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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 09-22-2011, 05:50 PM
number6photo number6photo is offline
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Erasing old keys from locking control module E39

My wife's purse got stolen today. Her wallet with her driver license, plus the keys to my 2001 530i were among the items stolen. I want to replace her key with a new one from the dealer, and I would like to prevent the thief that has the stolen key from being able to unlock and drive away in my vehicle. After all, he now knows our address from her driver license, so it would be relatively easy for him to take my car. My only hope is that the SOB doesn't know how to drive a stick, so he won't actually get away with it!

I called the local dealer, and he gave me some perplexing news that I just can't believe is true. The dealer said that he could cut and sell me a new key and program it into the locking control module, but the stolen key would still work should the thief come by. He said there was no way to erase the old keys from the control module. The only alternative he could offer was that he could replace the control module (around $600; includes two new keys, a valet key, and a wallet key, but does not include labor for control module installation).

Having personally developed locking control modules for the USA domestic auto industry years ago, I know that the locking control module's generally have a finite number of keys to which they can be programmed. In the case of the products we designed, the software would overwrite the oldest key's data if you programmed a new key after the maximum number of memorized keys (e.g., 5) were already in memory. In this way, an old key could be removed from the control module's memory; you just need to program enough new keys to overwrite the old ones. In our software, we also included a method of erasing all keys, for exactly the reason I have (one set of car keys got stolen, and you want to prevent the thief from getting access). Based on my experience from designing these products 15 years ago, I find it hard to believe that the E39 BMW locking control module has an infinite number of keys that can be programmed, and/or that it doesn't have a way to erase all the currently programmed keys.

Has anyone else come across this problem, or can shed any light on an alternative to replacing the control module?
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2011, 06:42 PM
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530iman 530iman is offline
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Qsilver is the Man for question's like this, maybe he will chime in. My understanding is the EWS on the E39 can only have 10 keys programmed, after that I dont know what happens.
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:00 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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1+,

Search for QSilver7 posts.

The Dealer is wrong. Over the lifespan of your car, you are allowed to have 10 keys (hint: search forum for "10 keys QSilver7" etc.).

Three (3) keys come from factory.

Let's say all 3 factory keys are gone as previous owners lose them etc.
Now let's say you own keys #4, #5, #6. Let's say key #5 is stolen.
You can buy another key #7.
The dealer can program the car in such a way that it ONLY and ONLY recognizes keys # 4, #6, and #7.

For now, either:

1. Pull the Fuel Relay in the trunk to prevent the car from starting.
If you disconnect the battery, the potential thief will know and open the trunk to connect the battery. So disconnecting the fuel relay is much harder to figure out.....or

2. Pull Fuse #15 in glovebox. This fuse controls the DME. Without Fuse #15, the car will not start.

Just re-insert these relays/fuses when you need to go.

Once you solve the dealer re-programming issues, then re-install the relay back permanently.

PS: Your house keys (if stolen) are another headache to fix!

Last edited by cn90; 09-22-2011 at 07:02 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:28 PM
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POS Thief, can I type that. Protect your home and do the fuel relay trick and hope they dont try to steal the car until you get the key problem solved, also call other dealer's.
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  #5  
Old 09-22-2011, 11:00 PM
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Here are some of Saint Q's previous answers ...

- What to do if you lost your only diamond key (1) & what to do if your key is locked inside your car (1) & a description of the various types of BMW "Remote", "Illuminated", "Spare/Wallet", & "Valet/Service" keys (1) (2) & a list of diamond key functions (1) & the truth about the BMW diamond key transponder (1) & proper key initializing (1) (2) & the truth about the 10-key limit to programming your own keys at home (1) & opening, charging, recoding, & battery replacement (1) of the new-style diamond key (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & converting the old-style "square" key to a diamond key (1) & how to replace the rubber key pads in the old style keys (1) (2)


Note: I think I'll add this thread as a reference for "what to do if your key is stolen" ... so any value added by others will get leveraged to all who use the bestlinks ...
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2011, 12:42 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
...
The Dealer is wrong. Over the lifespan of your car, you are allowed to have 10 keys (hint: search forum for "10 keys QSilver7" etc.).

