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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 03-02-2011, 07:23 PM   #1
330ciandr6
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Working SMG paddle shift steering wheel in steptronic DIY

Ok, I know someone did it before (even though I couldn't find detailed pictures so I did a little write up on it.)

Parts needed:

Smg steering wheel
Sport air bag (if your car didn't come with it)
New updated e46 clock spring part number: 61318379091
2 pin connector part number: 61136925634
2 pins part number: 61130005197
About 2 feet of wire

Tools needed:

Phillips head screw driver
16mm socket
breaker bar or decently long ratchet
small flat head screw driver

I started off with my retrofitted e90 sport wheel:



Start at the shift knob, put the vehicle in neutral (parking brake on) and pull up on the shift knob (it takes some damn strength, don't hit yourself in the face with it lol). Then pull up on the shift boot and it should come up along with the black shifter surrounding piece. Be careful not to yank it hard as there are some connectors that have to be disconnected. Disconnect the 3 connectors that are connected to the black shifter trim and remove the shift boot and shifter trim.



You will be left with this



Remove the 2 screws at the back of the window switch trim as you see in the picture above. Slide the trim with the window switches back and up. Disconnect the connectors for the window switches and remove the trim.

Now remove the storage compartment and ash tray. Open the upper storage tray and just pull it out, its just held in with tabs.



Behind that is 2 screws holding the whole storage console to the dash as seen in this picture, remove them:



Turn the key on (don't start the car) and put the shifter in neutral if its not already in neutral. Slide the bottom of the storage console out first followed by the top. Disconnect the connectors on the lighter socket and the connectors on the dsc button and any other buttons you have. Remove storage console.

The red connector in this picture is the one we will be using to tap into for the paddle shifters.



Here is where I did some testing on the wires figuring out which wire was what.



Here is what I found:

On the harness side of the connector wires are as follows,

Green/white: Sport mode signal. When grounded vehicle is put in sport mode.

Brown/black: Constant ground

Blue/yellow: Downshift signal, when grounded in sport mode vehicle downshifts

Blue/purple: Upshift signal, when grounded in sport mode vehicle upshifts

You can match up the colors on the shifter side of the connector if you are tapping in there, but I found it easier to do it on the harness side.

Now to remove the airbag and steering wheel. Disconnect the battery.

This is where people have trouble removing the air bag.

Slide the small flat head into the slot on the back of the steering wheel:



this it the angle you need to work at:



If you have it angled right, when you push in on it, you will have springing tension against your screwdriver.
This is what you are pushing on with your screw driver:



If you look closely in the picture in the circle piece in the metal you can see where my small screw driver is pushing against the spring and this is what you want to happen. That picture is with the spring compressed. Do this on one side and pop that side of the air bag out then repeat on the opposite side. Then disconnect both air bag connectors.
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Last edited by 330ciandr6; 03-02-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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Now unclip the connectors from the clock spring inside the steering wheel.



Now take your 16mm and ratchet or breaker bar and loosen the steering wheel bolt and remove it.
If you don't see the centering mark on your steering wheel and spindle you may want to mark it with a paint pencil so you line it up.

Remove the steering wheel.

You are now left with this,



Yes, mine is all dusty.

Time to remove steering column trim. Stick your head up under the dash and remove the screws on the black panel above where your feet would be.



Then twist and pull out the tab behind the brake pedal. There is one more plastic push rivet holding on the panel on the front ride side of it, both seen in this picture:



I then let the trim piece hang as I saw no need to completely remove it

Look under the steering column, you will find these push rivets:



All you need to do push on the center of the rivet til it pops up and it will be released. The lower steering column trim should now be free to remove.

You don't need to remove the upper trim, just free it so it can move. Loosen this screw and it will be loose. This view is from the top.



Remove the 4 torx screws holding on the clock spring as seen in this picture:



Then disconnect the 3 connectors on it as seen in these pictures:
(One on the back of the wiper stalk, one on the back of the blinker stalk, one on the bottom of the clock spring on the rear)




Remove clockspring.

Turn to the back of the clock spring and pop out the blinker and and wiper stalk, the are held on with 2 push tabs each on top and bottom as seen here



As you see here the old clock spring is missing the pins for the paddle shifters



Install the wiper and blinker stalk in the new clock spring and reinstall the new clock spring connecting all connectors.

