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Hi there,

My steering wheel buttons were looking pretty worn, and thankfully you can now buy just the rubber buttons, without having to buy the whole silver bit as well. I got them from here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALFA-ROME...125026?hash=item3f625bd4a2:g:u2IAAOSwubRXKk5s

They're basically identical to the original ones (Pic 1) :thumbup:

1) Start the engine and turn the steering wheel off-centre a little bit. This will make it easier to get at the allen bolts on the back of the wheel, without hitting the indicator and wiper controls.

2) Shut her off and disconnect the battery. Leave it for 15 mins or so.

3) On the back of the wheel there's three allen bolts holding in the airbag. They're pretty tight so have a little tube to slip on the end of your allen key for more leverage. They loosen off after a few turns, but don't come out.

4) Gently lift out the airbag. You could unclip the electrical connection but I just let it sit gently half in/out. It's probably best not to let it hang but the wire.

5) The silver things just pull out with a bit of force. If they're not moving then maybe gently lever them with a screwdriver. They're connected to a ribbon so be careful not to tug on it too hard. (Pic 2)

6) Flip it round and you'll see a black plastic piece clipped into the silver bit. There's two tabs at the top (Pic 3) that you need to bend back with a small flat head screwdriver. These can be pretty tight so be forceful but try not to snap anything. They'll click once they're released.

7) Separate the black and silver bits. The black bit will still be attached to the ribbon. The rubber buttons are sitting in the silver piece, so swap them with your new ones.

8) This is where I ran into a bit of trouble. With the new buttons in, the black bit wouldn't clip back into the silver piece anymore. I used a small file to enlarge the holes in the silver piece, to allow the little tabs to slide in easier. Press the black bit in hard, and you'll hear a click once it's secured.

9)Push the assembly back into the wheel. Make sure that the blue ribbon is nice and neat so you don't kink it when you put the airbag back in.

10) Repeat for the other side.

11) Put the airbag back in place, and tighten up the allen bolts.

Done! Looks much better! :)
 

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Nice instructions! I started fiddling with this today on my GT.
Any tips on how to remove the button assembly from the steering wheel?
It seems that the connector wont't fit trough the plastic bit as on the picture... I'm confused now :D
935344
 

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Alfa 159 1.9 JTDm Sportwagon
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Just get a flat blade screwdriver and under the plastic and lift it up and the connector will slide through.
 
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Thanks Paul, it worked!
Now I realised that the left side buttons are all gunked up to the point that they don't even click. Seems that the button rubber bit on top is desintigrated and looks tired (or if they are called micro switches, I don't know).
I scheduled a replacement at my local car electrician - he'll do it for free :)
Any tips on replacing these?
Seems like its just a resolding of new switches but who knows...
Do they have any special resistance or anything? Or will I need a proxy alignment?
Sending a picture.
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In those buttons there are a little pressed metal disc (or square) that flexes in and out to provide the clicking motion, and switching effect. As time progresses the flexible nature of them starts to decline, meaning they either wont work or you need to use a lot of pressure.

I once tried to replace a button on a car remote. It did not work as I was unable to buy a replacement switch that was the same size. But even when I soldered in another switch I don't think it worked as well. Perhaps I bought reverse micro switches.

Despite that you should be able to buy any switch as long as it is the right size in it's base for the contacts to be soldered on, and the right height. Some micro switches have very long switch buttons that stick out far, but those should be easy to cut or grind down to desired height. You really just need switches that have the same base height, or you might need to steal some switches from similar buttons or key fobs in any other sort of car.

It can be hard to solder them nicely. If you have some flux I find it helps a lot with small tricky jobs.

I don't know about need for proxy alignments. I don't think the switch needs to be special.
 

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Thanks for the tip, I will make sure to check about the height of the micro switches before they solder them.
I will let you know how it goes ;)
 

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Just to update - operation successful!

The buttons were replaced with the visually identical but 2mm shorter in width (4mm instead of 6mm originally).
But the black ends are plastic - which I think is an improvement from the original rubber design. A good electrician can fit them with no issues.
The buttons are now clicky and feel really tactile (similar as blue switches on mechanical keyboards).

If anyone is looking, the replacement buttons are widely available online and have a code - TD-85XU, SMD. Dimensions are 3x4x2mm.

As V6soundsgood mentioned in step 8 - since the new buttons are a bit thicker, they can be hard to put back in and the plastic needs a bit of trimming. My both broke at the ends, but it does not affect the functionallity at all since when they are mounted the black back plastick forces itself on the steering wheel so the buttons work perfectly.

Sending pics. Thanks for the instructions and for the tips!
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