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  1. #1
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    Member No: 188079 CraigBWK is an unknown quantity at this point CraigBWK's Avatar
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    E36 Ignition Lock, Keys, Housing Questions

    Hi
    1995 325i:
    Had been draining battery. In starting the diagnosis I notice key turned, then just spun. That may be the cause of the battery draining (didn't get any further, as key spinning stopped the process).

    This has the security system, so key has s transponder? Can I buy a lock cyliner / key from BMW dealer w/ vin #, or do they have to have the car? I see inexpensive cylinders and key sets, but these are pre-10/31/94 production, so I assume I cannot use them.

    My first time w/ this. I see many suggest replacing the housing, as a 16 year old car ignition lock assy may not pull out. If so, is this only avialable frm the dealer?

    Last, should I replace the swithc as a precaution?

    thx for your help.
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  2. #2
    tcek
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    Ingition Switch

    chances are your "security" system is broken. the ignition system is a three piece unit in the e36. it is made up of the cylinder, "security" something and the ignition switch. the security tabs are probably broken and are not grabbing the key cylinder. You can replace these items but they are usually replaced as a three piece unit. the security tab i beleive is dependent on the cylinder and must be obtained from BMW. you can easily take out the cylinder and look inside to see if the tabs are broken. the tabs cannot be replaced. the entire unit must be. to take out the cylinder just stick a paper clip in the hole in the cylinder, press and turn the key. pull on the cylinder and it comes out. do a web search for specific instructions. bentley has it as well. I tried to do the procedure myself but the previous owner stripped the screws on the back of the steering wheel to get the air bag off. I had to have the dealer replace and they insisted the entire three peice unit needed to be replaced. toal was around 6 hundred. most security tabs get broken when the steering wheel will not turn and the driver does not jiggle the wheel while attempting to turn the key. hope this helps
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    Member No: 41979 slak54 is an unknown quantity at this point slak54's Avatar
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    Just had this happen to my '94 325is- key spinning. Wasn't the cylinder at all, was the potmetal bracket that holds it all in place had broken. Part was about $110, and I'm lucky enough to have a good Buddy who's a BMW guru. He charged me $100 labor. Expect your labor costs to be more, I'm sure.
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  4. #4
    tcek
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    Ignition switch

    the pot metal piece you speak of is the "security" tab portion of the ignition system. Yes it is easy to be replaced. In the event that a dealer would do it, they would replace all three parts. Costly.
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