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This quick write up will precede the actual Pictorial DIY which will appear soon.
(Long story short, on my way to DIY this project I got into a slight accident with a pothole that took out my front wheel and messed up my front end and alignment. So tonight I am left with just the heating steering wheel at home that was meant to be installed in the car this weekend)

I was extremely lucky enough to come across a complete 4 spoke heated wheel from a 2006 X3 and lucky enough to be born with such courage to attempt these projects on my car.

The DIY in itself is easy as:

1. removing airbag/button pod (unplug wires)
2. removing wheel
3. removing slip ring (also remove turn signal and wiper stalks from old slip ring)
4. replace new slip ring (and add on the old stalks if you are reusing them)
5. on back of new slip ring make sure that the new 2 pin connector's ground wire finds a secure ground connection in your vehicle AND the power finds a secure power source WITH A FUSE in circuit. I plan on using the fuse box area in my DIY (so look out for that)
6. replace new heated wheel ring-bolt on
7. lay down heater wire harness onto wheel center
8. connect all the wires and replace airbag/button pod.

swapping the steering wheel is pretty easy but getting the parts and understanding them can be confusing especially if you never seen or heard of them before

Here are my videos clearing some of the confusion up and hopefully making this DIY less of a mystery and less intimidating:




First off understanding the purpose and concept of the Slip Ring takes a bit of time, especially if you NEVER seen or heard of it before. This device is pretty much the gateway of everything that goes from your steering wheel into the car. Its design enables wires to cross into the car without being shredded or twisted every time you turn the steering wheel.

That said, this little bugger seems to be immortal and omnipresent in the BMW Parts Bin from the 1995 E38 7 series all the way to the 2010 X3 E83 series and found with in pretty much ALL BMW's from E36s to E46s X5s, to Z4s and M6s, etc... over all those years.

Now the stumper for me was understanding why the P/N never changed for year/car model AND more importantly function: I currently have two slip rings with the EXACT parts number in front of me as I type this and one is from a 2001 E38 740il with a heated wheel and the other is from my 2001 E46 car that originally came with a non-heated wheel. ( :facepalm: to BMW)

So my advice for Slip Ring seekers is all Parts Numbers reasoning goes out the door and you are pretty much left asking around for a Slip Ring that specifically came from a car with a heated wheel. This can take a while, even with eBay at your fingertips and a large Junk Yard full of BMWs in your city.

If you can cop a Slip Ring at the same time you cop its corresponding heated wheel (IE. a salvage car) then you are lucky.

Here is a proper pictorial break down of the Slip Ring (the picture shows a Slip Ring from a regular E46 with a non-heated wheel but I mark off where the heated wheel is different):

I highly recommend getting a Heated Wheel from either an 2004+ X5 or X3. Older E39 and E38 Steering Wheel button pods use tiny amber orange bulbs for the button's back light instead of the E46's pure amber led back lighting thus a mismatch may possibly occur in your dash if you use an older Wheel w/ button pods. Also older pre-2001 and pre-2000 5 and 7 series may have the single stage airbags that will not work in the E46.

Now this is the wheel below that I have is from a 2006 X3. Your Heated Wheel must look like. Note the heated function button. It is NOT a circle with arrows (those wheels are for the AC Recirculation) but on the heated wheel it is an icon of the steering wheel with wavy lines.

The wiring behind the airbag and pods can be intimidating but it is not so bad once you study them for a minute or two. Everything plugs into where it should via key plugs that are shaped specific to what they plug into so you can't mess that up.

Now this part is completely unlisted at Realoem and doesn't seem to have a specific BMW Parts Number that I could find. I call it Jason Bourne.

Jkidding for purposes of my DIY I call it the Heater Harness.

Which is what it is.

It is INTEGRAL to the heated wheel as it connects all the main parts (power/ground from the Slip Ring to heat button to heater element in wheel) inside the steering wheel belly. You MUST make sure your wheel comes with this attached or on the side. I cannot direct you to any BMW P/N for it.

Once you have the Wheel hooked up to the Heater Harness, which will also be connected to the button pods, you need to attach the two pin connector to the Slip Ring's two pin receptacle that is found ONLY on Slip Rings from car's with heated steering wheels.

After you understand how to secure all the front connections on the front of Slip Ring then we move onto backside of the Slip Ring.

Here we will connect up all three corresponding connectors going into the car.

On the backside of the Slip Ring the two bigger 6pin and 4 pin connectors from the front exit the back of ring in one bigger 10 pin connector going into the car.

The 2 pin connector socket and input holes will be present on the Slip Ring from the heated wheel but for the DIY we will need to add a connector that plugs into it that will bring power and ground to the heated wheel element.

Here we come to the final stage of the DIY. You will have to purchase a pin 2 connector w/ pig tail splices from your dealership (aka BMW Parts # 61 13 8 352 580 for 2-pin plug and 61 13 0 006 6630.75 for mm2 contact). These are about $1 each or less.

Some folks before me, like the OP, used a modified homemade connector to create a 2 pin plug. You can do that if you want to and have the skills to do that but I decided $1 or 2 spent at the dealership to save me a couple of hours spent pulling parts from a smashed up computer wouldn't break the bank.

As of now I'm still working out where a power source will come from and if and how I would add an inline 10 AMP Fuse and/or a Relay to the power wire.


Delmarco's PICTORIAL DIY for the Heated Wheel Retrofit will be coming soon! :thumbup:
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