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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Added M-Tech Wheel and LCI Paddles, Full write up



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      09-14-2011, 10:16 PM   #1
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Post Added M-Tech Wheel and LCI Paddles, Full write up

This is a full write up, its lengthy so make yourself comfortable.


***EDIT***
My paddles were purchased from Nexon. Apparently he modifies the LCI Paddles to work with our cars. In this write up, I detailed my installation using his kit, his paddles. As a result of his kit, I was not totally at ease leaving the pins removed behind the glove box, and I felt like the splice was less than polished. I decided to later use the Burger Harness to clean up the install. The post regarding this refit is detailed in this thread, post # 7. This post addresses the Nexon system. I will say, that the burger harness will work with LCI Paddles purchased from Nexon. I did NOT need MF buttons, as long as your getting the paddle signal to those pins, and bringing to the shifter your okay. The Burger kit was trying to get me to buy new MF buttons, the part numbers listed were for "up to 2008", my car is a 2011, so ixnay on that...
******



Overview:
The installation went off without a hitch! This mod, truly *makes* the entire driving experience! Had I known they were this much fun, I would have made sure to include them when I ordered the car.

I wasn't going to jump into this without exploring all my options and doing my homework, extensively. There are several options and ways to go about doing this. The official DIY thread has 6 ways to sunday, some conflicting information and the info is getting buried there in 8 pages, but the info is in there. When I turned to commercial solutions, information about products were tricky to come by. There is the Burger Tuning kit that I was originally sold on, but was told after I placed my order the kit would not work with LCI paddles. I was later told that the Burger kit would work "with some changes" to the LCI paddles, with no specific info. Whenever I asked them about their product, and how it integrated into the car I was often given no information. That said, I can say, definitively, there is no need for any specific "kit". You can do this job in a way that's fully reversible.

There was a vendor who I did get a LOT of support from, both pre and post purchase support. Nexon Motors. Ordering info: "info AT nexonmotors.com" . These guys were fantastic. Every single email was answered clearly, and it was answered ALWAYS within an hour, usually within 15 minutes, at all hours of the day. Nexon was very very helpful in making sure I was lining up all the right parts before the install, and they were very open about the installation process, integration and the products they offer. They also offer a kit, that includes some wires and a guide.

My Car: 2011 E92xi (non-zsp)
This project is pretty easy, it took me several hours but I work slow. The process is methodical. If your familiar with cars its well within your means.

Now the good stuff...

If you have a coupe, you already have the 'sport steering wheel'. However, you need a wheel that has the paddle mounts, so you need the M3 wheel, or the M-Tech wheel. I chose the M-Tech wheel and LCI pull type paddles. Part Number 32307839115 (wheel)

The M-Tech wheel is really nice. It's very subtle upgrade, but more like an equivalent of what I had in my car already which is what I was really going for. The trim, airbag, buttons, all swap directly over. The leather is plush, and feels really good. The size is identical to the stock sport wheel. Stitching is all black so it matches nicely with the rest of the car, but the only difference is there is perforated leather on the sides.

The LCI pull type paddles are the (-) on the left side and (+) on the right. they are black with a chrome surround trim and match the interior of the car perfectly.

What you'll need:
New wheel
Paddles
about 10 feet of stranded two conductor 18-20 gauge wire
a good small angled pick that can be used with precision or tiny jewelers flat head screw driver
assorted torx bits
16mm socket
1/4 wrench and short extension
torque wrench (capable of setting 46 ft/pounds)
10mm socket
sharp razor
2 pairs of 18-20 gauge male/female blade terminal connectors
22-26 gauge ring terminal connector
Crimping pliers
wire cutters
shrink wrap tubing for 18-26 gauge wire, its essential you use the correct size!
lighter
ziplock bag
zip ties

A note on wire taps. do not try to use them... our cars have 26 gauge wire running most of the circuits and you cannot wire tap wires this small. If you do it successfully there's a good chance it won't be reliable. Telephone style t-taps are out of the question too because they are looking for a single solid conductor wire. This means we're left moving pins around, and if you're moving pins around you're going to need a steady careful hand with good vision to carefully use a small pick to gently open wire harnesses, connectors, plugs, and carefully back pins from connectors with your pick as well as re-insert them back.

