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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-30-2010, 09:37 PM
joesixgig joesixgig is offline
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Keys locked in trunk of 330Ci - and retrieved!

Became member just to say 'Thank you!', and to post how I was able to get to my keys thanks to you guys. I’ll give the 'short version', leaving out the hilarious details of how this disaster unfolded (two locksmiths, a $115 tow from a way too narrow parking lot, suspiciously opening up my own car in the dark using a flashlight).

What happened: I left my keys in the trunk after locking my 2001 330Ci, and was unable to find my plastic replacement key. Called AAA, and their guy popped open the door in three minutes: he inserted a thin plastic sleeve behind the closed window, inflated it separating the window from the body, and stuck in a metal rod/wire to push the central unlock button. Unfortunately this procedure disables the trunk release button (I think there is a switch in the trunk to enable/disable this safety setting, not sure), so I still was not able to get to the keys. At this point the AAA guy and another locksmith both gave up, stating that a new key had to be made.

Next step: search the forums. I read that someone had had success by removing one of the HK speakers and pulling down the seats. It was a bit of an ordeal, but in the end it worked! This laptop was locked in the trunk a few minutes ago.. I’ll write up the steps I took. I did some of these in the wrong order, so I’ll rewrite to the best of my memory, please add to this post if I missed something / messed up. In all you can do this in half an hour or less, assuming you have the tools needed.

The steps: pick your favorite speaker. I chose the right side one, which allows you to pull down the broader ‘two seat’ section, which makes it easier to get in the trunk afterward. The left one should work as well. It’s a bit of a pain since the work needs to be done behind just behind the headrest, and there is not a lot of room there in a 330Ci. First, you need to remove a small piece sticking up from the speaker cover, it looks like a small handle. Pop off the round small plastic cover on this handle – it should come off pretty easily, and doesn’t break. That reveals a screw. Take off this screw and the metal ring/post beneath it, and take off the small handle part.

Now you should be able to manually remove the rectangular plastic speaker cover. The cover is not bolted down, but it took some prying to take it off. I was able to do this without breaking anything. You now see the speaker, which is mounted to the frame with three screws. Remove these, while taking care not to touch/break the speaker membrane – you don’t want to kill that nice HK sound. You should now be able to lift out the speaker. Again, it took some prying – I ended up sticking a flat screwdriver under the mounts from which the screws were removed. Set the speaker to the side. The speaker wire is hooked in a narrow opening. You can unhook the wire to get some more length, allowing you to move the speaker well off to the side.

Getting out of the car and looking in through the rear window, you’ll be looking down into a hollow plastic tube (4”-5” diameter?) that held the speaker, with a black plastic mesh at the bottom. This mesh needs to come off to get to the trunk. It is hooked behind two metal fins, and it’s a pain to get out. I was frustrated enough to break the plastic bits on the side loose, leaving only limited visible damage if you know where to look in the trunk. You may be able to do this without damaging it. Once the hollow tube with mesh has been removed, you’re left with a hole large enough to get your hand through (or get someone with smaller hands).

At this point I had no idea where the seat release levers were actually located.. Lots of feeling around later, I found that they are a little further to the back of the car relative to the speaker opening. This is where it gets tricky (but doable). The lever is hard to recognize by touch. If you feel your way to the back, you’ll feel a plastic flat block. There is ~1” wide ‘groove’ behind the block which is the open space where your fingers would go if you pulled the lever normally from the trunk side. Pushing out against the lever just behind that groove, you’ll be able to release the seats, which then come down. I wasn’t flexible enough to push the lever out simply by hand, so I ended up using a wrench as an extension (any other extension piece would have done) to push against it. The joy you feel when those darned seats come down is indescribable. Remember not to jump up.

Again, a million thanks to whoever suggested removing the speaker. This saved me a weekend driving to the dealer with proof of ownership, paying through the nose for a new key, and trying to work without my laptop while waiting for a few days for the key to arrive. I hope this helps anyone out there as well! Oh – and get that spare key and keep it in a KNOWN location.
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2010, 10:45 PM
joesixgig joesixgig is offline
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Update: seems like for some people there may be a better solution. From another forum (e46fanatics): "went through the ski pass behind the arm rest which let me squeeze my arm to pull at the lever for the fold down seats. no need to take off the speakers, unless you don't have the ski pass.", and from another user in that thread: "If you don't have the ski pass, you can smash out the metal piece that is tack welded where the ski pass would be." I didn't have a hole behind the arm rest, and didn't think to 'smash out' any pieces, but if you're lucky/brave, this may work as well.

