Piston Slap: Lerxst's Iliad and the Odyssey

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC commentator Lerxst writes:

I’ve got a 2004 Honda Odyssey with approximately 96k miles on it. It has developed a condition where the steering wheel mounted radio controls do not act as expected (i.e. Volume up changes the track, Volume down makes the volume go up, etc., sometimes). The dealer tells me that it’s not grounded well deep in the steering column, and thanks to the Odyssey Club, I have found the TSB that covers this problem.

The dealer would like about $280 of my hard earned money to go in and fix it. American Honda won’t cover it through goodwill due to the mileage.

Since the TSB which gives detailed instructions, I’m inclined to try this myself. I am fairly handy (do my own oil changes, brakes, thermostat, and have used a steering wheel puller before). However, I have no experience dealing with airbags, which would need to be removed and reinstalled. This leaves me a bit apprehensive, since I’d rather not a) have it blow up in my face, b) have to replace the airbag at great cost or c) die because my airbag failed.

Perhaps TTAC’s Best and Brightest can give me a comfort level for working around the driver’s airbag. Thanks in advance for your help!

Sajeev writes:

Well done, avid car forum user! The TSB instructions you sent me are very, very straightforward. So go for it, you’ll save money and enjoy stickin’ it to The Man. And using a steering wheel puller impresses your neighbors. Been there, done that and got the funny looks.

Don’t fear the airbag: it’s no problem if you follow the Factory Service Manual’s procedure. Don’t have a factory manual? Better get one, be it paper copy, CD-ROM or torrent file. Still worried? Wear a full-face helmet and race suit when you pull the airbag and be the Stig of Minivans.

[Send your technical queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • IGB IGB on Jul 16, 2009

    I thought I'd change the steering wheel on a Saab I had once to something a bit...sportier. Looked easy. I read some instructions online. There turned out to be a coil of wires back there that popped out when I yanked the wheel off. Couldn't put it back together after that. Broke some little plastic thing. Every little plastic thing in a Saab costs $400. Had to go to the mechanic and explain what I did. Tail between my legs, wrote a big check. Bottom line is, just take it to the Honda guy. Give him money. After that, your volume button will control your volume.

  • Bomber991 Bomber991 on Jul 16, 2009

    Don't worry about the airbag. It's basically looks like a can of tuna, and has a wire coming out of it. My idiot little brother wanted to change his Impreza steeringwheel to an STI steering wheel. He got it switched ok, but it was crooked and he wanted to get the cruise control in there, so he tried it again. On his second time taking everything out, he forgot to disconnect the airbag and ended up popping off the cover to the clockspring. He had to get that part replaced through the dealer, part was like $300, and labor was something around $200. $500 for a new steeringwheel, rofl.

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