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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-19-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
delmarco
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Cool BMW Heated Steering Wheel Retrofit DIY Guide w/ Pictures and Videos

This quick write up will precede the actual Pictorial DIY which will appear soon.
(Long story short, on my way to DIY this project I got into a slight accident with a pothole that took out my front wheel and messed up my front end and alignment. So tonight I am left with just the heating steering wheel at home that was meant to be installed in the car this weekend)

I was extremely lucky enough to come across a complete 4 spoke heated wheel from a 2006 X3 and lucky enough to be born with such courage to attempt these projects on my car.

The DIY in itself is easy as:

0. BEFORE ALL -UNPLUG BATTERY!
1. removing airbag/button pod (unplug wires)
2. removing wheel
3. removing slip ring (also remove turn signal and wiper stalks from old slip ring)
4. replace new slip ring (and add on the old stalks if you are reusing them)
5. on back of new slip ring make sure that the new 2 pin connector's ground wire finds a secure ground connection in your vehicle AND the power finds a secure power source WITH A FUSE in circuit. I plan on using the fuse box area in my DIY (so look out for that)
6. replace new heated wheel ring-bolt on
7. lay down heater wire harness onto wheel center
8. connect all the wires and replace airbag/button pod.


swapping the steering wheel is pretty easy but getting the parts and understanding them can be confusing especially if you never seen or heard of them before

Here are my videos clearing some of the confusion up and hopefully making this DIY less of a mystery and less intimidating:

PART 1




PART 2







HERE ARE SOME NOTES ON WHAT I'VE GATHERED UP SO FAR:


First off understanding the purpose and concept of the Slip Ring takes a bit of time, especially if you NEVER seen or heard of it before. This device is pretty much the gateway of everything that goes from your steering wheel into the car. Its design enables wires to cross into the car without being shredded or twisted every time you turn the steering wheel.

That said, this little bugger seems to be immortal and omnipresent in the BMW Parts Bin from the 1995 E38 7 series all the way to the 2010 X3 E83 series and found with in pretty much ALL BMW's from E36s to E46s X5s, to Z4s and M6s, etc... over all those years.

Now the stumper for me was understanding why the P/N never changed for year/car model AND more importantly function: I currently have two slip rings with the EXACT parts number in front of me as I type this and one is from a 2001 E38 740il with a heated wheel and the other is from my 2001 E46 car that originally came with a non-heated wheel. ( to BMW)

So my advice for Slip Ring seekers is all Parts Numbers reasoning goes out the door and you are pretty much left asking around for a Slip Ring that specifically came from a car with a heated wheel. This can take a while, even with eBay at your fingertips and a large Junk Yard full of BMWs in your city.

If you can cop a Slip Ring at the same time you cop its corresponding heated wheel (IE. a salvage car) then you are lucky.

Here is a proper pictorial break down of the Slip Ring (the picture shows a Slip Ring from a regular E46 with a non-heated wheel but I mark off where the heated wheel is different):






I highly recommend getting a Heated Wheel from either an 2004+ X5 or X3. Older E39 and E38 Steering Wheel button pods use tiny amber orange bulbs for the button's back light instead of the E46's pure amber led back lighting thus a mismatch may possibly occur in your dash if you use an older Wheel w/ button pods. Also older pre-2001 and pre-2000 5 and 7 series may have the single stage airbags that will not work in the E46.

Now this is the wheel below that I have is from a 2006 X3. Your Heated Wheel must look like. Note the heated function button. It is NOT a circle with arrows (those wheels are for the AC Recirculation) but on the heated wheel it is an icon of the steering wheel with wavy lines.










The wiring behind the airbag and pods can be intimidating but it is not so bad once you study them for a minute or two. Everything plugs into where it should via key plugs that are shaped specific to what they plug into so you can't mess that up.









Now this part is completely unlisted at Realoem and doesn't seem to have a specific BMW Parts Number that I could find. I call it Jason Bourne.

Jkidding for purposes of my DIY I call it the Heater Harness.

Which is what it is.

It is INTEGRAL to the heated wheel as it connects all the main parts (power/ground from the Slip Ring to heat button to heater element in wheel) inside the steering wheel belly. You MUST make sure your wheel comes with this attached or on the side. I cannot direct you to any BMW P/N for it.







Once you have the Wheel hooked up to the Heater Harness, which will also be connected to the button pods, you need to attach the two pin connector to the Slip Ring's two pin receptacle that is found ONLY on Slip Rings from car's with heated steering wheels.








After you understand how to secure all the front connections on the front of Slip Ring then we move onto backside of the Slip Ring.

Here we will connect up all three corresponding connectors going into the car.

On the backside of the Slip Ring the two bigger 6pin and 4 pin connectors from the front exit the back of ring in one bigger 10 pin connector going into the car.

The 2 pin connector socket and input holes will be present on the Slip Ring from the heated wheel but for the DIY we will need to add a connector that plugs into it that will bring power and ground to the heated wheel element.

Here we come to the final stage of the DIY. You will have to purchase a pin 2 connector w/ pig tail splices from your dealership (aka BMW Parts # 61 13 8 352 580 for 2-pin plug and 61 13 0 006 6630.75 for mm2 contact). These are about $1 each or less.

Some folks before me, like the OP, used a modified homemade connector to create a 2 pin plug. You can do that if you want to and have the skills to do that but I decided $1 or 2 spent at the dealership to save me a couple of hours spent pulling parts from a smashed up computer wouldn't break the bank.

As of now I'm still working out where a power source will come from and if and how I would add an inline 10 AMP Fuse and/or a Relay to the power wire.



