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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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Old 07-01-2013, 08:56 PM
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musa musa is online now
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Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Mein Auto: 528ia , X5 4.4 S, 335i cp
Updated to 3-spoke M-sport steering wheel- air bag too soft


I swapped 4-Spoke to 3-Spoke M Sport steering wheel on my 97 e39 and looks awesome! It has the single stage airbag (found in E38s & E39s built from 9/96 up to 3/99). However, the airbag seems strange compared to the standard wheel- the airbag is very soft whereas the old one is quite firm as in when you press the areas around the horn. It depresses when pressed and it's as if there's a cavity in there. Is this normal?

There's no airbag light in the dash and all INPA/GT1 diagnostics airbag tests pass. I've highlighted in the attached picture the areas which sink in when pressed with the finger. My 2005 X5 sports and a friend's 2000 3 series e46 have firm steering wheel airbag although the wheels are not the same.

Any pointers? Thanks!
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