The install:

Set the emergency brake, put the car in neutral, unlock your doors, open the trunk, and push your rear seats flat. Remove the (-) battery terminal by removing the 10mm nut on the terminal (the vertical one starring at you). Wrap your (-) connector into the ziplock bag and secure it. Do not close your trunk from this point on!


Under your glove box there are two torx screws, remove those and drop the panel. Remove the foot well light and aux power connectors, set the panel aside. It will reveal these large harness connectors. You need the BLACK one.


Remove it.






You're looking for Pins 35 and 52. Very carefully, lift the tabs on the connector itself and slide the rows of connectors from the harness, not all the way... Just enough to access the pins so they can be removed with your pick. Remove the pins one at a time and mark them in case they ever need to go back in. Slide the rows back into the harness itself. You will leave those pins OUT of the harness. On your 8 foot 18 or 20 gauge wire length, slide on lengths of shrink wrap, strip the ends, and wrap them around the pins carefully. You may solder the wire to the pins if you like. Slide the shrink wrap up and carefully heat with indirect heat.

What your left with should look like this.


Secure the connections we just made to the wire bundle with zip ties, at least one on each side of the connections we made. Insert the main plug back into the port, and lock it.

Make sure the shifter is in neutral, open the arm rest, carefully remove the center console trim


Whats that, you left your car in park?!
Under the shifter boot there is a red tab, push the tab and slide the shifter back out of park into N. This tab allows us to move the shifter without battery power, a lockout override.


Route the wires along from the factory harness, zip tie along the way, up into the center console to the shifter. Now we're looking at the wires on the right side of the shifter.


These


Here's the part that sucks the most... Perhaps the burger kit has a male female connector that bridges this connection? I dunno, this secret information wasn't "disclosed to me". If you don't want to do the following step then carve out time to go to a store like Radio Shack and build a connector as an intermediate between these two so you can tap the two middle wires. Its simple to do, but these wires are very small so they cant be tapped.

Remove the middle pins from this plug (one at a time). Very carefully use your razor blade and strip back a very small section of insulation. Maybe a inch to a half inch. Slide on a length of shrink wrap. Here, I spliced in two short 18 gauge pigtail leads with male blade connectors crimped on them. Splice them in, solder if you choose, and shrink wrap. Put the pin back into connector, and do this on the next middle lead. Crimp female terminal connectors onto the leads we ran up from pins 35 and 52.

Do not cut the wires, just strip the insulation off for the splice.

Replug in the blue factory connectors to each other, and secure in their clip. Connect the male female terminal connections together as well (from the spliced shifter wires, to the leads we ran from under the glove box).

Move to the drivers seat and get ready to remove the wheel, it's even easier from here...

With your fingers find the dimples in the back of the steering wheel that are covered. They are holes. I used my pick for this, slide the pick or small long screw driver into the holes paralleling the floor, horizontally, you're pushing in a release leaver that will 'pop' the side of the airbag off the wheel. Do this for both sides. Carefully remove the airbag connectors.


Here's what your looking at

Remove the plugs from their ports on the wheel stem. Take note of the smaller black connector, on my car pins 4 and 6 (counted from the left) were EMPTY. This is important to note.

Use your 16mm socket, have a set of helping hands to hold the steering wheel as you turn the bolt.

The wheel will slide right off.
Take it over to your work bench and set it on a towel next to your new wheel that has the paddles installed.

(I started working a bit faster here, things are more intuitive so I took less pictures)
From behind the wheel use the 3 smaller torx screws to remove the trim. pop the trim off, and transfer it to your new wheel. Seat the sides of the trim and the top into the new wheel, and install the screws from behind.

While we are here, take a look at the leads coming off the LCI paddles.

Just two wires in a 3 pin female connector. Open the connector carefully, and remove the pins. KEEP one pin on each paddle, and cut the other pin off. Now both plastic connectors are removed from the paddles, you have one pin for each paddle, and the other lead has its pin cut off. Strip the ends of the leads we cut the pins off of, and twist the one from the left and right paddles together. Crimp a 22-26 gauge ring terminal connector onto this, it will now go to ground. Remove the torx ground screw near the center of the wheel that has the brown horn ground on it, and add your ring terminal to that post. All we have left now is a pin from the left paddle and a pin from the right paddle.

