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E36 Ignition Issues

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by Bimmerdan, May 11, 2010.

    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    OK, I have a '95 M3 (I posted here because I think it shares the ignition tumbler with the other E36's). I just got in the car and it started perfectly, ran fine but when I went to shut the car off, the key will not turn in the lock at ALL and it just comes right out...with the engine running. There is no way to turn the car off. It's stuck in the run (on/radio) position and the key just slides in and out with no problem but will not turn!

    I had to stall the engine to turn it off and disconnect the battery to keep it from draining. I obviously have a bad tumbler but does anybody have a quick, temporary fix to get it back on the road? I know a couple of tricks to fix the spinning cylinder but I can't find anything on a 'stuck' cylinder.

    Can anybody help?

    TIA...Dan
    • Member

    bcweir

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    A 1995 M3 is still an E36, so you're in the right place.

    You have a faulty ignition lock cylinder that needs replacing. Most commonly there is a metal lock tab that breaks off.

    I found the information you need from bavauto.com.

    http://blog.bavauto.com/bmw-e36/bmw-spinning-key-broken-ignition-lock-cylinder-e36-e34-e32-e31-z3

    I am also going to provide you with the illustrated instructions from the E32. The basic procedure is the same. The main difference is that the E36 uses an electronic EWS driveaway system that most E32's were not equipped with. An electronic ring around your lock cylinder reads an electronic pellet in your key to allow starting of the engine. You will have to order a replacement ignition cylinder from BMW keyed to your VIN number to retain use of your original key.

    http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/566688/


    Video on how to replace your cylinder tumbler assembly below

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tETEtb5Yr_o
    • Member

    az3579

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    Dan,
    Do you know if your car has EWS? I don't think all E36's came with them. My engine came from one without it and it's a '95, so it's possible you don't have it, which would reduce the cost to fix this problem.
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Botond, I think anything manufactured after Jan of '95 had EWS (mine was mfg in 3-95) but I disabled the EWS back when I put my Dinan chip in about 7 years ago. It still has the antenna ring around the lock cylinder but it doesn't do anything.

    bcweir...Thanks for the response! The links talk about the 'spinning' lock cylinder but mine is exactly the opposite, mine won't turn at all. There is a really quick fix for the spinning cylinder, just drill a small hole up from the bottom, into the cylinder itself and put a small set screw in to keep it from spinning. You don't even have to remove the cylinder to do it. My problem is, the cylinder will not spin at all. I guess I have to pull it apart and see what's caused it to seize up.

    Thanks for the input guys! I'll let you know what I find.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    Sorry for the misunderstanding - but try the link anyway

    Try tugging on the wheel in one direction or the other while simultaneously trying to turn the cylinder. If that doesn't work, get ready to pull your ignition key cylinder.

    Get some machine oil and try lubing any moving parts on the inside and outside of the cylinder. Try to soak an old toothbrush with machine oil then scrub your cylinder with it. Inject machine oil into the cylinder hole where you put your key in. It sounds like the locking tab on your cylinder is jammed in the UP position. It might even have some gunk on it restricting the movement of the tab. That tab needs to be able to extend or retract depending on the position of the key.
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Thanks!! I know what I'm doing after work tonight!!! I'll let you know what the outcome is!
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Thought I would give an update to this old thread. It turned out I had a bad ignition lock cylinder AND a bad lock cylinder housing! I tried replacing just the cylinder and that didn't do it so I replaced the housing as well and that finally did the trick.

    It feels kind of odd actually starting the car with a key after having started it with a screw driver for the last 5 months!! :D

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