Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel Upgrade From KTJO 4X4 For 3rd gen (2016+) Toyota Tacoma – Detailed Install Guide, Review & Overview
Now, I’m sure upgrading your steering wheel is not a mod that comes across everyone’s mind when you are thinking of what to do to your Tacoma. This steering wheel from KTJO 4×4 has a unique design that sets their product apart from the factory Toyota steering wheel that comes with your Tacoma.
The KTJO 4×4 design gives the steering wheel a sporty design but also a more comfortable feel when using the wheel. On top of the sporty design of the steering wheel, they have also added carbon fiber accents to the steering wheel that add a rad element and great aesthetics to the steering wheel too.
The KTJO 4×4 carbon fiber steering wheel comes in two different color options; black carbon fiber and red carbon fiber. Personally, I chose the black carbon fiber steering wheel, but the red carbon fiber also looks pretty good and it has red trimmed stitching on the seams of the steering wheel.
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- KTJO 4X4 – 3rd Gen Tacoma Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel: Check Price
Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel For Tacoma
Table of Contents
Upgrading Your Factory Steering wheel
KTJO 4×4 uses Toyota factory cores to build their design around, so their steering wheels retain the original Toyota steering wheel ring for a safe design. Also, because they use a Toyota Factory core, your new steering wheel will work with your factory trim pieces, buttons, and most important – the factory airbag.
KTJO 4×4 created this carbon fiber steering wheel with the goal of bringing proper ergonomics and a luxury feel that the factory steering wheel doesn’t provide. When they designed the steering wheel, they altered the shape and gave the wheel a thicker grip for a more comfortable driving experience.
- 1/4″ or 1/2″ ratchet
- 10mm socket or 10mm wrench
- Plastic pry tool
- Flat head screwdriver
- Philips head screwdriver
- Torx T30
- 19mm socket
Step 1. Removing Airbag
Before getting into taking anything apart or turning any screws, you want to disconnect the battery since we will be removing the steering wheel airbag. For this first step, you will need either a 10mm socket and a ratchet, or you can use a 10mm wrench. Pictured above, your red and black power wires are fastened to the battery terminals with 10mm nuts. Loosen those nuts and you will be able to slide the power wires off of the battery terminals.
This step is crucial. The last thing you want to do is accidentally trigger the airbag to deploy. Dangerous, and costly.
On both sides of the steering wheel near the backside of the wheel, you can see plastic square-shaped covers. Using either a plastic pry tool or being gentle with a flathead screwdriver you need to pop out these plastic square covers.
The cover on the passenger side of the steering wheel has the cruise control lever going through it. When you remove the passenger-side plastic cover, you just need to slide the cover over the cruise control lever to get it off.
With these square covers off you will now have access to two T30 Torx bolts that secure the center airbag to the steering wheel. Using a T30 Torx bit, you need to loosen these bolts, but you don’t have to worry about removing the bolts. Toyota designed them with a plastic lip to catch the bolts so they can’t fall out.
With the Torx bolts no longer securing the airbag with the wheel, you can grab onto the steering wheel center and gently pull it away from the steering wheel. When you pull on this center airbag module, pull slowly because the airbag will have wires attached to the back of it.
On the back of the airbag, you will have three wires that need to be easily disconnected so you can separate the centerpiece from the steering wheel. You will see a black and orange wire that is plugged directly into the back side of the airbag. In the center of these black and orange plugs, there are yellow squares that need to be popped up before you can disconnect the black and orange plugs.
The third wire that is connected to the airbag is going to be a small black wire which is just a ground wire to the airbag. This small wire disconnects just by easily pulling up on it until it slides off of the prong that it is attached to.
Now we are really close to removing that steering wheel. There will be two wire harness clips that we have to disconnect so the steering wheel can be pulled out of the vehicle. In the photo above, you will see three separate wire harnesses but we will only be disconnecting two of the three wire harnesses.
