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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 02-19-2011, 03:23 PM   #1
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Location: Glendale, AZ
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My Ride: 2005&2002 330Ci's
DIY - head curtain airbag replacement

I just had to replace the curtain airbag on my 330 coupe, and thought to do a DIY for this, to make other's life a bit easier. Takes about 2 hours.

Tools needed: Hex 25,27 & 30, wrench size 10, Phillips screwdriver.

First, you have to remove A and B pillar covers. C-pillar is not a must, although it's gonna be easier to pull headliner down for access to some screws.
For A-pillar, remove the small strip saying Airbag by pulling out, remove the 3 hex screws hoding the pillar cover, then pull towards the headliner. For B-pillar you will have to remove rear side panel first (the one with the rear side speaker in it). Remove the 2 screws holding the rear side armrest and then pull panel held just by plastic clips. Then you remove the 2 clips holding the B-pillar cover.

Remove sunvisor and sunvisor clip - 2 phillips screws each.
Remove passenger grab handle and rear coat hanger on headliner.

Pull the headliner down a bit and remove the screw that holds the rear part of airbag, then all the screws for the plastic clips holding the airbag in place to the roof of the car - there are 3 of them - 1 by the B-pillar and 2 by the sunvisor.

Remove the long white bracket attached to the airbag from the A-pillar. You'll have to open the clips first that hold the cable running up on the pillar.

Next, you will have to pull the side of the dash towards you to get access to the front part of the airbag and airbag bottle. It's gonna be pretty thight, unless you'll remove the whole dash. I wouldn' recommend that. I had to replace the right side airbag so willl give instructions for passenger side. If you have to fix the driver side, search for a DIY for dash removal on driver side.
Remove the dash trim all the way to the radio. Then remove the screws holding dash in place.

Remove glovebox completely. There is DIY for that, too. Easy, just a couple of clips, 3 screws in the front and about 4 underneath.
You don't have to get to or remove the passenger airbag.
Pull dash about an inch towards you. You'll have to work in a very thight space so improvize something to keep dash pushed out till you do the job.
You will see the airbag cylinder , remove the nut holding, plastic connector on the bottom and the try to jiggle it out from the side of dash, between dash and A-pillar. It's not gonna be easy, but it can be done.

This is how the anchor for the airbag looks like. There's one on the A-pillar and one at the rear end of airbag up on the roof.

This is how the connector looks like. Be careful not to break it. The wire is gonna be attached to the airbag cylinder, sepparate it first.

Install the new airbag in reverse order, starting with the airbag cyinder and going up towards the rear of the car.

Last edited by andreid; 02-19-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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Very Nice. At the bottom of my A-pillar the cloth is all bunched up. Going to need to fix that to get car to 100%! BOOKMARKED!
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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not changing airbags, but will need to remove a, b and c pillars and headliner. really helped me out. good write up
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:11 PM   #4
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Head air bag replacement

Driver's side is the same as above: remove the dash anchors up to, and including, the stereo. Then pull the dash forward enough to wedge the airbag out through the space between the dash and the A-pillar. Put the new airbag in the same way: wedge it in between the space, then position it to bolt back in.

Took me five hours (for reference) total.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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How do I secure the new air bag after the old one exploded? didnt the explosion of the old one cause the screws to fly out?
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:57 AM   #6
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Sorry to revive an extremely old topic but I'm stuck removing the anchor for the airbag, anyone have tips?

I am not a smart man.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:53 AM   #7
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So after removing and re installing the air bag I still have the light on. Why?
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by aleksankazakov View Post
So after removing and re installing the air bag I still have the light on. Why?
You have to get your airbag light reset after you remove the airbag even if you remove a good airbag. This is why whenever you do a job that requires you to take an airbag out (like window regulator) they say disconnect the battery and don't reconnect the battery while the airbag is still disconnected.

You can get a tool to reset the light for ~$100-150 (search for SRS light reset) which will reset it for the rest of all time or you can go to the dealership and pay $100 to get it reset each time. I think the answer is obvious.
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