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      11-13-2008, 04:21 PM   #1
AndyM
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Let's remove the steering wheel trim

Today was the first day in a while that I had to actually work on my car. I have had this trim piece done for a while, but have been too busy to do the installation.

Tools Required
T-25 Driver
10mm socket
T-20 driver

Removing the steering wheel trim

To remove the steering wheel trim, begin by disconnecting the negative terminal on the battery. loosen the 10mm nut and you will be able to remove the terminal. Wrap the terminal in a towel to prevent it from contacting the battery while you are working.



With the battery disconnected, you will need to ‘un-lock’ the airbag. On the back of the steering wheel, there are 2 concealed openings. You can feel them with your finger and if you look at the back of the wheel, you will see a minor divet that will indicate their position. Use a T-25 driver and insert it into the concealed opening (don’t worry, when you remove the driver, the vinyl will close and will conceal the hole). Describing the angle you want to go in at is tough, you will need to figure it out on your own. You will go about 2cm into the opening and feel a spring like resistance. Just push and that side of the airbag will release. Repeat on the other side and you will have un-locked the airbag.



With the airbag un-locked, carefully lower the top end so you can access the back. You do not want to pull the airbag out as you want to be careful with the electrical connections.

On the back of the airbag, there are 2 electrical connectors. To remove them, pull them straight out. You may need to pry them out, use a plastic interior trim tool to do so.





With the airbag removed, place it out of the way.

To remove the steering wheel trim, there are 3 T-20 screws that are holding it in place. You will see them on the back side of the steering wheel. They are located on the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock arms of the steering wheel. Loosen all 3 screws and the trim will be loose as well. These are captive screws and do not come all the way out.

At the top corner of the trim is a clip that will need to be un-clipped.



The wiring for the steering wheel controls is still connected so be careful removing the trim. There is enough slack to access the back of the trim. To remove the steering wheel controls, remove the T-20 screw at the top location.



With the screws holding the controls in place removed, you can remove the trim completely.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

I liked the trim piece in my brothers E90 M3 better than the stock piece, the John Travolta buttchin makes for a nicer architectural detail (IMO). I removed and filled the M badge before I did the Alcantara work so once I decide on a shift knob, I will finally be out of the M badge game.





If you use this guide, please take the time to post a thank you.
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      11-13-2008, 05:12 PM   #2
jwdyeung
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excellent diy as always
sorry to go off topic but do you make that alcantara armrest?:biggrin:
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      11-13-2008, 05:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwdyeung View Post
do you make that alcantara armrest?:biggrin:
I pm’d you. :wink:
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      12-31-2008, 09:39 PM   #4
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I just finished following this DIY to install the Bimmian Carbon Fiber steering wheel insert. Hardest part was finding the mysterious "springy" clip when inserting a screwdriver into the holes in the back of the steering wheel to release the airbag. WHAT A BITCH!

One tip: when sitting in the car, insert screwdriver into the hole at an angle that is closer to parallel with the steering wheel than it is perpendicular. Imagine a steering wheel locking device that clamps across your steering wheel. I was fishing around with the screwdriver pointed back at me (handle at front of car, tip of screwdriver towards back of car). I was getting no where.
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      10-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #5
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Can you do this with a 1/4 torx bit, or do you have to have the screwdriver?
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      11-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
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you can replace the trim without taking the airbag out just fyi.
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      12-27-2011, 07:49 PM   #7
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Used this to put on my new Performance steering wheel. Worked great, thanks!!
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      05-22-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nammerz View Post
you can replace the trim without taking the airbag out just fyi.
Please share mate. I'm thinking about suicide, since i can't get the airbag out atm. In advance, thank you.

EDIT: I now get it. You don't have to remove the airbag, and im glad. Because it's a pain.

-Use Interior trim tools on the piece, at the top there is a clip on each side, near to the airbag.
Use your trim tool to pry it open, after loosening the torx screws (obviously). Then pry it open, jam your fingers between and use your
pry tool once again but now on the clip.

The trim is actually pretty solid, I used quite alot of force and it didn't break.

Last edited by pjueern; 05-22-2012 at 03:55 PM.
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      11-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #9
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So if you want to remove the steering wheel itself after the airbag and trim is off is the only thing holding it on that bolt/nut in the center? Just loosen and pull off and slip the new one on? Just askin because I just bought a m3 Tri color stitch wheel that I'm swapping on at the same time I put my alcantera trim piece on.
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      11-30-2012, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmwbreed View Post
So if you want to remove the steering wheel itself after the airbag and trim is off is the only thing holding it on that bolt/nut in the center? Just loosen and pull off and slip the new one on? Just askin because I just bought a m3 Tri color stitch wheel that I'm swapping on at the same time I put my alcantera trim piece on.
Here is a video on how to remove the steering wheel...