The middle one (steering wheel control wire harness) with the black connecter needs to be disconnected, just press down on the top tab and it will unplug. The right harness plug (cruise control wire harness) with the white connecter is the same process, just press down on the tab and unplug it.
Step 2. Removing Steering Wheel
Now on to actually removing the steering wheel from the steering column. In the very center of the steering wheel, you will find a 19mm nut that needs to be removed to pull the steering wheel off. Using a ratchet and a 19mm socket, loosen the nut but DO NOT remove the nut completely.
What I did was leave this 19mm nut on but loose so I could take the steering wheel off without hitting myself in the face. Once the nut is loose you still have to pull pretty hard on the wheel to get it to come off the steering wheel bolt that holds the steering wheel on. If you don’t leave this 19mm nut on you could potentially hit yourself with the steering wheel – which I’m sure would not feel great. Leaving the 19mm nut on by a few threads, grab a hold of the steering wheel and pull back towards yourself to pop the steering wheel off of the bolt from the steering wheel column.
When you get the steering wheel loose you will feel it pop and move toward you, but if you leave the 19mm nut on like I mentioned, then the nut will stop the steering wheel from hitting you. After you get the steering wheel to loosen off that bolt then you can remove the 19mm bolt.
Take note of the position your steering wheel is in before you take the steering wheel off. When we get back to the installation of the KTJO steering wheel you will need to install your KTJO steering wheel in the same position that you had your factory steering wheel in.
Now, you can gently remove the steering wheel from the truck. Just be careful when pulling the steering wheel off and don’t pull on the two airbag wires that we disconnected from the center airbag. Those wires will get fed through the steering wheel and they still stay attached to the steering column.
Step 3. Disassembling Factory Steering Wheel
As I mentioned in the beginning, the KTJO 4×4 carbon fiber steering wheel is created using a Toyota steering wheel core. This means all of the controls and components you have to swap from your factory wheel to the KTJO 4×4 wheel will be easy to transfer.
First, you will need to remove the left and right side steering wheel controls. These control trim pieces are held in each with two screws. Remove all four screws shown in the photo above and then these trim pieces can easily be pulled out.
The next component to remove will be the cruise control lever. This lever is held in with two screws, just remove the two screws shown in the photo above and you can remove the cruise control lever. I found it easy to just pull the lever up through the center of the steering wheel to remove it from the steering wheel.
The last piece we need to remove from the factory steering wheel is the plastic cover that is on the backside of the steering wheel. This cover is held on by four separate plastic clips that are a hook style.
All you have to do is use your finger to slightly bend back the hook and pull back on the cover in that area. Move around the cover unhooking each corner one at a time. Then after all 4 locations have been unhooked you can pull this plastic cover off the steering wheel.
When you remove the plastic backing cover remember this is the piece that holds onto those two Torx bolts which secure the airbag.
Now we are down to the bare frame of the factory steering wheel. Along with the plastic back cover, cruise control lever, left and right steering wheel controls, two Torx T30 bolts, and 6 Philips head screws.
Step 4. Assembling KTJO 4×4 Steering Wheel
Now we just have to work in the reverse order of how we disassembled the factory Toyota steering wheel. Take the plastic back cover and align it with your KTJO steering wheel, once the cover is aligned you will push it onto the steering wheel and make sure all four hook clips snap onto the KTJO steering wheel.
Grab those two Torx screws we had from the plastic cover and you will place them back into the slots they go into. Just inside the square cut-outs on the backside of the steering wheel, you will see a cavity where the screw will fit on each side. Place the Torx screws into those round cavities and you can gently press them into the cavity with your finger. Once they pop into those cavities they will be locked into them like they were before on the factory wheel.
Grab the cruise control lever and insert it into the KTJO wheel. Like I recommended when I removed it from the center of the steering wheel, I recommend inserting it from the center of the wheel and then passing it through the hole where it exits from like in the photo below. Two of those six available screws you have from the factory wheel will be used to secure the lever to the KTJO wheel.
