Installing a 2011 Jeep Steering Wheel in an Older JK Wrangler

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Jeep Steering Wheel 2008 and 2011

Radio controls won’t work but the newer Jeep steering wheel retains airbag functionality and looks sportier.

In 2011, Jeep introduced a new, sportier steering wheel that was offered in a variety of models and forum member txjeeplover wanted the new look in his 2008 JK Wrangler. He made a thread back in 2012 and with the swap to the newer wheel being so popular, the discussion has gotten replies since then with other members asking questions or sharing information on their own project.

In 2018, “bbaskey” updated the original post with input of his own after performing the swap in his own Jeep Wrangler, offering some updated information six years after the discussion began.

Introduction

When the OP first started his thread, he explained why he made the change, what went into the change, and which features of the new steering wheel work on the older Jeep.

“I’ve wanted to convert my 2008 style steering wheel to the 2011 Jeep style since I first saw the re-design. I love my Jeep and its interior, but the new steering wheel with the three spoke design reminds me of the 80’s and 90’s YJs and XJs for which I have a great fondness.

I did tons of research before the conversion so I had an idea of what to expect. The only steering wheel that would work; would be the wheel from the 2011 and later JK or Liberty. I looked into purchasing a new wheel, but the total to build a new steering wheel came to over $1000. Instead, I waited months for the right deal to pop up on eBay. Eventually, I purchased a complete leather steering wheel from a 2011 Liberty for $80.00 and an airbag from a 2011 JK for $200.00. I had to buy bolts from Lowes to mount the airbag because these are not available from the dealer, but they were under $5.00.

The various steering wheel controls (radio, hand-free, etc.) WILL NOT FUNCTION for 2007 – 2010 JKs. The only way to get them to work; would be to have Chrysler re-program the pre-2011 TIPM to recognize the controllers. As someone else on the forum pointed out, the dealer cannot flash the TIPM to accept the input because it was not an option for earlier model years and Chrysler will only push out updates for electronics that were included in the Jeep’s model year sales code catalog.

The JK airbag connections are the same from 2007-2012, so the airbag was plug and play.

I spliced the connector for the 2011 horn into the wiring harness for the original 2008 steering wheel.

My Jeep came stock with cruise and I held out a glimmer of hope that the 2008 TIPM would accept input from the 2011 controller for the cruise commands, but it didn’t. I had to remove the cruise lever from my old steering wheel and mount it to the 2011 steering wheel frame.

So the functions that are working are the functions that I had previously. Considering that this was a purely cosmetic upgrade, I’m fine with that. No codes, no airbag light, horn works, cruise works, and of course it still steers! I’m now debating on whether or not to change out the shroud. I’ve ordered a charcoal one, but I keep changing my mind on whether or not to use it when it arrives.”

2008 Jeep with 2011 Steering Wheel Side

He also included the pictures shown here of his Wrangler before and after the swap.

Community Responds

With 10 pages of replies, there are plenty of comments from other members and almost all of them are positive. There are a few people who prefer the older steering wheel design, but for the most part, everyone prefers the newer look. This thread encouraged some other members to attempt the swap on their own Wrangler and the thread is chock full of discussion about the process of switching from one wheel to the other.

The most popular point of discussion when the thread was first posted was the lack of function with the radio controls. The OP reiterates several times that the problem is in the electronics of the vehicle and not the steering wheel, and the same was true of the 2011 cruise control level. The airbag system hadn’t changed, so that was plug-and-play and the horn was spliced in to work with some simple wiring, but even years later, there was no fix for the radio controls.

2008 Jeep Wrangler with 2011 Wheel

2018 Update

After years of discussion without input from the OP, “bbaskey” posted in 2018 to elaborate on the original post information. He copied and pasted the content of the original post, adding insight that wasn’t included back in 2012. Rather than copy that all here, you can read that specific post by clicking here.

I know this is several years later but I just did this install myself and wanted to update a couple things in case anyone else wanted to do it. I’m going to hopefully answer some questions that didn’t get answered throughout the thread. I’m going to post the original post and just edit the things that were missing. Because it’s 2018, I was able to use a 2015 steering wheel instead of a 2011 but worked all the same.

Click here to head into the forums to read all about adding a newer Jeep steering wheel to an earlier JK Wrangler.

Join the JK-Forums now!

Longtime auto journalist Patrick Rall contributes to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Rennlist , Club Lexus, F-150 Online, and YotaTech.

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