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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 11-08-2005, 08:01 AM   #1
rfatehi
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
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My Ride: 01 330i, 67 Galaxie
Side Curtain Airbag DIY?

Hey, Folks:

Anybody have a DIY or some advice on how to remove and replace an e46 sedan headliner and/or side-curtain airbag? My airbags deployed, and I plan to fix them myself.

The back-story, if you're curious:

I managed to understeer into a curb and frag my baby a few weeks ago. My stock rim fractured at its spokes and dragged me for a block on three wheels. (No, I wasn't going fast. Maybe 25MPH.) The side and side-curtain airbags deployed but not the steering wheel one.

My local shop has finished all the mechanical fixes (front crossmember and suspension setup, brakes, airbag computer and sensors), but my body shop is going to take a month to get the front-quarter damage and interior (headliner and airbag setup) fixed. The car aligned right, so the frame is fine.

I don't want to pay the body folks to do the airbags or to wait a month while driving a car with airbags hanging out all over the place. Replacing the side airbag is easy; I can do that in an hour. I've poked around a little for the side-curtain bag, but that one looks harder and thought I'd draw on everyone's ideas.

The pics I'm attaching aren't posed. The car and wheel really wound up like that.

Thanks!
RF
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:13 PM   #2
bimmeraaron
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yikes, I have never seen a wheel completly seperate like that before.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:18 PM   #3
goowatchi
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Sorry I don't know the DIY, but glad you weren't hurt.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:38 PM   #4
BMW330xi01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfatehi
Hey, Folks:

(No, I wasn't going fast. Maybe 25MPH.)

holly hell wow. glad your ok. but on a less serious note even a FWD car wouldn't understeer into a curb at 25MPH u had to be bookin on that 1. so PLEASE dont pee down our legs and tell us its rainning
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:35 AM   #5
Jetblast
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Do they have to change out the airbag computer and sensors when the bags deploy? I changed my side curtain airbag also, but I have'nt borrowed the tool to reset the light yet. It kind of sucks. I removed a & b pilar trim, all the grab handles, sunvisor and the clip and pulled the headliner down enough to see the airbag. I also pulled the dash trim, ac duct, and glove box to get to the cannon plug and main part of the airbag assy . When you get a new air bag you will have to replace most of the plastic clips that secure the bag above the window and on the a pillar. There are only three bolts holding it in. One on the back strap one on the front strap and one in the dash holding the air bag mechanism behind and below the a/c vent.
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:53 PM   #6
rfatehi
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Thanks, Jetblast. I have the airbags on order. You happen to have part numbers on the retaining clips? I'm going to call the local dealer and see if they can help me, but they aren't always on top of their game.

I have a local friend/mechanic who replaced the airbag sensors, and he's going to reset my airbag light once I get the new bags installed. He seems to think that the airbag computer is fine, but we'll find out for sure when he tries to reset the light.

I was looking at the setup on the roof. I can see how to remove the A pillar trim, but I can't find a way of getting the trim off the B pillar. Any suggestions? The headliner seems pretty straightforward. Any tricks I should keep in mind?

Thanks,
R
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:49 PM   #7
Jetblast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfatehi
I was looking at the setup on the roof. I can see how to remove the A pillar trim, but I can't find a way of getting the trim off the B pillar. Any suggestions?R
For the B pillar trim remove the lower piece first. Its held on by two clips at the bottom, pop out the clips then pull down. Then pull down the upper piece.
What sensors did you replace and where are they? All I replaced was the passenger and side air bags but I havent had a chance to try to reset the light. Do I have to change sensors our the computer?
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Old 11-10-2005, 07:17 AM   #8
rfatehi
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From what my friend told me, you definitely have to replace the sensors. He said that sometimes you can save the computer, but the only way to know for sure is to see whether you can successfully reset the airbag light. If you can't, you need a new brain.

I have to swing by his shop today, so I'll ask him where the sensors are and how to get to them. They're a few hundred dollars if I remember the invoice right.

RF
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:51 AM   #9
Tommy_hf
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How did you understeer at just 25 mph? Black ice?

Anyway, I believe replacing the ITS bag also includes swapping out the trim as well. Try to get a hold of TIS cd's, there are repair manuals on those discs.
Good luck
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:47 PM   #10
vegasbookie
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Revival Time

My driver's side curtain airbag blew and I'm about to replace it. I've heard the sensor is pretty pricey so if I only replace the airbag and leave the sensor and airbag light alone, will the airbag still work properly? It seems like everybody has a different opinion on this one so I'm looking for a diffinitive answer. I'm not even going to call the dealer because I know they'll want to sell me a sensor. Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:05 AM   #11
RattleMYzhp
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jumped a curb and my bags went off. I spoke with a local shop and they claim there is an update for my 04 330 sedan and the whole airbag system.. this update can be performed once all your airbags are reinstalled. etc. You need to have the codes read and figure out what airbag sensors are faulty as it will tell you. I for example have curtain, drivers side door, center stack inside the steering wheel where you can find a spindle of wires and occupancy sensor in the passenger seat that are faulty and setting out codes. I was quoted $1500 for the job. Hellllll no. Curtain airbag is 250, door bag 175..... I think I'll wait for the spring and have this sorted out myself then.
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