Don't worry about the air bags. There are shorting bars built into the connectors that short the electrical pins together so static electricity won't set them off. You have to really mean business to pop one. I recommend not disconnecting the battery because of all the other things on the truck that could lock up and cause misery. Service manual procedures always say to disconnect the battery for liability reasons.
The clock spring got damaged under the steering wheel. I can only describe Chrysler clock springs, but yours will be similar. Theirs come centered, and with a piece of tape across the hole for the steering shaft that warns to not turn it and to have the wheels straight ahead when installing it. There are lock buttons that prevent you from turning the clock spring. Those locks are released by the steering wheel when it is installed.
The clock spring is a wound-up ribbon cable inside a round plastic housing. It is just long enough to handle turning the steering wheel from lock to lock and just a tiny bit more. When the steering shaft is turned one or more revolutions, then reconnected, the clock spring will either turn one way too many revolutions and tear the ribbon cable, or it will be off-center the other way and fold it over on itself. After doing that a number if times it will crack the cable. Simple mistake with an easy fix. Buy the new clock spring first so you can see what it looks like. You'll have to remove the steering wheel. That will probably require a puller.
Friday, December 3rd, 2010 AT 6:19 PM