View Full Version : Removing the airbag and changing the dash bulbs - A BillR Archive

bimmer nut
11-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Removing the airbag and changing the dash bulbs

1. First you disconnect the negative battery cable. This is critical. Make sure you have the code for the radio before doing this.
Its very important that you disconnect the battery before doing anything else, if you don't you will trip the airbag code when you turn the key to remove the
steering wheel... I have had many many emails from people who didn't do this and now want to know how to turn the airbag light on the dash off...


2. Wait a few minutes for the airbag to discharge, then remove the 2 philips screws that hold the steering column
cover on the bottom.


Make sure you disconnected the batteryThen you remove the bottom cover on the steering column. When thats removed you will see a orange connector.
Thats the airbag connector. Squeeze the clip ends and seperate the connector. Remove the end that goes to the steering
wheel from the post its fastened to.


Using a T27 torx socket or driver then remove the 2 screws on the back of the steering wheel that hold the airbag in place.


Next you carefully lift the airbag assy off of the wheel and disconnect the plug on the back. It comes straight out to remove. Then set the airbag aside in a place where it won't get disturbed or damaged.


Then you remove the 22mm self-locking nut that holds the steering wheel on. This nut is to be replaced as it's only intended to be used
once. The torque when reinstalling is 59 ft.lbs. Once that nut is removed, mark the steering shaft and the wheel with a marker. A line across both so you can put the wheel back on in the same place. Put the key in the ignition next and turn to the run position. The wheel will then lift off.


Once the wheel is out of the way you remove the 2 philips screw that are in the top of the instrument cluster and carefully pull the
cluster out far enough to remove the wiring connectors on the back. There are little levers you raise to release the connectors.



Next lay the instrument cluster down on a towel or mat to protect the face and on the back is most of the bulbs. To get
to the 3 that provide the main illumination at night you have to turn the 2 latches counterclockwise 1/4 turn and swing the back
panel up. The rest of the bulbs are on the back panel.

This car was a 1990 525i, it had:
6 - 1.5 watt bulbs
3- 3 watt bulbs
13- 1.2 watt bulbs

The 1.5 watt bulbs I had to get from Bmw, all the rest were available through aftermarket sources. The 1.5s provide the lighting
for the gear indicator on an automatic,the check instrument display, the service indicator and the odometer. These are the ones that are on most of the time.

The 1.2s I wasn't as concerned about changing since they aren't on nearly as much. These are all the warning lights, turn signals, bright indicator etc.

The 3 watts I changed since they are the gauge lighting at night.


I think that about covers it all. Then put it back together in the reverse. Make sure you don't hook up the battery until the very last. Turn the key off after the steering wheel is installed, then reconnect the battery.
Otherwise it will trigger an srs code and have to be reset. One other note, On most of the other e34 models the battery is under the rear seat. To gain access just pull up really hard on the front bottom of the seat. While your in there you can look at the bottom of the steering wheel where the copper paste is and spread it around if you have a squeaking problem. A few other notes as well. Some models will
have a nut holding the steering wheel on , some will have a bolt instead. You don't abolutely have to replace the bolt or nut, you can just use loctite on it if needed. Also some airbags will take a t27 torx, some will take a t29 torx.

632 Regal
12-01-2013, 06:19 AM
This should be a sticky in the archives.

bimmer nut
12-23-2013, 12:06 PM
Have I told you vBSEO sucks. They went out of business, and the software broke, not I have to fix all the images again! vBSEO changed URLs on the fly to make them SEO friendly. Don't use it! Once you use any like it, it can never be removed without breaking all the links in your site.

bimmer nut
12-23-2013, 12:36 PM
The first post in this thread was missing all it's images, I fixed it now. What a pita.