How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

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How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby EBSF » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:14 am

I need to remove the airbag steering wheel on my 1990 E30 so as to check the wiper switch. What I don't want to have happen is detonate the airbag, so I thought I'd see whether I could get some guidance here before I went any further. The Bentley manual has nothing on the topic.

I already have disconnected the battery. There is a small pry-off panel on the underside of the steering column behind which is a connector, which I'm guessing is the plug for the airbag detonator. I expect I should unplug this. There are several screws in the steering wheel on the side facing forward/away from the driver that I'm guessing hold on the airbag cover. These in particular I am reluctant to remove before getting some guidance.

Any thoughts on how to get this thing off, and things I ought to be looking out for? Many thanks in advance.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby 87e30 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:33 am

As long as you have the battery disconnected you should be ok if I'm not mistaken. I've never heard of one going off without power.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby Yoshi » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:46 pm

They store a charge and will go off without the battery hooked up. IIRC anywho.

There's 2 or 4 internal torx bolts you get to from the back side of the steering wheel. I forget the size and what not...

I hate linking to tech but here you go: http://www.e30tech.com/forum/showthread.php?t=71838
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:35 pm

unhook battery for 2 hours and unplug the orange connector under the column and its safe. The torx bolt behind the wheel hold the entire airbag in the wheel. One the airbag is removed it comes off like non-airbag cars. Before you tear it apart, what is the problem with the signal stalk? No blinkers you should check the blinker relay first. If you do need a new stalk be aware there is 2 different kinds available for late models, with obc remote and without. Make sure to get the right one.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby Nsquared97 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:39 pm

M20_fever wrote:If you do need a new stalk be aware there is 2 different kinds available for late models, with obc remote and without. Make sure to get the right one.


Agreed with Tony, it's a bit of a pain to get that connector out, make sure it isn't something else simple first. Also, early cars had the remote for the 13 button OBC too.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:43 pm

also dont get a stalk from an early model since its different than late model and will be really far back from the wheel.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby Nsquared97 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:46 pm

Is it? Did not know that. Must be to account for the difference in the steering hub/whatever.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:02 pm

yep. Thats why if you put a non airbag wheel in a late model the signal stalk is really close to the wheel.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby AustinR » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:33 pm

M20_fever wrote:yep. Thats why if you put a non airbag wheel in a late model the signal stalk is really close to the wheel.

Is this a problem with aftermarket (ie. Momo) wheels too? Or do the hubs space it out correctly?

Yoshi wrote:I hate linking to tech but here you go:

I'll do a writeup on this sometime soon.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby M20_fever » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:33 pm

No, the hub adapter pushes the wheel out. Sometimes it actually pushes the wheel out too far IMO, someone had a write up on spacing the column down to lower the wheel because it was too high after installing the momo hub and wheel.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby EBSF » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:27 am

Just to circle back on this job.

I got the airbag off, there were two Torx-head screws (no. 25 or no. 30) on the forward part of the steering wheel holding it on. I had disconnected the battery the night before, but also disconnected the orange plug behind the panel on the underside of the steering column. I had gotten offline advice before the fact to wait a while after disconnecting the battery before fiddling with the airbag, so as to let the capacitors in the SRS computer to discharge.

The steering wheel then came off with a 22mm socket, on an extension to overcome the dish of the steering wheel. Be sure to make an index mark with a pencil on the column and wheel before removing the wheel itself, so it goes back on correctly later.

As for the wiper switch, the two Philips-head mounting screws, under one of which was the ground wire, were a bit loose, enough that working the switch caused its housing to rotate a bit. I tightened the two screws, "farmer tight" (say, to around 5 ft.-lbs.) and reassembled. On two occasions since, the wipers worked flawlessly for 1/2 hour, whereas before, they would go out entirely at intermittent intervals, only to revive when I massaged the switch lever. So far, a success.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby M20_fever » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:46 pm

glad you got it figured out.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby Ryki » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:00 pm

I actually had to leave the steering wheel on my 90 cause I couldn't torque the main nut off the steering wheel column without breaking the entire column itself, luckily the cluster came out fine >.>
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby 87e30 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:08 am

Ryki wrote:I actually had to leave the steering wheel on my 90 cause I couldn't torque the main nut off the steering wheel column without breaking the entire column itself, luckily the cluster came out fine >.>


I've heard a lot of people say you "have to" remove the steering wheel to take out the cluster, but I've never actually seen anyone do it. I've taken out a few clusters myself and never even thought about the steering wheel.
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Re: How to remove E30 airbag steering wheel

Postby Ryki » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:44 am

I agree, isn't necessary but I did it on my 89 cause it was that easy (even adjusted the steering wheel to make sure it was perfectly straight).

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