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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 02-25-2010, 09:55 AM   #1
delmarco
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Smile BMW Heated Steering Wheel Retrofit Complete Pictorial DIY!

BMW 2006 X3 Heated Wheel Retrofitted onto a 330i E46 Sedan Complete Pictorial DIY



PART A: Introduction

Before I begin I must thank my friends SNA77, whom this project would not literally be possible and whom I know would be doing something like this right now if he still owned his E46.

Also I must thank Xi_ter who completed this DIY years ago and provided everything I know now and write in this DIY about tapping power from the fuse box.

This DIY was a lot easier than I anticipated. The E46 Steering Wheel and Slip Ring plug and play design makes the swap over to the X3 Heated Wheel fairly easy. With only a T30 Torx Screw Driver and Slim Ratchet to remove the airbag and a 5/8" socket on a long handle ratchet to remove the wheel you can swap the wheel out with in 30 minutes. And the Slip Ring is attached by 4 smaller Torx Screws. This part should take about another 30 minutes to a hour.

You MUST UNPLUG your battery before removing the airbag (so as to not set off the air bag and/or the airbag warning lamp during the DIY).

Again I was lucky to come across an complete X3 heated wheel that was no longer needed by it's former owner. Previous DIYs used Steering Wheels from early years E38 and E39. At this time, I highly recommend just getting an 2002+ X3 or X5 heated wheel. Those earlier E38 and E39 wheels had single stage airbags and bulb lit icons on the steering wheel buttons that don't get powered well and appear dim and off color in the E46 or newer BMWs that use LED lit icons on the steering wheel buttons. So getting an X3 or X5 wheel is a safe bet. Also you can get a complete X3 / X5 heated wheel on eBay within the $150 to $300 range.

This picture here shows the two types of X3 / X5 steering wheel. For this DIY you will need the wheel with the heated wheel icon and two wavy arrows pointing up on the button pod below the Cruise Control buttons. The other one with the circle of arrows icon for the AC recirculation and will not work in this retrofit.




I also lucked out with my Slip Ring acquisition. The Slip Rings do not have any set part numbering to differentiate them by function and according to the BMW P/N manifest all slip rings from the 1995 E38 7 series thru the current X3 models seem to have one shared part number regardless of if the slip ring is for Regular, SMG or Heated Steering Wheels. My best bet was just asking around for the slip ring from a heated steering wheel until I found found. It took me about 2 weeks to get the slip ring after I got the wheel and that delay was mainly due to the lack of specific parts number for the slip rings.

A great BMW Parts seller on eBay "Scubaa1" aka Scuba Steve hooked me up with the slip ring from a 2001 7 series for only $35 w/ free shipping and it arrived quickly and in mint condition. I totally recommend seeking him out for BMW parts as I will also use him in the future over those Junk Yard sellers that charge you Dealership prices for dirty used parts.


These are intro pictures of the wheel and it's parts as well as two more videos explaining all the elements of this retrofit.



































http://img6.imageshack.us/g/heatedwheelparta.jpg/

Two videos introducing everything you need to know about the heated steering wheel and slip ring that BMW uses.




Last edited by delmarco; 02-25-2010 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:55 AM   #2
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PART B: Removing Steering Wheel



This part is fairly easy and straight forward. For sport wheels with the round or triangular air bags the placement of the air bag bolts may be different.

JUST REMEMBER THAT YOUR BATTERY MUST BE COMPLETELY UNPLUGGED BEFORE TAKING THE AIRBAG OFF!!!!





























http://img522.imageshack.us/g/heatedwheelpartb.jpg/
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:57 AM   #3
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PART C: Installing New Heated Steering Wheel Slip Ring and Heated Wheel






































http://img641.imageshack.us/g/heatedwheelpartc.jpg/
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:59 AM   #4
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PART D: Adding Power/Ground to Heated Wheel and Finishing Touches



























Comparing the LED brightness and hue between the E46 and heated X3 wheel. There is a slight difference
and I can't quite nail it down but it is hardly noticable.





The LED lets you know when the wheel heater is on and off.
I like this indicator because it reminds you to turn it off if you no longer need it whiles driving.





http://img36.imageshack.us/g/heatedwheelpartd.jpg/

Congrads! Now go enjoy your new steering wheel!
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:26 AM   #5
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Incredible write-up as always Olaf!!
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:33 AM   #6
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BTW, there are other options for the X3 / X5 heated wheels. The one delmarco used was from a 2006 w/o sports package. You could use any of the other ones. I have a 2007+ X3 //M heated wheel:

M steering wheel for X3 with heat. Part # 32303452720
Airbag. Part # 32303415946


Non-sport wheel from a 2007+ X3 with heat:
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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Very nice write-up.

Is the airbag from the new X3/X5 required? In looking at your airbag, the design matches the existing E46 rectangle airbag. I would think it would be easy enough to find the switches and add them to the existing airbag.
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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Excellent write up this DIY would have saved me a few hours back when I attempted it.
At pointed out by sna77, there are some excellent heated sport steering wheels. Anyone considering upgrading to a sport steering wheel should consider the heated version which is usually priced nearly the same. The part number confusion on the slip ring comes from E46s never having factory heated steering wheels, so pair with the slip ring from 2001 7 series.
Winter driving comfort is really improved with an 80 deg F wheel In Canada, this is a $250 option on the new 3 series.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:33 PM   #9
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Yea is the X3/X5 airbag needed or is reuseing the E46 one possible?
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:37 PM   #10
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Delmarco, you write the most thorough DIYs
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:47 PM   #11
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Nice rainbow socks with flip flops...................
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitexi View Post
Yea is the X3/X5 airbag needed or is reuseing the E46 one possible?
not really. The airbags are identical in everyway. You can just get the wheel and button pod with the cruise control and heated wheel button. Just make sure you get the heated wire harness as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TR_MS3 View Post
Nice rainbow socks with flip flops...................
lol.

hey it was Sunday. I literally rolled out of bed saw that all the snow melted, the sunshine and the temps in the 40s F and said I need to do this before it gets back in the 20s F and my car gets buried under another 3 feet of snow.
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Last edited by delmarco; 02-25-2010 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
not really. The airbags are identical in everyway. You can just get the wheel and button pod with the cruise control and heated wheel button. Just make sure you get the heated wire harness as well.
So if you were going to reuse the e46 airbag, you would need the buttons to attach to the e46 airbag? do they detach easily? Could you show pics of detachment from your old e46 wheel?
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:06 PM   #14
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You know what I just realized. The buttons on the X3 are not even white like the E46. So the backlit MUST be different.

See picture below the icons are grey-white on the X3 wheel and bright-white on the E46.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sna77 View Post
So if you were going to reuse the e46 airbag, you would need the buttons to attach to the e46 airbag? do they detach easily? Could you show pics of detachment from your old e46 wheel?
Steve,
I never personally seperated the button pods from the airbag but
I see on eBay all the time sellers just selling the button pods as detached from the air bag.







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Last edited by delmarco; 02-27-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:22 AM   #16
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bumped for Solid Jake
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Last edited by delmarco; 07-03-2010 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:07 AM   #17
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woops wrong thread?
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:05 PM   #18
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Great!
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:23 PM   #19
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Olaf, great write up. Tim should make you the moderator of the DIY subforums.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Olaf, great write up. Tim should make you the moderator of the DIY subforums.
lol.
thanks.
i doubt they will ever do that.
i think they view me as more of a trouble maker and less of a "company man".

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