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Topic ClosedChanging an E36 steering wheel

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Rhys View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Changing an E36 steering wheel
    Posted: 11-October-2007 at 15:38
Just had to change mine so I took a few pics for a 'how to'

It's pretty straight forward..

First thing is to disconnect the battery, and leave well alone for at least 1/2 an hour (I left mine alone for 3 hours to be safe)



This is to allow the capacitor for the airbag to discharge.. Very important..

Next is to unscrew the 2 torx screws that hold the airbag/horn in place. These are located behind the wheel. A T-30 bit is needed for this.. Once this is done the airbag unit can be removed (carefully)





The fixing screws can be seen in the pic above at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions.

Next is to remove the two connectors, they simply pull off. The unit can then be carefully placed nearby.

The centre bolt on the steering wheel can then be removed with a 17mm socket. I used a T-bar on mine as it's more solid. I also held the steering wheel itself in case I damaged the steering lock..



As you can see I have positioned the wheel so I can easily put it back in the same position.

Next job is to remove the wheel itself. I've had advice on this to keep to one side or sit behind the drivers seat in case the wheel is on a bit tight and it flies off - smacking you in the face.. In this case it came off very easily with no force needed.

Behind the wheel you will see the wires are connected to a couple of blocks under the column.



It may be necessary to remove the bottom cowling under the column to gain access (there is one screw holding the cowling in place, the rest are clips)

The rest easy enough. I would recommend that you check the slip ring fastened to the wheel to make sure the ribbon cable is centred i.e. you can turn it for about 6 turns so 3 turns from full lock should be right as long as your front wheels are pointing straight ahead.



To put everything back just do in reverse order, it's pretty straight forward.

Here's a pic of my old wheel..



Not very nice, the leather had worn badly. In the end it ripped. I was told that this can be caused by wearing a ring which scuffs the rim while tuning one-handed.

And now the new(er) one in place..



A lot better.. the design is slightly different I noticed to the older one

(detail of old wheel).

The wheel I used I bought off ebay from a 1999 E36 3 series, the airbag/horn unit I swapped over from my original wheel so I got no error/fault codes and the airbag light itself went out as usual when I started the car (though I did stand outside when I started it just ion case anything went bang.. )



Edited by Rhys
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PaulS View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-November-2009 at 21:21
Nice guide Rhys, I need to change my m steering wheel on my 328i so will help immensely


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-November-2009 at 02:12
Thanx that was a great help, i know what im doing in the morning.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-October-2010 at 07:50
Thank you Rhys for the detailed tips.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-July-2011 at 20:14

I had to jam a lump of wood between wheel spoke and floor to get mine undone.

DO NOT let the steering lock take the strain of undoing or tightening the nut.

Paul DH
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-July-2011 at 22:39
Originally posted by Old shape! Old shape! wrote:

I had to jam a lump of wood between wheel spoke and floor to get mine undone.

DO NOT let the steering lock take the strain of undoing or tightening the nut.



Originally posted by Rhys Rhys wrote:


..I also held the steering wheel itself in case I damaged the steering lock..


Worth highlighting as it's an important point (also mentioned it myself)
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