Install the new wheel back onto the car, it's keyed so it can only go on straight (thankfully).
Torque the wheel bolt to 46 pounds.


Remember the black connector with the two empty spots? Open that connector with your pick, and slide the pin from the left paddle into slot #4. Slide the pin from the right paddle into slot #6. The wheel will look like this.


** IMPORTANT ** the three torx screws that hold the airbag bracket in are probably loose if your wheel is new. crank them down until they stop. If you fail to do this your horn will stick way far out.

another photo as a reference.


Install the black connector and gray connector back into their ports on the steering wheel stem.
Install the airbag connectors onto the airbag and seat the airbag back into the bracket on the wheel by pushing it firmly back into place, you'll hear it lock.

Is everything back together??!
Wires we tapped are connected at the shifter?
Center console is back together?
Shifter back into park?
Harness under glove box is plugged back in?

Reconnect the battery terminal.

I did get two codes from the car after the initial start up. I got 4x4 and brake codes only. Once you drive the car for about 15 seconds in gear the codes will clear themselves and go away and not come back. But once they cleared, all systems checked okay, and they never returned. This sounds typical of this project, I've read others have had it occur too.

The paddle shifters work!

If you select them while in normal Drive mode it'll go into manual, then automatically go back into Drive after a brief time. If you're in sport mode, it'll just stay in manual they are very awesome! I love the new wheel.

Overall, this is project is well worth the time spent, it makes the car so much fun to drive. I'm excited everything worked out as smoothly as it did. I am thankful to have had the support of, this forum, friends, and techs to ease my post mod paranoia and give some advice along the way.
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Last edited by B-737; 10-08-2011 at 09:36 AM.
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      09-14-2011, 10:28 PM   #2
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Awesome write up. I have the paddle shifters in my car. I'm confident and I'm horrible at doing this kind of stuff that with your write up I could probably do it myself. Nicely done. Car looks good by the way.
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      09-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #3
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Nice write-up, I need to install my mtech wheel!
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      09-18-2011, 06:30 PM   #4
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Thanks very much for the write up. Good ideas and points.

A couple of questions, you mentioned the 2 empty slots in pins 4 and 6. Am I correct to assume that you did not use the new MF switches with the connector for paddles and that's why 2 and 6 were empty on steering wheel side harness?

Your post didn't mention whether your harness behind the slip ring had the 2 yellow wires which correspond to wires 4 and 6 from the steering wheel side, but it seems that it must have had the 2 as then there would be no signal at the 2 wires removed from the harness at the glove box module. Please clarify that.

My wheel has the MF switch for paddles (is the LCI version), which means that the paddles should be properly grounded and wired, and I wonder if there is a reason why you would not be able to run wires directly from taps at module behind glove box and foregoing having to diy wires coming from paddles to back of pins 4/6, other than what has been mentioned on this post
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...=361439&page=5
regarding resistors somewhere in the circuit between paddles and plug going into slip ring.

thanks
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      09-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #5
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I did not order new MF switches... i swapped everything, the MF switches and trim from my stock sport wheel were all swapped over to the new wheel. i never had to dig any deeper than swapping the wheel itself. i never had to go past the the wheel into the slip ring.

its my limited understanding the the wires tapped from the black connector behind the glove box, pins 35 and 52, are the wires coming from the wheel (slip ring?)...

The guide that i was originally going from showed a car with wires already going from the wheel MF switches and populating spots 4 and 6 on that connector. In the guide they had the user cutting the wires at 4 and 6 a few inches from the connector and connecting the paddles there at connector side (left paddle into 4 and right into 6). Leaving the other side disconnected (wheel) and grounding the other leads together like i did...

least invasive way would be to just remove those pins (insulate them), and slide in the new pins from the paddles like i did, rather than cutting the leads if they are already there on your wheel.

did i answer your question?? post back if i missed it...
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      09-19-2011, 10:21 AM   #6
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Great info guys, I've always found this forum by far the most informative as compared to any other car forum.

