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T300RS Mod so far...

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by beyondtool, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. The purpose of this thread is to document my experiences modding the Thrustmaster T300RS wheel which is still a work in progress. Hopefully my experience can help others considering the same, and I thank all the others on this forum that motivated me to have a go at this. I am currently running my T300RS with a Set of Fanatec Elites V2 and an xbox 360 controller as a button box/menu navigation tool. Looking to add an iPhone screen as a readout in the near future.

    The idea to mod my wheel came when Thrustmaster released the GT wheel which is wrapped in leather. It retails at over $300 in Australia an incredible expense for something that should have come out of the box IMHO. I figured, I could buy a real wheel for that or at least try...

    Mod Attempt 1

    My first attempt was to wrap leather around the wheel using an ebay wheelskin kit. Something like this:

    It was a total pain to do but cost me a total of $20AU and a few weekends of effort. I had to spent $10 on the cover and a further $10 to get some industrial thread to stitch it on. I learnt how to heat leather and stretch it somewhat. But no matter how hard I tried the leather just wasn't workable around the T300Rs shape. The outside I managed to get quite smooth, but the inside was bumpy because the leather didn't want to stretch that far. You may have more luck with more expensive leathers, but I imagine you would need to properly cut and sew several pieces together like the GT wheel to get a smooth enough shape without the bulging.
    Smooth on the outside
    bumpy ride on the inside...

    I wasn't happy with this result as it felt a little ghetto, but it was still better than the plastic original and didn't cost a lot. Felt somewhat authentic driving classic rally cars. At least the wheel didn't stick to my hands anymore!

    Mod Attempt 2

    After watching Darin Gangi on inside sim racing mod his wheels (above) I figured I'd give it a go myself after securing this wheel on sale for $60AU.
    Of course I needed to fit it to the wheel so I ordered a Sim Racing Hardware Thrustmaster-gte-wheel-adapter, which was very expensive once converted to the terrible AU dollar at $78 delivered. But I figured what the hey. Unfortunately although the SRH website states it is compatible with the T300RS it's not, not without some work anyway.
    The buttons on the right hand side do not fit and you can't mount the adapter inverted as it needs to use a specific three holes to keep the assembly together.Basically you need to disassemble and remove three buttons on the right OR drill a second cutaway like on the left of the adapter. Another thing to note is that there is no lip or ring on the left hand side of the adapter so it also won't hold the d-pad in place. I will have to come up with a better long term solution as exposing the circuit board to dust and sweat is probably not a good idea. If you have access to plastic molding equipment and a 3D printer, I'd have a crack at your own design it would probably come out better (there is a downloadable adapter design mentioned in the comments on inside racing's video).

    After I got the wheel assembled I unfortunately noted a few other problems.
    Firstly the distance between the wheel and the shifting paddles is rather noticeably large. I went with a 280mm wheel to avoid this scenario, but because the stock wheel is centered in the middle of the wheels grip width, the mounting holes sit further forwards compared to a real wheel (even worse for deep dish wheels). I could machine or modify the existing paddles to fit...or get the Thrustmaster gearbox. I have large hands so it's not a really big issue, but it's not as comfortable a distance as the stock wheel is.
    The second problem is that the handbrake button I use (R2) is now recessed back somewhat making it harder to hit. I have to dig over to hit it. This is a result of the thicker wheel grip design and the fact that the Sim racing adapter is so thick. I'm not convinced it needs to be as thick as it is to hold the wheel securely...but I'm not an engineer. My future work around for this is to build a plastic button that sits on top of the existing R2 button, and make it larger. I guess you could also go for an actual handbrake add on too.

    The third problem is obviously a loss of button functionality. My original intent was to get a friend to help me drill-press holes to fit the buttons through like on the stock wheel. But I don't think this would work terribly well as the GTE adapter is so thick and the buttons will end up recessed and difficult to press. I don't intend on using this on a PS4 anytime soon, but swapping back is not going to be a simple process if you wanted to do that regularly. The GTE wheel has a different button layout where this mod would make more sense in that regard. What I eventually settled on was an xbox 360 controller, it's wireless so can be easily placed near my wheel for accessing menus and changing pit settings, etc. I am using Pinnacle Game Profiler software with some custom configs to map the controller as a keyboard/mouse input device customised to whatever game I'm playing. This works fine in Dirt rally which doesn't support multiple game controllers at once.

    Despite originally thinking these mods would be straight forward they have been somewhat difficult to pull off. I'm not 100% happy with the results so far, but going further from here will most likely require some engineering. I do love the feel of this suede wheel, it has a great grip and feels authentic. In hindsight I think I would have preferred a larger wheel seeing as I am probably eventually going to mod the paddles anyway.

    But I do get the satisfaction of knowing that Thrustmaster did not nickle and dime me for a bit of leather :sneaky: (the new Thrustmaster suede wheel is even more expensive over in Australia almost as much as what I paid from my T300RS...). And I like the idea that I can now bolt on a Momo wheel or any 30mm wheel.:thumbsup:
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  2. You could take the back off the button housing and see if you can flip the paddles over so they angle toward the wheel instead of away.
  3. Nice idea Mark, so good in fact I gave it a go tonight. Unfortunately the shifter paddle is a custom design which isn't easily reversible.
    Yes those holes line up with plastic inserts!
    End is bent preventing reversing the paddle direction.

    With some engineering I guess I could make a custom paddle design or alternatively bend the stock paddle. It's really tough metal though, you'd need a solid vice and a way to apply steady pressure. No way you could bend it with your hands.
  4. Handbrake Update
    I have now added a bigger handbrake button from an old PS2 Namco arcade stick. If you are interested in doing this you can order SANWA arcade quality buttons online for a few bucks each.
    I had to saw a section of the button to fit it over the edge of the wheel, but this actually made it a bit sturdier.
    Is there nothing gaffer tape can't do? I cut an old credit card to size and then used heavy duty gaffer tape to attach the credit card to the wheel and the button in place. Looks a little untidy from the back but does the job and I'll never really notice.

    The clicking sensation is excellent it just refers the original button spring movement. Feels just like using a real arcade button, although like an arcade button is a bit loose in it's housing. I will never fumble for a hand brake again!
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