Thrustmaster T2

The T2 is an excellent wheel and pedal combo for the money. However, some design limitations which compromise durability and usefulness can be overcome by some simple modifications. Here are my suggestions:

Note: the Thrustmaster GP1 is essentially identical to the T2 except that the GP1 has fingertip paddles on the wheel instead of foot pedals like the T2. See my GP1 page for GP1-specific details about optimizing the GP1, and comments about its special usefulness in Grand Prix Legends.

Setting Up Spectrum Holobyte GP2 for the T2

See Eric Cote's SPY GP2 Menu Web Page on how to do this. It will only take a couple of minutes to set yours up following SPY's instructions. You can also download control setup files.

Maintenance and Modifications

Replacing Throttle and Brake Springs

Brake and throttle springs in T2 pedals are notoriously fragile. If you race for any length of time, you'll have to replace yours. Take off the base cover, and you'll see the springs. You'll need to remove the nut on the pivot shaft, and disassemble the pivot shaft before you can remove the old spring and get ready to put in the new one.

Yow! That spring is really *strong*! I had to use a 1/4" piece of aluminum tubing to help me pull the spring into place against its stop, after giving myself a small gash on the knuckle trying to do it with pliers.

Thrustmaster will send you replacement springs if you ask. You can email them or fax them at:


I've found a way to dramatically increase spring life, by limiting the travel of the brake and throttle pedals:

Limiting Pedal Travel

Between us, my brother and I have three T2's, and we've broken every brake and throttle spring in all three of them.

To increase spring life, I've modified the pedals internally to limit the travel. I pop-riveted a couple of small aluminum plates, about .120" in thickness overall, to the floor of the unit just under the pedals, between the tabs that support the pedal pivot bolts. This creates a new stop which lets the pedals go about 2/3 of the way back, compared to their original stock travel.

I used some .052" aluminum sheet, 1/8" medium pop rivets, rivet puller, and tin snips, as well as a 1/8" drill bit and my cordless drill. I also used my Dremel with a sanding drum to trim the plastic cover plate on the bottom to clear the rivets. I've also read of people placing coins in this location for the same effect.

This mod should help spring life, and it also makes the pedals much more realistic; the stock travel is way too long, in my opinion. I can respond much more quickly with brake or throttle adjustments while racing. I had to recalibrate my sims for the reduced travel, but they work great.

Enlarging the Pedal Base

Since my brother Nate and I both like to left-foot brake while racing, holding the pedals down with the left foot doesn't work. We've both built larger, heavier wooden bases for the pedals. These are very simple, just a piece of plywood the width of the pedal base, but a couple of feet longer. We use 1" thick blocks of wood and bits of metal to anchor the pedals to the wooden base.

I made mine of a piece of 5/8" plywood about 2 feet square. I screwed some 1x2 blocks to the plywood, in front, behind, and on each side of the pedal base. I screwed two small metal strips to the front blocks so they just hook over the front of the pedal base.

I can lift the pedals out by picking the pedal unit up from the rear, but when it's dropped in place, I can stomp away to my heart's content and the pedals are as solid as a real car's pedals.

Check out my sketch.

I screwed my plywood base to a table leg with a small angle bracket, to keep the unit from sliding away from me. My brother built similar base units, but made them longer in front so his chair legs can sit on them to keep them in place.

Replacing the Steering Pot

Eventually the steering pot gets dirty, and the steering input starts jumping around. You will notice this as jumpy movement of the pointer on the screen when you are calibrating Joystick A, X axis. Or when you turn the wheel a little and the car unexpectedly slams into the wall or goes spinning wildly off the track.

I found the easiest way to replace the steering pot is to break off the plastic tab that holds the pot in place, and pull it out. Then I press the new one into place, making sure the slot in its shaft is lined up the same way as the one that came out.

Stabilizing the Steering Pot

In the stock T2 setup, the steering pot eventually works loose and wiggles side to side. This introduces play into the steering system, making steering response much less precise, and playing hell with your lap times and consistency.

After I replaced my steering pots, I made sure they stayed in place by wrapping some fine safety wire around the pot and the bracket, in an X-pattern. I would do this even on a brand new T2, to keep the pot from developing this play.

You can get safety wire in a hardware store; get stainless if you can.

Replacing the Bungee

I've replaced the bungee in both my T2 and GP1 with "softer" ones from a bicycle-type tie-down bungee, and they work much better - much less friction in the GP1, and both are a lot easier to use.

You'll need some small tie-wraps to fasten the new bungee in place. Just take off the cover by removing the eight small screws on the bottom (don't bother loosening the two slanted ones), and use a pair of wire cutting pliers to snip the tie wraps that hold the old bungee to its plastic spools.

Pull out the old bungee, snake the new bungee in, and anchor one end with a tie wrap and the little plastic spool that was on the original bungee. Pull the other end out to the desired tension, and hold it in place with a spring clamp while you fasten the new bungee around the other little plastic spool.

Voila! You're done!

Adding Fingertip Paddle Shifters

My brother Nate came up with a really cool way to add very effective paddle shifters to the back of the T2 for under $20. This is a more advanced project, so don't undertake it unless you are fairly comfortable with a drill, a soldering iron, and a handful of wire, and understand the terms "normally open" and "wired in parallel".

I used microswitches available from Digi-Key, 1-800-344-4539 or 218-681-6674. The part number is SW134-ND, and they cost me $2.17 each plus shipping and handling. After soldering lead wires to their normally open lugs, I attached them to the backs of the wheel spokes with Ty-Wraps, in such a way that my fingertips can deflect the levers as I hold my hands on the wheels at the 2 and 10 o'clock positions.

I used an old telephone handset cord to connect the leads from the switches to the lugs on the buttons inside the shift lever assembly. They can be wired in parallel because joystick button switches are normally open. Note that this shifter assembly is a bit complicated, so be sure you observe the arrangement of its components as you disassemble it.

I routed the phone cord through a hole I drilled in the front of the T2's base and internally over to the shifter buttons, using some regular four-conductor phone wire for the last couple of inches because it was easier to squeeze into the tight shift lever body than the coiled phone cord.

This setup works beautifully. Now I can shift up or down at the flick of a finger. I find it easy to reach and operate these switches even at full lock. I don't think even Jacques has it much better in this regard! Plus, if I want to drive a good ol' boy stocker, I can still use the shift lever as God, Bill France, and Thrustmaster intended.


One of my readers, Emiliano Molina, pointed out that the GP1's nylon shaft bearings eventually wear, generating plastic dust that increases the stiction when you turn the wheel. Since the T2 is identical to the GP1, this could happen to the T2 also. Emiliano used plain old axle grease to lubricate the shaft bearings, but suggests graphite as the preferred lubricant.