Now add the new connector to the back of the clock spring seen here



I ziptied it to the shift interlock cable to hold it up. I then ran the wires to the center console through here.



Just push them through and grab them and this is where they will end up



This is where I reinstalled the steering wheel and such. Reinstall the steering column trim and black trim piece under the dash. You need to break the red tab off the new clock spring right before you reinstall the steering wheel because the clock spring comes in the position it needs to be, it cannot be off a turn to the right or left of it will throw a dsc code. Reinstall the wheel, connect all the connectors in the steering wheel to the clock spring including the new 2 pin connector for the paddle shifters. Reinstall the air bag and you are done with the steering wheel.
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Last edited by 330ciandr6; 03-02-2011 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:23 PM   #3
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Now I tapped the 2 wires from the paddle shifters into the upshift and downshift wires into the shifter. This is when I was testing which wire from the paddle shifters was upshift and which was down shift.



Now you can reconnect the battery. Turn the key on (don't start the car) and put the shifter in drive, then sport, and use the paddle shifters and make sure you have the plus on the upshift wire and minus on the downshift wire. If you have it correct, clean up tapping the wires and reinstall storage console and all shifter trim and you are done. I did this all for the fun factor and I love using it. I am not responsible for damage you do to your vehicle attempting this DIY.

In the future I may try and figure out a way to put the shifter in sport mode from the paddles without having to push the shifter over manually. If you have any questions feel free to ask or pm me. Oh and sorry, I suck at write ups.
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Last edited by 330ciandr6; 03-02-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:23 PM   #4
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...
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Last edited by 330ciandr6; 03-02-2011 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:37 PM   #5
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Last edited by 330ciandr6; 03-02-2011 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Nice I liket, please keep posting
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:21 PM   #7
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Nice!!! I like this DIY.

What year is your car OP?
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:32 PM   #8
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it would be a 2001
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:26 AM   #9
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Nice Job....Man I want to do this so bad....Other things first though!
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:58 AM   #10
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hey OP ive been looking into this and currently have a new sport wheel with padles, and wires run to the steptronic harness. ive ben waiting to start tearing things apart untill i find an smg/heated wheel clock spring and a round airbag. but after reading this a few times im starting to think i can just drill a hole in my existing clock spring where thr connectors would be and run the wires through there. my question to you and to anyone else who knos is does the clock spring itself rotate when you turn the wheel or does it stay stationary. if it stays stationary i think i should be fine just drilling through. thanks in advance
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumbum624 View Post
hey OP ive been looking into this and currently have a new sport wheel with padles, and wires run to the steptronic harness. ive ben waiting to start tearing things apart untill i find an smg/heated wheel clock spring and a round airbag. but after reading this a few times im starting to think i can just drill a hole in my existing clock spring where thr connectors would be and run the wires through there. my question to you and to anyone else who knos is does the clock spring itself rotate when you turn the wheel or does it stay stationary. if it stays stationary i think i should be fine just drilling through. thanks in advance
You cannot do that. The clock-spring is there because you can't have wires running trough the wheel because when you turn the wheel it would just tear the wire.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:57 PM   #12
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okay but where you plugged in to the back of the clockspring, can i not run wires to there? or is the clockspring two pieces, one of which rotates? I just havent gotten to check it out yet so i really dont anything about that part
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumbum624 View Post
or is the clockspring two pieces, one of which rotates?
yes, pretty much
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:25 AM   #14
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This is great! I did a similar mod on my Touareg and love the results. I guess I need to start shopping for a steering wheel.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:27 AM   #15
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can someone give me a few more details on the clockspring replace steps. im just worried because I have a couple of friends who have done this and now their horns and buttons dont work...:/
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:48 PM   #16
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There is nothing to it. Its only held on with 4 torx screws. Then is just disconnecting the couple connectors. Very simple.
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:42 PM   #17
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than I have some dumb friends.

thanks guys
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:22 PM   #18
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One last question for you. How exactly did you tap into the wire harness? Since there is so little room down there I am trying to avoid soldering.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:54 PM   #19
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I followed the wires up a little ways towards the ashtray area and just used t-taps
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:12 AM   #20
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Would you be able to install a 555 timer or a slow RC filter and NPN transistor to connect to the sport mode switch, such that the sport mode was automatically activated for a short period when you flipped the paddles? Or would there be a conflict with the Drive and Sport lines both being low together?
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