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    Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.

    Well, I replaced my ignition switch this morning in hopes of solving a problem with my cruise control. The initial problem was that after having the cruise control on for a minute or so, the car would just pop out of cruise (green cruise light would stay illuminated), then the red SRS light would come on. Upon restart, everything was fine again. As the problem progressed over 2 weeks, I would also loose steering wheel control of the radio.

    Dan suggested that it might be the ignition, and Jim Cash provided a ďtestĒ to link the problem to the ignition, his test was simple, turn on the passenger side vanity light in the sun visor and see what happens. When I did this, my steering wheel would adjust all the way up, and come back down, Iím told another common indicator for the same test is that you get all sorts of lights on the dash board. Thanks Dan and Jim, I gotta say it was like magic when I did Jimís test, this guy is amazing.

    Vaheh at Crevier got the right part (61 32 6 901 962) out to me on time and a great price ($38).

    I didnít find any detailed replacement instructions, so here are my instructions starting with H8LUUZNs basic notes. Pics of failed ignition are at the end. The replacement did indeed cure my CC problem.

    Tools:
    - 10mm wrench for the battery
    - Small Philips screwdriver
    - Two T-30 torx bits, one long (lower screw), one short (upper screw).
    - 1/8" slotted screwdriver tip bit (longer is better than shorter)
    - 1/4" ratchet drive and socket that accepts the T-30 and 1/8" slotted bits

    - Place the steering wheel in the maximum up and out position.
    - Disconnect the battery (donít want a surprise from the airbag).
    - There is a plastic philips screw on top of the plastic cover at the 12 o'clock postion, and one philips screw on the bottom plastic. Once those are off, carefully remove the top and bottom plastic trim around the steering wheel column. Be very careful, as to not break tabs.
    - Then you will want to pull out the lower cover as far out of the way as you can, I didnít see how to remove it completely, but it would help to get it out of there.
    - You can see the ignition switch from the drivers door looking in and up, pull the tab on the wiring harness and remove the connector from the ignition switch.
    - There is a black bracket around the ignition switch held in by two torx 30 screws. I removed the bottom one completely and loosened the top one.
    - The switch itself has two very small screw pins that hold it in place. The heads of the very tiny screw heads are marked with red paint. Scrape the paint away and back the screw pins out using the 1/4" drive with 1/8" slotted tip, you donít need to remove them completely.
    - Pull the ignition switch out, note the position of the input shaft on old ignition switch, align the new switch to the same position and install.
    - No secrets putting it back together, just reverse the instructions.

    Here are the pics. Youíll note the very discolored contact in the bottom picture, Iím suspecting that is the culprit.








    Later,
    Dave

    For a great guide to E39 online resources, answers to many common questions, and help that will you get started out on the right foot here at Roadfly, check out the Unofficial Roadfly Welcome Package.

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    Thanks for the pic Dave. After reading about all(m

    the ignition switch problems over the years and always wondering how so many could go bad, I now understand. Compared to US cars, this switch is a piece of crap. I probably should buy one for a spare, just in case (knock on wood) mine fails.
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  3. #3
    Dan
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    Glad problem was that simple. Could'a been worse!


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    Yeah, $40 & 30 minutes ain't bad. Thanks again!


    Later,
    Dave

    For a great guide to E39 online resources, answers to many common questions, and help that will you get started out on the right foot here at Roadfly, check out the Unofficial Roadfly Welcome Package.

    E39 - 1998 540iA Sport (11/97 Production)
    E30 - 1989 M3 (44k miles)
    1979 Triumph TR7, still have my first car ;-)
    Past cars:
    E21 - 1980 320i (sold at 130k)
    E23 - 1986 735i
    Proud to be a Roadfly Inner Circle member (Member #32141).
    I am a BMW Car Club of America member (#111247), are you?



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    Marc
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    Re: Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.

