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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 08-23-2012, 12:14 AM
SNARF SNARF is offline
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E39 key cylinder lock and tumbler removal

I've read the Bentley service manual and other posts on here on removal the lock and tumbler. They all pretty much say in order to remove it from the housing the key needs to be in the on position. Well.... Mine is locked in the off position. Any help would be appreciated.

A little breakdown on what happened.
I pulled into the driving and turned the key to the off position and the car stayed running. I disconnected the fuel pump fuse and let the car die out and disconnected the battery. I've already removed the steering column cover and the black ring from around the key cylinder. Now I'm stuck....
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2012, 04:10 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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The key has to be in the ON position in order to extract the lock cylinder.
You need it in this position so you can push the locking tab down that is in the back side of the cylinder.
Have you tried a different key and shook the wheel to see if you can get the key to position 2?
Here's a few pics that might help you.







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Last edited by JimLev; 08-23-2012 at 04:12 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-23-2012, 05:49 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I'm going to cross reference this thread to one of these ignition key cylinder lock bestlinks threads so Jim's pictures can be leveraged:

- What to do if your steering wheel & key cylinder locks in place (1) (2) & signs of a failing ignition switch (1) or ring antenna (1) & the BMW TIS for when the ignition switch spins but does not engage (1) & rebuilding a failed ignition switch (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) & BMW training on the EWS alarm drive away protection system (pdf) & erasing old keys from the locking control module (1)
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Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to 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, in seconds!

Last edited by bluebee; 08-23-2012 at 06:47 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2012, 06:29 AM
SNARF SNARF is offline
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Jimlev, that's the problem. The key cylinder is locked in the off position. It won't budge at all. Even with spinning the the steering back and forth and jiggling the key. The steering wheel isn't locked at all. It spins freely, the car can shift from park to reverse and any other gear with no problem.

When I hook the battery back up everything comes on as if the key was in the ON position. It's not though, key cylinder is locked in the OFF. Just looking for a way to remove this damn key cylinder. None of the links that were posted has a solution close to my problem. They say turn the key to the on position, wish I could guys.
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  #5  
Old 08-23-2012, 06:35 AM
SNARF SNARF is offline
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Bluebee, none of those helps my problem. Thank u though.
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2012, 07:19 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Without getting the key to Pos 2 you will never get the lock cylinder out unless you start ruining things. To get a new lock cylinder you have to go to the dealer with all of your papers to show you actually own the car, then the lock will be built in Germany and sent to the US dealer. My problem was I couldn't turn the lock back to position 0 to remove the key. After the new lock arrived and installed I played around with my old lock and it works perfectly. No idea why it wouldn't work when it was in the steering column.

Here are some pics showing the electrical part of the switch and how to remove it.
In the last pic you can see the small nub that turns the switch when you turn the key.
Maybe you can attack it from this side too, tap on the nub or turn it with some pliers??
Good luck.









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  #7  
Old 08-23-2012, 07:27 AM
SNARF SNARF is offline
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Now this is definitely going to help out. Once the switch is removed I should be able to shut the car off and start it up as well until I can figure a way out to remove that key cylinder. Thank you JimLev. This is definitely appreciated.
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2012, 08:27 AM
SNARF SNARF is offline
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JimLev.... It worked like a charm. The "T" that turns the switch was stuck. A little twist with some needle nose pliers and it freed up. I put everything back together and it works great again. Thx for all the help. I'm thinking I will eventually have to replace the housing that the key cylinder and the ignition switch fits in that houses the "T" portion of the system. Thanks again for the help.

Glad this was just my spare car that I keep at my away from home terminal for work. It gets me back home instead of staying in a hotel all the time and waking up with a sore back . Hah, The joy of working for the railroad.
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2012, 10:27 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Shoot some Tri-Flow into the lock. Good lock lube.
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2012, 06:53 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNARF View Post
JimLev.... It worked like a charm. The "T" that turns the switch was stuck. A little twist with some needle nose pliers and it freed up. I put everything back together and it works great again. Thx for all the help. I'm thinking I will eventually have to replace the housing that the key cylinder and the ignition switch fits in that houses the "T" portion of the system. Thanks again for the help.

