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General E46 Forum
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:29 AM   #1
aosipian
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Steering wheel swap Single stage- Dual Stage airbag

Trying to swap a steering wheel on my 328I, 1999, it is a square airbag multifunction steering wheel. Reading the threads I understand that there might a case that I will not be able to install an M3 / sport wheel for later models with SMART airbags. However, I can see people doing that (within the threads) without any problems.

I was wondering, how many of you guys have done that. From technical view, if the system does not allow you to install that, why would smbd be able to do it, without any changes into control units.

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Old 09-13-2009, 03:03 AM   #2
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Hi,

I just successfully did the retrofit yesterday.
The problem is that we cannot be ensured that the stage2 airbag will work properly stage 1 system while we haven't had a crash

I've been hear that's possible to upgrade the sofware of the ABS module.
In the doubt, i'm going to ask to my BMW dealer whether that's possible and how does it costs.

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Old 09-13-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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I think the consensus is that you can do the retrofit, but only one stage of the two stage airbag will function. Which is ok, because that is all you have on your '99 currently. Just make sure you connect the "high" power stage. The problem is that the only way to test to make sure you connected it correctly is to go crash your car...I don't recommend you do that. But, the consequence is that you have a car without a drivers airbag.

I wanted to replace my badly worn steering wheel, but the high costs steered me in the direction of refinish the wheel I have with Leatherique's steering wheel refinishing kit...$25.00.
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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I think the consensus is that you can do the retrofit, but only one stage of the two stage airbag will function. Which is ok, because that is all you have on your '99 currently. Just make sure you connect the "high" power stage. The problem is that the only way to test to make sure you connected it correctly is to go crash your car...I don't recommend you do that. But, the consequence is that you have a car without a drivers airbag.

I wanted to replace my badly worn steering wheel, but the high costs steered me in the direction of refinish the wheel I have with Leatherique's steering wheel refinishing kit...$25.00.
Bingo. I put an M3 wheel (with 2 stage airbag) on my 328Ci (which typically has the triangle steering wheel with 1 stage airbag). Most have said that it will simply deploy only one of the two airbags in the two stage in the event of a crash (which is fine as it will do it's job) but others have said the car won't understand the airbag system at all and may not deploy it. I am going to hope that, should anything happen, the former train of thought is accurate but can't be 100% certain. That said, the m3 wheel is just too nice to pass over
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
omairkhanzada
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F it.... no airbag!!! muahahahahaha

i would try and see whats really up with that ABS module update!!!

and when did they start to put SMART airbags?
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:23 PM   #6
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Think of it this way - the airbag system is the e46 is overly-sensitive... i.e. if you remove the front seats without disconnecting the battery, the airbag light will be tripped. If there were a problem with single/dual stage airbags, the airbag light would most certainly come on. It comes on and stays on for every other reason
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:46 PM   #7
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when did they start installing smart airbags ???
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:02 PM   #8
Bradford
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Old thread here, but I am changing my triangle 2000 sport steering wheel/airbag with a M3 steering wheel w/round two stage airbag. Will this trigger the airbag light?
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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no if you install the plugs correctly.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:32 PM   #10
Bradford
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no if you install the plugs correctly.
Please explain? Can you plug it in incorrectly?
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:13 AM   #11
l2iceman
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bringing this back...

my steering wheel on my 2001 325i needs replacing, and I want to replace it with another e46 oem wheel with the radio/cruise buttons on it...if I was to pick one up without an airbag, can I swap my airbag from my current wheel into it no problem?
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:58 AM   #12
Mpower Jones
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bump?
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:08 AM   #13
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bringing this back...

my steering wheel on my 2001 325i needs replacing, and I want to replace it with another e46 oem wheel with the radio/cruise buttons on it...if I was to pick one up without an airbag, can I swap my airbag from my current wheel into it no problem?
A bit late but, you cannot use the triagnle airbag on the newer wheels with the round airbags. However, if you are just going to swap wheels for a newer one or go from the sport wheel to the M3 wheel, you can simply transfer over the round airbag, all plug-n-play there.

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bump?
A few ideas/questions were asked, you may want to specify to which you want the answer.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:12 AM   #14
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A bit late but, you cannot use the triagnle airbag on the newer wheels with the round airbags. However, if you are just going to swap wheels for a newer one or go from the sport wheel to the M3 wheel, you can simply transfer over the round airbag, all plug-n-play there.



A few ideas/questions were asked, you may want to specify to which you want the answer.
WAIT wait wait WAIT DAMNIT

I was told I COULDN'T fit the M3 wheel ....


This means I CAN???
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:02 PM   #15
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Bingo. I put an M3 wheel (with 2 stage airbag) on my 328Ci (which typically has the triangle steering wheel with 1 stage airbag). Most have said that it will simply deploy only one of the two airbags in the two stage in the event of a crash (which is fine as it will do it's job) but others have said the car won't understand the airbag system at all and may not deploy it. I am going to hope that, should anything happen, the former train of thought is accurate but can't be 100% certain. That said, the m3 wheel is just too nice to pass over
Given the uncertainty, I think it'd be worth it spending a couple hundred bucks and retrofitting the dual stage controller. Fwiw, I think 09/1999 and later cars have the dual stage controller already; they just need to be recoded so that they know a dual stage airbag is installers. Cars built before then need to retrofit the controller and then have it recoded. The coding tools are smart enough to code only the driver side as dual stage when doing the retrofit btw.

Btw fwiw, the dual stage airbags aren't actually two separate airbags. From what I understand, the difference is simply the delay between two signals that are sent as the firing sequence. I'm not sure if the "high-impact" sequence matches the sequence that the single stage bags get
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:29 PM   #16
Drizzles
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Given the uncertainty, I think it'd be worth it spending a couple hundred bucks and retrofitting the dual stage controller. Fwiw, I think 09/1999 and later cars have the dual stage controller already; they just need to be recoded so that they know a dual stage airbag is installers. Cars built before then need to retrofit the controller and then have it recoded. The coding tools are smart enough to code only the driver side as dual stage when doing the retrofit btw.

Btw fwiw, the dual stage airbags aren't actually two separate airbags. From what I understand, the difference is simply the delay between two signals that are sent as the firing sequence. I'm not sure if the "high-impact" sequence matches the sequence that the single stage bags get
Fair enough, that throws out the window for the time being again then
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:42 PM   #17
ao125
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Originally Posted by 2000_328CI View Post
Bingo. I put an M3 wheel (with 2 stage airbag) on my 328Ci (which typically has the triangle steering wheel with 1 stage airbag). Most have said that it will simply deploy only one of the two airbags in the two stage in the event of a crash (which is fine as it will do it's job) but others have said the car won't understand the airbag system at all and may not deploy it. I am going to hope that, should anything happen, the former train of thought is accurate but can't be 100% certain. That said, the m3 wheel is just too nice to pass over
I have a new-er wheel on order. The triangle wheel I have is all kinds of beat up.

Did you encounter any wiring issues, or was it fairly plug-and-play?
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:44 AM   #18
Patton323I
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My triangle wheel is getting a little beat as well. I would love to throw in an M3 wheel. Wouldn't mind the retrofitting and coding. I was led to believe that this wasn't possible at all....
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:49 PM   #19
lllRazorlll
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Thread bump but I have a few questions. What's the difference between single stage and dual stage airbags? Does the stock non-sport airbag on a 10/99 production E46 have a single stage airbag? Is the triangle steering wheel airbag single stage also?
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