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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 08-03-2006, 11:37 AM   #1
yogo_jonzo
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DIY M3 Steering Wheel in 99 323i

OK So I did not take many pictures of the process but this has got to be one of the easiest installs I have done to date. I am pretty sure my descriptions on their own will be enough. This is not starting from a Sport steering wheel, but rather from the ugly sqaure non sport.


Tools Needed

-1/4" Drive Ratchet
-3/8" Drive Ratchet
-10mm Socket
-1/8" socket
-T30 Torx bit



1) Take out old steering wheel


- On the back of the steering wheel there are two holes. Inside you will need to use the T30 Torx bit to loosen em up.



- Put the key in the ignition and turn the steering wheel to the side so that it is verticle to give you better access to one of the screws.

- Once you get it undone on that side turn the steering wheel the other direction and take out the other screw. (Note: on my steering wheel the screws did not come all the way out of the steering wheel but they did come off the airbag so it could be removed.

- Now straighten the steering wheel out.

- Go to the trunk and use the 10mm socket to remove the negative terminal from the battery. Make sure to wrap it with tape etc... so it doesnt come in contact with any metal.

-Go inside and grab a drink. The Bentley manual recommends you give at least 1 min for the system to power down once disconnecting the battery.

- Get back inside the car and remove the airbag. Slowly pull it towards you until you can see the wiring behind. There are two plugs that you will see connect to the slip ring behind the steering wheel. (I think this is only if you had multifunction to begin with though) Disconnect and the airbag comes off.




- Get you large ratchet with the 16mm socket. Now you need to take off the center bolt holding the steering wheel on. (Remember lefty loosey, righty tighty)

- Put some muscle into it and it will come loose. Once it does you are ready to take the wheel off.


Now reverse the steps and install the new M3 wheel.

- Slip the wheel onto the hub.

- Connect the multifunction.

- Put the center bolt in and tighten to 46 ft lbs of torque.

- Connect the wires for the new airbag.

- Snap the new airbag into place.

- Connect the battery and you are done!





Congrats on your new mod.


Some people have asked whether or not the multi function works with the newer steering wheels on the older e46's. The answer is YES. I tested it all out. The steering wheel lights up, Cruise works, Volume control works etc...

Enjoy!
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:46 PM   #2
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so is there any difference in the 2003 models?
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Old 08-03-2006, 05:32 PM   #3
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Do you have the square steering wheel?

The only difference between years would be if you have a sport or non sport steering wheel.

On the sport steering wheel there is a slot no each side you need to insert a screwdriver to push a spring to release the airbag.
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Get back inside the car and remove the airbag. Slowly pull it towards you until you can see the wiring behind. There are two plugs that you will see connect to the slip ring behind the steering wheel. (I think this is only if you had multifunction to begin with though) Disconnect and the airbag comes off.
I'm unsure about how you remove the airbag. When you say "pull it towards you," do you mean the steering wheel once you've removed the screws? This is all done through the back of the steering wheel?

I'm coming from the same non-SP wheel and just bought a used M3 one off eBay.
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:50 PM   #5
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Yes, the steps before that are to remove those 2 screws in the back of the steering wheel. The screws may not come all the way out but they will disengage from the airbag.

Those screws are all that is holding the airbag in place.

