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JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 08:03 AM
Does anyone know for sure if steering wheel balls are illegal on a passenger car?

·clyde·
01-15-2003, 08:34 AM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
Does anyone know for sure if steering wheel balls are illegal on a passenger car?

Steering wheel ball? Would that be the same thing as what was once called a suicide knob? It's a spinner knob that attaches to the wheel. With it, you can turn the wheel from lock to lock with one hand on the knob.

They look like this:

http://www.mobility.co.nz/images/mpssp.jpg

I've heard things about them being illegal for general use, but never really looked into it. It always sounded like the kind of thing that would be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. FWIW, my mother had a restriction on her license for several years that barred her from driving any vehicle without one installed. They were kind of fun for a little bit, but quickly got to be annoying. It was best after we found ones that had quick release mechanisms.

ChrisTO
01-15-2003, 08:39 AM
you need the other BMW steering retrofit...MY 2001. :)

teamdfl
01-15-2003, 08:44 AM
Spinner handles are usually illegal without a handicapped registration but the laws vary by state.


Ed

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 08:45 AM
That's the one.
Why are they called suicide knobs? What's wrong with them?

bluer1
01-15-2003, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
That's the one.
Why are they called suicide knobs? What's wrong with them?

Probably due to their propensity to come off at an inopportune time.

I've always called them "neckin' knobs."
:)

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by bluer1
Probably due to their propensity to come off at an inopportune time.

Isn't that more myth than fact?
I recall scenes in movies where the whole steering wheel comes off in the driver's hand...
Anyone with actual knowledge or experience?

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by ChrisTO
you need the other BMW steering retrofit...MY 2001. :)
Since my dealer can't get the retrofit right, I figured I'd go the other way... :lmao:

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by teamdfl
Spinner handles are usually illegal without a handicapped registration but the laws vary by state.


Ed
I just spoke with a Major in the Austin DMV and there is nothing in the statutes that forbids them. :thumbup:

bluer1
01-15-2003, 09:19 AM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
Isn't that more myth than fact?
I recall scenes in movies where the whole steering wheel comes off in the driver's hand...
Anyone with actual knowledge or experience?

Probably.

·clyde·
01-15-2003, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
I just spoke with a Major in the Austin DMV and there is nothing in the statutes that forbids them. :thumbup:

A couple things:

When I've had to drive cars with them, I've found them to be very annoying (aside from the initial gee-whiz factor).

Everyone that I've dealt with has damaged the steering wheel. The straps used to secure it will, at best, leave a severe and long lasting/permanent imprint on both leather and plastic after they've been fully tightened. At worst, the straps will actually cut the leather or plastic, although it usually takes a long time and many miles for that to happen (2-4 years and/or 30-60k).

Nick325xiT 5spd
01-15-2003, 10:21 AM
I would have thought they'd call them suicide knobs because of what they'd do to you if you have an accident. :p

Plaz
01-15-2003, 10:38 AM
Unless one is handicapped, and forced to use one of these things to drive at all, I would consider it pretty irresponsible to use one.

The safest place for your hands is 9 and 3... they should always be there. Both hands -- unless in the middle of a VERY tight turn, or shifting.

Besides, it seems to me the lackadaisical attitude toward driving that would give such a thing its appeal is more suited to a Cadillac or Lexus type "mushmobile luxuride" than an in-touch-with-the-road drivers' car like a Bimmer. :dunno:

Kaz
01-15-2003, 10:43 AM
Not that I'd ever use a ball but it would help WRT my steering being too heavy... :D

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
I would have thought they'd call them suicide knobs because of what they'd do to you if you have an accident. :p
And what do they do to you in an accident?
Hint: The preferred placement is at the left bottom quadrant, and not at the top like the picture shows.

Ausgang
01-15-2003, 02:21 PM
You guys are forgetting simple mechanics here.

Leverage.

Turning one of those knobs (which can only be done with one hand at a time) would be problematic in many circumstances . . . such as during a stall.

Same problem arises with those very small diameter wheels.

Nick325xiT 5spd
01-15-2003, 02:28 PM
I dunno... I think it would be neat to try one for autox. :D

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 02:35 PM
Originally posted by Plaz
Unless one is handicapped, and forced to use one of these things to drive at all, I would consider it pretty irresponsible to use one.

The safest place for your hands is 9 and 3... they should always be there. Both hands -- unless in the middle of a VERY tight turn, or shifting.

The ball doesn't prevent you from driving with both hands.
It simply gives you an alternative.

Originally posted by Plaz

Besides, it seems to me the lackadaisical attitude toward driving that would give such a thing its appeal is more suited to a Cadillac or Lexus type "mushmobile luxuride" than an in-touch-with-the-road drivers' car like a Bimmer. :dunno:
Actually, I installed it in the MB.
But I have tried it in the 330 and it was not bad at all.
But I really intended it for long trips, which we do most often in the MB.
http://forums.mbnz.org/gallery/pics/W163_50177.JPG

Plaz
01-15-2003, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
The ball doesn't prevent you from driving with both hands.
It simply gives you an alternative.