These are the paddles I want, the car will have non LCI paddles already.


so in order to get these paddles


And this wheel, I will need to order both wheels?


And another question, I am looking at an LCI 335 2009, but it still comes with the old style paddles? Is it the 2010+ that have the newer ones?
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      10-06-2011, 11:39 PM   #7
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Tweaking the Install and cleaning things up

Okay, so i now have a bit of a hybrid set up. Nexon parts with a burger harness now... The way I had it in my first post in this thread was bugging me. It worked flawless but I wasnt a fan of the splice, or keeping the pins out of the big connector behind the glove box, I just thought it was crude. So I ordered the harness from Burger to clean the install up to a fitted plug-in type system. I did not need new MF buttons.

I also had the luxury of doing this TWICE today because the harness arrived not properly wired. I had a hunch something didnt look right, but I dutifully followed the instructions, and after the install the paddles did not work. After discussions with forum members and burger, it was evident that the harness arrived to me wired improperly. I took the car apart again, removed the harness, rewired the harness, and reinstalled it. Everything worked flawlessly like it had before. Only now, everything is a clean plug-in type configuration.

Basically, the operation is the same. Nexon terminates the connections at the glove box pins, and reroutes the steering wheel wires (those pins) from the glove box to the shifter. Burger goes about it differently, they terminate after the connection at the wheel, then go to the shifter from the steering column. Same thing, just done differently and much cleaner with fitted connections.

A few tips on the install.
Burger has you "prying" the steering wheel trim apart with a screw driver. Do NOT do this, you WILL break something (i knew better than to try). To remove the steering wheel trim, use your 90 degree pick, to pop the sides of the top and bottom steering wheel trim apart. To do so, you'll see tabs very close to the front on either side, put your pick in the inside of that tab and push, it will open. once thats done the top will come off pretty easy. Then look down, the bottom trim is held on by a little plastic clip that attaches to a metal 'tower' or stub. Just slide that out on each side and the bottom trim will drop away very cleanly. You can now gain access to the connector your bridging.

this one



The harness i got from burger was wired improperly. This is NOT correct.


It needs to look like this.


I did this by unpinning the middle leads run, and swapping them between the other end. Your terminating the wires that come from the computer behind the glove box at the wheel, and running the paddle wires to the shifter where its being tapped, all 4 of those wires need to carry through..

The objective here was to put the pins back in the black harness that nexon had me taking out and leaving out.


remove my splice i installed, insulate it with shrink wrap, to clean it up.


the end result is using the burger parts to connect under the steering wheel and tap into the shifter wires using plugs, very cleanly. same end result.

Using the paddle wiring the same as i had it before inside the wheel. Worked well after i fixed the harness.

The Burger 'system' is very clean, i def think its the way to go with part of the project because the plugs they use just plug right into the factory plugs and harnesses with NO fuss, no messing with pin removal or stripping wires which is well worth the money.
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      10-07-2011, 12:04 AM   #8
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      10-10-2011, 05:01 PM   #9
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Started a new thread, but thought I'd ask here as well. Any ideas?

Original post:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10582857
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Doing the retrofit. Thought I had all the parts, but then I noticed something was out of place in the final diagram.

From the images posted in other threads, it looks like there's a grounding wire attached to the metal back of the steering wheel on the left side.

I've pulled this image link demonstrating what I mean:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/e90gar...ng%20wheel.JPG (From the DIY - retrofit paddle shifters, 9th image: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=361439 )

My wheel came with the harness, but no grounding screw. Anyone know the part number or size? The 5x22mm screws that hold the paddleshifters in place are too large and real OEM doesn't seem to list it.
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...35&hg=32&fg=35

Thanks much
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      10-19-2011, 04:57 PM   #10
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The saga continues

First off, wheel is in and feels great. Now the sad part, paddles are not working.

Pretty sure I connected the harness correctly, but I will have to go double check again this weekend. (Didn't have time the day I did the install, which ran about 2 hrs in total)

So my question, is there anything in particular that I should be looking for as to why these paddles didn't work? It's hard to tell from the pictures about how the harness was backwards, but I'll check mine out again.