Grab the set of steering wheel controls and you can place them in the KTJO wheel. The back of the controls have alignment pins to help seat the controls into the steering wheel properly. Press the controls into the steering wheel once they are aligned and seat them in the wheel. Once the controls are seated within the wheel you can use the remaining 4 screws to secure both of these to the KTJO wheel.
Step 5. Install New Steering Wheel
Now that you have the KTJO wheel fully assembled with all of the factory steering wheel components, it is time to get the steering wheel into the truck. Take your KTJO steering wheel and you will need to place it back onto the steering wheel column in the same orientation in which you removed the factory steering wheel.
When placing the steering wheel back onto the steering column you will need to take the black and orange end wires for the airbag and feed them through the top end of the steering wheel. Once you feed the wires through the KTJO steering wheel you can align the steering wheel to your truck and press it onto the steering wheel column. Put the 19mm nut back onto the steering wheel center bolt and tighten the nut down.
Now you can plug back in the two wire harnesses that we removed earlier. Referencing the photo above, Plug the black wire harness back into the center plug at the top of the steering wheel. Plug the white wire harness back into the only port that is left on the right side.
Grab your airbag and take the airbag wires to get them plugged back into the airbag. Before your plug in the black and orange connection wires make sure the yellow square tabs are popped up. The black and orange plugs will just pop in and you will know they are in correctly when they snap in.
Pay attention to where you are plugging these plugs into. They are color-coordinated for each connection. Once they are plugged into the airbag you can press in the yellow squares to secure the plugs into the airbag.
Don’t forget about that small black ground wire. This wire will just easily slide over the pin and it will be secured to the ground pin.
You can now flip the center airbag up into its position on the steering wheel. Once you have this pressed into the steering wheel and seated correctly you can tighten the Torx bolts to hold the airbag into the steering wheel.
Using your T30 Torx tool, tighten each bolt until it is hand tightened into the airbag. After you tighten the Torx bolts, I gently pulled back on the airbag just to make sure it was tight and secured into my steering wheel.
The last step before you can take a step back and admire this new steering wheel is to pop back in the plastic square caps. Each of these trim pieces stays in place due to their built-in clips on the edges of the cap. Just align the caps with the back of the steering wheel and press them in until they snap into place. Make sure you reconnect your battery.
When most people think of replacing their steering wheel they just assume it’s for the looks. Some steering wheel replacements on the market might be for that reason but the KTJO 4×4 Carbon Fiber steering wheel is more than an upgrade for looks.
The KTJO 4×4 steering wheel was designed with not only looks but comfort and ergonomics in mind. KTJO 4×4 added different curves and a thicker diameter for the steering wheel to fit more comfortably in your hand. This is important for long road trips but it has benefits for short trips as well. If your steering wheel is more comfortable for your hand grip, it will cause less fatigue when on a long drive.
The second important feature when it comes to this steering wheel is the style the KTJO 4×4 steering wheel adds to your boring factory wheel. The wheel is wrapped in preferred leather, with a mixture of carbon fiber accents on the top and bottom of the wheel. Then the curves and style that KTJO 4×4 added to this wheel give the KTJO 4×4 wheel an edgy and sporty look that the factory wheel just doesn’t have.
After getting the steering wheel installed, I took my truck for a test drive and I could tell a difference in the feeling of the steering wheel. The combination of the sporty curves wrapped in the perforated leather along the sides makes holding the sides of the wheel easy. The bottom section of carbon fiber is less curved than the factory and has an overall flat design which is easier to hold onto. The top portion of carbon fiber is larger in diameter than the factory design. The backside of the top carbon fiber has ridges that make gripping the wheel while driving or turning easier to manage.
I would highly recommend purchasing this wheel if you are into a product that will cover both looks and function. KTJO 4×4 created a product that looks really great and adds a good touch to the interior of your Tacoma. This is a mod that you will notice each time you get behind the wheel and operate your Tacoma.