removed, which is actually part of step 9 below)


9) Now you can see one large bolt in the center holding the wheel in. 3/4 inch socket. Remove the bolt, and pull the wheel off(this might take some oomph, be careful not to let the clockspring part or the wheel turn as you're pulling the wheel off. Also, there's a "mark"(indentation) both beneath the bolt and on the wheel. make sure to take a picture(or remember) where these two marks are in relation to each other as this will guide you to putting the new steering wheel back on in the correct place.
Here's a photo of those marks/indentations:


10) Connect new wheel in the opposite order as you took off last one. Remember the indentations I told you to remember the position of? Yeah, make sure you put your wheel back on in the right place. Also remember to re-connect your horn and airbag connectors(as well as the main grey harness, of course). The airbag/horn "piece" goes back into the wheel by just being pushed into place. The four grey standouts inside the wheel are meant to go inside of the springs on the airbag part.

11) Your new wheel is now ready to use, so far as your vehicle is concerned. You can re-connect power at this point(surely you've triple checked that your airbag is installed properly and was re-connected?). Cruise control and illumination should both work(NOT audio controls and heating, as we must modify the connector beneath the wheel(dash connector) to accommodate audio controls/heating

Part two: The under-wheel/"dash" connector
This part is less pic heavy because I had to go outside in the cold to do it and my first thought wasn't photos. But basically the pin-out from before:
Below steering wheel(steering column connector):
Xterra wiring
21(0) Pink-Illum (wheel pink)
20(1) White-Aud2 (wheel white)
19(2) Yellow-Horn (wheel green)
18(3) Yellow-Illum (wheel yellow)
17(4) Brown-AudGnd (wheel brown)
16(5) Blue-Aud1 (wheel blue)
15(6) Black-CCgnd (wheel black)
14(7) SkyBlue-CC (wheel red)

becomes:
Below steering wheel(steering column connector):
Xterra wiring
21(0) Pink-Illum (wheel pink)
20(1) White-Aud2 (wheel white)
19(2) Yellow-Horn (wheel green)
18(3) Yellow-Illum (wheel yellow)
17(4) Brown-Heating Element Positive (wheel brown)
16(5) Blue-Aud1 (wheel blue)
15(6) Black-Heating Element Positive (wheel black)
14(7) SkyBlue-CC (wheel red)

You can(and should) scroll back up to look at the diagram of the connector.

0) Remove the pins from your hold wheel's grey harness/connector so you can use them to pin your (modified) under-wheel/"dash" connector... I had exactly 3 in my old wheel which is the exact number I needed to re-pin the under-dash connector. If you look inside the female end of the connector you'll see the silver connectors, and beneath them little tabs that you can depress with a jewelers screwdriver(or a needle/safety pin) to remove the pins. You're going to need three.

1) Remove the two trim pieces below the wheel(bottom one that contains mirror controls(if so equipped) is undone with 2 screws, one that's visible at the bottom right side of the panel, and one that's between the kick panel and A-pillar inside the driver's door jamb. The one below the wheel is held in by (3) Philips head screws, two toward the right underside of the wheel and one toward the left.

2) (SKIP IF YOU DON'T WANT/CAN'T SUPPORT AUDIO CONTROLS):
a) Connect pins 1 and 5 using two of the pins you removed from your old steering wheel. Pin 1 is audio control 2, and Pin 5 is audio control 1. You don't need audio control ground because we grounded the audio controls to the inside of the wheel in the previous part of the guide. Connect these to your steering wheel control interface as applicable(if you installed your own aftermarket radio you should be capable of this, and this information will also be different for each person's application, so I'm going to leave it at this).
So now your under-wheel/"dash" harness should look something like this:


3) Connect heating element:
Pins 4 and 6 must now be connected to a positive energy source for our steering wheel heater. So add the third pin you removed from your old wheel to pin 4 of the under-wheel connector, and cut the black wire(pin 6) and wire them both to a 12v+ source.
Pictured: Pin 6 cut and stripped, ready to be connected to 12v+ along with the pin #4 that you just added:


You can either wire up a switch or tap into the heated mirrors circuit in the IPDM(I chose to go the IPDM route because the wire is energized when you have the defrost circuit "on", and is already fused, and shuts off with ignition):


4) Connect the wire from your switch(or the IPDM) to pins 4 and 6(you just added pin 4, and you just cut pin 6). Both of these get connected to your 12V+ source to power the wheel heater.