Secondly, the airbag seems pretty far "out" but perhaps this is coming from the sunken in non-zsp airbag? Does everyone else have a 1/4 inch gap between the wheel and the airbag or do I need to tighten down the airbag plate? I can attach a picture later if that helps, but basically I just measured it and have a small gap all the way around.

All the buttons work, horn is fine just no paddle love...yet
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      10-19-2011, 06:08 PM   #11
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your airbag is sticking out further because you need to tighten the airbag bracket on your wheel down until the torx screws stop turning. there are three of them, i mentioned this in my post above...

as far as your paddles...
where did you get your paddles from? and how did you wire them in?
we need more info.
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      10-30-2011, 01:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-737 View Post
your airbag is sticking out further because you need to tighten the airbag bracket on your wheel down until the torx screws stop turning. there are three of them, i mentioned this in my post above...

as far as your paddles...
where did you get your paddles from? and how did you wire them in?
we need more info.
Yeah, the torx screws for the bracket were pretty tight the first time I did it, but just went and re-did it today and managed to snug them down. Now the airbag properly sits down like other sport wheels I've seen. I was surprised just how hard they had to be turned I guess, just kept going till they stopped.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I think the (-) paddle was unplugged and that was probably why they didn't work. Got them from a reputable vendor here, so I'm sure they're good. When I went to check out the problem today the minus paddle plug came out VERY easy compared to the plus side, so I'm think I didn't push that in hard enough either. Anyways, everything works great now but I did end up changing from the M buttons to the ones that are standard for my car (diamond and star) since I had both sets of buttons anyways.

Thanks for all the help to everyone
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      10-30-2011, 01:48 PM   #13
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good to hear your back together and working Ziv!
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      02-14-2012, 03:10 AM   #14
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Can you tell me which of the 35 & 57 pins goes to which pin on the 4pin blue steptronic connector?
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      02-14-2012, 07:53 AM   #15
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They go to the middle wires at the shifter at the blue connector. Just like in the photo.
Use quick connect terminal connections on pig tails like I photo'd, if your shifts are reversed (+ = -) when u hit the paddle then you just switch them. It's all in that first post.
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      02-14-2012, 08:56 AM   #16
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Yeah, The M-tech wheel and LCI paddles are a GREAT mod for the pre-LCI E92. I had the old style paddle so it was plug and play to the LCI paddles as modified by NEXON. For those thinking of doing this change over, the LCI paddles must be modified (re-wired) before they'll work, so don't just order a set from BMW and try to put them in.
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      02-14-2012, 09:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-737 View Post
They go to the middle wires at the shifter at the blue connector. Just like in the photo.
Use quick connect terminal connections on pig tails like I photo'd, if your shifts are reversed (+ = -) when u hit the paddle then you just switch them. It's all in that first post.
I cannot make out from the photo.
Pin 35 goes to which of the 4 pins?
Pin 57 goes to which of the 4 pins?
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      02-14-2012, 02:06 PM   #18
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My car is a 2011, so I'd say your 2012 is the same.
It will shift while in D or DS.

As for the the leads, each lead goes to one of the two middle wires of 4 wires on the blue plug at the shifter. If u install them and it shifts opposite the paddle just swap them at the big connector or at the shifter.
I used quick disconnects at the shifter where I tapped the wires in to allow for this or disconnecting the wires completely if need be.
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      02-14-2012, 02:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-737 View Post
If u install them and it shifts opposite the paddle just swap them at the big connector or at the shifter
Got it, thanks!
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      02-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #20
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Not familiar w the motive mods harness. U meant E92?
If you wire it in like I showed in post 1, the nexxon way, and your LCI paddles have had the resistor mod done to them you should be good to go.

@ Equant,
Good luck!! Let us know how it goes!
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      03-04-2012, 08:44 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-737 View Post
@ Equant,
Good luck!! Let us know how it goes!
My new wheel is now on the car, with fully-working LCI paddles.
I did the paddle hack - removed both resistors in each paddle and shorted one of them with a piece of wire ( http://www.e90post.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10355838 )

Installation went without a hitch, thanks to the great information in these DYI threads!



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Last edited by EQUANT; 03-04-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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      03-04-2012, 08:50 AM   #22
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the wheel and LCI paddles look fantastic! you worked hard at that, great job!
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