    I just did this same replacement and everything went well untill I went to start the car. In position I and II everything lights up like normal, but when I try to start the car, the starter makes a single click noise and then nothing. If I keep the key in the starting position, it just keeps clicking. My old ignition switch had intermitant problems so I put it back in and it has the exact same problem???

    Can anyone help me?

    Marc

  6. #6
    Ray
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    Battery discharged?


  7. #7
    Jim Cash
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    Re: Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.

    I agree with Ray - your battery is flat - you probably had the ignition and interior lights on for an extended period.

    Time for a long recharge (30-40 hours) with an automatic charger.

    Cheers
    Jim Cash

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    gerry
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    Re: Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.

    I wish my was as simple, all of a sudden my sons 1987 325is the key will not turn on to start or unlock the stering without wiggling/giggling it. is it the key or the ignition switch or any ideas.

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    Sounds like the steering wheel lock>>

    is jamming. Get the Bentley's manual for that car.

    It will be more difficult to repair this car, since it has the security plate under the steering column. You'll have to drill out a few headless bolts to get at the mechanism.
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    Re: Ignition switch replacement?

    I am having a simular problem - but it is only simular. In wet conditions (raining) my air bag light will come on and then go foo from time to time. Then last week when we had a lot of rain in Dallas my ABS/DSC/BRAKE lights on the dask came on. Restarting the car did not affect it. But 3 days later when it was dry again all errors lights are off again and no problems. What do you think?

    2000 540i6 with 80k miles on it.

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    Re: Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.

    At that age it will likely be a combination of both key and lock - the gradual wear means that the tumblers no longer rise far enough to release the lock.

    Have you tried a different key that does not get as much use (you do have at least one "spare" key I would hope - normally kept out of daily use for emergencies)

    If the "spare" key works then you should get a new key (or 2) from BMW - not a key cut as a duplicate of the one you have since it will be cut to match the current condition including wear.

    Otherwise - time for a couple new keys and new ignition lock from BMW.

    Cheers
    Jim Cash


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    Re: Ignition switch replacement?

    Both of those warning indicators have been known to occur due to a defective ignition switch - but only when there is wet weather does not make sense unless there is also something else going on.

    Has that car ever been flooded - or had water get into the floor area or the engine computer area?

    Cheers
    Jim Cash

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    Steve
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    Re: Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.


  14. #14
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    Another ancient post

    This is the second post this week with 3+ year old date.

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    Car has never been flooded

    But I did notice that today the air bag light is comming back on and then goes off in time - sometimes back on. The new news is that if someone is stitting in the front passenger seat (adult) the seat belt light does NOT indicate that their seat belt is NOT fastened. I am wondering if the seat sensors are part of the problem?

    Does anyone have a circuit diagram of this circuit? Knowing what is in the Air Bag warning circuit may help me diagnosis this.

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    Re: Ignition switch replacement. Jim Cash rules.

    I have the same problem on my 2003 e39. Once the key engages, I can rotate it back and forth to any position. As soon as I remove the key (and I hear the steering wheel lock engage), and then insert the key and try again, I need to jiggle it around for 5-10 minutes to get it to engage again.

    I suspect it's the steering wheel lock engagement or something. I read elsewhere that the metal used for that lock engagement is pretty crappy. Any suggestions?

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    The good ones don't seem to get closed


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    This thread is brilliant. Thanks!
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  19. #19
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    Fixed mine by cleaning contacts

    Great instructions. I was able to remove mine and clean the contacts good as new now. Thanks
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  20. #20
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    I too am a 2002 530I owner since July (after my 95 740I needed to be admitted into I.c.u. for not starting from dme/anti-theft malfunction or failure). Glad to land on this topic since I have dash lights illuminatIng ie: brake, airbag, and my steering wheel sporadically raises when turning the Ignition off. Would the ignition switch also be responsible for my horn not working? Along with my side mirror not dropping when in reverse with the mirror adjust selector set in the driver's side position?
    Thank you in advance for any info.
    Cathleen
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