5) That's it. You now have working illumination, steering wheel controls(if you have an aftermarket head unit) and heating.
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Last edited by thatbigmoose; 04-03-2018 at 04:43 PM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 06:11 PM
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Good work dude! I've thought about doing this for a while and may add it to the year's project list now that someone has it written up nicely. Cheers!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CroftonBilly View Post
Good work dude! I've thought about doing this for a while and may add it to the year's project list now that someone has it written up nicely. Cheers!

Thanks! I'm glad someone will use it.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 10:35 AM
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Nice write up and thanks. I can finally finish this project. I bought the wheel last year but when I was getting ready to start wiring it up Photobucket pulled their nonsense and made the how to’s almost useless.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Primer View Post
Nice write up and thanks. I can finally finish this project. I bought the wheel last year but when I was getting ready to start wiring it up Photobucket pulled their nonsense and made the how to’s almost useless.
Yeah, I was actually able to salvage a lot of that user's guide by looking up the broken images on the wayback machine. Definitely was a good reference. Here's the (mostly) fixed old guide:


Quote:
Originally Posted by SinisterFrontier06 View Post
This will be completed in 3 parts, I will edit this post and add the 2 additional parts as I do them.


Things needed:
Masking Tape
Small Jewelers Flat Tip Screw Driver
Safety Pin
Electrical Tape

2009-2013 Pathfinder Heated Steering Wheel (I bought mine on ebay and as a bonus I found out mine was heated.)



Link to eBay deal thread for heated wheels:
eBay Deals: OEM Heated Steering Wheels with Illuminated Controls - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)

If you purchased a new leather steering wheel from ebay and are unsure if yours is heated or not, look for this two wire white plug:


2009-2013 Pathfinder Combination Switch with Heated Steering:


This also has that 2 wire white plug that indicates its for heated steering.

2009-2013 Pathfinder or 2004-? Maxima Heated Steering Switch w/Clipped Pigtail Harness:



Before you go any further disconnect the battery!

Before you start remove the steering wheel and steering wheel cover. Check your wire colors against the repinned harness I have pictured below if it matches you can skip re-pinning the harness as yours is plug and play. I know 2009+ is plug and play where no repin is required. If your wire order does not match you have to repin the harness by following the steps below.

Part 1:
Repinning of the harness to accept the new Pathfinder combination switch.

Ok if you know how to read wiring diagrams you will notice that the wires and functions between the Xterra combination switch and the pathfinder combination switch are the same but the pin outs are different so that means we have to de-pin the harness and re-pin it to match the pathfinder combination switch.

Here are the wire diagrams:

2007 Xterra:

2009 Pathfinder:


Before we de-pin the harness you will notice there is 2 blue wires and 2 orange wires. On one blue and one orange you will notice they have 2 silver dots on them close together those wires are for the front washer motor. You need to take a piece of masking tape and label them as so.

So now to de-pin the harness. With your jewelers screw driver pop these two white pieces off the combination switch harness (My harness color order at this point will look different than yours as this was done on a 2006 Frontier, the end result will be the same as the colors of the wires and their functions are the same between the Xterra and Frontier)


Now if you look down into the front of the harness, its hard to see but you will see little white tabs that hold the pins in, with your safety pin push those tabs back and the pin will slide out. After you de-pin the harness it will look something like this, (I used a different picture from another project as I forgot to take a picture of the de-pinned harness):



Once you have all the wires de-pinned you will want to re-pin them like so:



Should look like this when complete:






Tape the harness back up and thats all for that harness:


Now we need to re-pin the air bag harness (Yellow Plug). To de-pin this harness you need to pop up the white tab and de-pin the harness as you did the combination switch harness:


De-Pinned:


Re-Pin Like So:



Now the last harness we need to re-pin is the gray connector next to the yellow air bag connector. The easiest way to do this without having to repin the steering wheel harness is to pin the harness to the way your steering wheel is currently setup. This is especially effective if you did the illuminated steering wheel control mod prior to this.

