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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 12-30-2013, 11:46 AM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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E70 Airbag Swap

I'm planning to change my standard steering wheel for an M Sport one and of course need to get a Sport airbag in order to do this change. Question: because the airbags are quite pricey, is the ACTUAL airbag the same in the standard wheel and sport wheels and it's just the airbag cover that differs? and if so, can I just buy an Sport airbag cover, which is around 100 bucks and swap my airbag's cover and continue to use it? or do I definitely need a whole new Sport airbag?

Thanks for your help!
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2013, 11:57 AM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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I don't think you want to be swapping airbags out of their enclosures, especially because it is such an important part.

Reg. Wheel:
http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com/s...hString=airbag


Sport wheel

http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com/s...hString=airbag

Part #s are diff't. I highly doubt you can just swap the actual bag inside without messing it up.
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2013, 12:22 AM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Re: E70 Airbag Swap

Yes, it sounds a bit scary to mess up with the airbag; but there are so many of those covers for sale, that it looks to be a common thing to replace them.

I'll keep looking for a full sport airbag.

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
I don't think you want to be swapping airbags out of their enclosures, especially because it is such an important part.

Reg. Wheel:
http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com/s...hString=airbag


Sport wheel

http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com/s...hString=airbag

Part #s are diff't. I highly doubt you can just swap the actual bag inside without messing it up.


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  #4  
Old 01-02-2014, 10:19 AM
lordshin808 lordshin808 is offline
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i have not done the swap myself, but when I had to remove my non-sport airbag, I took several shots of the tabs holding the cover on. It looks exactly like the M sport cover. My guess is it's swap-able, there's about 10-12 clips/tabs all around. see my pics. I really don't see how you can mess up the airbag, just removing the cover.

This ebay m sport cover have the same matching slots for the tabs/clips.
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  #5  
Old 01-02-2014, 11:14 AM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Thanks for your inputs! after my last post I was trying to do the same comparison, but just based on the pics it's a bit hard to tell. Something that called my attention is that these covers are advertised as genuine BMW parts, so if BMW makes them, they should be swappable, regardless if possible between different airbag models.

Now the question is if they really are the same inside. In the pictures they definitely look very similar. I'll try to find out more and if the airbag modules are the same, I might give it a try

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordshin808 View Post
i have not done the swap myself, but when I had to remove my non-sport airbag, I took several shots of the tabs holding the cover on. It looks exactly like the M sport cover. My guess is it's swap-able, there's about 10-12 clips/tabs all around. see my pics. I really don't see how you can mess up the airbag, just removing the cover.

This ebay m sport cover have the same matching slots for the tabs/clips.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2014, 04:27 PM
lordshin808 lordshin808 is offline
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after driving my brother's 335is with the thick M-sport steering wheel, i wish I had one too. if we only needed the steering wheel and cover, not having to get a new airbag will save a ton.
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2014, 09:30 PM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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I contacted one Ebay store that is selling both covers: the standard and the sports one. They compared both covers and told me they look identical on the back side where the airbag is stored. They even told me they will take the cover back if it doesn't work for me; so I decided to give it a shot and see if it works.

I ordered the cover yesterday. I'll update here and post pictures of the install (if it works!)
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2014, 11:26 PM
lordshin808 lordshin808 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR1er View Post
I contacted one Ebay store that is selling both covers: the standard and the sports one. They compared both covers and told me they look identical on the back side where the airbag is stored. They even told me they will take the cover back if it doesn't work for me; so I decided to give it a shot and see if it works.

I ordered the cover yesterday. I'll update here and post pictures of the install (if it works!)
Sounds promising. I hope it works. Looking forward to it.
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2014, 04:05 PM
lordshin808 lordshin808 is offline
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were you able to swap out the airbag covers?
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2014, 04:32 PM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Still waiting for the cover. It's coming from UK....apparently on foot! :sly:

Last edited by DR1er; 01-15-2014 at 04:35 PM.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2014, 10:22 PM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Confirmed!

I received the cover last Friday and installed it today. I can confirm it is possible to do the swap! After transferring the airbag I installed the new steering wheel and everything works fine, except for the paddle shifters which I was expecting not to work! I'll try some coding later.

I took several pictures of the covers and the process to put together a DIY; unfortunately this week is going to be extremely busy for me and probably won't have time to do that until next weekend.
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  #12  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:13 PM
lordshin808 lordshin808 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR1er View Post
I received the cover last Friday and installed it today. I can confirm it is possible to do the swap! After transferring the airbag I installed the new steering wheel and everything works fine, except for the paddle shifters which I was expecting not to work! I'll try some coding later.