Three (3) keys come from factory.

Let's say all 3 factory keys are gone as previous owners lose them etc.
Now let's say you own keys #4, #5, #6. Let's say key #5 is stolen.
You can buy another key #7.
The dealer can program the car in such a way that it ONLY and ONLY recognizes keys # 4, #6, and #7.

...
You guys are good...I'm not sure if you need me.

CN90 & Bluebee have given you more than enough info to work with for now. The only thing I would add is...if you have the HIGH MID or Nav...you can use the old CODE feature that is part of the OBC.

With the ignition in position 1 (won't work in any other position)...press the BC button & you should see the word CODE appear on the far right of the MID (or look for it on your Nav monitor):

(MID with CODE feature in display)


(Nav screen with CODE feature in display)


Cliff notes for MID activation of CODE feature:
  • Press the SET button and you'll can enter any number of your choosing from 0000-9999 (you MUST remember this number if you want to be able to restart your car)
  • Once the number is entered...press the SET button again and turn the ignition OFF.
  • The only way the car will start (even with a working key) is that the same number you coded in must be re-entered...you will be prompted to enter this number when you turn the ignition on.
  • IF anyone tries to start the car without entering the CODE...after the 3rd attempt, the horn, lights, and alarm siren will sound & go off...and the car will NOT start until the correct CODE is entered.

I would use this feature until you are able to "bar" the key that was lost. You also should reinitialize any remote key you have now...and also when you get your NEW remote key...this will prevent the old key from being able to unlock the car remotely.

Below are the instructions on how to reinitialize the remote keys. This is ONLY for the FZV & DWA features of the key (keyless entry & alarm siren system). The EWS transponder must be "barred" by the dealer using GT-1/DIS/MoDiC equipment:



If need be...print this information below so that your local BMW dealership can look up the info on how to BAR keys from the car's EWS control module. You MUST take ALL of your keys (remotes & non remotes) so that they can keep all of them active...but deactivate the stolen key:

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Last edited by QSilver7; 09-23-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2011, 11:57 AM
number6photo number6photo is offline
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You guys were correct

The guy at the dealer that originally told me I needed a new control module was the parts manager. I had been speaking to him on the phone about buying a new key when he told me that the old ones couldn't be barred.

When I went to the dealer to buy a replacement key the next day, I talked to service rep, and he told me it was possible to bar a pre-memorized key from the system. He had a technician do it for me on the spot, no charge.

Thanks for all your input.
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2013, 01:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I was looking up what to do if your key was lost or stolen when I ran into this PDF (which was hidden in the bestlinks), which explains BMWs suggestion if your key is lost or stolen:
- BMW training on the EWS alarm drive away protection system (pdf)
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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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  #9  
Old 05-02-2014, 05:43 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I'm a bit confused about which key is "universal", but this thread, opened today, seems to have a decent dealer price for keys:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > key replacement costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryingreenback View Post
For information, the Knoxville, TN BMW dealer provide me part numbers and related costs for my 2002 BMW 540I Sport version as follows:

Universal key- 51 21 8 205 441@ $89.28-no programming fee, part non-returnable.

Door and i (ignition?)-51 21 8 205 443-ditto above on costs and return. $62.11

Spare key- 51 21 8 205 444-as above. $62.11.

Thought that this might be of use to others-apparently good for my car serial number/year --and costs and part numbers are likely different for other models and production years.

Ciao.
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) & 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)
__________________
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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  #10  
Old 05-08-2014, 03:31 PM
msingh90 msingh90 is offline
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How would i do the Remote Key Initialization if my keys buttons functions do not work and the BMW (LOCK) button isn't even on the key?
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