Momo Steering Wheel Installation
by Josh Wyte

A few people asked me to write something up on how to install a momo steering wheel. I just got done doing it, so here it is. I don't have any pics because I haven't gotten my new digi cam yet, but once I do, I'll try to take some. Bribing me with beer will hasten the process!

OK, here's all the disclaimer stuff. I'm not a BMW tech. Take these instructions with a grain of salt, it's how I did it and it worked for me. I do NOT condone taking out your airbag. If you decide to do that, it's YOUR decision. I'm not responsible for any injury to you or your car if you decide to do this and follow my instructions. (Legal guys insert the rest of the stuff here.) DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

I did this on my 1995 M3. According to Bentley they have 2 kinds of slip rings. One for 1994 and older cars and one for 1995 and newer cars. I don't know what the cut-off is and they don't say. Pull off the plastic cover underneath the steering column and LOOK at the connector before you try to get one from a junkyard. Buying a slip ring new is rather expensive, so get a used one. It doesn't matter if it works, you just need the harness. If your car is different, than you obviously should've bought a 1995 M3! :-)

Tools needed:
3/8 drive rachet with 3" extension
Torque wrench
3mm allen key socket
T30 Torx socket
16mm socket
Small Flat head screwdriver
Phillips head screwdriver
13mm wrench
Soldering stuff (iron, solder, shrink tubing) OR
Butt connectors
Wire stripers
Wire harness connector from the back of the slip ring
1 1/2 watt 3.3 ohm resistor OR
3 1/2 watt 10 ohm resistors
Momo hub (part #MM-2008)
Momo steering wheel of your choice

Procedure: The Bentley manual has a nice write up on how to remove the steering wheel and airbag. Read that first and use this as a supplement.

Park car. Remove key. Wait 10 minutes for all the little computers to finish "talking" with each other.

Using the 13mm wrench, disconnect the negative battery terminal of the battery. Set it aside and make sure it doesn't make contact with the battery pole.

Wait 10 minutes for the charge in the SRS brain to dissipate.

Remove the phillips head screw from the black plastic trim piece underneath the steering column. It's near the ignition cylinder.

Gently pull apart the plastic cover and wiggle out the lower cover. Now remove the black plastic wedge that the phillips screw was in. Set it aside. It likes to fall out and it's easy to lose, so take it out now so you won't lose it.

You should see an orange connector with a white top underneath the column. That's the harness going to the airbag. Make SURE the battery is disconnected and the key is OUT of the ignition!!

Slide the white colored top of the orange connector out towards the drivers door. Now pull down on the orange part of the connector. Now using the small flat headed screwdriver, push in the small black plastic tab and pull gently on the right hand side of the harness. It should disconnect and you'll be staring at a black/blue harness plug.

Make SURE the battery is disconnected!!!! Now put the key in the ignition and unlock the steering wheel. Turn the steering wheel 90 degrees so the two T30 torx screws on the steering wheel are accessible. You want one to be pointing towards the headliner, the other towards the floor mat.

Take your T30 torx socket and remove the torx screws. The back of the steering wheel can obscure them a bit. Get down and look at them. Make sure the torx bit is properly in them, the screws are soft and strip easily.

Once you have both screws out, center the steering wheel and remove the key from the ignition. Lock the steering wheel pointed straight ahead.

The airbag should pretty much fall right out. There's a small orange connector that attaches to the back of the airbag. It pulls straight out.

Carefully place the airbag aside, making SURE it's pointing FACE UP and NOTHING is on top of it! If it decides to deploy and you have it facedown or something's on top of it, it'll become a projectile and that's not good!

Now take the 16mm socket and remove the bolt in the center of the steering wheel. It's on pretty tight, so you're going to have to give it a bit of muscle. If you don't have the steering column locked, you're going to have a bear of a time removing the bolt.

Ok, you have the bolt out, now just pull off the stock steering wheel and set it aside.

Time to deal with the airbag harness. Take your used slip ring and snip off the blue/black plug with as much of the wiring as possible. Ie, cut it right at the slip ring. Spread the two wires and strip off the insulation on each.

