Project NSX Part 12 – NRG Steering Wheel and Quick Release Install

NSX steering wheel removalRemoving the cruise control buttons exposes the two torx bolts that hold the air bag cover to the steering wheel.  After going over the same procedure on the other side of the steering wheel, the air bag can come out.

NSX Steering wheel airbag removalWith the airbag removed, we were able to unplug the ribbon cables for the cruise control, horn, and airbag.  Then we removed the nut holding the steering wheel onto the steering column and removed the steering wheel.

NSX OEM steering wheel weightThe OEM NSX steering wheel assembly weighs in at a hefty 9.8lbs.

NRG Steering Wheel, 2.2 Quick Release Hub, Spacer, Adapter weightBy comparison, the new NRG steering wheel, quick release mechanism, steering wheel adapter, spacer, and all associated hardware weighed in at 5.8lbs.  That’s a 4lb weight reduction in the steering.  Reducing weight here does a lot for reducing steering effort and increasing the tactical feel and resolution of what the car is doing.  This is a massive ‘driver-mod’ improvement.

NSX NRG steering wheel ribbon cable installIn order to install the NRG steering wheel adapter, we had to feed the OEM ribbon cables though it.

15 comments

  1. “That’s a 4lb weight reduction in the steering. Reducing weight here does a lot for reducing steering effort and increasing the tactical feel and resolution of what the car is doing.”

    I know you’re a race car driver and all, but I call 100% bs on this. I mean maybe tactical feel is different cause of the different material, and resolution is in direct correlation with the diameter. But if you wanna say that a 4lb different has any sort of meaningful effect on that you’re gonna have to provide some kinda proof. dude trust me doesn’t cut it, it just sounds like marketing bs.

    1. The heavier OEM steering wheel acts as a damper that reduces the communication, feedback, and feel of the front tires though the steering column the same way that heavier wheels and tires add unsprung weight and don’t respond as quickly as having less unsprung weight. -This is result of physics (not marketing) and the improved steering feel will happen with any lightweight steering wheel.

      The NRG setup has the majority of its mass at the centerline of the steering column (due to the quick release and adapter) vs the OEM wheel which has more of its mass further from the steering column centerline. So the improved feel and feedback through the steering is far greater than a 4lb difference.

      If you ever swap out an old, heavy steering wheel with an aftermarket race wheel, you probably wouldn’t be as skeptical.

      1. I understand the principle, but the difference of the little bit of weight considering everything involved in the steering from the tire contact patch to the steering wheel is miniscule. The difference in diameter and material is 99.7% of what you feel, the .3% being weight (made up numbers to illustrate a point).

        The NRG setup may have more of its mass closer to the center but the oem setup doesn’t exactly hang all of its weight out on the edges either.

        and I have swapped out an oem steering wheel for an aftermarket one, it definitely feels different. the diameter makes much more sense than the little bit of weight it saves.

        1. I would respectfully disagree since a smaller diameter decreases the resolution and precision a driver has over the car. Having less mass that damps your inputs and the feedback of the front tires (especially away from the centerline) the greater the communication and feel is; especially in a car with no power steering like this NSX.

          Despite the smaller diameter, the increased steering feel, communication, and response is due to the reduction in mass and the mass distribution of the new NRG setup vs old -which has an effect that’s greater than the 4lb total difference on the scale.

          0.02

          1. by that logic removing an airbag would make a difference. I’ve driven cars no airbag to airbag with the same steering wheel, guess what, no discernable difference. Including a car with no power steering (’99 Civic CX)

    2. If Billy says this I would believe it. Billy is not “just a race driver”, In addition to being a world-class racer, Billy is an OEM development driver that has a lot of engineering understanding and has done the test driving to help set the ride and handling calibration for several notable high-performance cars at the OEM level. I would not doubt that some programs did steering wheel tuning for the same reasons.

      1. I know Billy isn’t your average Joe race car driver, but his evidence is still basically “dude trust me”. With all the weight and forces going through a steering system I have a hard time buying that 4lb mostly centered at the steering wheel is gonna make enough of a difference that you can actually feel, especially when there are other factors at play. This is something I’d need to see actual proof of some sort of testing to believe.

        1. After working with Billy as an engineer, if Billy says he can feel it, he can feel it. Of all the drivers I have worked with, he has the most sensitive feedback and great communication skills that enable me to work problems faster than any driver so far. This is why I don’t doubt him.

          1. I’m not at all saying he can’t feel the difference, I’m asking how does he know the difference is from the weight and not the diameter of the wheel? or just how a different material feels (more/less grippy)? I mean I’ve also felt the difference doing to a different steering wheel, but I’ve never felt a difference on the same steering wheel with or without an airbag (only difference being weight)

  2. Really disappointed in seeing any NRG products on this page. What’s next? Ebay turbos?

    There’s a reason why Nardi wheels cost twice as much.

    1. Like a DND steering wheel is any more credible than an NRG. A lot of race cars and drift cars, even at a pro level run NRG’s and I have never heard of one failing before.

    1. You can use a 2.2 ohm resistor in place of the air bag to make it think it’s plugged in.*
      There are sellers on e-bay that sell plug and play dummy plugs (that are often used for more unscrupulous purposes)
      *Use this information at your own risk. I am not a lawyer and consult with your doctor.

  3. Hmm… thoughts of swapping out the wheel in Project S2000 creeping into my head… I ditched the cruise control and the airbag is now 16 years old. So two functions of the stock wheel are potentially obsolete.

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