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Thread: Hey winfred! Steering wheel exchange question.

  1. #1
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    Default Hey winfred! Steering wheel exchange question.

    If anyone knows this, you probably do.

    Will the smaller diameter steering wheel from my '90 325is fit the '89 535i?

    And...

    Will the airbag from the 535i fit that smaller E30 wheel? (It looks like it is the same size.)

  2. #2
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    Winfred will probably know Warren...likely the air-bags are interchangeable at least geometrically. A heads up/little known fact is the ballistics of the air-bag module are designed in accordance with the particular vehicle...even if the air-bag module looks the same is packagable in similar steering wheels. The crash pulse of an E-30 is more severe than that of an E-34...less crush in a frontal crash hence the inflator output has to be higher to present the air-bag sooner (milliseconds) to restrain occupant(s) properly/prevent severe injury. So always best to utilize the original air-bag module particular to the car even if swapping out steering wheels. The wheel I would like to retrofit to my E-32 is the wheel that Jr installed on his M5. It utilizes the stock air-bag but is thicker in section and smaller in diameter. I believe it was the wheel sold on later E-36 M3 cars. Anybody know where I can get one?
    George

  3. #3
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    Default

    Here's two George from Car-Parts.com......


    Year
    Part
    Model Description Condition Stock# Price Dealer Info
    1997
    Steering Wheel
    BMW M3 M3;BLK [235.BM1N97] (STORE:1) 00001380 $125 Diamond Auto Parts - QRP Partner USA-WI(Fond-duLac) E-mail 1-800-236-7731


    1997
    Steering Wheel
    BMW M3 BLK,AB-DP 1J046 $90 E Auto Parts Inc USA-FL(Jacksonville) E-mail 1-800-366-9815

    Be sure and call to check the condition. Tell them you can't have any wear or scratches on it. The prices are about right, mine was $100 shipped to the door.

    The thumbsets at 10 and 2 o'clock are great, but the tri-color stitching is a very nice touch, especially for the M5, since it came with just a plain old black leather wheel.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Warren, someone put a smaller wheel on their car and was complaining that they couldnt see what you need to see in the dash display...just a heads up.
    95 E34 530I V2.37
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  5. #5
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    Default That's good info, George, and it even supports my plan...

    (For a change, MURPHY seems to be on my side.)

    I want to put the smaller diameter, same style, airbag wheel from (another) '90/'91 325is on the 535i, while retaining the 535i airbag. I measured them, and the dimensions are the same.

    I'd really like one of those M-technic non airbag wheels from Germany, but I'm
    afraid of the various legal liabilties that might flow from removal of the airbag. This is ironic because I'm convinced that if the air bag ever goes off in these cars, it likely will kill me, because I sit fairly close to the wheel.

    And since what I really want most is the smaller diameter, the '90-ish E30 wheel may do the trick.

    Quote Originally Posted by George M
    Winfred will probably know Warren...likely the air-bags are interchangeable at least geometrically. A heads up/little known fact is the ballistics of the air-bag module are designed in accordance with the particular vehicle...even if the air-bag module looks the same is packagable in similar steering wheels. The crash pulse of an E-30 is more severe than that of an E-34...less crush in a frontal crash hence the inflator output has to be higher to present the air-bag sooner (milliseconds) to restrain occupant(s) properly/prevent severe injury. So always best to utilize the original air-bag module particular to the car even if swapping out steering wheels. The wheel I would like to retrofit to my E-32 is the wheel that Jr installed on his M5. It utilizes the stock air-bag but is thicker in section and smaller in diameter. I believe it was the wheel sold on later E-36 M3 cars. Anybody know where I can get one?
    George

  6. #6
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    Default

    most of the bags that have the same look will interchange (90-94) your 535 may be a 90 if it has a bag, generally 89's don't have bags but it may of been a option. on wheels 89-90 e34 (with 22mm nut holding to column) will interchange with e30/28/24, to get rid of the bag you need a extra spacer to keep the nut from bottoming out on the splines of the column, i just grab the one from under the wheel on the donor car and put it on top (under the nut) it's not a certain thing that the factory bag will even work, most cars want the system changed after 10 years, i've read a few things in salvage yard newspapers about tests performed on 5-10 year old bags with 50% sucess rates on proper detonation over 100 bags tested. i personally hate airbags, butt ugly bumpercar looking steering wheel, i wear my belt so **** em, i've removed the bag from all of my cars and installed a proper looking wheel, both my 3 and 5 were bag cars and my long dead 88 760 turbo volvo had a bag.
    this is the spacer that comes under a wheel with a 22mm nut
    all america wants is cold beer warm cat and a place to take a poop with a door on it

  7. #7
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    The issue of hating air-bags and removing them...independent of the legal issue which may have application if someone other than yourself were involved in a serious crash and that person was maimed if you electively removed an air-bag wheel...can be debated in length. Many on the board have removed the larger steering wheel and air-bag and adapted the better looking sport wheel with no bag. Since it has been my background to professionally develop air-bag systems for cars...I know they save lives...not just an occasional life, but a lot of lives in a high speed frontal crash. In a fifty mile per hour head on crash, wearing a seat belt though vitally important is not enough. You want an air-bag in front of you as much of a nuisance as they present for an enthusiast to work around. As to functional rate after 10 years...I don't really buy that statistic and it is very propellent specific relative to inflator design. There are many different air-bag inflator designs out there..some of which used compressed air with a constituent of hydrogen...but most are very reliable and use sodium azide or rocket propellent spawned from the aerospace industry and are reliable well after the life of the car and now there are many hybrid systems out there that use a combination of propellents for staggered delay inflator output which tailor the inflator output in accordance with crash severity.
    My advice to those out there is always wear your seat belt if you want to survive a violant crash which none of us expect to ever be a part of but does happen. If you can resist the temptation to remove the "ugly" air-bag if not for yourself but your significant other, do so....because you want to maximize your chances of surviving a bad crash hopefully without life altering injuries.
    HTH,
    George
    P.S. Thanks Jr for the tip...will follow up on the E-36 M3 wheel...a very nice upgrade.

  8. #8
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    Default Thanks Winfred! (NT)

    NT

    Quote Originally Posted by winfred
    most of the bags that have the same look will interchange (90-94) your 535 may be a 90 if it has a bag, generally 89's don't have bags but it may of been a option. on wheels 89-90 e34 (with 22mm nut holding to column) will interchange with e30/28/24, to get rid of the bag you need a extra spacer to keep the nut from bottoming out on the splines of the column, i just grab the one from under the wheel on the donor car and put it on top (under the nut) it's not a certain thing that the factory bag will even work, most cars want the system changed after 10 years, i've read a few things in salvage yard newspapers about tests performed on 5-10 year old bags with 50% sucess rates on proper detonation over 100 bags tested. i personally hate airbags, butt ugly bumpercar looking steering wheel, i wear my belt so **** em, i've removed the bag from all of my cars and installed a proper looking wheel, both my 3 and 5 were bag cars and my long dead 88 760 turbo volvo had a bag.
    this is the spacer that comes under a wheel with a 22mm nut

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