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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-16-2011, 06:53 PM
daw daw is offline
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Location: Cape Cod
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5sp - 189K mi
Replacing Key Buttons

The rubber buttons on the keys to my 1998 528i are in pretty rough shape. If you go to ebay, there are lots of listings for the 3 buttons to fix these keys. For ex.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/REMOT...ht_1903wt_1165

Has anybody done this?
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2011, 07:07 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Some have, but I'd search for a source that provides instructions. It's not a no-brainer.
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2011, 08:35 PM
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first540i first540i is offline
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Location: SGV, CA
 
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Mein Auto: e39
Instructions are not really needed. Its quite easy

Sent from my T-Mobile G1 using Bimmer App
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  #4  
Old 03-16-2011, 09:01 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
I could'a swore I just did a DIY on this in the fall of 2010. Yep, I did...here's a link to that DIY thread (w/20 pics): http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...39&postcount=1
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #5  
Old 03-16-2011, 11:30 PM
sferley sferley is offline
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Even though a bit more .. but this guy is on the forums (just got mine today) and in the US:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...m=330535655041
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2011, 12:59 AM
sferley sferley is offline
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Just completed it following QSilvers instructions .. However would like to add some .. since you want to make sure that you don't break the inside tabs, it is heavily suggested that you also use a razor to loosen the old / original one as they seem to be injection moulded into the housing. Also a pic could come in quite handy. Just to add to tools required section.

Also be careful with the transponder, mine had loosened from the case (just glued on, and re-glued it).
Where the transponder is you may have to slice a little bit of the new rubber of so that it fits better.

Still prefer German made product.. feels ok when all together again, but not the same as the original one.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2011, 01:16 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
By 'old' key, I suspect you mean the 'square' key (right?).

I only have the diamond key ... but ... assuming that, here's what I added to the bestlinks on the topic of modifying and fixing the keys (using all the links here) ...

- BMW diamond key initializing (1) (2), opening, charging, recoding, & battery replacement (1) of the new-style diamond key (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & converting the old-style 1996-2000 "square" key to a diamond key (1) & how to replace the rubber key pads in the old style keys (1) (2)


PS: If you're gonna post EBAY urls, you should include a screenshot for posterity ('cuz they're notoriously fickle over time).



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Last edited by bluebee; 03-17-2011 at 01:19 AM.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2011, 01:28 AM
sferley sferley is offline
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Bluebee, yes i mean the old rubbery square one..

I may or may not consider the hack to a new diamond version key, or i will bug my parts guy at BMW to just order me a second spare key in new format, if they can.
However i feel it wiser at the time to take the funds and throw it against certain maintenance items in the car that are required. This rubber replacement was cheap.
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2011, 06:33 AM
daw daw is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5sp - 189K mi
Thanks for the helpful info on replacing the buttons. In the DIY:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1548798 it shows a nickel placed on the battery to keep the programming intact. Why is that necessary with this (square) key? If you take out the battery to change it, I don't think you lose the programming.
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2011, 06:53 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sferley View Post
Bluebee, yes i mean the old rubbery square one..

I may or may not consider the hack to a new diamond version key, or i will bug my parts guy at BMW to just order me a second spare key in new format, if they can.
However i feel it wiser at the time to take the funds and throw it against certain maintenance items in the car that are required. This rubber replacement was cheap.
I doubt that even an "inside" person at a BMW dealership can get a new style key for your car since they can only be ordered by the car's VIN. You'll need to look at used new style keys or look for the empty new style cases sold on eBay. When ordering a new key trhu BMW...your VIN is entered (so that the correct ISN (individual serial number) can be burnt into the transponder chip) it will show that your car is a pre-9/99 build date. Another thing you have to watch about the build date is if your car's version of EWS has the ability to charge the new style key...especially since it is charged while the key is in the ignition (by the ring antenna). The local BMW dealer does NOT "cut" the key blade. The key comes from BMW NA in New Jersey already cut and the transponder programmed based on your car's VIN.