BTW:

Delmarco's PICTORIAL DIY for the Heated Wheel Retrofit will be coming soon!
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Last edited by delmarco; 02-21-2010 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:43 PM   #2
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here you go again with a crazy retrofit, do they have heated sport steering wheels or M3 wheels?
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerci330 View Post
here you go again with a crazy retrofit, do they have heated sport steering wheels or M3 wheels?
yup!

This BMW P/N 32303452720 X3 heated M wheel should also fit right into our cars. Cost about $750 at Tischer. Matching Airbag is about $730.



Pic courtesy of
SNA77.
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Old 02-21-2010, 02:11 AM   #4
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I have to say that I love your DIY write-ups. They're always unique projects that I enjoy seeing done. Good work once again!
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
So my advice for Slip Ring seekers is all Parts Numbers reasoning goes out the door and you are pretty much left asking around for a Slip Ring that specifically came from a car with a heated wheel. This can take a while, even with eBay at your fingertips and a large Junk Yard full of BMWs in your city.
The M3 SMG slip ring has the 2 pins in the connector slot. It uses it for the paddles. That may expand the list of potential donor cars.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Miss_My_///M View Post
I have to say that I love your DIY write-ups. They're always unique projects that I enjoy seeing done. Good work once again!
Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cazz View Post
The M3 SMG slip ring has the 2 pins in the connector slot. It uses it for the paddles. That may expand the list of potential donor cars.
right you are...



...which will be my next DIY if I don't like the heated steering wheel in my car.

either that or I will just DIY the SMG wheel next using the same slip ring and have a summer SMG wheel and winter HEATED wheel.
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Last edited by delmarco; 02-21-2010 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:17 AM   #7
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Where did you obtain this part (M3 Button Console Bar ) from?
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:37 AM   #8
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Wow, BMW steering wheels just get uglier and uglier.

Nice write up though.Here is the heated wheel/SMG slipring



Last edited by Arty; 08-31-2010 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VADER-01 View Post
Where did you obtain this part (M3 Button Console Bar ) from?
there is one for sale here:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...803&highlight=

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
From a 2005 M3 coupe. Fits all years 2001-2006 E46 3 series sedans and coupes (323i, 328i, 325i, 330i, 323ci, 325ci, 330ci).

Adds the extra functionality of Heated Seats, SPORT and TPMS in addition to HK and DSC.

Everything works and it is in mint physical condition.

I just replaced it for a switch unit with Rear Electric Sun Blind button so I no longer need this one.

These sell $200+ new at the dealership or $90 and up on eBay.

I will accept BEST OFFERS. I don't care so just shoot me a number and it can be yours. I just need to get rid of it.

Paypal Accepted. You get USPS 2 Day Shipping w/ Tracking for free.

PM me or contact me at olaf2046@tmo.blackberry.net if interested.





















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Old 01-26-2011, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trizzuth
Hey man, I am interested in buying an X5 steering wheel off of ebay to replace my worn 4 spoker non-sport steering wheel. Since you've played around with this many times, and even the heated option, I was wondering if you had any idea what the button on the lower right is for? It's not the same as the heated button you had in your car, I scoured the internet and cannot find a reference to it anywhere..

That is the steering wheel button for the air conditioning recirculation feature on the HVAC. Although our E46 HVAC climate control has the recirculation buttons it only works with the X5-E53, 5 Series-E39, 7 Series-E38 and X3-E83 HVAC climate control. Or rather I'm not sure how to wire it up to work with our E46 HVAC Climate Control recirculation buttons.



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Old 01-26-2011, 04:46 PM   #11
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Good Job, will keep an eye on this thread
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:51 AM   #12
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Heres another DIY from awhile back. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...=210000&page=2
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:38 PM   #13
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This is the actual DIY thread that I finished for this project.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=744075
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:29 PM   #14
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Were you ever able to do it with a sport m3 looking wheel?
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:09 PM   #15
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Hi Delmarco,

I have admired your work for quite some time now as a lurker and will be doing this heated steering wheel mod this weekend!

With your guidance this will be a cinch and soooooo very much needed for the rest of this winter season.

Followed by an Eonon GM5150 install and then I'm done for a while.

Heated steering wheel mod completed with a nice 2006 X3 wheel and slip ring! I have a nice used 2003 E46 factory wheel and switches if anyone is interested in them.

Also on ebay. I have available a Heated WHEEL ONLY that has some scuffs (I had to take it as part of a package to get the slip ring and switches) here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=131124636410




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Old 07-10-2014, 02:52 PM   #16
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Hello delmarco and the crew!
I am excited to find this DIY guide to retrofit a heated steering wheel into e46 BMW!
I have a question for you as a fellow BMW enthusiasts: a few years past since this retrofit and newer BMWs came out bringing us more choices of heated steering wheels. So I'm wondering which NEWER heated steering wheels will fit into a car like mine - 2003 325Ci (e46 coupe) - I saw mentioned part 32303452720 X3 sport - but maybe also late 3-seriers, X3, X5, X6 or their M versions?

Also does every specific steering wheel require a specific slip ring for it or slip rings are generic and older slip ring can fit a newer steering wheel?

What are the best places to look for parts like these? Ebay does not help much as I see now. To buy everything as a set would be great - steering wheel WITH air bag and slip ring.

Hopefully someone is an expert in this area and will have some helpful info. Thanks a lot!

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Old 07-10-2014, 03:28 PM   #17
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A few years back I installed a heated steering wheel in my 325xi. The e39 5 series had heated steering wheels as an option that use the same banks of switches.
See DIY http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...993&highlight=
One of the difficulties is finding the switch bank with the heated steering wheel on/off button - many have an a/c fan button instead. You're better off swapping out the pair of steering wheel switch banks since the LEDs in the 5 series are dimmer.
I've used the heated steering wheel for 6 years and value it since we have many months of winter temps.
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