I originally only had cruise control so I only had 3 wires in this harness and they were sky blue, black and brown. I later added illuminated steering controls as well as radio controls so the additional wires I used to pin the harness for those added features dont match original colors, so in order to repin the harness I went by numbers and matched the wires according to the new number order. So using this chart and masking tape mark your wires according to the number the correspond to:


You de-pin the harness in the same matter as you de-pinned the yellow air bag harness. Mine looked like this when I started:



And ended like this:



If you get confused on what I just tried to explain, use the brown and black wires as reference to the chart and that should help.

Put everything back together and reconnect the battery everything should work as normal besides the new auto lights setting on the multi switch as that is obviously not hooked up yet.

Stay tuned for part 2.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 03:51 PM
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Nice job!! I found a couple of those photos but I couldn't find them all. Now I got my confidence back on finishing this one of many projects on the X.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 02:16 PM
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So in a nutshell, you move the two ground signals to the steering column and then take those two connections to the heating elements of the wheel, correct?

Does anyone know what sort of current this draws? I've already wired up side view mirror defrosters and I'm wondering if I can tap that same wire to feed the mirrors and the heated wheel.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brambleheart View Post
So in a nutshell, you move the two ground signals to the steering column and then take those two connections to the heating elements of the wheel, correct?

Does anyone know what sort of current this draws? I've already wired up side view mirror defrosters and I'm wondering if I can tap that same wire to feed the mirrors and the heated wheel.
Yes I just replaced the grounds with 12V+ since you can get ground from pretty much anywhere on the chassis

Well the factory connector in the IPDM is for 10A and it hasn't blown, so < 10A. I'm talking out my ass here but I'd be surprised if it used more than 5 in practice

Edit: I did heated seats mod and have a 7.5A fuse and the two seat warmers running concurrently doesn't trip that fuse and the seats have way more area to heat. I think you'd be safe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatbigmoose View Post
Yes I just replaced the grounds with 12V+ since you can get ground from pretty much anywhere on the chassis

Well the factory connector in the IPDM is for 10A and it hasn't blown, so < 10A. I'm talking out my ass here but I'd be surprised if it used more than 5 in practice

Edit: I did heated seats mod and have a 7.5A fuse and the two seat warmers running concurrently doesn't trip that fuse and the seats have way more area to heat. I think you'd be safe
Awesome. Thanks.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brambleheart View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatbigmoose View Post
Yes I just replaced the grounds with 12V+ since you can get ground from pretty much anywhere on the chassis

Well the factory connector in the IPDM is for 10A and it hasn't blown, so < 10A. I'm talking out my ass here but I'd be surprised if it used more than 5 in practice

Edit: I did heated seats mod and have a 7.5A fuse and the two seat warmers running concurrently doesn't trip that fuse and the seats have way more area to heat. I think you'd be safe
Awesome. Thanks.
I want to make an addendum:

Doing this mod in the way I described made the cruise control functionality break if you tried to run cruise control and the wheel heater at the same time. So I went back, changed the black wire for cruise control ground back to how it was factory and am now only using the brown(steering wheel controls ground) wire as the 12V+ for the heating element. So far so good. Everything works perfect now. The clockspring wires are only 2 feet long at most so you can use the small gauge wire without damaging it, especially with it connected to the defrost circuit which has an auto-shut-off of 20 minutes so that it doesn't burn out the defrosters on the windows.

Edit: and if you don't care about having cruise control and heated wheel simultaneously than the previous instructions are still A-OK.

And if you want to check my work you can go here https://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm and scroll down, enter 1ft as circuit length(2ft round trip then) and choose 26AWG wire and you'll see that the <5% voltage drop shouldn't be damaging to our clockspring wire

Last edited by thatbigmoose; 04-10-2018 at 10:43 AM.
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