Personally...unless you are just truly in love with the "looks" of the new style key...I wouldn't waste the time & money upgrading to it...because all it has is a pretty "Roundel"...other than that, it tends to be more issue prone than the older style key.

If you follow the threads with "key" issues...the majority of the problems are with the new style key. The design of the new style key is that it is "sealed" and has no indicator to identify if a signal is being sent or if the battery is dead. And when you finally figure out that the battery died, you have to do major surgery to cut open the key to get to the battery. Then once you've found the proper battery...you have to desolder it from the circuit board, then resolder the new battery onto the circuit board, then find something or a way to reseal the key.

The old style key is designed with 2 screws that allows access to the inside of the key. It's easy to determine when the battery has died by just looking at the red LED. The battery is a simple 2016 (or two 1220 batteries for the older pre-1996 key) which can be purchased at places like Radio Shack, Walmart's watch counter, or the watch kiosk at the mall. And the old style "rubber" key has a red LED that indicates if a signal is being sent as well as if the battery is getting weak or starting to die.

The worst thing about the old style rubber keys is that the key pads look awful when they wear down. But you can replace them for $3-$4...where as upgrading to the newer "diamond" shaped key is going to run between $50-$100 after getting all the parts and trying to find a local keysmith that can cut a blank key correctly.

Sorry for being rather negative about this mod...but I just want those who think it would be neat to realize that its a lot of effort for little gain. You end up with a key that only offers a pretty color Roundel in exchange for losing ease of access and less communication as to power & signal strength. But if this is what you want...you now have full knowledge of what it takes to make this mod work and what may be in your future as far as upkeep or issues.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2011, 07:02 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Quote:
Originally Posted by daw View Post
Thanks for the helpful info on replacing the buttons. In the DIY:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1548798 it shows a nickel placed on the battery to keep the programming intact. Why is that necessary with this (square) key? If you take out the battery to change it, I don't think you lose the programming.
While putting that DIY together...the battery was out of the key for approx 15-20 minutes as I set up the key to take pics along the way. When I replace the battery in the remote, I already knew what type I needed and purchased the battery first and was able to swap out the battery in under 60 seconds.

I used the "nickle" trick just in case the key's memory did lose programming...it was more of an act of "better safe than sorry"...and I wouldn't have to reinitialize the key. And I'll confess...I'm not sure if the "nickle trick" actually does anything. It was something I've heard and do...sort of like throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder when you've spilt it.


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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 03-17-2011 at 07:06 AM.
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2014, 08:36 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,076
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
As self-appointed librarian, and to update the thread with a link to a supplier of the buttons, I cross reference to this thread today:
> 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003) > New key buttons!


See also:
- How to replace the old-style BMW square key battery (1) (2) & how to replace the rubber key pads in the square keys (1) (2) & what the red LED indicates on the old square key (1) & what can go wrong with a key and where to send it for repair (1) (2) (3) (4) & what battery to use in the new style 2000+ BMW E39, E46, E53, E85, etc. diamond key (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & youtube videos of diamond key repairs (1) (2) (3) & a square key to diamond key retrofit and transponder swap (1) (2) (3) (4) & diamond key to square key retrofit questions (1) & how to recharge your key out of your BMW and how long that key will last in the drawer before it needs that off-the-car recharging (1) & the details on swapping the BMW diamond key transponder (1) & the proper diamond key initializing or programming sequence (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & what to do if your only key is locked inside your bimmer (1) & a description of the various types of BMW Remote, Illuminated, Spare/Wallet, & Valet/Service keys (1) (2) & a list of diamond key EWS, FZV, & DWA functions (1) (2) & all about the 10-key limit to programming your own keys at home (1) & a description of the ignition key ISN (individual serial number) ten-second rule (1) & what to do if you lost your only diamond key (1) or what to do if your BMW key was stolen (1)
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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