Glad this was just my spare car that I keep at my away from home terminal for work. It gets me back home instead of staying in a hotel all the time and waking up with a sore back . Hah, The joy of working for the railroad.
Good to hear you got it fixed, many never reply.
You may want to pop out the lock cylinder just to take a peak and see if there is anything in their that shouldn't be.
Use some Tri-Flo like edjack suggested when you have the lock cylinder out. You'll be able to get it into the shift lock pin.
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  #11  
Old 08-23-2012, 06:58 PM
SNARF SNARF is offline
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Ok, I definitely will now that it's freed up. Thanks for all the advice guys.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2012, 03:54 AM
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moots moots is offline
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jimlev.....superb pics on the lock cylinder aka tumbler and the ignition switch removal procedure.......beautiful!what i understood from previously just reading....is now made crystal clear........thanks a bunch.

now i know what needs doing....
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  #13  
Old 07-31-2013, 10:16 AM
truetoit truetoit is offline
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jim how do you get the lock cylinder out if the key will not turn to get into position, the pictures you posted show how to remove the ignition switch is this used to also remove the ssteering loock? lost in oklahoma
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  #14  
Old 08-11-2013, 10:35 PM
duckydoggy duckydoggy is offline
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Refer to SNARF's reply, need to get the T thing off hook then you can turn the key. (The "T" that turns the switch was stuck. A little twist with some needle nose pliers and it freed up)
Quote:
Originally Posted by truetoit View Post
jim how do you get the lock cylinder out if the key will not turn to get into position, the pictures you posted show how to remove the ignition switch is this used to also remove the ssteering loock? lost in oklahoma
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  #15  
Old 08-29-2013, 10:26 PM
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jayster0966 jayster0966 is offline
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Thanks for this writeup. Made changing my lock cylinder go very smoothly.
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2013, 05:14 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truetoit View Post
jim how do you get the lock cylinder out if the key will not turn to get into position, the pictures you posted show how to remove the ignition switch is this used to also remove the ssteering loock? lost in oklahoma
Sorry for the late reply, just saw your post.
Either piece can be removed, order of removal doesn't matter.
If the key won't turn, take the ignition switch out, maybe it is keeping the lock cylinder from turning.
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  #17  
Old 01-02-2014, 05:28 AM
joeyvaz joeyvaz is offline
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Jim, I'm having the same issue with my car. Can you look over my thread and see if this is the same issue you were having? Here is a link to my thread:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=743364

Quick overview: car starts and runs great, key doesn't go into 0 poisition so I can't remove it. I can not shift the car out of Park. When I press the brake, I hear a little thump when I have my hand on the shifter. If I manually lift the lever under the shifter, I can move out of Park. I can drive it like this without issue. This is the same key I've been using since I purchased the car a month ago. Previous owner states he never experienced this. Brake switch seems to work: can't go from Neutral to Park without stepping on the brake pedal. All fuses in trunk and glove box are good.

Any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated. I'm at my wits end. Going to an Indy soon if I can't figure this out. Car has key in it for over a week now.
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  #18  
Old 01-13-2014, 12:37 PM
joeyvaz joeyvaz is offline
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I need to remove my ignition cylinder because I ordered one today. My problem is that the key is stuck in the cylinder, so I cannot remove the plastic ring around the cylinder. Can I just cut that plastic ring off and order a new one? I think it houses the antenna, but I don't know if anything needs to be coded when I replace the ring. Thanks.
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  #19  
Old 01-13-2014, 06:42 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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The ring is just a coil of wire that inductively charges the key battery and picks up the key info for the EWS.
You can cut it off and replace it with a new one, it doesn't need any coding.

Last edited by JimLev; 01-13-2014 at 06:44 PM.
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  #20  
Old 01-14-2014, 06:12 AM
joeyvaz joeyvaz is offline
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Ok, I see there is a plug on the bottom of the plastic ring. So I will be careful when cutting the old one. Hope this fixes my problem. I still don't know why this is also preventing the shifter from going out of Park. Is there a correlation between the two? Problem happened at the same time, so I doubt it's two different issues. But I'm not sure at this point.
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  #21  
Old 01-25-2014, 01:17 PM
jmarcus5 jmarcus5 is offline
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What is the proper way to remove the coil around the ignition key in a 1998 BMW 740il?
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  #22  
Old 01-25-2014, 01:23 PM
jmarcus5 jmarcus5 is offline
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My situation is similar but the key keep spinning round and round and won't catch at all. I am currently manually cranking the car with a screwdriver. The key will go in and out with no problem. Do I have to have the coil around the switch removed to remove the tumbler or will it pull out with the tumbler? IS there any advice on how to find position 2 on the key when it is free spinning?
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  #23  
Old 01-25-2014, 02:01 PM
joeyvaz joeyvaz is offline
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from what I understand, the ring is just pressure fit with an o ring to keep it tight. BUT if the key is stuck, you need to destroy the o ring to get to the release point on the cylinder. If you can remove your key, use a flat blade screw driver to pry out the ring. Just be careful, there is a wire held in place by a clip on the ring.
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2014, 11:19 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNARF View Post
JimLev.... It worked like a charm.
Please pay your thanks forward by posting pictures, so that the next person with the same problem benefits from Jim's help and your efforts to fix this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Good to hear you got it fixed, many never reply..
Replying is good. Replying with pictures is muuuuuch better.
Helps more people, and it's only a few seconds additional effort.
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