It's been a long time since I last played Gran Turismo but with the release of the GT5 XL Edition I finally jumped on the bandwagon and bought the game, and well, you know how these things go. The PS3 controller turned out to be fun for about 2.3 minutes and then I ended up getting a Logitech G27.
Sure there are many other notable steering wheel, pedal and shifter sets, namely from Fanatec and Thrustmaster, but the G27 is perhaps the best bang for your money as you can often find it in the US$210-$230 region, occasionally even less.
Upon receiving the G27, that little tuning voice in my head told me that I should customize the stock steering wheel and shifter.
You can find plenty of modifications for the G27 online (GTPlanet is a good place to start) with aftermarket steering wheels and shifters (i.e. Momo or Sparco), but I wanted something different and at the same time, more economical with the ability to easily reverse the mods without damaging the device.
Here's what I bought: a BMW steering wheel horn button for E23, E24, E28, E30, E32, E34 models ($15) and a BMW 6-speed manual transmission gear knob for the 3-Series E90, E91, E92 and E93 models ($31). Both products were in pristine condition.
Beginning with the wheel, the cool thing about the BMW horn button is that you can remove the hard plastic inside simply by pushing it out with your hands, or with a little help from a screwdriver.
From there on, I simply covered the interior of the horn button and the fascia of the Logitech wheel with black electric tape before I added three ultra-sticky, double sided mounting tabs and presto, it's ready. There are many other ways to do it, but I preferred this solution because it's not permanent.
Moving onto the gear knob, I started by gently prying up the silver trim on the original shifter and then with a No2 Philips screwdriver, removed the screw on the center.
The problem with the original BMW shifter is that it's designed for a larger diameter metal rod. The solution, however, is simple: a Pen Instant Krazy Glue container, which only costs a couple of bucks.
I had one lying around and after removing any leftover glue and letting it dry out (don't place it with superglue inside…), I cut it to about 2.8 inches long (measured from the bottom) and placed it inside the BMW knob. Fits like a glove on both with no play.
Again, you can make it permanent, but I wouldn't advise it. What I would recommend for any of you looking to use a BMW knob, is to go for a plastic or a leather shifter as the one I chose with the metal trim is a tad too heavy.
And there you have it. Feel free to check out the pictures below .
By John Halas