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Steering Column Switch and Clock Spring Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Steering Column Switch and Clock Spring Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$600

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, trim panel tool, T20, T30 Torx driver

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

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

At the steering column are controls for options on your BMW Z4. You can operate the turn signals, wipers and cruise control via the steering wheel switches. The switches are integrated to a central clock spring that bolts to the steering column.

The steering column switch assembly includes the cluster of switches mounted at the top of the steering column, underneath the steering wheel and the clock spring. The switches are responsible for operating wipers and washers, turn signals, headlight dimmers and cruise control. The clock spring is a spring-wound ribbon of wire used to connect electrical circuits through the steering wheel; for example, horn, driver airbag and multi-function switches on the steering wheel.

When the clock spring fails, it usually leaves a fault code for the driver airbag. If you suspect your clock spring is responsible for a fault code, especially an airbag fault code, have it professionally diagnosed.

If you decide to replace the switches or clock spring yourself, remember that the new units will need to be programmed using an advanced BMW scan tool. This may require a trip to a BMW work shop. Not to worry, you can still save yourself some money replacing the parts yourself, then having the programming performed. When replacing a stalk switch, you will not have to program it.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the steering column switches and the clock spring on BMW Z4 vehicles.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Start by removing the steering wheel.
Figure 1

Start by removing the steering wheel. See our tech article on steering wheel replacing. Once the steering wheel is removed, be careful not to rotate the clock spring. That is, if you intend to reinstall the old one. It should have a locking clip that prevents unwanted rotating, but yours may be missing.

Working at the bottom of the steering column trim, remove the Phillips head screw (red arrow).
Figure 2

Working at the bottom of the steering column trim, remove the Phillips head screw (red arrow).

Pull the steering column trim down to remove (red arrow).
Figure 3

Pull the steering column trim down to remove (red arrow).

Working at the bottom of the steering column, locate and unplug the microphone electrical connector (red arrow), if equipped.
Figure 4

Working at the bottom of the steering column, locate and unplug the microphone electrical connector (red arrow), if equipped.

Using a plastic prying tool, lever up the soft trim (red arrow) at the back of the upper steering column cover.
Figure 5

Using a plastic prying tool, lever up the soft trim (red arrow) at the back of the upper steering column cover.

Loosen the lower steering column trim Phillips head screw (red arrow).
Figure 6

Loosen the lower steering column trim Phillips head screw (red arrow). Then pull the screw and expanding anchor out of the trim panel (inset).

Then pull the trim panel straight down to remove.
Figure 7

Then pull the trim panel straight down to remove.

Working at the left side of the steering column, access the electrical connectors.
Figure 8

Working at the left side of the steering column, access the electrical connectors. Press the release tab (red arrow) and pull straight out to disconnect the electrical connector.

Working at the right side of the steering column, access the electrical connectors.
Figure 9

Working at the right side of the steering column, access the electrical connectors. Press the release tab (red arrow) and pull straight out to disconnect the electrical connector.

Working at the bottom of the steering column, pull the electrical connector straight out to disconnect (red arrow).
Figure 10

Working at the bottom of the steering column, pull the electrical connector straight out to disconnect (red arrow).

Working at the clock spring (blue arrow), remove the T30 Torx fasteners (red arrows) for the steering column switch assembly.
Figure 11

Working at the clock spring (blue arrow), remove the T30 Torx fasteners (red arrows) for the steering column switch assembly.

Remove the switch assembly from the steering column far enough to access the final electrical connector.
Figure 12

Remove the switch assembly from the steering column far enough to access the final electrical connector.

Working at the bottom of the steering column, access the electrical connectors.
Figure 13

Working at the bottom of the steering column, access the electrical connectors. Press the release tab (red arrow) and pull straight out to disconnect the electrical connector.

With the switch on a bench, you can remove the wiper or turn stalks up once unclipped (blue arrows).
Figure 14

With the switch on a bench, you can remove the wiper or turn stalks up once unclipped (blue arrows). The cruise switch unclips and removes to the side (red arrow).

Working at the bottom of the switch assembly, squeeze the tabs (red arrows) and slide the turn or wiper stalk straight up to remove (blue arrow).
Figure 15

Working at the bottom of the switch assembly, squeeze the tabs (red arrows) and slide the turn or wiper stalk straight up to remove (blue arrow).

Working at the bottom of the switch assembly, release the tab (red arrow) by lifting it up and slide the cruise stalk straight out to remove (blue arrow).
Figure 16

Working at the bottom of the switch assembly, release the tab (red arrow) by lifting it up and slide the cruise stalk straight out to remove (blue arrow). Install the new switches and the new assembly to the steering column, press it in until flush. Then tighten the fasteners. Install the trim pieces in the reverse order of removal. Then install the steering wheel and airbag. Check the operation of the switches and the fit of the trim panel. If the top and bottom panels are not flush with the switches, realign them until they are. Have the switch assembly and clock spring programmed at your local BMW mechanic/facility.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 03:00:43 AM