I took several pictures of the covers and the process to put together a DIY; unfortunately this week is going to be extremely busy for me and probably won't have time to do that until next weekend.
damn, I was kinda hoping the covers wasn't swap-able so I can justify not getting the steering wheel. hahaha. now I have to see if I have $800 under my coach.

the last time, i looked at the 10-12 clips on the cover, it look like it was on pretty tight. did you just use a flat-head and pry it out?

post some a writeup and pics when you swap the covers when you get a chance. thanks.

Last edited by lordshin808; 01-20-2014 at 08:15 PM.
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  #13  
Old 01-21-2014, 11:29 AM
tpollard95124 tpollard95124 is offline
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What's the difference between the sport steering wheel and the M-sport version?
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  #14  
Old 02-23-2014, 09:28 AM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Here are the diy instructions!

Hi guys, here is a DIY with a picture-sequence. It is really easy to do the airbag cover swap. Apologies for not being able to post this earlier.

here's the DISCLAIMER: I would say based on my experience that it doesn't seem this airbag is intended to be swapped after it has been put together with its cover at the factory, so do this at your own risk as I did and assume any responsibility that doing this mod might bring (warranty, insurance, etc?).

Now, as you will see in the pictures it is really easy to do the cover swap from a standard (non-sport) airbag to the sport one. The covers are exactly the same on the inside and it's just the outer "face" that is different.

Once you remove your airbag from the steering wheel, you'll immediately notice that the cover is attached to the actual airbag with some 15 clips. The clips are very tightly attached so the "technique" I used was to unclip them one by one using a strong flat screwdriver and then inserted a flat metal piece to each unclipped clip so that they won't clip back as I moved to the next (see pictures). In my experience it's a must to have use those flat pieces, otherwise you won't be able to remove the cover, so find whatever you have at hand ( additional flat screwdrivers, trim removal tools, your finest silverware knives ... etc )

TIP: The plastic used to build this cover is pretty hard and also very resistant, so unless you do something very extreme it is unlikely that you will break them, do be afraid to apply enough pressure just do it slowly and progressively and you'll be fine.

Once you have unclipped around half of the clips, the rest will be lose enough to pull the cover with your hands.

Something that caught me by surprise was that once you remove the cover, you will find the airbag is just stuffed in there so nothing else covering it inside. You must be careful so that you don't unfold it and possibly can't put it back together. Once you remove the old cover and put the new one in place, just push it firmly side to side making sure that the airbag is correctly in place and there is nothing caught in-between the clips. All the clips should fall right in place as you push it closed.

Once done, just install your "new" sport airbag into your new steering wheel, enjoy the view and feel on each drive (especially if you are upgrading to the M Wheel!!) and have a couple beers with the approx $400 you saved.

As said, this is very straight forward and if you are not afraid of DIYs, you'll be totally fine.

I got the cover off Ebay (only found it on Ebay UK) for approx 60 bucks, brand new and original BMW.

Here are the pictures. Feel free to ask if you have any doubts!
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Last edited by DR1er; 02-23-2014 at 09:53 AM.
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  #15  
Old 05-18-2014, 08:33 AM
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BMWOO7 BMWOO7 is offline
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Nice write up and pictures... This is how every DIY review should be written.

Now.... Off to get a 'Sport' cover for my wife's 2013 E70 X5 Premium and upgrade it to the new M steering wheel.
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  #16  
Old 05-19-2014, 09:01 AM
John Galt John Galt is offline
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Wow- you guys have bigger balls than I do... Sure looks scary messing with the airbag! I'd hate to think I got it right, get in a violent front-end collision, then not have it deploy, or deploy in such a way it breaks my neck. While that M-sport wheel sure looks tempting, especially with my non-line F15 skinny wheel, I think this is one mod I'll pass.

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  #17  
Old 05-19-2014, 09:32 AM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWOO7 View Post
Nice write up and pictures... This is how every DIY review should be written.

Now.... Off to get a 'Sport' cover for my wife's 2013 E70 X5 Premium and upgrade it to the new M steering wheel.
Thanks, thought nobody had seen it Happy to be of help!
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  #18  
Old 12-12-2014, 09:04 PM
Falkon Falkon is offline
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Thanks DR1er, your writeup is excellent, keep it coming should you do some other mods.....

Regards,
Chidi
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  #19  
Old 07-23-2015, 11:31 PM
VFR VFR is offline
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Thankyou DR1er!!

Hey DR, your information was not only spot on, but I was very pleased to see how easy it was in reality given your detailed insights to move from a 2012 Standard to a Sports wheel(not M-Sport).
NB. Never apply voltage to an Airbag!!! Not even a meter voltage. It is entirely your responsibility to understand what you are doing and the risks associated.

