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How to Replace Airbag Clock Spring 2004-09 Subaru Outback

Created on: 2018-06-14

How to repair, install, fix, change or replace a broken airbag clock spring on 08 Subaru Outback

  1. step 1 :Disconnecting the Battery
    • Disconnect the negative battery cable with a 10mm wrench
    • Pull the negative terminal off the battery post
  2. step 2 :Removing the Airbag
    • Wait 20 seconds after disconnecting the battery before working on the air bag
    • Make sure the steering wheel is centered
    • Remove the T30 Torx bolt from each side of the steering wheel
    • Pull the airbag off the front of the steering wheel
    • Pry the wire off the air bag with a pick
    • Disconnect the two electrical connectors from the airbag
    • Put the airbag aside with the emblem facing up
  3. step 3 :Removing the Steering Wheel
    • Disconnect the electrical connector from the steering wheel with a pick
    • Mark the steering wheel and stud with a marker to index it
    • Loosen the 17mm nut from the steering wheel
    • Loosen the steering wheel from the stud
    • Remove the 17mm nut
    • Remove the steering wheel
    • Make sure the clock spring does not spin
  4. step 4 :Removing the Steering Column Panels
    • Remove the Phillips screw from the lower steering column panel
    • Pull off the lower steering column panel
    • Hold the clock spring in place with tape
    • Remove the Phillips screws from the upper steering column panel
    • Pull off the upper steering column panel
  5. step 5 :Removing the Air Bag Clock Spring
    • Remove the four Phillips screws from the air bag clock spring
    • Pull the clock spring forward off the steering column
    • Unclip the wiring harnesses from the steering column
    • Pull the wiring aside
    • Release the clock spring electrical connectors
    • Fish the clock spring wires through the steering column
  6. step 6 :Installing the Air Bag Clock Spring
    • Feed the clock spring wires through the steering column
    • Line up the clock spring on the steering column
    • Fasten the four Phillips screws into the clock spring
    • Connect the clock spring electrical connectors
    • Clip the wiring harnesses to the steering column
  7. step 7 :Installing the Steering Column Panels
    • Put the upper steering column panel into place
    • Fasten the three Phillips screws into the upper steering column panel
    • Remove the tape from the clock spring
    • Make sure the clock spring does not spin
    • Clip the lower steering column panel onto the upper steering column panel
    • Fasten the Phillips screw into the lower steering column panel
  8. step 8 :Installing the Steering Wheel
    • Feed the wires through the steering wheel
    • Line up the wheel on the stud, using your indexing marks from Step 3
    • Connect the electrical connector to the steering wheel
    • Fasten the 17mm nut onto the steering wheel
    • Hold the steering wheel
    • Torque the nut to 28 foot-pounds
  9. step 9 :Installing the Airbag
    • Connect the airbag electrical connectors
    • Connect the wire to the airbag
    • Slide the airbag into the steering wheel
    • Install the two T30 bolts into the sides of the steering wheel
  10. step 10 :Reconnecting the Battery
    • Connect the negative terminal to the battery post
    • Tighten the battery terminal with a 10mm wrench
    • Check that the terminal is firmly attached

Tools needed

  • Socket Extensions

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    Torque Wrench

    Phillips Head Screwdriver

    T30 Driver

    17mm Socket

    10mm Wrench

    Painter's Tape


    Marker / Writing Utensil


Hi. I'm Mike from 1AAuto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

In this video, we are going to be removing and reinstalling a clock spring in a 2008 Subaru Outback. If you need parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to 1AAuto.com.

We're going to disconnect the battery. We're going to use a 10 millimeter wrench. Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. Loosen this up. Twist it back and forth. Pull that out of the way.

We're going to remove the airbag. You want to make sure your steering wheel is centered, and then we're going to take a T30 and then extension and ratchet, and there's a little T30 bolt in there. Going to want to get in there and loosen it up. Subaru recommends that when you disconnect the battery, you wait 20 seconds before doing any work on the airbag system. Do the same on the other side.

Now, we'll grab our airbag and twist up. Disconnect this connector and use a right angle pick and pry up underneath. Get that out of the way. We're going to disconnect these airbag connectors. Take the pick, go right under here, under the lock, and that can pry up under here. It'll come right out. Be careful not to break the lock, and then pry that right out. Then we can put our airbag aside. Make sure you set it down like that with the emblem facing up.

I'm going to disconnect this electrical connector. We're going to take it and squeeze this little button here. They’re made to be difficult, so I'm going to use a little pick to give me a hand, and then pull it out. So right there, you want to push down on that. Then it can come out and go to the side.

