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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 09-20-2005, 11:15 PM   #1
delmarco
 
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Del's got M3 Rings! E36 Gauges DONE! (Pics)

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This first picture was from last December when I first got the steel rings...It took me almost a year to man up the courage of breaking open my Steering/Airbag column and pulling out the cluster...AND YES! For E36 cars without the tilting steering wheel you MUST remove the wheel to remove the cluster...ther is NO OTHER WAY! (most DIYs on the internet are lying to you, if they tell you otherwise!)


It's fairly easy, but scary...Just remember unplug the battery first, and do not do any jerking or rough motions when removing the airbag or it may explode on you. It's two screws at the back of the wheel..use a thin TORX 30 head on a thin screwdriver and you'll get to it, even though the screw heads are deeply embedded.



Okay..from what you can see, I couldn't remove the wiring between the airbag and the column (as stated in all the DIYs for this process)...the Airbag module wire plugs are impossible to pluck out without risk of setting off the airbag. And the wire color-coding look like bomb wires. That, and the skull and bones warning stickers you'll see everywhere will scare the shit outta a first timer . What I ended up doing was ONLY removing the wheel behind the airbag module without disconnecting the wires...since the wires go from the module right through the center opening of the wheel and down thru the column into the belly of the dash. Once the wheel is off (it's easy as pie; just unscrew the center bolt, mark where it aligns with whiteout, and pull the wheel off), after this you can then pull the cluster out and unclip the 3 rear plugs that serves to wire and hold the cluster back. Once the cluster is out, you can easily rest the steering wheel back onto the column and carefully rest the airbag back into the original position ontop of the wheel-don't worry about screwing it down or it falling off, it will stay on.
Now you can leave the car and go inside and get on the the less scary and easier part; breaking apart the cluster!




nothing special: cluster from the back...don't tamper with bulbs or you may leave one loose when you replace the cluster and you won't find out until night time or later on when it gets dark and you notice one side of your cluster is in darkness...not that it happened to me...okay..okay..it happened to me...



okay, cluster dis-assembles in three ways: The back torquoise section (with the bulbs) and the front section which then splits like this- part one: the outer glass shell/part two: the actual cluster dials.





When installing the rings I used tape to hold them in place and steady from the front whiles I glued from the back. I did the end rings first, because the were smaller and the circular shape was simpler than the middle two cluster rings. Some rings on EBAY are sold with self adhesive backings..but those rings from what I've seen are not steel, but plastic/chrome imitations. So buy carefully. These are OEM grade steel rings.




I found a Glue gun was best over other types of regular glues...the may be better ways of getting the steel rings to stick, but for me the hot glue gun was clean, simple, easy to clean if it spilt over the edges and the black glue blended best and looked more professional than the white chips/residues of other glues.
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:16 PM   #2
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finished




the sun came out too...





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Old 09-20-2005, 11:20 PM   #3
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nice job.
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:24 PM   #4
Rooz

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Nice job, but damn 4hours! I was thinking of doing this, but now that I know how much is involved, NO THX, lol.

But looks good though...
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:30 PM   #5
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Rooz, It only took me 4 hrs because I had NO IDEA what i was doing...because the DIYs I had in front of me were wrong for like every step of the way. (like someone said the airbag comes right off and then the wheel comes right off...without mentioning the airbag wires or the center nut that hold teh wheel down)...someone said there was 4 screws holding the air bag in place...but there was only two...someone said it was a starpoint screwhead holding the airbag in place but after lotsof trial and error and found it to be a TORX30...

so in retrospect...if i was to do it again following my own DIY (above))..it's a simple 1hr-1:30hr job!
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:40 PM   #6
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looking sharp del.. and no youdont gotta remove steering wheel! ive done it!
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:50 PM   #7
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xsperf...you really gotta tell me how...to remove the cluster without removing the wheel.
I sat down on that problem for the 1st hour of this DIY...
that guy said our E36 steering wheel "bends...like all modern wheels do" and I see him doing it in his pictures..but there was no way my wheel was moving to let the gauge cluster out...I felt like I was gonna break it off by bending it...another DIY on the net said that you gotta rotate the wheel 90 degrees and rotate it backwards as you slide the cluster out...that was even more confusing to even visual, more difficult to try..and gave me more concern that I was gonna break something...
but XSPERF...I still must THANK YOU ...for giving me the motivation and courage to begin and complete this DIY...
I owe you many thanks buddy!!!!
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:00 AM   #8
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no problem
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:05 AM   #9
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i have to agree with XSperf, I got my cluster out without removing my steering wheel or air bag bomb. Just unscrew and tug, and twist, and pull till it slides out.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:44 AM   #10
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Dude's this was so impossible for me to do, but I don't doubt it see here ...
This is 2 pictures from the DIY I was following...


Photo 6 of 11
Pull back on the wheel
It will bend slighly. All modern steering wheels will do so. With the electrical connectors off, it will slide sideways out.


Photo 7 of 11
Halfway there..
It will fit, but pull back on the wheel and don't drag it or you may gouge the vinyl on the dashboard.
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Old 09-21-2005, 01:36 AM   #11
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Wow ..nice del.
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Old 09-21-2005, 09:51 AM   #12
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I've pulled the cluster with out removing the wheel too! Turning the wheel and lots of pulling is the way to do it.
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Old 09-21-2005, 10:11 AM   #13
EuroStyle

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For the 4 hours it took you should have installed white gauges too.

Any way, nice rings, I like how you went w/ the real deal instead of cheap plastic.
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Old 09-21-2005, 11:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EuroStyle
For the 4 hours it took you should have installed white gauges too.

Any way, nice rings, I like how you went w/ the real deal instead of cheap plastic.
it's really about a 1hr DIY. Maybe 2hrs tops.
I was following this DIY that kept stumping me...especially the part that said I can remove the cluster by "bending back the sterring wheel"
plus the gluing the rings was a long process of trail and error before I found that the glue gun was gonna be the best option.
thanks
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Old 09-21-2005, 11:13 AM   #15
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delmarco, do you have a tilt wheel? i'm assuming that would make it much easier.
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