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BMW Steering Column Switch Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Steering Column Switch Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, trim panel tool, T25 Torx driver

Applicable Models:

BMW E90 3-Series (2006-11)
BMW E91 3-Series (2006-12)
BMW E92 3-Series (2007-13)
BMW E93 3-Series (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Clock spring, turn signal / wiper switch

Hot Tip:

Always disconnect battery before working on your electrical system

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty switches or clock spring

Complementary Modification:

Steering column trim panels also covered in this tech article

The steering column switch assembly is a cluster of switches mounted behind the steering wheel. The clock spring is part of the assembly and mounted to the front of the steering column switch assembly. There are two switches located at the steering column; one is responsible for operating the windshield wipers and one for the turn signals. The clock spring is a ribbon of wire used to connect electrical circuits through the steering wheel. For example, the horn, driver airbag and multi-function switch on the steering wheel. The turn signal and wiper switches fail, good news is they are easy to replace. The clock spring also fails, usually leaving you with a fault code for driver airbag. If you suspect your clock spring is responsible for a fault codes, especially an airbag fault code, have it professionally diagnosed. Once you are sure of the problem, replace the parts yourself. Once you replace the clock spring or the turn signal switches, you will have to program them using a BMW scan tool. This may require a trip to a BMW work shop, if you cannot perform this task yourself. Not to worry, you can still save yourself some money replacing the parts yourself, then having the programming performed.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace each of these switches and the clock spring on BMW E90 vehicles.

Open adjust lock for steering wheel, then move steering wheel all the way forward and as low as it will go.

Remove driver airbag and steering wheel. See our tech article on steering wheel removing.

Working at side of steering column trim, use a small flathead screwdriver to detach the upper trim cover from the lower trim cover.
Figure 1

Working at side of steering column trim, use a small flathead screwdriver to detach the upper trim cover from the lower trim cover.

Then lift upper steering column trim cover up to detach it from steering column.
Figure 2

Then lift upper steering column trim cover up to detach it from steering column. Next, you will have to detach the trim panel clips for the steering column bellows. I like to use a plastic prying tool and lever the bellows off. There are four clips to detach and they should pop right out with no trouble.

Working at top of the steering column trim panel, release two catches from steering column.
Figure 3

Working at top of the steering column trim panel, release two catches from steering column. (green arrow) There is a catch on each side to release.

Once the lower trim panel is released, remove it from the steering column.
Figure 4

Once the lower trim panel is released, remove it from the steering column. Lower it about 4 inches, then slide it out or dashboard.

Working at the passenger side rear of the turn signal switch, disconnect the electrical connectors.
Figure 5

Working at the passenger side rear of the turn signal switch, disconnect the electrical connectors. The electrical connector shown with yellow arrow can be pulled straight out. The electrical connector with green arrow has to be unlocked, then the lever rotated to detach.

Working at the front of the turn signal switch, remove four T25 Torx screws.
Figure 6

Working at the front of the turn signal switch, remove four T25 Torx screws. (green arrows)

Then, pull turn signal switch forward and remove from steering column.
Figure 7

Then, pull turn signal switch forward and remove from steering column.

To separate switch from clock spring, release retaining tabs (green arrow) using a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 8

