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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to remove my instrument cluster from my non-tilting wheel 98 328iA sedan.

I used a T20 to remove the two screws at the top of the cluster, pried the top down with a plastic tool I have, and now find myself stuck on the top of the steering column collar.

I've tried about 50 different positions to at least reach the back (I'm trying to replace two of the three 3w bulbs that illuminate the cluster).

I was able to remove the bottom of the collar easily, however from what I can tell I need to remove the steering wheel in order to remove the top collar.

Does anyone out there have any tricks or tips?

Thanks for reading.
 

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BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
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23,464 Posts
You don't need to remove anything around the steering column. Just undo the two torx screws (which you did already), pull the cluster toward you, disconnect the plugs in the back, then rotate the cluster and steering wheel together to the side and slip the cluster out. It seems tight, but it will come out pretty easily.

Be sure to disconnect your battery before disconnecting the cluster. You'll trip a warning light if you don't.
 

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Speed Freak
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ZeGerman hit it right on. I was trying to remove mine the other day. I could not get it out for the life of me. Then I took it to my frend who is an x bmw repairman and he gets it out in 20 seconds! All he did was rotate the steering wheel the right way and it came right out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

I curbed the project and haven't revisited it yet.

Going to take a stab at it again tomorrow.

Question though, the steering wheel can't turn much with the battery disconnected.

If I can manage to disconnect the plugs (which seemed hard to get to, but I'm about to educate myself now), are you saying that the turn required is minimal?

Thanks again.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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29,915 Posts
There's no reason you can't turn the wheel with the battery disconnected. Put the key in the ignition, turn it to "on" to unlock the wheel, and turn as needed.

Some tips:

Use a couple of credit cards to slide between the IC and upper dash opening. Once the top of the IC starts coming toward you, grip the lip of the IC and wiggle it side-to-side until it slips out toward the wheel. It may help to swing one side back and pull the other toward you. Once it's loose in the opening, tip the top toward you against the back of the wheel and then wiggle it until it's flipped 90* toward you. Move it to one side and the other to access the plugs in back. It helps to have a small flat blade screwdriver to press the latch release buttons on the back of the plugs. Press in with the screwdriver while pulling back on the latch lever. The lever will actually assist in pulling the plug out, but the plug will not come out until the lever is fully swung over. Once I realized that, I had less trouble with getting the plugs out. Once the three plugs are disconnected turn the IC upright again and go beyond vertical so that the face is against the back of the wheel. Push it toward the right side of the wheel. Unlock the wheel with the key and turn it until the upper opening above the spokes is aligned with the IC, then swing the IC out to the right behind the wheel. It's like a Chinese puzzle (Teutonic puzzle?). It's just a matter of aligning everything in the proper order and you'll be amazed at how simple it really is.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey hornhospital, belated thanks. Gave up after trying again and left it to my mechanic :-/

Thanks again.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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29,915 Posts
That'll work! If you get a chance, watch him remove it. The simplicity of it is amazing. Like a magic trick, once you know how it's done, it's simple to duplicate it. I swore it wouldn't come out the first 3 or 4 times I tried, then hit the combination and it became second nature. I literally took one out, changed out a burnt out bulb, and reinstalled it in the dark, with nothing but a tiny flashlight for illumination. It's all in what you're used to.
 
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