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Steering Column Switch Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Steering Column Switch Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$600

Talent:

*****

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

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 the controls for options on your MINI. You can operate the turn signals, wipers and cruise control via the steering wheel switches. The switches are integrated to a central control module that bolts to the steering column. It is serviced as a unit.

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 MINI scan tool. This may require a trip to a MINI workshop. 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 MINI R56 vehicles.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had 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 you're 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. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

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.
Figure 1

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 (green arrow), turn signals (red arrow), 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. Start by removing the tachometer. See our tech article on tachometer replacing.

Working at the sides of the lower steering column trim, remove the T30 Torx fastener (red arrow).
Figure 2

Working at the sides of the lower steering column trim, remove the T30 Torx fastener (red arrow). The left side is shown. The right side is similar.

Pull the upper steering column trim cover off the steering column, detaching the clips (red arrow).
Figure 3

Pull the upper steering column trim cover off the steering column, detaching the clips (red arrow).

Then lift the upper steering column trim cover to detach it from the steering column.
Figure 4

Then lift the upper steering column trim cover to detach it from the steering column. You may have to lever the top and bottom covers apart. Be careful not to damage or scratch them. Once the top cover is removed, remove the lower cover.

Pull the bottom cover off the steering column.
Figure 5

Pull the bottom cover off the steering column. Feed it down from behind the steering wheel and remove it.

Release the steering wheel position adjuster.
Figure 6

Release the steering wheel position adjuster. Then move the steering wheel all the way forward and as low as it will go. Remove the driver airbag and steering wheel. See our tech article on steering wheel removing. Once the steering wheel is removed, be careful not to rotate the clock spring (red arrow). That is, if you intend to reinstall the old one.

If you're reusing the clock spring, tape the front rotating portion in place.
Figure 7

If you're reusing the clock spring, tape the front rotating portion in place.

Working below the steering column, access the electrical connectors.
Figure 8

Working below the steering column, access the electrical connectors. Press the release tab to disconnect the lower electrical connector (red arrow). Then press the button and open the lever to disconnect the upper electrical connector (green arrow).

Working below the steering column and on the right side, loosen the T30 Torx fastener (red arrows) for the steering column switch assembly.
Figure 9

Working below the steering column and on the right side, loosen the T30 Torx fastener (red arrows) for the steering column switch assembly.

At each side of the switch assembly are plastic tabs.
Figure 10

At each side of the switch assembly are plastic tabs. Use a small flathead screwdriver (red arrow) and lever them open as you slide the switch assembly off the steering column.

Remove the switch assembly from the steering column.
Figure 11

Remove the switch assembly from the steering column. Install the new assembly to the steering column. Press it in until you hear the tabs engage. Then tighten the fastener. 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 MINI mechanic / facility.

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