To separate switch from clock spring, release retaining tabs (green arrow) using a flathead screwdriver. There are two tabs, one on top of clock spring and one on bottom. Once released, lift clock spring off switch assembly. To install new clock spring, slide onto switch assembly and snap into place. To install switch assembly slide onto steering column and install fasteners. Install trim pieces in reverse order of removal. Then install steering wheel and airbag. Check operation of switches and trim panel fit. Have switches programmed and clock spring adapted.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mike Comments: Hi, I have a e90 330i that I just received from repairs, it brings up the DSC and that steering sensor plausibility error code, The alignment is totally out, could this be the reason for that error?
June 21, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possibly, if the wheels are not aligned with the steering wheel. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
solaris3000 Comments: Hello, the vehicle is a 2005 X5. I'm Getting repeated Driver side Airbag Warning. Code has been cleared several times but reappears withing 24 hrs. Which component is the likely culprit. Driver side seat belt Tensioner or Clockspring unit?
or other? Just not sure which part to purchase.. Thanks
June 16, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if the fault cod and description will state which driver airbag the fault is for. if it says driver Side Airbag, that is likely the side curtain. if driver airbag, then likely steering wheel airbag. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jimmy Comments: i have a 07 bmw 328i with the stering lock light on in dash yellow car wont turn on or start what should i do or replace to fix this without going to the dealer help me please im stuck
June 2, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will likely need a new steering column lock assembly. it is possible there is a delete option for you. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Humii123 Comments: Hi i have a 2011 bmw e93 330d msport automatic. I need to replace my steering angle sensorclock spring i have found one with the same part number but it came out of a 320d msport with no paddle shifts but as mine is automatic with paddle shifts and wanted to know if it would still work on my car. Many thanks
February 6, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure, but my educated guess would be that it will work but you will lose the extra cool stuff. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Jason S Comments: Thanks for the articles. I just want to add some info: If any of the steering wheel buttons and/or horn are the problems, the clock spring is likely the culprit, which is the cheaper ~$150 part. The clock spring connects the steering wheel buttons and airbag electronics to the rest of the car. If the functions on the stalks don't work correctly such as turn signal or rain sensor or cruise control, then it's likely the more expensive part which the instrument stalks are attached to, ~$550+. I have found that the optics and housing wear out and become corroded, leading to traction control and abs error codes. The optics are likely how the car reads the amount of steering input and then "actively" changes steering input dependent on speed if equipped.
January 25, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most times the culprit is the clock spring. Thanks for the note. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sailsmart Comments: E90 2008 335i Sport/Premium; radio controls in steering wheel and paddles shifter have failed. All of the items on the stalks signals, cruise, lights, computer menu all work. Would this likely be the steering column switch or possibly something else?
November 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'd assume the switch or control. Only way to be sure is to test the signals out of the switch manually or using a BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bruce Comments: I was told by my BMW dealer that i needed to replace my steering angle sensor because my traction control and yellow brake light is on and also my wipers won't shut off. If i purchase only the clockspring, will the steering angle sensor be included with that or do I have to order the entire assembly with the switches. My switches are working fine. 2011 328I
November 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, it is one part. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chelsea Comments: Can someone who has never worked on cars do this? Also, does the vehicle have to be programmed again if I am just replacing the wiper switch?
October 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you can do it is up to you to decide. Just the wiper switch, not it should plug and play. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gev Comments: Hi Nick, I would like to know if the same applies to F30? Do I need to have the new SZL reprogrammed and steering angle sensor calibrated to make it work? I have searched that for a long while whilst all the topics refer to E9x including this page.

Many thanks.
March 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you do. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gerhard Comments: Good Day, can any body help me with a Part number for the elv for my E90 2.0 Diesel
January 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
col Comments: i have an orange sign of steering lock on my e90 and the car refused starting checked all fuses and they are intact,what am i suppose to do now?
January 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: COuld be the steering column lock, or the SZL. I would start by checking the vehicle for fault codes. If multiple systems are not working properly, fault codes will be set. This will be your best bet when diagnosing.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tim C Comments: Getting an odd "cd95" error operation cruise control/ACC active cruise control, 194 and no stalks wiper, signals, cruise or wheel controls volume, voice command, etc. Horn and paddles work tho.

