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Discussion Starter #1
While I enjoy driving my SL I just don’t care for the big steering wheel. I would like to keep the original look of the car and was wondering if an early R129 or W124 steering wheel would fit and retain all functionality such as airbag and horn? Does anybody know the diameter of those steering wheels? I am not worried that it would partially obscure some of the gauges.
 

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dunno about airbags, I don't have them

but my 390mm wheel does obscure the top of the gauges. I am 5'8" and sit fairly regularly-positioned. I can't see the top of the speedo, or the fuel gauge, or the upper reaches of the rev counter. All countered with a look under or to one side. worth the minor inconvenience for ease of getting in an out, and the better feel to the steering. :grin
 

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Discussion Starter #3
but my 390mm wheel does obscure the top of the gauges. I am 5'8" and sit fairly regularly-positioned. I can't see the top of the speedo, or the fuel gauge, or the upper reaches of the rev counter. All countered with a look under or to one side. worth the minor inconvenience for ease of getting in an out, and the better feel to the steering. :grin
I have no problem getting in and out of the car but the big steering wheel just doesn’t belong in a sporty car like this. Most of the time I am able to just ignore it.
 

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Google w123 sportline steering wheel on eBay. NOS smaller steering wheels appropriate for our cars.

I hate the later style steering wheels as the star has been removed for the silly deathbag.
 

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Hey there RLT61,a couple of months ago I replaced my nardi with a w124 sport line steering wheel and although it partially obscures the top of the instrument cluster I'm now happy with the size and oem look.



John :nerd
 

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I bought a 1996 E-class (210) steering wheel last year 15 1/4” diameter, thicker. Also slightly asymmetrical so more space, seat to steering wheel rim. It installed fine. same airbag plug.
Until I used the horn. Blew the fuse. I since learned that MB switched the polarity for the horn activation in the mid 90’s. Fixable with a relay apparently. I may just look for another steering wheel. But I also learned that a r129 wheel up to 93 or 94 Will work. The early r129 had a wheel with the same design as late 80’s 107’s. Just a slightly smaller diameter. There are also some other styles of steering wheel available, from early r129. I paid $50 at Mercedes used parts place in Montreal. There must have been 30 or 40 steering wheels hanging on a wall. He wanted a $100, but when I pointed out that all the wheels had 1/2 an inch of dust on them he accepted $50
 

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My favorite steering wheel is the first one used in 1973 with the two separate horn buttons. 2nd favorite is the 1980 SL wheel, before airbag. Not sure if that one is smaller than the early one or not. Was just commenting to the wife on Saturday that the large wheel encourages me to keep both hands on the wheel 9 and 3 or so. It is a laaarge steering wheel though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the feedback. Based on the comments it looks like most MB steering wheel from the early 90’s should fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bought an early r129 steering wheel over the weekend and received it today. After a good cleaning, there were a few more scuff marks than expected, but nothing I can’t fix. No rips or looses stitching. The diameter is a little shy of 400mm or about 20mm smaller than the original wheel.
If all goes well I should be able to install it tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Installed the smaller wheel

Wow, this has to be the best modification I did to the car. It doesn’t feel like a truck anymore.
The way I have my seat adjusted I can see all of the speedometer, the tachometer to about 3k rpm and the fuel gauge to about 1/2 empty.
Everything seems to be working. The SRS light is off and the horn works.
Now I have to take the wheel back off and make it look pretty.
 

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Good to hear RLT61,
I’m happy to learn what I wrote worked out for you.
By the way, is the rim thicker on this wheel then on the 107 version?
Also, are the airbags the same? Could they be interchanged?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good to hear RLT61,
I’m happy to learn what I wrote worked out for you.
By the way, is the rim thicker on this wheel then on the 107 version?
Also, are the airbags the same? Could they be interchanged?
Thanks for you help!
Just measured the rim thickness. It is about 1mm thicker than the R107 rim.
It appears the airbags are the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Had a little time this evening for a spririted drive on some of the backroads close to my house. The smaller steering wheel transformed this car. I know this is mostly subjective but the car doesn’t feel as heavy going around corners, steering appears to be more precise and car feels more like a modern car. Best $110 I spent on this car so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A couple days ago I took the steering wheel back off to fix the leather.
Deep cleaned the leather using Leatherique products yesterday.
Today I sanded the leather using 600, 1000 and 2000 grid sandpaper and filled some of the nicks and scratches.
 

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CANSWEDE, would you mind sharing the place that you bought your steering wheel from. I am just starting to do some upgrades, this seems like a good one. I will be coming through Ottawa on Monday Aug 20th. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well done! Did you have to modify the new wheel in any way? Do you know if a ‘95 SL steering wheel would work? Thanks, John
No modification whatsoever.
It probably will mount without any issues but canswede ran into an issue with the horn using a mid 90’s steering wheels; see post #6 in this thread.
 

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Below is a quote from a member on mbclub.co.uk, that I came across while looking into my issue with the fuse blowing with my 1996 steering wheel.
I also came across some mention that it changed in the mid nineties, I just don’t know where now. But no, I don’t know when exactely the change happened.

“Beware that some of the later 202/210 horn wiring is done via ground wiring, the 107 is +12V, so you'll need to fit an SPDT relay to switch it and stop the fuse blowing everytime you blow the horn !”

So, there is a fix to mount any steering wheel with a relay.

Fluxtilt, this is where I bought my steering wheel in Montreal last November.
Benz Bin ? Mercedes Used Auto Parts
Nice owner, lots of parts for almost any model. He had a SLC at the time that he was tearing down for any usable part. No French needed!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Finished the steering wheel over the weekend.
Used a paint gun to spay on 3 coats of dye, should have done the same for the protective top coat. Instead I wiped it on and it came out a little bit too shiny. The price you pay for trying to cut corners.
I used the airbag of the original R107 wheel, it was a better color match than the one that came with the R129 wheel.
 

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