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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 07-29-2006, 09:29 PM
elbee elbee is offline
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Ignition problem - spinning cylinder

My dad's 1998 528i starts up fine, but the problem is that the key will twirl several times in the cylinder before it catches and starts up. Does this mean I need to replace the cylinder and if so, what happens to my key? Do I need a new key as well?
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2006, 12:07 PM
Vette528i Vette528i is offline
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replace electrical ignition switch not lock cylinder
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2006, 01:55 PM
elbee elbee is offline
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Do you know why this twirling is happening?
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:42 PM
Vette528i Vette528i is offline
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well I have never opened up one of these after replacement but its a fairly common failure on these cars mater of fact just replaced one last week with the same problem
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2006, 07:51 PM
Jon@TheMshop Jon@TheMshop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elbee
My dad's 1998 528i starts up fine, but the problem is that the key will twirl several times in the cylinder before it catches and starts up. Does this mean I need to replace the cylinder and if so, what happens to my key? Do I need a new key as well?
Elbee,

Call me or Joe at the office tomorrow 323-257-5773. This is a common problem on the E36 models where the ignition tumbler and steering lock mechanism has to be replaced.

I never saw this problem on the E39 but it could be a faulty ignition tumbler. Basically a tab might be broken and will intermitently catch.

I do suggest that you get a replacement or else it'll just spin and won't catch.
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2006, 12:56 PM
pauleeee pauleeee is offline
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I agree it's probably the ignition switch where it mates up with the cylinder. While replacing mine it did the same thing until I took extra care that both fit together properly. There's a hole in the back of the switch that the cylinder connects to.
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2006, 11:04 AM
elbee elbee is offline
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I tried to take out the cylinder to get a look inside and I was not able to get it out. In the Bentley it says to use a special BMW tool or a strong wire and insert it in the small hole in the cylinder when the ignition is in the "on" position. In the picture they show this done with a paper clip. I tried to use a paper clip to do this and was not successful. I think I got it in properly but it says once the wire is in it needs to be turned 90 degrees clockwise in order to release the cylinder. Any pointers you can give me on taking this thing out? Or is there a better way to go about removing this? Should I try removing the switch first and worry about the cylinder after the switch is out. How did you go about this repair?

Last edited by elbee; 08-01-2006 at 11:21 AM.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2006, 10:45 AM
paul somlo paul somlo is offline
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318ti ignition lock

elbee, were you successful at removing the ignition lock? I am facing the same on my 96 ti and cannot get the thing out using a paper clip.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2006, 07:53 AM
elbee elbee is offline
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Hi Paul,
No, I wasn't successful. The thing just wouldn't turn. Very irritating. I am just living with it for the moment. If you manage to get yours out, please let me know how you did it.
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:37 AM
aerol aerol is offline
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pleaseeee soommmeebodyyy

i cant get my ignition tumbler out either...
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2006, 02:42 AM
cranker cranker is offline
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Removing the ignition lock barrel

Posted by evansj on Sunday, January 19, 2003
You might need to remove the lock barrel if you have a problem with it or you are changing your locks. If so, this is how you do it.
I did this on a lock in a piece of steering column I got from a breaker’s yard.
You need to insert the key and turn it approx 55 to 60 degrees, I think this corresponds to position I (accessory). For safety it is probably better to disconnect the battery before you start.

Get a thin allen key or stiff piece of wire and insert it into the hole - the hole should now be “open” whereas it was closed in key position “0”. The depth of insertion is just about spot on 20mm.

As you can see from the picture, when the wire is inserted it retracts a small metal catch from the side of the barrel, enabling you to extract it by pulling on the key. You have to push the wire quite hard, and note that it goes in at a slight angle. You will see that I have taken the picture exactly edge-on to the key so you can see the shallow angle required.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2006, 11:09 AM
elbee elbee is offline
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cranker,
thank you so much for posting that. I never thought to use a thin allen wrench. Right now I am overhauling the entire cooling system on my dad's car, but when I am done with that i will tackle this problem. The paper clip was definitely too flimsy to work. I will let you know how it goes.
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