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OEM M3 Steering Wheel Install

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Why change your steering wheel?
There really isn't that good of a reason, but if you've driven an M3 you will notice that the M3 steering wheel is much thicker and has a better feel. Since a majority of the time you're gripping the steering wheel, it makes sense to have the best one. It also looks a little bit nicer, which is a plus!

Before

After

Difficulty
This is not really a difficult job at all, but it does get a little tedious with the wire plugs. It also involves disconnecting the airbag, so if you're not comfortable, get a professional to install the wheel.

Parts Needed
OEM M3 Steering Black Stitched Wheel (BMW P# 32-34-2-282-022) $325

Tools Needed

Screwdrivers (Small and large standard screwdriver that are preferably thin tipped)
10mm and 16mm sockets with ratchets and extensions
Torque Wrench


Instructions


Locate the battery cover in the trunk


Remove the plastic screws

Loosen the negative terminal


Place it away to ensure that it won't reconnect

Disconnect the negative battery terminal
WARNING!: Ensure that the battery is disconnected before working on the airbag! If you do not you will get an airbag warning light as well as the possibility of personal injury if the airbag accidentally goes off!
1. Open the trunk and lift the bottom liner.
2. On the right side of the car, undo the two plastic screws that hold down the battery well cover.
3. Remove the negative battery terminal by loosening the 10mm nut.
4. Place it out of the way and ensure that it cannot come in contact with the negative terminal and accidentally restore power in the middle of working on the airbag.
5. Wait at least 2 minutes to give the electrical components time to discharge.



Locate the airbag release holes


Insert the screwdriver at the proper angle

Another view of what's going on

Unclip the airbag
Note: This step can be a little bit challenging, but if you take your time, it will all work out just fine. Ensure that the battery has been disconnected.

6. Locate the two airbag release holes on either side of the steering wheel.
7. Insert a thin, long standard screwdriver into the slot. Try to keep the angle that is indicated in the picture to ensure that you will disengage the retaining springs properly. If you have a new wheel take a look at it or give it a try while its out of the car. Also you can reference the pictures below to get a good understanding of how it works.
8. Carefully push in at the proper angle as shown in the second picture. DO NOT FORCE ANYTHING or you might damage things in the wheel. Apply steady force until the spring starts compressing and continue till it's released. Be patient if you do not get it the first time.
9. Once you have released one side, do the other. It may require going back and forth more than once and slight pressure pulling on the airbag itself.

 


Carefully pop up the retainer clips


Remove the airbag

Place the airbag aside

Unclip the airbag
Note: Work slowly to not damage the connectors or clips

10. Very carefully using a small standard screwdriver pry up the airbag connector clips. Look at the pictures or look at your new wheel to get a good idea how the work.
11. Then once again carefully using a screwdriver pry the clips out of the airbag.
12. Set the airbag with the top up away from your work area in case of an accident (Think flying airbag).

 


Carefully remove the upper connectors


Better look at the connectors

Notice the tab

Remove the upper connecting wires
Note: Work slowly to not damage the connectors or clips

12. The connector on the left has a little tab on the top that will allow you to easily remove that connector, so remove it.
13. The white one is a little bit more difficult. My advice is to take your small screwdriver and pry a little bit on the top of the connector case to release the tab, and pull it right out. Look at picture three to get a better look at the connector. Once again be patient.

 


Loosen the center bolt


Note the alignment of the old wheel

Remove the old wheel

Remove the old steering wheel
14. Using a larger wrench with a 16mm (I recommend a 6 point socket) loosen the center bolt holding the steering wheel on. It is on there pretty tight, so be carefully to not hurt yourself when it finally comes loose.
15. Note the alignment of the old steering wheel. If it wasn't aligned with the marks, you will have to put it back how it was before. It should be properly aligned.
16. Remove the old wheel.

 


The new and old wheel


The new M3 wheel

Align the wheel properly


Tighten the center bolt and reconnect the upper wires

Install the new steering wheel
17. Place the new steering wheel on and align it as it was before. It should be aligned with the two marks as shown in the fourth picture.
18. Reconnect the two upper wires by snapping them in.
19. Using a torque wrench, tighten the center bolt to 46 ft-lbs.

 


Prepare the airbag connectors


Install the airbag

Enjoy!

Install the airbag and reconnect the battery
20. Prepare the connectors on the new steering wheel to be put on the airbag. These tabs being up will make things easier. Install the connectors as before and ensure that the clips are properly secured (This is for your safety).
21. Carefully align the airbag and push it into place. It will click in and shouldn't move around. If it is misaligned or doesn't seem right, pop it out like before and start over (I got it on the second try).
22. Reconnect the battery.
23. Enjoy your new steering wheel!


Review and Conclusions

It looks and feels great! It changes how the car feels since the steering wheel is the place where you get all of your feedback. I highly recommend getting one of these wheels, but it's one of those things you have to try one out to understand. Your old wheel will feel like a child's steering wheel after you get used to it. If your on the edge, just go ahead and do it!

 

 

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