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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:28 AM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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540i steering wheel questions.

i have a 97 540i and i recently purchased a m5 steering wheel besides the airbag wat else would i need for the install
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:46 AM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlnewark View Post
i have a 97 540i and i recently purchased a m5 steering wheel besides the airbag wat else would i need for the install
The M5 airbag from 1999 production up is a dual stage bag. While there is as much evidence that the wheel will physically fit as there is that it won't, the airbag for the M5 wheel will not connect correctly with earlier, single stage airbag cars.
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  #3  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:48 AM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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oo correction sorry its off a 01 540i the guy says but it has the ///m decal at the bottom
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:49 AM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlnewark View Post
oo correction sorry its off a 01 540i the guy says but it has the ///m decal at the bottom
I should have been more general: All E39's from 99 up had dual stage bags and will not fit with the earlier cars. Your best bet is a 1998 production (99 year model) 3 spoke 'clamshell' single stage airbag. Interestingly, this wheel on that year production is the only non M car to come stock with the tri-color stitching on the wheel.

Last edited by PropellerHead; 12-30-2010 at 08:52 AM.
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:50 AM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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oo ok thanks bro
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:08 PM
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golferjohnm golferjohnm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PropellerHead View Post
I should have been more general: All E39's from 99 up had dual stage bags and will not fit with the earlier cars. Your best bet is a 1998 production (99 year model) 3 spoke 'clamshell' single stage airbag. Interestingly, this wheel on that year production is the only non M car to come stock with the tri-color stitching on the wheel.
That's funny I have an '01 540i 6 speed sport and the //M steering wheel has all black stitching and just the //M logo on the lower spoke...what gives? tri-color stitching would be kinda cool, imo
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  #7  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:59 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golferjohnm View Post
That's funny I have an '01 540i 6 speed sport and the //M steering wheel has all black stitching and just the //M logo on the lower spoke...what gives? tri-color stitching would be kinda cool, imo
It would. It is my opinion they were trying to keep the tri-color stitching reserved for the M cars, and thus took it away from the 540 sport in later years.

There are aftermarket options. There are vendors on Ebay that rewrap the oem wheel in either new leather, perforated leather or alcantara. This guy is very reasonable, but I have no direct experience.
Here is one example in perforated leather, with tri color stitching, it is for a single stage (early) E39. He claims the wheel thickness will be .1" thicker which tells me he is wrapping over the original leather, which is probably a good thing.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/BMW-M...item3363394a5c
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 12-30-2010 at 09:21 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-31-2010, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
It would. It is my opinion they were trying to keep the tri-color stitching reserved for the M cars, and thus took it away from the 540 sport in later years.
This makes sense to me as well. My '99 528 has the tri color stitching. The '01 530 is black.
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  #9  
Old 12-31-2010, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiansFan View Post
This makes sense to me as well. My '99 528 has the tri color stitching. The '01 530 is black.
BMW seems to do a lot of things from a marketing stand point. For example, the USA got the 540 M-Sport only in 2003. Yet the rest of the world, including Canada, was able to purchase that from 2001 to 2003, even a 530 M-Sport with M-tech bumpers.

The rumor is BMWNA specifically chose not to offer any E39 M-Sports except the 540 version the last year of production, as they felt it would take away sales from the more profitable M5.
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  #10  
Old 01-01-2011, 01:08 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Just an FYI since the OP seems to be in the market for a 3-spoke M steering wheel with a single stage airbag:

The dual stage airbag was a late 1999 model year production change...dual stage air bags start with 3/99 production date-up. So if you find a 3 spoke wheel from a 99 model year that was built anytime up to and including 2/99..it will be a single stage airbag.

Also, the tri-color stitching was used on the single stage M steering wheels (9/96-2/99) and also on the first iteration dual stage M steering wheels (3/99-9/99) ...both these wheels have a smaller 385mm versus the larger 393mm 4 spoke steering wheel. The 2nd iteration of dual stage air bag M steering wheels were even smaller (379mm) but the stitching went to all black.

Here's proof:

My 3/97 build date e38 w/single stage air bag has Tri-color stitching (this was an upgrade installed in 2009)


My 4/99 build date e39 w/dual stage has Tri-colored stitching (this came with the factory 540iT sport pkg)
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

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  #11  
Old 01-01-2011, 10:14 AM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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lol u guys have truely lost me lol........ the wheel was givin to me by a neighbor that said he didnt purchase a airbag bcus it wouldnt fit his 540 so y waist the $ ... but for some reason i think it would..... if its a hassle illjust part ways with it...
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:15 PM
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Just curious ... what's the reason for wanting the different steering wheel (that you got from your friend).

Does it handle better? Feel better? Look better?

Why?
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2011, 12:18 PM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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lol would look nice on a older e39... makin it jus for looks
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:29 PM
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QSilver7, that you for the detailed and comprehensive post on steering wheel, that was awesome. We would be lost without you! Thanks.
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  #15  
Old 01-05-2011, 12:44 PM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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so is it a yes or a no ? would it fit
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:20 PM
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yes it can be done, i'm about to do it next week. but you have to have someone who knows how otherswise your airbag light will come on. i have 99 528i with sport steering wheel with the multicolor stiching, but i got good deal on the newest steering wheel with the small air bag. ofcourse it a dual stage, i also have a complete set of new keys with all the locks and ews, comoputer and all that. i will keep you guys update how it will go.
but answering your question: yes it can be done, changing your steering wheel and airbag from stage one to stage two.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:22 PM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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soo besides the airbag and the steering wheel what else would i need
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:39 PM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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can i use my old clock spring or w.e its called lol
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:18 PM
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[QUOTE=rlnewark;5746214]can i use my old clock spring or w.e its called lol[/QUOT
besides the steering wheel, you need a dual stage air bag, steering wheel wire harness, and a good mechanic that has knowldge about german cars(an electrecian) it requires cutting and switching some wires here and there to make it work. dont ask me exactly how, but that's what my mechanic told he will do and i trust him, he is an electrecian and he does lot of work for the bmw dealers when they can/t fix their cars. also he did lot of work for me , and just recently i changed my car seats form confort to sport(big mistake) and i triggered the air bag light. so he fixed it. again i will keep you updated and i will try to take some pictures befor and after.

