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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E34 (1989 - 1995)

E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 04-18-2013, 02:22 PM
Larrick Larrick is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 525it
key ignition problem

The ignition lock is getting very hard to get out of the off position.
It feels "sticky" and is getting worse rapidly.
Sometimes it will not turn at all for many attempts.
I oiled it and it is somewhat better.
Is it the "barrel" lock which I need to replace only or
could it be somewhere else in the steering column?
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2013, 06:33 PM
Larrick Larrick is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 525it
Further clarification: you can purchase the "tumbler" with keys or you can purchase the tumbler and housing with keys.
What would be a symptom of a bad housing? I understand that it houses the steering wheel locking mechanism.
Is that it? If the lock mechanism works does that men that all i need is the tumbler?
Also I have viewed the "ticks" to removing the tumbler. Has anyone replaced their tumbler and would
comment on the procedure? Thanks
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  #3  
Old 04-18-2013, 06:38 PM
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supertech777 supertech777 is offline
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Location: springfield , missouri
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 525i
Larick , go to YouTube , there is a guy who shows step by step procedure on the locking mechanism replacement . This is what I used when my locking mechanism broke . It's easier watching it rather than me telling you on a forum . He uses a e36 but its exactly just like the e34 . When you watch it you will have a better understanding and then I may be able to be of help
Regards
Noel

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  #4  
Old 04-18-2013, 07:18 PM
Larrick Larrick is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 525it
I have looked on youtube and yes there is a great video but my problem is in diagnostic.
Do I need only the tumbler? That is a simple job. The housing is a real problem which includes
steering wheel removal and breaking (shearing) of bolts with a chisel.
I believe that I only need the tumbler.
A large paper clip bent at 20 degrees at 1/8 inch from tip and 1 1/2 inches long will work to
remove thew tubler or barrel.
They are cheap $53 at AutohauseAZ with free shipping.
The real trouble occurs when you cannot move the key to the proper position
to remove the barrel.
Thanks for your help.
My son's car is still taking two attempts to start when warm (my last posting a few weeks ago)
I have replaced the coolant temp sensor,crankshaft position sensor,fuel pressure reg, no help.
I wonder if the accumulated extra starts (in succession) has caused or accelerated the demise
of the ignition timber?
Thanks suppertech77 you are always a help.
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  #5  
Old 04-19-2013, 06:37 AM
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supertech777 supertech777 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 525i
Key positioning for me was due to a worn out key , when I went to the dealer I'm my area they charged me 75$ solved my problem for a year or so , till my ignition housing sheered of and got stuck on the off position . I had a heck of a time removing that tumbler it took a lot of finecing and patience . Oh and some encouraging words from Steve aka bimmer_lover to get my tumbler out . But I would seriously visually inspect the key and see if its super worn out as was mine . Or try a spare if u have one ..
Ps to tell u the truth , I also think that if your key is in good shape , it must be the locking assembly that has sheered of but not totally yet . There are a lot of broken pieces that can jam the functions of the tumbler . Usually a bad tumbler would just spin not like what u described as not turning at all.
Either badly worn out key or housing assbly sheered off . It's an easy job . The sheer off bolts are easy to remove with a punch , and I replaced them with Allen key bolts , just in case I have to get in that same area again .
Noel
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Last edited by supertech777; 04-19-2013 at 06:44 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-19-2013, 07:10 AM
air_cooled air_cooled is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 528i / E34 540i
Confirm the interlock cable isn't binding.
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  #7  
Old 04-19-2013, 08:36 AM
Larrick Larrick is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 525it
I do not suspect the key is worn because both ignition keys act the same are are worn slightly differently.

I just ordered the lock and keys from Autohausaz for $53 delivered. (added an air temp sensor for free shipping
and one more try at the hard start problem).
How does the locking assembly effect the key turning from the off position?
Does the initial turn of the key unlock the steering wheel?
What would cause the friction when it will turn and what would cause the key not to turn at all?
I do not have a clear picture of the actual mechanics of the release mechanism.
Why would it not be caused by worn pins in the tumbler?
It seemed to get better with some lubrication, if that indicates anything.
If the tumbler change does not work, I will have to change the housing.
air_cooled, not sure if I understand the sketch but will examine closer, thanks
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  #8  
Old 04-19-2013, 08:30 PM
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supertech777 supertech777 is offline
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The thing is , the ignition switch is not on the tumbler itself , the switch is on the left side of the steering column opposite the tumbler . So there is a rod between the ignition switch and the tumbler . What air cooled has posted is that cable is the lock for the gear selector . All this will be revealed once you take the top and bottom cowl of your steering assembly .
Call me so I may walk you through
I'll pm you my phone #
Noel

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  #9  
Old 04-25-2013, 07:39 PM
Larrick Larrick is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 525it
I replaced the tumbler today.
It took me 15 minutes just to get the key to move out of the lock position.
I do not know how my son was starting the car for the past week.
He says it only took a little jiggling for him.
Like supertech777 said there are wonderful youtube videos on the subject.
I used a paper clip and it came out surprisingly easy.
It was much more nerve wracking trying to get it in.
It just would not go, even with lubrication.
I was thinking of trying to "press" it in but then thought that could become a nightmare
if something went wrong and I could not get it out again.
THe fact that the old tumbler did not feel much different from the new tumbler when the key
was turned in them while out of the housing had me alarmed that the tumbler was not the problem and I needed the housing also.
There was the slightest "drag" moving from the lock position on the old one which was not there on the new one.
I did not know if I was supposed to keep the paper clip in the new one as I installed it with the "tab" depressed.
I tried the old one and it slid in easily. They were identical.
Was there some rough edges from the casting. Did I need a file?
I thought the hard part was over when I got old one out!
It can only go in one way.
It finally went in.
I had little expectation that the new tumbler would make any difference.
I felt a small chance of hope because the shaft which the tumbler turns was not broken as was the case in a youtube video.
I turned the key and the tumbler turned smoothly as the car started.
I tried it several more times and it worked every time!
I was very happy, but with reservation.
When I was having difficulty getting the new tumbler in I was pushing on the shaft, which is spring loaded.
It seemed to be sticking and did not release immediately each time I pressed it in.
I sprayed some thin chain lube in it and am hoping for the best.
I do not know what its normal operation or response to being pushed in is.
So....the tumbler exchange was a success but I am not fully convinced that it solved the entire problem.
I will tell you how it is in a week.
The real icing on the cake would be if the ignition replacement fixed the hard start when engine is warm problem.
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