From that same forum, apparently if you don't have Harman Kardon speakers, the speaker hole is about 2" diameter, so in that case you're probably better of doing some searching on how to remove the 'ski pass' plate instead.
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2010, 03:58 AM
GoingNuts GoingNuts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joesixgig View Post
Again, a million thanks to whoever suggested removing the speaker.
I only accept lifetime thanks. One million thanks is not enough.

The idea was originally posted on the kindergarten site, post #35:

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...php?p=10090061

Later, it was reiterated here, post #2:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=420440
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2010, 07:54 AM
joesixgig joesixgig is offline
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OK, a lifetime of thanks it is. I did read through the second thread that you mention. There are also some success stories on there about removing a lock cylinder from the driver side door and using a screwdriver to feign unlocking and locking the door a few times to reset the lock security, which allows you to then use the normal trunk release inside. My locksmith #2 looked for that, but it seemed like my door design didn't fit the description.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2010, 08:04 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Thanks for this post, Joe! Could you add a link to this thread in the E46 wiki so others can easily find it?
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2010, 08:21 AM
joesixgig joesixgig is offline
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I will, if you could point me to the Wiki (yes, I'm new here..).

Some pictures that may help those feeling their way around through the HK speaker holes. They're a bit large - didn't know how to resize in this forum. By the way, this is after I broke the driver side mesh, so you see the damage is barely visible. -Joe

Driver side:


Passenger side:
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2010, 08:30 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joesixgig View Post
I will, if you could point me to the Wiki (yes, I'm new here..).

Some pictures that may help those feeling their way around through the HK speaker holes. They're a bit large - didn't know how to resize in this forum. By the way, this is after I broke the driver side mesh, so you see the damage is barely visible. -Joe

Wiki link is in my signature, everyone should have edit capabilities. Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2010, 07:14 AM
bimmerfan1 bimmerfan1 is offline
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Keys locked in trunk

Just had same problem and read thread. I used a sawzaw with metal blade and had keys out from trunk in about 5-10 minutes. I just reached through the hole and pulled out my wife's purse where she had left the master key. She used the spare valet key while running, not realizing what problem she would have getting back into trunk. It was easy, clean, and no one can see the cut. Hope it helps.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2010, 07:48 AM
joesixgig joesixgig is offline
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Wait, you used a sawzall to cut a hole to the trunk? More detail please - did you cut open the ski-pass plate?
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2010, 06:38 AM
bimmerfan1 bimmerfan1 is offline
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keys locked in trunk

RELAX. I only used the sawzaw on the skipass area that cannot be seen. It was alot easier, very little mess, and I didn't have to search around for the seat release, which isn't as easy to find as I thought. In any case, should I take up skiing again, I don't have to worry about that option becoming available. Seriously, the aesthetic change is unnoticeable, the procedure is simple, and the access of the trunk is quick.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2013, 01:37 PM
Lexx330 Lexx330 is offline
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Happened to me yesterday in the parking lot of hardware store 2 minutes away from my house... when changing the brake light bulb I had put the keys in trunk and upon completion I completely forgot and locked the trunk with the keys inside.... WHAT A WASTE OF 3 HOURS... so unfortunately the doors were locked as well but luckily I left a small crease in the Window so this helped If you come across the same scenario see below

Here is the trick with no ski pass (cold weather package)..

1 press the center console lock 2 times- this will allow you to pry the door handle therefore popping the lock up being able to get inside- note this will indeed disengage the electronic trunk release..

2. Take out either the driver or passenger rear speaker. Very easy to remove...

3. Remove the plastic housing for speaker.

4. Put your hand through the hole and Feel for the seat release lever and pull on it. This will allow the rear seats to fold down.. lever is right in front the speaker hole.

5. Fold Down the seat and bingo - your in..

6. Grab your keys and head home.

Please also note you will need tools for this. I ran home grabbed tools and came back.. This was at 9 PM in the night, and i wasn't going to leave my coupe in the parking lot unlocked, it was either make an attempt or have it towed home which would have been my last option. I needed a 1/2 socket and an 8 MM socket with ratchet and flat screwdriver. After getting my keys I went home and put it all back together the next day.. nothing is impossible..

So there you have it.. be careful not to damage anything and it's this easy...

Lex..

Sent via BlackBerry z10
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2014, 10:47 AM
Abnormy Abnormy is offline
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Location: SW Austin TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Mein Auto: 03 325I
Smile Trunk locked battery disconnected

Doing the CVV valve turns out it was the dipstick o ring torn, I put parts in trunk shut it wouldn't open. Latch under emblem wouldn't work it's electric, I pulled the plastic piece it goes into under the emblem and voilah! It opened! So glad I didnt have to go through the seat!
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