Modifying your sim racing gear is not only fun, but with the rights mods can add a new sense of realism and immersion to your racing games.
In this post I will show how I modded a set of Thrustmaster T3PA pedals to add aftermarket Sparco face plates, a few mistakes to avoid, and a handful of other tips.
To do this you only need a couple of tools and complete a few easy steps…
Before I get into the steps of how accomplish changing out your pedal plates I think it’s important to know why I selected this particular set of pedals…
Why I Choose to Mount Sparco Pedals
After doing a bit of research online to find some inspirations on what other sim racers had done, I found that the two most popular T3PA after market pedal options were the Sparco 03779AN Race Silver Pedal Set for $37 and the Custom Accessories 16005 Red Billet Manual Pedal Pad for $11.
For both pedal sets it seemed that in most peoples experience the holes were pretty close to the holes in the T3PA’s and some people remarked that they didnt even have to drill their clutch or brake pedal.
I choose the more expensive Sparco pedals for two reasons. First because I wanted a higher quality after market pedal by a brand known for making real racing pedals. Second because the throttle pedal has a nice extension on the bottom left of the face plate that makes a heel toe technique a bit easier.
Either pedal set though would work out fine because they are made of aluminum which is a soft metal and easy to drill through.
Comparison to Original Thrustmaster Face Plates
The stock Thrustmaster face plates are about twice as think and twice as heavy as the Sparco’s. That gave me a little cause for concern about the brake pedal, since I use a load cell mod and I put a lot of pressure on the pedal face(I haven’t seen any durability issues at all since I have mounted them).
The Sparco Race Pedals are not as shiny, but much more grippy than the stock T3PA plates. They also look much more impressive sitting next to the the metal floor plate on my T3PA Pro’s.
How to Mount Custom Pedal Plates to a Thrustmaster T3PA Set
This pedal plate mod can be done on either the T3PA Pro’s or T3PA Wide pedal sets. Both sets come with the same stock face plates and mounting device.
To do this customization I used a chainsaw file, a vice, and a drill press. Overall it took about 30 minutes from start to finish. You could use a hand drill, but it will be a little more difficult to keep steady slow drilling pressure.
Removing the Stock Pedal Plates
First you need an Allen wrench to remove the pedal plates from your throttle, brake, and clutch. Each pedal has two screws. Once your remove the screws you will see underneath the pedal a plastic black mounting device. This plastic piece can come off as well.
Pro Tip: You don’t need your whole pedal set in your garage, to test to see if your holes line up correctly you can use your pedal face plates and the black plastic mounting device.
File Down the Holes on Clutch and Brake
The clutch pedal and brake pedal on the Sparco’s are exactly the same and therefore we can treat them they same from a modding perspective. They are also fairly close to having perfect holes that line up with the T3PA black plastic mounting device, but the screw doesn’t quite fit through.
My first attempt was to use the drill press to shave off a little bit of one of the middle holes in order to widen it. After a few tries and being very conservative with the drill press, I opted for a better idea…a chainsaw file.
Pro Tip: For some pedals you may not have to drill at all. Using an inexpensive chainsaw file to widen your holes might be enough to get the job done.
Using a vice and a chainsaw file, in a matter of about 30 seconds I was able to file back the aluminum in the hole to the perfect fit against the mounting device. It didn’t take much filing or pressure to make the hole just big enough. Just use two hands one either side of the file, press down a little bit, and file the hole back and forth. When you are done, you should also use a little sandpaper on the pedal to file down any metal burrs that you can cut yourself on.
The holes on the brake and clutch pedals dont require to much adjustment.
Once you do one pedal (brake or clutch), you can apply the same technique to the other.
Drilling a Hole in The Throttle Pedal
For the throttle the holes just don’t line up and it requires a new hole drilled into the face plate. I decided that the pre-drilled hole I was using for mounting would be the top right hole on the pedal and then I would drill a custom hole exactly 1 inch beneath it.
First I took the plastic black mounting device and put it on top of the pedal and lined it up to the hole on the top right. Then I shaved a pencil to fit it into the hole on the mounting device and I marked my drilling spot on the face of the pedal. After I had a pencil mark, I then used a red marker to mark the spot.
Next I took a metal drill bit and pushed it through one of the original Thrustmaster pedal plates to make sure I was selecting the right size drill bit. It’s important to get the size right, too small won’t let your screw push through and too large will result in some wiggle.
I put a little bit of motor oil on the drill bit too help keep it cool and turning smoothly, put the pedal in a vice, and drilled the hole in the pedal. If you are using the same Sparco pedals I am, you will want to be careful not to get too close the the large billet hole in the pedal. Drilling through the aluminum was quick and painless.
Once you are done with the hole you can also counter sink the hole to match the other holes in the pedal. Not only will it help look consistent, but it will also help your Allen screw sit more flush in the hole.
Once you’re done drilling, you should use a bit of sandpaper to file back any metal burrs.
Pro Tip: If you have the ability to counter-sink the hole, it will help your Allen screw fit more flush in the hole.
Mounting the Pedals on your Set
Once you have your holes filed and drilled, you are good to mount them on your Thrustmaster T3PA set. If your holes are done correctly, the pedal plates will mount super easy and give your T3PA’s a nice racing look.
Final Thoughts on Changing Your Pedal Plates
There are alot of awesome pedal plates to choose, but in my opinion finding an aluminum pair that has holes close to the stock pedals makes life a little easier. For some pedals you may not even have to drill if the holes are 1 inch apart, its possible you could get by just using a chainsaw file. I am not 100% sure, but just looking at the red billet pedals below, I think it could work without a drill.
What do you think of the Sparco pedals mounted on the T3PA’s? Let me know in the comments below.