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Airbag to non airbag steering column swap

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    Airbag to non airbag steering column swap

    Has anyone done this?

    It seems pretty straightforward.

    The airbag column comes out after a few firm taps with a hammer and a few bolts near the firewall.

    The issue I'm having now, is installing the new non airbag column. It seems the mounting location is part of the airbag column but is missing from the non airbag column I have.

    Are there any alternatives to a new bracket/bolts from the dealer?
    http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...27&hg=32&fg=30

    Parts 10-15 is what it looks like I'll be needing.

    Mainly looking for a firsthand account from someone thats done it.

    Thanks in advance
    Originally posted by ebelements
    Also, for those who don't know, negative camber is the greatest thing since sliced bread(panera). Even tire wear is for city busses and the elderly.

    #2
    i'm not sure why anyone would do this. i've had both types of e30s and done several e36 rack swaps. the air bag column is better in many ways.
    you can easily put a non-airbag wheel on an air bag car just needing the extra spacer.
    the air bag column can be shorted w/o issue to accept the e36 or other racks.
    Much wow
    I hate 4 doors

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      I'm Mainly looking for someone who has experience doing this conversion.

      In order to run a boosterless brake setup, like the one garagistic offers, you need to use a non airbag steering column.

      My car is a 1990 (airbag) and I'm in the process of installing the non airbag column.
      Originally posted by ebelements
      Also, for those who don't know, negative camber is the greatest thing since sliced bread(panera). Even tire wear is for city busses and the elderly.

      Comment


        #4
        OK, you can run it with an airbag column, the issue is how that the air bag pedal box is longer and mounts to the steering column and and the older style doesnt. you can acutal use your current one and using a bold and spacer mount it to the car. i dont have great shots but here is what you are going to need to do.
        to remove the column to replace or modify.

        the back of the column is held out about an inch down by the late pedal box. where as the early isnt

        IMG_5604 by Eric Berger, on Flickr

        here you can see the two bold holes that the air bag pedal box mounts to.
        IMG_5610 by
        Eric Berger, on Flickr

        then there are 2 bolts on the firewall that you remove and then the column just pulls out.

        plan to take about 10 hours to swap all this crap over. it looks easy but ends up being a huge PITA.

        then you would take the old style column and bolt the flange to the fire wall, install the shaft and wheel and then bolt the top part back up underneath.
        Much wow
        I hate 4 doors

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your reply, the pictures are helpful. It's tricky to see down there.

          This is where I'm stuck.



          The rounded bolts on the right (airbag column) are missing from the left (non airbag column).

          I ordered the parts from blunt, just waiting for them to arrive now and hoping that will mount up without incident.
          Originally posted by ebelements
          Also, for those who don't know, negative camber is the greatest thing since sliced bread(panera). Even tire wear is for city busses and the elderly.

          Comment


            #6
            you can make the L brackets out of steel
            see how they sit on top of it here:


            #10/#11 but im not sure if you can buy them

            32311110996
            32311152054
            Much wow
            I hate 4 doors

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Cabriolet View Post
              the air bag column can be shorted w/o issue to accept the e36 or other racks.
              Hi Cabriolet,
              Can you please explain how the airbag column should be modified to accept E36 or Z3 racks?
              I am in the position of deciding whether to go with a quicker E36/Z3 rack or not, but many people online claims the firewall needs to be dremelled which scares me.
              Please share your wisdom on this topic, thank you.

              Comment


                #8
                I have a few images here
                https://www.flickr.com/photos/43859025@N08/5311443057/

                you need to grind the knuckles on steering joint.
                you may need to drimmel your firewall. i didn't but it's not hard to do.
                you have to do nothing to the airbag column. just loosen the caller and shorten the shaft about an inch.
                Much wow
                I hate 4 doors

                Comment


                  #9
                  Does your picture show column in original length or shortened length?
                  Did you have to fabricate a plate that goes on the firewall?
                  Thanks for your input.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by 17sd View Post
                    Does your picture show column in original length or shortened length?
                    idk that was like 5 years ago. on all cars you don't modify the column, you either modify the giubo or break away section of an early model or on an air bag car you just loosen the collar nut and tap the shaft in an inch.
                    Originally posted by 17sd View Post
                    Did you have to fabricate a plate that goes on the firewall?
                    i did not need to on this car. but on another car i needed to.
                    Much wow
                    I hate 4 doors

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Cabriolet View Post
                      i did not need to on this car. but on another car i needed to.
                      So you have done the steering rack conversion in two airbagged cars.
                      Did you have to trim the firewall on either one of them?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        2 no. 1 yes.
                        Much wow
                        I hate 4 doors

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I see. Thank you.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I wanted to update the thread.

                            Using the parts listed in the original post, I was able to successfully mount the non airbag column onto the car. The crucial bracket needed was item 11 (which strangely isnt listed on realoem).
                            This allows you to mount the rack to the body itself using the two conical bolts and the two 13mm bolts that would normally hold up the steering column.




                            If you look on the bottom left of the image, you can see the bracket in question.

                            Also worthy of note, the conical bolts now come with a torx style head, making install and removal possible.


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                            Originally posted by ebelements
                            Also, for those who don't know, negative camber is the greatest thing since sliced bread(panera). Even tire wear is for city busses and the elderly.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Cabriolet View Post
                              2 no. 1 yes.
                              What do you think the difference was that made the firewall trimming necessary in some installations compared to others which do not require trimming?
                              Would the selection of the rack used in the conversion (ie. E36 vs Z3 rack) be the cause?

                              Comment

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