Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:34 pm

Steering wheel top center marker

Hi everyone! This is my first post! I've learned a lot about the i3 on this forum. Thank you all!

I have been quite frustrated with the i3's two spoke steering wheel. It's been very difficult to acclimate to this after many years with three spokes (horizontal spokes at 3 and 9 o'clock, with a vertical spoke at 6 o'clock).

I thought a steering wheel top center marker would help me orient my visuals, but wanted the option to be able to fully reverse any solution in the future.

Searching the internet, I found a number of great suggestions for a DIY job:
1) leather dye, permanent marker
very permanent, can be messy and hard to fix mistakes for non professionals like me

2) plasti dip
semi permanent, can be removed but you really need to make a commitment

3a) duct tape
silver color, but the adhesive can get VERY messy over time and when removed

3b) electrical tape
typically available in white, red, blue and brown, also VERY messy over time but the adhesive will "melt" in heat and also get VERY messy

3c) gaffer tape
supposedly a lot less messy and less sticky compared to duct tape and electrical tape, but I have no easy access to this tape

3d) painter's masking tape
the light blue version from 3M matches the BMW "i" blue trim quite nicely and supposedly removes quite cleanly

4) sewing thread
looks amazing!! It would need to be wrapped many, many times to build up to say a 1 cm width, but seems easy enough to "unwrap" when one decides to remove

5) steering wheel covers
added benefit of making the steering wheel a feel a bit more substantive/thicker in the hand, also easy to undo when one decides to remove

Options 4 and 5 seemed the least permanent and easiest to remove, but I don't have any sewing thread and am too impatient and OCD to deal with searching for, ordering, and waiting for a what will be a cheap, plasticky and likely off-gassing steering wheel cover.

I ended up DIYing with plumber's Teflon tape (the white-colored tape used to seal pipe fittings). ... /202206819

This is a 5 minute job.

1) Cut a 9 inch strip of the Teflon tape (enough for maybe 5 layers when wrapped)
2) Identify the top center position of the steering wheel
3) Apply the Teflon tape with a little bit of tension on the tape (hold it taut as you wrap it the 5 times around the top of the steering wheel--it's Teflon so it's a bit slippery on the leather.)
4) Once it's fully wrapped, firmly squeeze the tape between thumb and index finger (as if you are making an "OK" hand sign) and simultaneously twist it tight in the same direction you've applied the tape (twist like the twist grip throttle on a motorcycle). The Teflon tape will bind with itself given the pressure from this process
5) Admire your work--it's finished!

Carefully razor blade and peel off. Please note: I would suggest doing this on the front of the steering wheel where there will be a small gap between the Teflon tape and the aluminum insert on the steering wheel, created by the Teflon tape (which was pulled taut) "bridging" the leather over the inset "sunken" aluminum trim.
Take care to avoid cutting the leather or scratching the aluminum trim on the front of the steering wheel.
Last edited by Archmeister on Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Steering wheel top center marker

It's funny I've seen these centering stripes on some racing steering wheels and although this I suppose is my first 2-spoke steering wheel short of a yoke on a Cessna it never occurred to me it handles any differently than all the other 3- and 4-spoke wheels I've driven over my life. But now that I'm thinking about it a "normal" steering wheel usually has an unobstructed area between 9 and 3 or 10 and 2 just like the i3's so I'm (a) unclear on how the i3 is different-feeling to you in this regard and (b) what purpose does a centering stripe serve on a racing steering wheel, or does it just match the stripe on the hood?
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Re: Steering wheel top center marker

eNate wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:34 pm But now that I'm thinking about it a "normal" steering wheel usually has an unobstructed area between 9 and 3 or 10 and 2 just like the i3's so I'm (a) unclear on how the i3 is different-feeling to you in this regard and (b) what purpose does a centering stripe serve on a racing steering wheel, or does it just match the stripe on the hood?
Some people are have their hands somewhere else instead of 9-10 and 2-3 range

Don't forget - in many US-States there is no driving education which deserves the name.
I don't even wonder why we got so many rollovers on perfectly straight streets around here. People never learn to drive under intense conditions.

If you have your hands down low (8-4) in the wheel - the lack of a additional spoke may hinder the center finding. ... n-10-and-2
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:34 pm

Re: Steering wheel top center marker

Hi eNate!

To answer your questions in order:
1) I think my disorientation is primarily as a result of lack of visual cue as to the wheel at 180* vs 0*, although it's obvious at 90* and 270* (as the spokes will be oriented vertically).
I think the disorientation is also likely exacerbated by my lack of familiarity with the turning radius. I'm new to the i3 platform and late model BMWs generally.

2) These steering wheel top center markers I think started on the track so that the driver would be more visually aware (in the driver's lower peripheral view) of steering input coming into a corner, at the apex, and coming out of a corner.
I'm sure back in the day for the track car, it was just a piece of electrical tape or whatever was handy and easy to grab in the mechanic's toolbox. My i3 is squarely in the daily driver end of the spectrum (I'm pretty sure it will never see a track) and I dislike electrical tape "goop" making a mess on my hands.
That said, I think we are all probably aware it's become a popular "upgrade option" on cars that want to look like they spend time on the track. I think it only needs to serve as a "marker" to assist the driver as a visual aid. But having an alcantara steering wheel with a contrasting (but color-coordinated) red/yellow/blue piece at the 12 o'clock position on the steering wheel is an upgrade which probably doesn't cost much more to make, but can sell for a lot more. Plus it looks really cool to have that color-coordinated with a piece of trim or paint, etc. Too bad plumber's Teflon tape only comes in one color: white! :)
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2021 4:46 pm

Re: Steering wheel top center marker

um teflon tape
comes in
and grey

just saying
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:31 am

Re: Steering wheel top center marker

Oldish post but the top centre mark comes from rally drivers, because when you are sliding about you cant necessarily feel when the wheels are pointing straight. The stripe is a visual indicator of where the wheels are pointing, unless you have loads of lock on of course but the marker is for when the car is roughly straight.

Flat bottomed steering wheels on road cars make me laugh, they only existed because of limited space for your legs in a single seater where maximum lock to lock is less than 250 degrees. Road cars need circular wheels because lock to lock is more like 900 degrees and thats on the low side (Alfa Giulia, integrale etc) hence you move your hands about and want all of the wheel to be similar.

Some rally drivers actually like 2 spokes because there are more sections of the wheel to grab. OMP and Sparco do 2 spoke rally wheels.

I am guessing BMW made the i3 wheels as is (2 spoke and thinner rimmed) to save weight which is a major feature of everything in the i3.

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