If you were lucky enough to find a 1/2 watt 3.3 ohm resistor, simply put it between the two wires from the harness and solder it in place. Don't forget to place the heat shrink tubing on before you solder up the circuit!

If you were unlucky like me, you have to use 3 1/2 watt 10 ohm resistors. I bought mine from Radio Shack, they were $0.95 for 5 of them. So take three of them, place them side by side (ie, wire them in parallel) and twist the wires together. Now place them between the two wires of the slip ring harness and solder or use butt splices to put them in there.

Wrap the resistors up, then plug the harness back into the plug underneath the steering column. Put the orange cover back into place, and slide the white locking cover back on top.

Time to grab your momo hub. I got mine from HMS. They're good guys, buy it from them.

The hub slides right onto the stock splines. Be careful, don't force it on. Leave the stock spacer in place. The hub is marked "top", so make sure that's on the top. Loosely reinstall the 16mm bolt.

Now take out your wheel and bolt it with the supplied 3mm allen bolts to the hub. Tighten these down.

There are two wires coming out of the hub. They get connected to the back of the horn button. Go ahead and connect them.

Reconnect your negative battery terminal.

Say a little prayer, insert the key and turn it to the position before "start". Watch the airbag lite and make sure it turns off. If not, your circuit isn't complete and now you have to somehow reset the airbag light. Either with the new Peake airbag tool, or by taking the car to the dealer.

Test your horn.

This next step requires a street with NO traffic. None, zero, nada, zilch. The momo wheel is kinda hard to get on straight. While the momo hub has all the splines that the stock one does, the momo wheel mounts to the hub using 6 bolts. As such, you have to fine tune the centering process of the wheel by taking the hub off and moving it from side to side and putting it back on. You need a nice straight, deserted peice of road for this. Use your common sense here!

Ok, now disconnect the horn. Get your car onto the nice street peice of road. Drive the car forward a bit and let the wheel go to it's natural position. Is it straight? Most likely it isn't. Stop the car, remove the 16mm bolt, take the wheel/hub assembly off and reinsert them. Put the 16mm bolt back on. Drive a bit more. Repeat as necessary.

Once you have the wheel centered to your satisfaction, torque the 16mm bolt down to 46 ft lbs. You're going to have to remove the key from the ignition and lock the steering column again to torque this bolt. It feels like alot, but it's what the Bentley calls for.

Reconnect horn, make sure it works again.

Slide the black plastic cover back into place under the steering column. Reinsert the black plastic wedge and then insert phillips screw and tighten.

You're done! Marvel at the nice feel of the momo wheel as compared to the huge bus like stock wheel.

Carefully store your stock steering wheel and airbag. Again, make sure the airbag is FACE UP and NOTHING is placed on top of it. I'd hang on to it because if you sell or trade your car in, you're going to need it and whatever you can get for it used will be nothing compared to what it'll cost you to replace it if you need to. Also, state regulations may require you to reinstall the stock wheel/airbag in order to pass state inspection.

Note: Momo wheels come in various sizes. Extra small (320mm) small (350mm, most of the momo wheels are this size) or medium (360mm). The stock wheel is 385mm. I chose a 360mm wheel, the Momo Daytona. It's very nice and has no exposed metal. However, Momo doesn't make it anymore, the closest thing they have now is the Momo Runner. Most of the momo wheels that have pads on them to cover the metal spokes are 360mm.

The reason I bring this up is that since most of our cars don't have tilt/telescoping steering columns, when you install the momo wheel it'll most likely obscure from 3000-6000 rpm on the tach. Obviously how much it'll block depends on how tall you are and how you're proportioned. The 350mm wheel will block it completely, my 360mm wheel blocks the top half of the numbers from 3-6000 rpm. The 320mm wheel is just TINY and I STRONGLY urge you to try one out in person before ordering it!

Apparently you can buy offset spacers to tilt the wheel one direction or the other to help your sight line of the instrument cluster, but I'm happy with the way it is. I do wish BMW had installed a tilt/telescoping steering column tho.