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Discussion Starter #1
I've combed thru the threads looking for a definitive list for compatible steering wheels I can use to upgrade what is on my '06 55.

Haven't been able to find definitive answers. A lot of I'm pretty sure, but no one has posted that they know for sure (that is outside of the post facelift flat bottom wheel).

My preference would be a flat bottom, but $1500+ with airbag is more than I care to spend.

Does anyone know of other MB models that fit with electronic compatibility? And if so, if the airbag would also need to be replaced with the wheel?
 

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Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I was gonna get a flat bottom but the girl at the boat house didn’t have one.
 

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Many MB models can, and do, share steering wheels. To put a list of those that will suit the 171 will be quite exhaustive, and of not much use. I would say that pretty well any wheel from 2006 models that have the same electronic functionality as yours will fit. Some though do not have the paddle switch function, so you need to be careful. If the wheel looks different to the one you have, then a new centre piece and airbag is necessary
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's helpful as upgrading is obviously from the OE 55 wheel to something nicer is my goal. A down grade wheel wouldn't do much for me.

Perhaps an upgrade to a newer model year?

As example, the eBay link that curro101 posted shows a nice wheel that the advertiser states "may fit" a 03'_09' W209 CLK or 01'-07' W203 C".

So if anyone knows for certain the W209 & W203 wheels (and perhaps others that would not cause the loss of paddle switch and other electrical functions) that are compatible, it would make it much easier to cross check across models for just the right steering wheel upgrade.

Anyone?
 

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My 2c worth: the thing that dates the R171 steering wheel more than anything else is the size of the airbag module and cover - it just takes up too much space in the wheel and makes it look cumbersome. Having a flat bottomed version with nice sculpted grips trimmed in nappa or alcantara would help a bit, but there's no getting past that b-i-g airbag cavity as far as I am concerned.

Most (all?) MB wheels that are a direct swap for the standard R171 unit have the same airbag module and hence the same dated look IMHO. The only solution I will be happy with is something from the R172 catalogue, which is do-able in theory (Seanhump has done a prototype conversion). I am waiting for the DIY version of that solution to become available.

Cheers,
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My 2c worth: the thing that dates the R171 steering wheel more than anything else is the size of the airbag module and cover - it just takes up too much space in the wheel and makes it look cumbersome.
I agree 100%. But short of the conversion, we are stuck with the big AB module. Maybe Seanhump would jump in and tell us more about his custom fitment.

Most (all?) MB wheels that are a direct swap for the standard R171 unit have the same airbag module and hence the same dated look IMHO.
Brian, What wheels do you know of that would direct swap in for the R171 unit?
 

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Maybe Seanhump would jump in and tell us more about his custom fitment.
It's all covered off pretty well in his thread. Sean can obviously chime in to speak for himself, but I believe the current status is he is trying to source a sample of the smaller control module from an updated R171 wheel that should fit into the R172 airbag cavity, thereby doing away with the need for a 'collar' arrangement behind the R172 wheel.

I have an R172 wheel waiting to go as soon as Sean is ready! :smile:


Brian, What wheels do you know of that would direct swap in for the R171 unit?
As already mentioned in this thread, pretty much anything from a C class of the same era as the R171 SLK should fit. Obviously any wheel with a part number that starts with 'A171' will definitely fit.

One trick is to look at the number and arrangement of buttons on the wheel - if there are more and/or a different layout to the standard block of 4 on each side, chances are it won't work.

One particularly sought after but expensive option is the 'P030' R171 update wheel which looks like this:




Here's something that looks quite good for a reasonable price if you're happy to swap over your existing airbag and internals:



http://www.ebay.de/itm/251617279490

Cheers,
Brian
 

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Morning all

As Brian has mentioned, I'm (still) trying to get hold of the later parts to start work on a smaller SCM module to make the 172 wheel conversion a bit more straight forward.

Pretty much any MB wheel will fit from around around the mid 90's onwards ....

BUT

There are 4 things to consider.

1 - The spline size - most MB wheels from the mid 90's have the correct spline size in terms of diameter

2 - Spline depth / position on the wheel - this affects how close the wheel is to the indicator stalks - some wheels are deeper than others

3 - Electronics / buttons - Wheels for the SLK are shared with the C Class (209) and can happily be swapped and still retain button functionality (and paddles if fitted). Other models CAN be made to work but that depends on how comfortable you are with a soldering iron and a bit of reverse engineering.

4 - The big one - AIRBAG - some wheels have a single circuit system, some (like the 171) have a dual circuit. Even if it's a dual circuit bag, is it suitable for the 171 (electrically and also the detonation characteristics)

Airbag aside, pretty much anything can be made to fit if you manufacture an adapter to phyisically mate the wheel to the car, and then work through the electronics. If you stick with a wheel from the 172 series the the airbag isn't and issue either.

It's covered in a fair bit of detail here

If thats not for you then you're pretty much limited to any 171 or 209 wheel from the same period as your car, including the AMG and P30 models. As a rough rule, if the airbag looks the same (and has the same part number) then the wheel will be ok - if it has more buttons (the 171 has 8, some MB wheels have 10/12) then it's not going to plug straight in.
 

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This could be an extremely good bargain as I suspect that they have recovered a smaller diameter sports wheels not realising that they are as rare as hen's teeth. Normally these wheels are in excess of 1k€ !
OK, so it might not have the paddle switch slots, but if these are a must and you are a dab hand with a Dremel, then these can be mounted.
Worth asking the seller the diameter of the wheel...
 

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Also looking to upgrade my steering wheel on a budget and as it happens I have ordered the Piro-design wheel from Ebay. I had a dialogue with the seller about adding paddles and they are doing my wheel with paddles for the same advertised price! These are made to order and I'm expecting delivery in a the next week or so, so will post an update here when it arrives
 

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You would lose the radio buttons and shift paddles.
Radio buttons would be transferred along with the airbag module from your existing wheel. Shift paddles could be transplanted with the aid of some judicious cutting and grinding... :wink:

Cheers,
Brian
 

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Well, you cannot complain at that price! A bargain!
Did you ask them the diameter of the wheel?
The wheel arrived today and guess what! No paddles just buttons! Other than that the quality is excellent and the wheel appears to be a re-shaped and re-manufactured 2008 vintage SLK AMG wheel. The button bases and the pocket they clip into on the wheel are shorter than those on my 2006 wheel.

I've got a hunch that the AMG paddles will click right in with no modification so there is a silver lining! I am very happy with the purchase overall, just need to get my paddles then I'm ready to fit!

Anyone know how much these are from a UK dealer?

My 2006 wheel is 380mm diameter, this wheel is 370mm horizontally x 360mm vertically. Very happy :grin:

Some pics attached
 

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What a pity about the paddle switch mounts.
The button holes might look like they will take the paddle switch, but they need opening up. If you are careful, it can be done with little problem - they just need opening up with a Dremel!
I was not able to hold mine in with a single self tapper and ended up drilling through the spoke to use a long bolt and nut.
For paddles, look on eBay - eBay.de is best (schaltpaddels), about 90€
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Looks great Col, It looks like this is a great solution.

Only problem is your installer put the wheel on the wrong side...:grin:
 
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