Does this sound like a bad clock spring?
January 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It does. Or a faulty SZl. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Trav Comments: Hi I just replaced my instrument cluster and the DSC malfunction came on. Any clues on why and what to do. Everything else works fine.
December 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The coding or programming could be wrong, or you have a fault code. I would start by checking the vehicle for fault codes. If the system is not working properly, a fault code will be set. This will be your best bet when diagnosing.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lbesaw Comments: Hi, I have a 2009 335i with the sport package. The sport steering wheel has a squeaking noise when you turn the wheel left or right. Sounds like it's coming from behind the wheel itself. The only function not working is the headlight washer that is activated by the windshield wiper switch. The used car dealership I purchased it from seems to believe the problem is the clock spring. Can you please advise me with this issue. Thanks
September 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the clock spring or the bearing in the column. Remove the clock spring, then reinstall the wheel to confirm. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Matt Comments: Hi, I have an E90 bmw 325i and currently my turn signal, windshield wiper, and high beam failed. What part needs replacement? Everything else works on the steering wheel.
July 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the steering wheel switch assembly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Layton Comments: Hello, I just wanted to double check before I purchase a new clock spring, but I believe that is my problem. The horn or buttons on the steering wheel of my 06 325xi do not work. Also, the turn signals work, but they do not automatically turn off after I am finished turning. From looking online, I believe I need a clock spring. Do you agree? Thanks in advance for your help.
June 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does sound like that could be it. More than like the SZL, which it is integrated into.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bearb Comments: Hello,
I am trying to diagnose a squeak turning into a chirp coming from somewhere in my steering column. I've already lubricated the area around the rubber boot, where the steering column exits through the firewall, behind the kick panel. I'm wondering if it's possible that the noise is coming from behind the joint behind the steering column switch. First, any suggestions you have about diagnosing the noise is appreciated. Second, if I remove the steering column switch, lubricate the area, and reinstall the same switch, is coding required with a BMW scan tool? Thanks!
April 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Remove the coupler at the bottom of the steering column. Be careful not to over rotate the wheel, only go half turns, then turn the wheel to see if squeak is present. This will separate the coupler from the column. Allowing you to narrow down the source. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Aj Comments: I have a 2006 325i with the following warning codes: FTM malfunction, DBC malfunction, DSC malfunction, Start-off assistance inactive, and cruise control malfunction. BMW says its a faulty steering column cluster but I haven't been able to locate one anywhere. Do you have any idea what they're talking about?
February 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What are the fault code numbers? Or are these warning messages through the dic?

The column may be faulty. I would need the fault code numbers to offer more insight. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Diamond Comments: I bought a 2002 bmw 320i about a month ago from a second hand car dealer and within a week the traction control light and brake light came on on the dash I sent car back to get sorted but just today another couple weeks later they back on again what could be causing this as they don't seem to know what they doing many thanks
December 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a wheel speed sensor or a faulty module. Start by checking for fault codes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Beefeater Comments: Nick
Apologies for not replying yet. I am still awaiting a scanner tool and wiring diagrams. Meanwhile, here is my update. All the faults did occur at the same time. It appears that column locks commonly fail in the locked condition. Mine will not lock and I do not have the red lock and steering wheel symbol. From parts diagrams, I believe the column lock is not connected electrically through the clock spring. A non locking column is now a MOT test failure in the UK. No MOT certificate voids the insurance.
August 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If that is the case, the steering lock will work via the ignition lock, it should release when the key is turned ON. If it does not, the connection between the lock and the switch may be defective. It could be a calbe ot a direct connection. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Beefeater Comments: Nick
E93 2007 JV92944. The red seat belt and airbag warning lights are lit, and the steering lock does not work. The turn indicators and the wipers work. Could the problem be the clock spring? Many thanks.
August 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: DId all the faults occur at the same time? The steering column lock is quite common and is repaired by installing a non-locking column. I would start by checking for fault codes. If codes point to loss of driver airbag circuit and switch inputs, the clock spring may be at fault. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jjezzile Comments: My man I have an 07 335i twin turbo sedan. I ordered the ELV eliminator order from from Italy to by pass the locking mechanism to remove the symbol. Also ordered Cobb v3 for adaptions to reset my ECU. Any help would be appreciated, thanks sincerely Marcus.
November 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What help are you looking for? It appears you have already diagnosed and ordered parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jjezzile Comments: i have the steering with red lock in my insturment cluster and cant get power to my ecu. I instaled a elv elumanator after i rebuild the locking mec without sucess. what to do. the steetring does not lock put i cant start the car. HELP me please
November 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you check fault codes? There may be a problem with another module, for example the CAS, assuming your vehicle has it. You didn't mention what vehicle you have. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 7/24/2017 02:25:27 AM