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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: X5world
Posts: 54
Xoutpost has disabled reputation
M Steering Wheel Retrofit - 2000-2003 Style

Contributed by: X5World

Required Tools
Ordering Information
  • Flat headscrewdriver
  • 10 mm socket & ratchet
  • 16 mm socket & ratchet (at least 3/8" drive)
  • 6" extension bar (for 16 mm socket)
  • Torque wrench (highly suggested)[/size]
note: If upgrading from a non-sport wheel, you will also need a number 27 Torx bit to remove the old wheel.
  • M5 Steering Wheel with Black Stitching
    • Part #: 32-34-2-282-025
  • M3 Steering Wheel with Colored (blue/red) Stitching
    • Part #: 32-34-2-282-020

Time Required

45 min to 1 hour



Parts are available at any BMW

Dealership. Crevier BMW sells these for $325 plus shipping (airbag
not included)

note: These instructions
are written for a 200-2003 X5 with the sport steering wheel shown in the
"Before" pic below.

The M3 wheel will be packaged as you see in the top picture on the right. Once the protective cover is removed, the wheel is as seen in the lower picture. The wheel does not come with the airbag, you must re-use the airbag from your old wheel.

There is a small slot on both sides on the back of the
wheel as seen in the top picture on the right. These slots are used to release the airbag module from the steering wheel. In order to release the airbag module, insert a flat head screwdriver thru the slot. You do not want to go straight in, you want to go slightly down. Thinking of a putting your wheel on a clock, instead of going straight in at 3:00 you should go slightly down so the angle would be at about 2:30 as seen in the second and third pictures. The screwdriver will go behind the metal plate
and press on the inner side of the "clip spring" that holds the airbag unit into place as seen in the bottom picture. You will want to practice
this on your M3 wheel before trying it on the wheel in your car. You should see the inner side of the "clip spring" move while you press on it. Practice this until you familiarize yourself with the "feel" of the
"clip spring" and you can tell without looking when the "clip spring" is being moved.

You will first want to disconnect the battery because you are going to disconnect the airbag. To get to the battery you will need to lift up the cover in the rear compartment and remove the spare tire. Next you will need to remove the 2 bolts and 2 nuts holding the brackets that mount the air compressor (if you have the rear air suspension) and carefully move the unit aside.

note: Before disconnecting the battery, center your steering wheel so that your front wheels are as straight as possible.

In order to disconnect the negative terminal, loosen
the 10 mm nut on the top of the terminal. Once this nut is loose enough, the terminal will easily lift off. Remove the negative terminal from the area and make sure it has no chance of coming back in
contact with the battery.

Go to the drivers seat, and just to make sure there's
no voltage anywhere, try to turn on the dome light and make sure it doesn't work. Once you make sure there's no voltage, it's time to remove
the airbag module. In order to make it easier to get to the slots on the back of the steering wheel, you may want to put the Blinker and Wiper
actuator arms all the way up. Use the method you practiced above to release the airbag module from the retaining clips with a flat head
screwdriver. You will need to release both sides of the module by pressing in on both "clip springs", one at a time. When the module is
released, it will be slightly "raised" out of the steering wheel. Pull the module out of the wheel and turn it over so you can see all the connections inside the center of the wheel.

To remove the connectors on the back of the airbag
module, there is a small clip on the connectors shown in the top picture on the right. Slightly pull this clip out on both sides and push it up as
in the bottom picture. Be careful pulling the sides out, they don't need that much. If you pull them out to far, they do break easily. Once the
clip is in the raised position shown in the bottom picture, the connector is released and can be removed from the module. Repeat this process for both the black and green connectors on the back of the airbag module. Remove the module from the area and put it out of the way.

There are two connectors left at the top of the center
of the wheel as shown at the right. One connector has a small "push-tab" as shown by the arrow. To release this connector, press in on the tab, and the connector can be pulled out. The smaller white connector on the
right side can be pulled right out without doing anything.

Once the airbag module is removed and the two
connectors are unplugged, the only thing left is the center steering wheel bolt. This is a 16 mm bolt as shown in the top picture on the right. This bolt is very tight, and you will need at least a 3/8" drive ratchet
and a long extension to get to the bolt and have enough room to loosen the bolt. Be careful loosening this bolt, as when it "breaks free" you don't want to damage anything. Once the bolt is removed, you can see the
splines and the "alignment marks" as seen in the bottom picture. There are two marks, one on the steering wheel and one on the car side.

With the bolt removed, the steering wheel can be pulled
right off and your car will look a little strange.

With your old steering wheel removed, place your new M3
wheel into place. Make sure to line up the two "alignment marks" correctly as seen in the top picture at the right. When the M3 wheel is
properly set into place, tighten down the 16 mm mounting bolt as shown in
the bottom picture. The OEM torque spec. for this bolt is 80 Nm (59 Ft.-Lbs.). If you need a reason to buy a torque wrench, this is a good one. You don't want to mess with a bolt as important as this. There are several other uses you will find for a torque wrench in your future with
your BMW.

With the M3 steering wheel securely mounted, re-connect the two connectors at the top of the center of the wheel. Both connectors can be pressed into place as seen in the top picture on the right. Once
these connections are made, re-connect the airbag connectors. These connections are color-coded as shown in the second picture on the right, green-to-green and black-to-black. The airbag connectors go back on in
the reverse method you used to remove them. Make sure the tabs are raised as shown in the third picture, place the connector into the airbag module, and press the tab down as shown in the bottom picture. This should lock
the connectors into place. The connectors can only be installed in one direction, so if it doesn't fit, try the other direction.

Double check all four connectors in the center of your wheel, and make sure all are securely connected. When everything looks
good, place the air bag module back into place. In order to lock in the airbag module back into place, cover the module with both hands and press it into the M3 wheel. If the module does not properly lock into place, you might have to press in on the "clip springs" as you did to remove the module, while pressing the module into place.

Once everything is back together, reconnect the negative battery terminal, tighten down the 10 mm nut on the terminal, and re-install the battery cover.

note: Because the
battery was disconnected, your trip computer memory will be erased. Your clock will also need to be set.

Enjoy your new wheel!!

Additional Tips for the M Wheel Installation

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