I simply disconnected the negative terminal and left it alone to discharge the capacitor for 1 hour(Leave the boot up!!), I then removed the standard airbag cover and disconnected the connectors, you need to insert a small flathead screwdriver under the airbag connector black tops til they pop up which released their clamp, then they lift off easily(do not force these off).
Going slow I inserted some (attached pic) aluminium plates as I went all the way round, the sturdy plastic bag frame lifted with a little gentle encouragement, taking care not to unravel the bag. I removed the aluminium plates once I had passed the rim so as to not damage the airbag, it then lifted out very easily and you'll find the bag tucks up under the top of the cover a bit, so try to reinsert this section into the new cover first and the bag will go in nicely, then press it down gently till it clicks in making sure you don't pinch the bag.

Replaced the wheel, reconnected and inserted the bag cover, reconnected the negative terminal and only got the 4WD traction error msg when I switched the ignition on, this disappeared during a 5 min drive and that was it!
I did have to reset my clock but everything else seemed fine.
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2015, 09:43 AM
DR1er DR1er is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falkon View Post
Thanks DR1er, your writeup is excellent, keep it coming should you do some other mods.....

Regards,
Chidi
Quote:
Originally Posted by VFR View Post
Hey DR, your information was not only spot on, but I was very pleased to see how easy it was in reality given your detailed insights to move from a 2012 Standard to a Sports wheel(not M-Sport).
NB. Never apply voltage to an Airbag!!! Not even a meter voltage. It is entirely your responsibility to understand what you are doing and the risks associated.

I simply disconnected the negative terminal and left it alone to discharge the capacitor for 1 hour(Leave the boot up!!), I then removed the standard airbag cover and disconnected the connectors, you need to insert a small flathead screwdriver under the airbag connector black tops til they pop up which released their clamp, then they lift off easily(do not force these off).
Going slow I inserted some (attached pic) aluminium plates as I went all the way round, the sturdy plastic bag frame lifted with a little gentle encouragement, taking care not to unravel the bag. I removed the aluminium plates once I had passed the rim so as to not damage the airbag, it then lifted out very easily and you'll find the bag tucks up under the top of the cover a bit, so try to reinsert this section into the new cover first and the bag will go in nicely, then press it down gently till it clicks in making sure you don't pinch the bag.

Replaced the wheel, reconnected and inserted the bag cover, reconnected the negative terminal and only got the 4WD traction error msg when I switched the ignition on, this disappeared during a 5 min drive and that was it!
I did have to reset my clock but everything else seemed fine.

You're welcome! glad that it helped it's definitely an easy mod.

I just did an NBT retrofit but didn't have time to make instructions. It's a great improvement over CIC, specially because my other car has NBT and when I had to drive the X5, specially on long road trips, it felt like the 90's no offense intended... it was the same feeling when I had a 2007 X5 a few years ago and finally retrofitted CIC.

Enjoy your shiny new sports steering wheel!
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  #21  
Old 08-11-2015, 01:17 AM
VFR VFR is offline
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Update since Sport Wheel Swap

Hi All, for those still following the thread, I thought I'd provide an update now that I've driven a few hundred clicks, Love the Sports Wheel, so worth it compared to the standard. I have only noticed 1 sporadic symptom which I'm still investigating, which is when my mobile phone is paired to the Bimmer and I'm listening to the standard Radio, I experience a rare (1 in 30) redirects to my dialled calls list on my phone when I hit the "Reduce Volume" button on the left side of the Steering Wheel, it is not consistent, but may dial the last call you made if you hit the button enough times

Everything else is fine.
Whilst the Wheel is in excellent condition it did come from a Wrecker, however why would the "Reduce Volume or down button" occasionally trigger the phone .... try that one on while your having your next Drink!!

No errors, lights or messages to speak of.
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  #22  
Old 08-11-2015, 06:20 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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You know, I have the same thing happening in my car once in a while. Since I'm on original wheel that was never removed or anything don't think it's related to the swap, but probably just smthg in the left buttons cluster. Since the occurrence is rare, I don't worry about it.
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  #23  
Old 06-21-2016, 11:34 AM
boldmixon boldmixon is offline
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I know this is an old thread, but it helped me so much on my steering wheel swap I wanted to comment.

For all those people who are contemplating getting an M-Sport steering wheel... DO IT!

They are all over eBay. I ordered mine "slightly used" and the matching airbag cover from a seller in Poland. Obviously I was a reluctant to throw $350 down for both pieces, but they came through. Took about a month to get here, but totally worth it.

As for the install, everything went well. I got ahead of myself and accidentally closed the back tailgate after disconnecting the battery... it was an interesting climb into the back cabin later to reconnect the battery. Also, make sure to not connect the battery terminal until you are 100% finished with every step.

As for the swapping the airbag, be careful with the clips. I accidentally snapped one of the 15 since they were so tight. I ended up using butter knives to hold the clips in place.

I got the "4X4 error". Drove for 5 minutes and it went away.

All in all, it is totally worth it!
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