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Retrofitting a 2011 WRX Steering Wheel on a 2008 WRX

8325 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  wala0101
I decided to make this thread to document my project, and hopefully get some input, of swapping a 2011 OEM WRX wheel into my 2008 WRX. My reason for doing so is:

-Aesthetics: black leather with red stitching vs grey leather with grey stitching
-Function: addition of audio controls as well as Bluetooth

I found a great deal on a 2011 wheel on Ebay and jumped on it. Here's my new wheel:

Steering part Steering wheel Auto part Wheel Spoke

The install was pretty straight-forward. There's no shortage of threads out there on how to swap out the steering wheel, but for reference here's a good one:

The original wheel:

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Steering wheel Subaru

And the 2011 wheel installed:

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Steering wheel Steering part

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Subaru Steering wheel

I was quite happy at this point because it looks 100% better than my original wheel. But next up I wanted it to be functional. I reached out to David @ Subaru radio and radio wiring harness information. He was tremendously helpful and in the end I purchased one of his 20-pin harnesses that included all 3 SWC wires. He also sent me a wire to pop into the factory harness for pin# 13.

Here's where it gets a little creative. The 2008-2010 audio controls have 6 buttons (volume +/-, seek +/-, mode, and mute) whereas the 2011 has 5 audio buttons (volume +/-, seek +/-, and mode) plus the 3 Bluetooth buttons. The wiring also varies--the '08-10 uses 2 SWC wires (pin 4 and 14), whereas the '11 uses 3 (includes pin 13). In addition to David's harness I used a Metra Axxess AWSC interface.

The connection/hook-ups for the '08 and '11 vary and David recommended using the '11 instructions which is what I followed. Once again a pretty straight-forward install, here's some important links:

Subaru 20-pin radio harness pin-out - Axxess ASWC Interface Installation with Subaru 20-pin Harness -- use variation B

David was right on the money when he said he did not think the Axxess would recognize the car due to no real connection to pin 13, however it did recognize my Pioneer headunit and I was able to manually program the audio controls (save for mode) via the instructions for the Axess.

The reason the mode button doesn't work is because it shares a connection along with the BT buttons the utilize pin 13 on the 20 pin harness. And that's where I'm at right now. The volume and seek buttons work flawlessly which is great. But I'm not sure where to go from here. I'm told there's an open circuit in the roll connector that can be utilized to complete the connection for the addition buttons. Any wiring gurus out there than can lend some help or input here? I've also got wiring diagrams for both '08 and '11 but I'm not that technical and not that familiar with the roll connector.

Anyone have any experience here?
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Here's a video showing the audio buttons working.

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