Actually, I installed it in the MB.
But I have tried it in the 330 and it was not bad at all.
But I really intended it for long trips, which we do most often in the MB.


I dunno... just seems unsafe to me.

And on a long highway trip, how does it help? That's mostly a straight line anyway... I thought the reason for the knob was to make one-hand turns easier. :dunno:

doeboy
01-15-2003, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Plaz
I dunno... just seems unsafe to me.

And on a long highway trip, how does it help? That's mostly a straight line anyway... I thought the reason for the knob was to make one-hand turns easier. :dunno:

I'd have to agree in that I think it's unsafe too.

What if you were in the middle of a turn where the steering ball was at the top portion of the wheel so that you hand that was holding it was in a position that would have your whole arm crossing the steering wheel.... IF you ever happen to hit something during that time, and the airbag goes off... guess what happens to your arm... :eek:

Personally, I've only seen those things in use by people with disabilities where they need to use something like that to even steer a car... (saw it on some documentary once someplace...)

Emission
01-15-2003, 05:35 PM
Am I the only one who thinks these 'balls' are totally crazy? They are for American cruisers, not Euro sport sedans! What's next - Dice?

Two hands on the wheel unless you are shifting. Period.

Plaz
01-15-2003, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by Emission
Am I the only one who thinks these 'balls' are totally crazy? They are for American cruisers, not Euro sport sedans! What's next - Dice?

(see below)

Two hands on the wheel unless you are shifting. Period.

Exactly! :thumbup:

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 06:12 PM
Y'all are mixing things. I'm not talking about racing. If steering balls were good at racing, F1 drivers would use them.
They are definitely good at long distance highway driving and heavy city manuevering. Truck drivers use them. Just about every taxi driver in Taiwan use them.
You gotta try it to appreciate the feel. Just looking at a picture won't do.

About the complicated and unlikely scenario of having an accident while hand is crossed over the wheel... well, that can happen with or without the ball.

About the both hands on the wheel... yadda yadda yadda.
Sure, next time you're driving on the highway, notice how often you have your right hand off the wheel and probably on the shifter or simply resting on the arm rest.
A lot of people (especially in TX) drive with their arms on the back of the passenger seat. A lot more drive while talking on cell phones.
Again, we are not talking track. This is real life.
yadda yadda yadda

JetBlack330i
01-15-2003, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by Emission
Am I the only one who thinks these 'balls' are totally crazy? They are for American cruisers, not Euro sport sedans! What's next - Dice?

The ML is far from an Euro sport sedan.
It's built in Alabama. And it's a truck.
You won't get it until you drive one.

Plaz
01-15-2003, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i

About the both hands on the wheel... yadda yadda yadda.
Sure, next time you're driving on the highway, notice how often you have your right hand off the wheel and probably on the shifter or simply resting on the arm rest.

Almost never. Really. I used to, but broke myself of these bad habits after one high-performance driving school. I used to "shuffle-steer" constantly as well. Not anymore. Hand over hand, with one hand always at 3 or 9, depending on the direction of the turn.


A lot of people (especially in TX) drive with their arms on the back of the passenger seat. A lot more drive while talking on cell phones.
Again, we are not talking track. This is real life.
yadda yadda yadda

And even in "real life," it's a helluva lot safer to keep two hands on the wheel... not being prepared for surprises is what causes accidents. With only one hand on the wheel, you're not prepared.

Not trying to be preachy... just my honest opinion. :dunno:

Yadda yadda yadda. :D

doeboy
01-15-2003, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by Emission
Am I the only one who thinks these 'balls' are totally crazy? They are for American cruisers, not Euro sport sedans! What's next - Dice?

Two hands on the wheel unless you are shifting. Period.

I agree with you too... my hands are always (almost :eeps: ) at 9 and 3 when I drive as well... unless shifitng... :D

Emission
01-15-2003, 07:39 PM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
The ML is far from an Euro sport sedan.
It's built in Alabama. And it's a truck.
You won't get it until you drive one.

I've driven several, in fact.

It is a stretch to call the ML a truck. It is a SUV with AWD.

JetBlack330i
01-16-2003, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by Emission
It is a stretch to call the ML a truck. It is a SUV with AWD.
It's classified as a truck by EPA.
The point is... it fits your "american cruiser" more than "euro sport sedan".

Emission
01-16-2003, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by JetBlack330i
It's classified as a truck by EPA.
The point is... it fits your "american cruiser" more than "euro sport sedan".

OK.

In any case, I don't think steering wheel balls are appropriate for any car made after 1975 - unless you are handicapped.