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mrsStartin 11-13-2012 04:33 AM

BMW 318ie key not turning in the barrel
Hi everyone,

This morning I went to my car expecting to turn the engine over 1st time as always happens, but today the key would not turn. I used the car 12 hours earlier and locked up using the key fob as I always do.

Looking at the dashboard before I put the key in the mileage light was lit on the dashboard but no other lights. I could not turn the key in the ignition when I tried but the radio, wind screen wipers, interior and exterior lights and brake lights all worked. My husband has then wiggled the wheel more than I could and turned the key a little bit in the barrel and the park brake light, fuel gauge etc lit up on the dashboard.

Still the key will not turn in the barrel. We have jiggled the wheel, used WD40 on the barrel and the key and still nothing. The alarm wont set as I believe the car "thinks" the key is in the ignition in position 1 even when the key is not even in the car.

I think it may have to be a new ignition but I am hoping someone can once again save the day for me. At the moment all the light on the dashboard are lit and the lights etc all work even thought the car is locked and unattended.

Thank you in advance for any advice and thank you for your time reading this, it is very much appreciated.

HakenTT 11-13-2012 08:49 AM

comon problem on 96-99 e36, google.

mrsStartin 11-14-2012 01:05 AM


Originally Posted by HakenTT (Post 7192093)
comon problem on 96-99 e36, google.

Thanks for the reply, it appears that like everyone you have no idea either why this happened either. I think my car is unique as no-one knew what caused the last fault either and that was fixed by trial and error after hours of trying different things to get my brake lights to work.

Thanks for the reply but it has not answered any of my questions.

hornhospital 11-14-2012 05:55 AM

Yours is the first "no-turn" situation I've heard of. Everyone else's ignition key problems seems to be the dreaded "spinning key syndrome".

I think your only option is to pull it apart and find out what's actually got the tumbler locked.

By the way, your remote does NOT lock the ignition tumbler. Pushing the remote button has no effect on the tumbler.

mrsStartin 11-14-2012 06:52 AM

Thanks, I was just trying to give as much information as I could because I wondered how I locked the car from the outside and not heard the alarm change its tone to alert me that something was wrong as it usually does.

I might be a bit happier if the key would spin but it just wont turn a bit!

We will have a go at taking the barrel tomorrow, just been hoping for a miracle to happen :)

petriej 11-14-2012 02:26 PM

Jiggle the steering wheel.

mrsStartin 11-15-2012 06:48 AM

Ok update, the reason the key wont turn and the radio and lights etc work is apparently because the steering lock has broken. This is why the car "thinks" the key is still in the ignition. Got to fing out now what;s broke and how to fix it! Any ideas?


hornhospital 11-15-2012 08:44 AM

Yes. You need one of these and about a day for the work.

You can replace the "security screws" with regular metric round head socket cap screws. To remove the old security screws, either do the hammer and chisel routine from here: or slot the old screw heads with a Dremel cutoff disc and use an offset screwdriver to unscrew them. They are the worst part of the entire job. (yes, that says "tilt steering wheel retrofit", but the information you need is within that DIY article)

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