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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 10-01-2012, 09:17 AM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Battery dead; doors locked

Howdy! Noob here. Battery's apparently dead on my '90 535i/5, and my doors are locked. Emergency unlock procedure doesn't work on passenger or driver's side. Tried the power-to-trunk-light thing, too. No luck (my charger's a wimpy 1.5 amp thing, but I left it hooked up overnight). Will a locksmith be able to get in? I did unhook one of my rear doors from the central locking system a few weeks back because the actuator was dead, so that one can be unlocked manually. Any other options? Am I gonna be able to get back in without breaking a window?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2012, 09:21 AM
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1995i540 1995i540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by islandgrün View Post
Howdy! Noob here. Battery's apparently dead on my '90 535i/5, and my doors are locked. Emergency unlock procedure doesn't work on passenger or driver's side. Tried the power-to-trunk-light thing, too. No luck (my charger's a wimpy 1.5 amp thing, but I left it hooked up overnight). Will a locksmith be able to get in? I did unhook one of my rear doors from the central locking system a few weeks back because the actuator was dead, so that one can be unlocked manually. Any other options? Am I gonna be able to get back in without breaking a window?

Thanks!
Break your window, not sure which one is cheaper to replace rear or front. Your lock smith will charge you more and probably do the same thing.
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2012, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by islandgrün
Emergency unlock procedure doesn't work on passenger or driver's side.
Where are your keys?
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2012, 10:59 AM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Where are your keys?
Oh, I've got 'em. I was dumb (probably left the interior lights on), but not quite that dumb.
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:05 AM
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That's good.

Now, when you did the manual door procedure, how far did you try to turn the key?
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:17 AM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Originally Posted by Radian View Post
That's good.

Now, when you did the manual door procedure, how far did you try to turn the key?
As far as I could, as hard as I could without feeling like I was going to snap it.
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:27 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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It is impossible for the manual emergency door unlock procedure to fail. You are probably not doing it right. It took me 15 minutes of trying it to get it right when my battery died.
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by islandgrün View Post
As far as I could, as hard as I could without feeling like I was going to snap it.
Approach the front passenger door.
Lift up on the handle.
Continue to hold it up with one hand, while inserting the key into the lock with the other.
Still holding the handle up, turn the key clockwise (towards the front of the car) while watching the through the glass to see if the manual locking post moves up.
The post should move up.
Let go of the door handle, then pull on it again to see if the door opens.
Remove the key.

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  #9  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:46 AM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radian View Post
Approach the front passenger door.
Lift up on the handle.
Continue to hold it up with one hand, while inserting the key into the lock with the other.
Still holding the handle up, turn the key clockwise (towards the front of the car) while watching the through the glass to see if the manual locking post moves up.
The post should move up.
Let go of the door handle, then pull on it again to see if the door opens.
Remove the key.

Yeah, probably done that a hundred times. No joy. Post jiggles a bit, but that's it.
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2012, 12:03 PM
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On the driver-side door, the key has to be turned counter-clockwise instead (still towards the front of the car). Any luck with that?

Just going through the paces here....
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  #11  
Old 10-01-2012, 12:15 PM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Originally Posted by Radian View Post
Have you tried it on the driver-side door as well?

On that door, the key has to be turned counter-clockwise (still towards the front of the car).

Just going through the paces here....
Yep, tried that, too.
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2012, 03:28 PM
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Well the idea of tapping into the battery bus, by jacking the car up and applying a 12V battery to the starter motor main power cables seems a heck of a lot more plausible than breaking the glass.

That should give you normal power and enough current to operate the door locks.

Kind of a pain none the less, but better than damaging your doors any further than they already are.
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2012, 08:10 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radian View Post
Approach the front passenger door.
Lift up on the handle.
Continue to hold it up with one hand, while inserting the key into the lock with the other.
Still holding the handle up, turn the key clockwise (towards the front of the car) while watching the through the glass to see if the manual locking post moves up.
The post should move up.
Let go of the door handle, then pull on it again to see if the door opens.
Remove the key.

This is not the way it is done. It wouldn't have taken me 15 minutes if it was that simple.

You are supposed to turn the key WHILE the door handle is being lifted. The two actions are supposed to take place in concert. That's the tough part, getting them in synch in the right way to unlock the car door.

I can't remember if you're supposed to turn it clockwise or counterclockwise.

The instructions here are wrong :

http://www.bmwe34.net/E34main/Trouble/Locked.htm

...but the direction you're supposed to turn the key may be correct.


Hope this helps.

p.s. I wonder if the Bentley manual has the procedure.
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  #14  
Old 10-01-2012, 08:37 PM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Finally got it to work on the driver's side using my spare key, pliers and a fair amount of carefully applied force. It is a bit tricky.

Thanks, all!
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  #15  
Old 10-01-2012, 08:49 PM
paperplane94 paperplane94 is offline
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Originally Posted by islandgrün View Post
Finally got it to work on the driver's side using my spare key, pliers and a fair amount of carefully applied force. It is a bit tricky.

Thanks, all!
Wow, good thing the key didn't break.

Good job!
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  #16  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:31 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Originally Posted by islandgrün View Post
Finally got it to work on the driver's side using my spare key, pliers and a fair amount of carefully applied force. It is a bit tricky.

Thanks, all!

Would you like to describe the exact procedure that you used to get it open?
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2012, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by robertobaggio20
It wouldn't have taken me 15 minutes if it was that simple.
No, bmwE34.net is correct in that the method worked just fine on my car, otherwise I would not have suggested it. The procedure works exactly as described on factory doors in good repair.

What it does not take into account is damaged / exceptionally worn locks or doors that have been previously tampered with either from well-intentioned locksmiths, owners that didn't know the correct procedure beforehand, or people attempting malicious entry ....which is very common with any old car.

Just glad to OP had still had their key and was able to gain entry without any more fuss. Now might be a good time to consider a thorough inspection of the locks.
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Last edited by Radian; 10-02-2012 at 06:22 AM.
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  #18  
Old 10-02-2012, 09:09 AM
MeanM50 MeanM50 is offline
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For future reference...

1)get your cordless drill battery
2)pop your rear bumper trim off
3)connect drill battery to the wires from your corner marker
4)unlock door normally

The drill battery backfeeds voltage through the system and is usually enough power to open the locks.

The 'emergency unlock' procedure is hit and miss...the physical mechanics on the door handle that perform the emergency unlock, are SUPER weak...and are broken (in my experience) 7 times out of 10...
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2012, 09:40 PM
islandgrün islandgrün is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radian View Post
No, bmwE34.net is correct in that the method worked just fine on my car, otherwise I would not have suggested it. The procedure works exactly as described on factory doors in good repair.

What it does not take into account is damaged / exceptionally worn locks or doors that have been previously tampered with either from well-intentioned locksmiths, owners that didn't know the correct procedure beforehand, or people attempting malicious entry ....which is very common with any old car.

Just glad to OP had still had their key and was able to gain entry without any more fuss. Now might be a good time to consider a thorough inspection of the locks.
Yes, it worked as bmwE34.net said, eventually. It may have helped that I tried the spare key, which is much less worn than the main key. I also note that the emergency procedure works much easier now. It may have loosened things up in there.

Thanks, again, everyone.
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