Last edited by chafik11; 01-05-2011 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:47 PM
rlnewark rlnewark is offline
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whats the difference between a single and a dual stage airbag..
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:26 PM
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chafik11 chafik11 is offline
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sport steering wheel from stage 1 to stage 2

well after a long hesitation , i pulled the plug and i did it.
my mechanic had ny car for 3 weeks , a long 3 weeks in my life with out a car lol, he figured out everything works, except for the the steering wheel trim didn't fit and the airbag also did not fit. the airbag is not sitting properly, it's out about 1/2 inch.
now my mechanic told the airbag is not the right part for the steering wheel, therefore he advised me either to change the steering or the air bag. i know for sure is the airbag and the steering are the right part. some suggested to change the steering column
here are the parts that i changed: M3 (E46 steering wheel sport), spring clock with all the wirings and the switches for(wipers tilt, and turn signals..) and ofcourse the sport airbag.
my car is produaction of 12/98, and i understand that after 3/99 some parts were changed, like stage 1 to stage 2 airbags...
i need help to do it right. again everything works except for the airbag is not all the way inside the steering wheel. and by the way no airbag light on. so please help if someone had done this before. thanks
i will take some pictures later.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:30 PM
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chafik11 chafik11 is offline
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anyone please help.
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  #23  
Old 04-14-2011, 10:47 PM
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edmonem edmonem is offline
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i already did the research on this...m5 and 2000+ will not fit a 99 and below...the wheels will probably fit but the airbag will be the problem.in order to make it work without any problems, you need a sport steering wheel production date from 97-99 ( not sure if the 96 will work), a single stage airbag unit and the multifunction buttons. you will lose the air circulation button, as the sport wheel do not have them.but everything else will be there.i would recommend buying a new slip ring.i mean you are buying new stuff and well, for piece of mind, just pick up a new one.your old one is over 10 years old anyways...btw, you will not find a part number for the sport wheel in US specs..you will only find the part numbers for euro specs.they dont usually carry the wheel in stock at dealership so you will have to wait a few weeks for it to ship from germany.(unless you buy from ebay)...other than that, the DIY and more of the info will be here...http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/S...eringwheel.htm good luck! ill be attempting this next month...
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  #24  
Old 04-15-2011, 10:20 AM
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Hi

Pity I didn't see this thread before!

To clarify and agree with some of the information here (as well as disagree with some of the misinformation on this thread too!)

You have an early E39, built prior to March 1999 when the production shifted from Single to dual stage airbags. If you want to try and make a dual stage airbag fit into an earlier E39, you can do it, I suspect it'll cost you $2000 and upwards and thats excluding the cost of the steering wheel/slip ring if needed. It's a major job to do as it involves steering column swaps from a post March 1999 donor car, various modules changed and coded, a request ot BMW to amend their records for the VIN number to show a change so that you can get the correct codings for the keys etc etc etc and of course labour charges. This pops up every so often across the BMW forums and if you've got the cash to splash, by all means get the job done - if BMW decide not to update their records and provide the codes for the donor vehicle's steering column/ modules etc then you'll be stuffed and will have to put the original stuff back in, although you'll find most likely, if you persist, and show records the donor car is scrapped etc etc they'll probably do it. This is becuase if you go in for parts or work done, they'll have records of the original build, if you start telling them you need part numbers which relate to a post 99 and dual stage airbag car I'd think their systems wont allow the sale etc.

Now then, with the 'earlier' cars, you need a single stage airbag M sport steering wheel. They do exist but are rare - they came on E36 M3's so you'll need to scour those adverts as well. Although they 'look' the same as the E39 M5 steerig wheel (the oblong airbag) the connections behind are differnet and so is the steering wheel 'cutout' where the wiring passes through. The earlier ones, which you'll need, have a little aperture which looks like an upsde down 'tick' - the later steering wheels had more of a slightly curved oblong. You MUST get the 'upside down' tick version for it to fit. Again, quite a few early E39 owners have been scuppered when they realised this and then find that finding an Early single stage M sport steering wheel with the correct airbag is hard and they're rare and they're relatively pricey as a result.

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #25  
Old 04-18-2011, 11:45 PM
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chafik11 chafik11 is offline
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steering wheel modification.

Ok just to let you know what is exactly my project, and where is my problem:
i have 1999 528i sport manual( prodauction of 12/98) . it is stage 1 airbag with sport steering wheel. i upgraded my car to stage 2 steering wheel and airbag(from 2001-2003)
with new diamond keys , computer and ews, new spring clock with all the switches for steering wheel tilt, signal lights and wipers....now everything works perfectly, excepet for the airbag fitment. the airbag doesn't go all the way in(no airbag lights on).
my mechanic told i gave him the wrong airbag, but i'm sure it's the right airbag. what i'm missing here, where is my problem and to solve it?? thanks
i will provide some pictures .
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