This is a step-by-step instruction guide to installing a NRG quick release system in any BMW E30 series car with an aftermarket wheel already installed.
Quick release steering wheel systems have become very popular. The history behind them is that they were first used in race cars to allow the driver to more easily get in and out of the car, which has saved many lives in emergency situations.
Today, however, they have become a trend in the car community, but they still serve a purpose. They act as an anti-theft system because it's hard to steal a car that doesn't have a steering wheel attached. However, it does have a draw back as well. Now, you either have to hide your steering wheel in the car or take it with you, because leaving it on your seat is an invitation for thieves.
The project will cost a minimum of $280 for the NRG parts. The additional cost if purchasing the optional parts will be roughly $30. I would rate the level of difficulty for this project as easy.
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Step 1: Required Parts and Tools
- NRG Quick Release (color optional), https://getnrg.com/products/quick-release-kits/quick-release-kit-gen-2.0/feed
- NRG Short Hub, https://getnrg.com/products/quick-release-kits/short-hub/srk-e30h
- Small Flat Head Screwdriver
- 3/8" Drive Ratchet
- 3/8" Drive 6" Extension
- 3/8" Drive 22mm Deep Socket
- 3mm Allen Wrench
- Small Hook Pick
- Wire Stripper / Crimper
- (2) Female Wire Terminal Connectors
- 10g Heat Shrink Tubing
- 10g Electric Wire
- 1/2" Stainless Steel 3mm Allen Head Bolts
Step 2: Removing the Horn
Safety Measures: Prior to removing the steering wheel or any work on the vehicle, insure that the car is safely parked and the e-brake is on. After this is completed, make sure that the car's wheels are perfectly straight. This will reduce the possibility of a misaligned steering wheel after the project is completed.
Grasp and pull the horn by hand until the horn pulls out. If you have difficulty doing this, you can gently pry under the plastic ring with a small straight slot screw driver. Use caution when prying so that you don't scratch or damage your horn in the process. You may need to gently go around the perimeter to release it. After removal, take a picture of how the wires are connected. Use this later for reference. You can also label or write down how it was connected for additional reference. Now disconnect the wires and remove the horn.
Step 3: Removing the Wheel Assembly
To remove the steering wheel assembly, you will need to use the ratchet, extension, and socket (picture 1). Remove the nut that's in the center of the wheel, counter clock-wise. Once the nut is removed, there is a washer and a spacer underneath (pictures 2 & 3). After they are removed, pull the steering wheel towards you and the whole assembly should come right off. The back of the assembly should look similar to (picture 4), which will be used in the next step.
Step 4: Installing the Ring on the Short Hub
The gold ring (picture 1), is removable and is needed for the new assembly. To remove the ring, use the small hook pick to get under the ring (picture 2). Using a diagonal pattern, gently pry in small increments. This step should be done slow and properly as this part is critical and needed in the new assembly. Once the ring is removed, you will find it has a black wire attached to it (picture 3). This wire can now be threaded through the short hub (picture 4). Then slide the ring back into position (picture 5). Now you're ready to move on to the next step.
Step 5: Installing the Short Hub
Connect the black wire you threaded through the hub to the yellow wire, and the black wire to the other black wire (picture 1). Next, place the spacer, washer, and nut back in position, and tighten it with the ratchet (picture 2 & 3). The wires need to be tucked into the short hub before you can attach them together. Use the included hardware that came with the NRG quick release (picture 4). Hand tighten the top and bottom screws into the hub using the silver allen head bolts (picture 5). Insert the remaining hardware and insure all hardware is tightened.
Step 6: Installing the Quick Release and Wheel
Press the other side of the quick release into position until it engages (picture 1). If possible, re-install the steering wheel using your original hardware. My original steering wheel hardware was uncommonly long (picture 2). To address this I had to cut my existing hardware to length (picture 3). The correct hardware requires 1/2" 3mm allen head bolts. Insert the correct hardware and insure it is tightened (picture 4). Your steering wheel is now installed and should be properly aligned as well.
Step 7: Installing the Horn
Now connect the remaining wires to your horn using your notes or pictures from earlier. If you are able to connect your horn without trouble, you have finished the installation and are ready to go drive.
However, if you are left with two male connectors instead of a male and female connection, you will need to make a male to male adapter (see picture 2). Explained in next step.
Step 8: Making a Male to Male Adapter
To make the male to male adapter, you will need all of the optional tools and parts except for the stainless steel allen head bolts. Take the 10g wire and cut a stand to 2" long, and strip both ends of the wire roughly 3/8" (picture 1). Thread the wire into the female adapter and and crimp it in place. Cut two strands of heat shrink both 1/2" in length. Slide your first over the wire and to the end of your connector (picture 3). Use the lighter to carefully heat the tubing. This causes the tubing to shrink. Now slide your remaining piece over the wire prior to crimping. Crimp the last connector, and shrink the tubing as previously done. See video for example. You can now install the male to male adapter in the wheel and complete the installation.
Step 9: Thanks for Following Along
You now have a newly installed NRG quick release steering wheel in your car. I hope this has helped
If you have any questions regarding these instructions or require more details about this project, feel free to send me an email.