Before we disconnect, take off the nut, we are going to mark it with a felt tip marker because this is not keyed, so you want to make a mark on where it was. Then with a 17 millimeter socket, extension, and a ratchet I'm going to take off this nut, break it free. Then once it's free, you should be able to loosen it up. Make sure that steering wheel is straight still. Before I take the nut off, I'm going to wiggle the steering wheel a little bit. That way the steering wheel will not hit you in the face when you pull it off. Now we can take our nut off completely. I'll just take the felt tip marker again, just make this line a little bit better so that it lines up. Then we can pull our steering wheel off. Keep in mind that you do not want this clock spring to spin. If it spins on its own and does not get indexed properly, it will break. So just make sure that it doesn't spin when you pull the steering wheel off.

Next, we're going to take this cover off. But before I do that, just make sure you keep your hand up here or just keep in mind that this doesn't spin. So once we get this off, we'll tape it.

There's a Phillips head screw right here. We're going to use a Phillips head screwdriver. You can grab on the sides here. It comes out like that. Now I'm going to lower the adjuster down here so that I can get this cover off, and then it'll slide right out.

While I'm at this point, I'm just going to tape this so that it won't spin. Just take a piece of tape, go like this. That'll at least hold it from spinning.

So I'll pull the upper cover off, with this little Phillips head screw back here. It's kind of hard to reach, so it's good to have a long screwdriver. We have the adjuster down while we're taking this out just to access the screw a little bit better. There's another hidden screw right here. Loosen that up. Take this one out with our Phillips head screwdriver. Looks like there's another one right here. It's way up there. Pull this one out as well. All right. I'm going to lower the steering column and pull this right up, and it's where the three screws mounted.

Next we're going to take these four screws out with a Phillips head screwdriver like so. You can grab it. You can pull it forward. Now this wiring harness is in our way a little bit, so I'm going to use a 90-degree pick and pull up on the lock under this. So move that out of the way a little bit.

Then our connectors for our clock spring are over here. I'm going to use a trim tool to pry up underneath the connectors. Move this one out of the way. Pull this white one out of the way. Try to get underneath where the retainer is. Move this out of the way. For the white one, I'm going to push the button right here, pull that connector out.

Now we're going to disconnect this connector. We were having trouble pushing this down to get it to disconnect, so I'm going to take a straight-blade screwdriver, hold it with your hand on the sides, and push and the connector will pop right out.

Next, we're going to fish our wires out. We'll use a straight-blade screwdriver and pull this out a little bit so that our wires can come. Pull it down, and we can pull our wires through here. Try to get one connector through this bracket at a time. Pull that connector out first. I'm going to pull the white connector next. There's your clock spring.

So I just pulled the tape back on this real quick. You can see there is two arrows. When those are lined up, that means that the steering wheel is going straight. We're going to re-use our clock spring, but if you have a new one, there may be a lock right here that once you install it, you're going to pull that out. So I'll reinstall that tape, so it doesn't spin.

Then I'm going to start putting these wires back through here. Start with the white one. Feed it through and then the yellow one. Fish it through like that. Now we can slide this down while I'm pushing the wires down here. Before I put the screws in, I'm going to push these wires through here.

We're going to reinstall the four screws. I'll just get them started first before I snug them all down. Now I'll snug them all down. Remember it's plastic, so don't over-tighten them.

Now I'm going to go over to the connectors. I'll connect this white connector in here until it clicks. You can install this tab right there. Then flip this yellow one around. Connect the yellow connector. Push that until it locks and this one goes in the hole right next to it, just like that. I'm going to reposition the wiring harness so that it locks into this bracket, and it clicks in.

Now we're going to install this top cover. Slide it over here. You're going to want make sure that you adjust the steering column down, and then this will line up here. I'll pull the adjuster down for the steering wheel column and then try to get this back one in first. Now I'm going to try to get this front one in, and then this one. Now all three are started. Now I can snug them all down.

We're going to install this lower cover, but I have to pull this tape off the clock spring. So keep in mind, making sure this does not spin. You could actually tape up here, tape it to the top panel. Get all this lined up. Lock that all into place. We can take our screw and stick the last screw in here.

Now we're going to feed these wires through the steering wheel here. Remember, line the steering wheel up with your marks. You don't want the steering wheel to be crooked while you're driving it. So that will be good.

We can plug this connector back in right here, like that. Next we'll install our nut. We're going to use a 17 millimeter socket and extension and a torque wrench. I'm going to torque this to 28 foot-pounds. You're going to have to hold the wheel while you're torquing it.

You're going to grab your airbag. We'll connect these airbag connectors first. Link the black one to the black, and then push down the lock, and the orange one to the orange. Push down the lock. We'll connect this connector right there. We'll slide the airbag down. We're going to tighten these Torx, the T30 Torx screws. Snug that up. Do the same for the other side. Snug that up.

Then we can reconnect our battery. Take a 10 millimeter wrench and tighten it up. I’m going to take and just wiggle the negative terminal, make sure that's good.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

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