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      11-30-2012, 12:40 PM   #11
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AndyM, Thanks for the tutorial! I was able to install my carbon fiber steering wheel trim piece with the use of your info. Even though I could only get the right side air bag clip to release I was still able to install the trim piece with ease! Thanks!!!
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      12-01-2012, 03:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Here is a video on how to remove the steering wheel...

Thanks dacklone. Very helpful.
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      12-13-2012, 03:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjueern View Post
Please share mate. I'm thinking about suicide, since i can't get the airbag out atm. In advance, thank you.

EDIT: I now get it. You don't have to remove the airbag, and im glad. Because it's a pain.

-Use Interior trim tools on the piece, at the top there is a clip on each side, near to the airbag.
Use your trim tool to pry it open, after loosening the torx screws (obviously). Then pry it open, jam your fingers between and use your
pry tool once again but now on the clip.

The trim is actually pretty solid, I used quite alot of force and it didn't break.
Was also wondering how to take the trim off without taking out the airbag, but a little nervous at prying at the trim as somehow I always seem to find a way to snap things.
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      12-14-2012, 12:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disillusion_10 View Post
Was also wondering how to take the trim off without taking out the airbag, but a little nervous at prying at the trim as somehow I always seem to find a way to snap things.
The airbag is so easy to remove, that's the right way to do it. Quicker too.
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      12-19-2012, 06:14 AM   #15
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Once you've removed the airbag once it's easy. I swapped my wheel last night and first quick release I was fishing for about ten min getting frustrated but once I got I we t to the other side and just like that. Once u do it once its so easy. This DIY was great but the video helped alot too. Thanks for this OP
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      01-06-2013, 11:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam135 View Post
The airbag is so easy to remove, that's the right way to do it. Quicker too.
I ended up taking the trim off without having to take the airbag off. I was having a very hard time taking off the airbag, I just couldn't get the angle right to disengage the spring holding the airbag in place. So instead just unscrewed the 3 T-20 bolts holding the trim piece on and slid the trim off, was very easy to do!
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      04-22-2013, 04:35 PM   #17
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I don't have the airbag release tunnels in my car
I only have the 3 torx bolts holding on the trim. Did I just get lucky? Or unlucky that they are somewhere harder to get to...?

Is it imperative that I disconnect the battery as well?
FOUND the answer: Keep the battery disconnected until you replace the steering wheel/airbag. If the battery is reconnected without the airbag the car will throw a code (and warning light on the dash). The code has to be cleared by either a dealer or someone who has access to NCS Expert / INPA (diagnostic software).
My battery terminal has a black 'cap' on it where even when I loosened the 10mm bolt it would not come off. I didn't want to pull and do something irreversible. Should I just pull harder?
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      04-22-2013, 04:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Is it imperative that I disconnect the battery as well?

You want to disconnect the battery not just so you don't throw an air bag code but so that you do not DEPLOY the airbag(s) by accident!

When ever working on air bags - its always a good idea to disconnect the battery AND THEN wait 30 minutes before working on the car. Most SRS(air bag) systems can still deploy the bags even with the battery disconnected for teh first few minutes. That is why you want to wait a bit.
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      04-22-2013, 04:51 PM   #19
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You want to disconnect the battery not just so you don't throw an air bag code but so that you do not DEPLOY the airbag(s) by accident!

When ever working on air bags - its always a good idea to disconnect the battery AND THEN wait 30 minutes before working on the car. Most SRS(air bag) systems can still deploy the bags even with the battery disconnected for teh first few minutes. That is why you want to wait a bit.
We don't have to remove the positive terminal as well? I assume not as we broke the circuit, but every other DIY says to remove both.
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      04-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #20
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We don't have to remove the positive terminal as well? I assume not as we broke the circuit, but every other DIY says to remove both.
You only have to remove the ground cable. By breaking the battery's connection all electronics won't have power. Its also a good idea to turn off all electrical items before removing the ground cable. And when you reinstall the ground cable... don't be scared of a few sparks that's normal. IF you make it spark too much, you can damage some of the electrical items in a car.
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      04-22-2013, 06:14 PM   #21
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Holy hell, how do you torque the nut off that holds the wheel to the car!?

I got everything off and had to reassemble the old steering wheel due to not having the tools capable of removing that nut.
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      04-22-2013, 06:59 PM   #22
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Holy hell, how do you torque the nut off that holds the wheel to the car!?

I got everything off and had to reassemble the old steering wheel due to not having the tools capable of removing that nut.
Put a cheater bar on the ratchet. A second person might help too.
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