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BMW Clock Spring Replacement, Problems, Cost, DIY

In this guide, you will learn how to replace BMW clock spring (also referred to as spiral cable).

A faulty BMW clock spring is common and causes the airbag light to come on.

Replacing the clock spring on a BMW is a fairly easy job that most DIYers can accomplish on their driveway. Be aware that you may need to reset the steering angle sensor which requires a BMW specific diagnostic scanner. To learn more about clock spring and how they work read this article.

Before you get started

A brief overview of BMW clock spring. 

Symptoms

  • BMW Airbag Light On,
  • Horn doesn't work
  • BMW steering wheel buttons don't work,
  • Paddle shifter not working,
  • Fault Code: Driver squib circuit open or high resistance,
    • Code B1049 and B1054

What you will need

Parts

Tools

Instructions

  1. Park you BMW and set the wheels straight. Engage the parking brakes. bmw clock spring repair

     

  2. Disconnect BMW battery. The battery is located in the trunk area on most BMWs. including 3, 5, 6 X1, X3, X5 series. 

  3. Remove BMW airbag and steering wheel from the steering column. On the back of the steering wheel, you will notice one or two access holes.

    remove bmw airbag

    Inset a rod and press on the spring to release the airbag. 

    bmw clock spring replacement removal
  4. Next, remove the steering wheel center bolt.

    bmw e36 clock spring  bmw e46 clock spring

    If you need help with this step follow this guide on How to remove airbag and steering wheel on a BMW. Mark the steering column and the steering wheel before you remove the steering wheel. 

  5. Remove BMW steering wheel from the steering column. 

  6. Remove Torx bolts in order to remove the clock spring from the SZL module. 

    bmw airbag clock spring removal diy
  7. Use a small screwdriver to unlock the BMW steering wheel clock spring from the SZL module. 

  8. Install new BMW clock spring. 

    repair bmw clock spring bmw e36 steering wheel clock spring

     

  9. Reconnect the steering wheel, airbag, battery and start the car. 

    bmw steering wheel clock spring

    Watch video on how to perform this step. 

  10. Clear SZL fault codes and carry out steering angle sensor calibration using a BMW scan tool.

    bmw steering angle sensor calibration

     

 

Warnings

  • Do not use test equipment such as multimeters to check SRS circuits unless directed by the Shop Repair Manual. Doing so can deploy airbags.
  • Always turn ignition switch OFF, disconnect the battery negative terminal and wait at least 3 minutes before you start working on the airbag system.
  • Handle airbag module carefully. Place airbag with the pad side facing upward and always stay two feet away from the airbag.
  • When installing a clock spring (spiral cable) it needs to be the neutral position since its rotations are limited. 
  • Don't rotate the clock spring after you remove the steering wheel. If the ABS or Traction Control Light turn on, you may need to reset the steering angle sensor using a Steering Angle Sensor Reset Tool.
  • Rember to read fault codes from the SRS control unit and clear codes after replacing airbag components. You may need a Level 2 OBD2 Scanner to clear airbag codes. 

Resources

  1. How to remove BMW airbag and steering wheel
  2. Buy used BMW clock spring Source: ebay.com
  3. BMW clock spring removal and installation instructions  File:pdf, Source: e90post.com
  4. E46 Clock Spring Repair Source:e46fanatics.com

Comments

JimsAutoRepair, 2019-07-01

Great Article!
A faulty clock spring is common and many people take it as more of an announce than anything else.
Yes the Airbag might function with it, but its not always the case. Airbags save lives and we need to get these fixed asap.

There are many other reasons why the airbag light, also called the 'SRS' light in some cars might come on.

In some cars, it might be a sign that the airbags have been deactivated. This is very dangerous and you need to get this check soon. It is also possible that the airbag sensors are not working. Faulty sensors can cause the light to go off and if they are in a bad shape, the airbags might not deploy when needed - so we need to get this checked.

Another common reason is when your car was in a small accident but the force was not enough for the airbags to deploy. This might confuse the car's system and you might have to reset the whole thing.

So while this article does help a lot, you also need to keep your eyes open for other problems.

By YOUCANIC on Jun 17, 2019

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