I think in one part I was not very clear but use the small ratchet with the 1/8" socket and the T30 bit to break the screws loose. It was really tight to get the screwdriver with the bit in there and they were pretty tight.
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:57 PM   #6
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I once heard that newer air bags (or whatever) are 2-stage spec so it won't work on an old car. is this true?
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:26 PM   #7
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The two stage thing is true, but from the information I have found it should still work as a single stage airbag.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:32 PM   #8
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I'd Like To Add A Very Very Important Bit Of Advise. Be Very Careful When You Get To The Part Of Pulling The Wheel. Behind The Steering Wheel There Is A Round Piece That Looks Like A Roll Of Tape And Mates With It's Sister Housing. Connected To These Parts Is A Plastic Ribbon Cable Used For The Airbag,cruise, And Audio/phone Controls. This Is Refered To Commonly As The Clockspring, And Is Packed In Grease. Upon Removing The Steering Wheel, Pay Close Attention Making Sure That This Roll Of Tape Part Does Not Stick To The Steering Wheel And Separate From It's Counterpart. If This Happens Your In For A World Of Sh*t. START SEARCHING FOR ADVISE, THERE IS SOME HELP BUT IT'S STILL A CONFUSING *****. Be Forewarned, There Is A Corner In Hell For Me, It Happened To Me And If You Don't Heed My Advice And It Happens To You: I'm Laughing At You!

Last edited by mnewln; 08-07-2006 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:26 AM   #9
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Okay, my M3 wheel is on! However, the round airbag isn't snugly fitting against the steering wheel on the right side. There is some gap. Is everyone elses's perfectly snug against the wheel, or is a little gap to be expected?
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:19 AM   #10
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^There should be a gap on the top "corners"; that's how mine is too.
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:50 PM   #11
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gaps doesn't bother me...what bothers me is the warning failure on my panel for the airbag....do i need to have my ECU flashed or something?
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:30 PM   #12
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did you disconnect the battery when you did this?

I never got an airbag light when I did mine.


I would recommend that you double check the connections and do one of the following:

1) Buy the SRS Reset tool to get rid of the light
2) Go to the dealer

the reason why I recommend these is because once the light comes on you cannot get rid of it by just disconnecting the battery. It needs to be reset.
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mjames
Okay, my M3 wheel is on! However, the round airbag isn't snugly fitting against the steering wheel on the right side. There is some gap. Is everyone elses's perfectly snug against the wheel, or is a little gap to be expected?

The airbag is not perfectly round. Mine looks to be a little flatter on the top of the air bag giving it those gaps you are talking about.
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:55 PM   #14
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yes i did disconnect it. But i needed to put them back on at some point without the new airbag installed (coz' i'm an idiot). Is there any solution to this?
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:55 PM   #15
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oh okay, will do!

Last edited by Bimmer360; 08-11-2006 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ealzar
oh okay, will do!
Correct!
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:45 PM   #17
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I completely FORGOT TO DISCONNECT the battery when I did the M3 wheel swap/airbag on my 00 coupe.. so what should I do? Went to the shop and reset it and the light still came back on? Should I try resetting it using a GT1? Will that work? Thanks

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:18 PM   #18
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What shop did you go to to have it reset? I know peake makes an airbag reset tool, or the dealer can do it.

If it keeps coming on, there may be something wrong....

Maybe one of your other airbags, or the new one for the steering wheel? Maybe it was dropped during shipping if you didnt have it before.
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:16 PM   #19
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hey guys, great thread.

1: How much did u guys pay for ur M3 wheels? (new or used)
Where from?
My buttons are worn on my non sport 2000 323i and this sounds like a great fix for the buttons and a cool upgrade while I am at it.

2: DON'T buy the air bag reset tool, shop around and for about an extra $50-100 u can get the tool that not only resets the SRS light but the check engine/service engine lights as well as give u diagnostic codes! MUCH better deal! and it will work on ALL modern BMW's
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:11 PM   #20
yogo_jonzo
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Originally Posted by UK Beemer View Post
hey guys, great thread.

1: How much did u guys pay for ur M3 wheels? (new or used)
Where from?
My buttons are worn on my non sport 2000 323i and this sounds like a great fix for the buttons and a cool upgrade while I am at it.

2: DON'T buy the air bag reset tool, shop around and for about an extra $50-100 u can get the tool that not only resets the SRS light but the check engine/service engine lights as well as give u diagnostic codes! MUCH better deal! and it will work on ALL modern BMW's


Airbags for the Sport/M3 wheels are the expensive piece. Usually $350+ for an airbag, and about $250 for the steering wheel seems average.
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