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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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Old 05-18-2015, 09:06 PM
osalt94 osalt94 is offline
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Location: Washington state
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 10
Mein Auto: 1997 528i, 2000 540ia
Removing ignition if key won't turn!

Very first post on here! Thought I'd share some info for people out there that like to save money!! So basically if you need to replace your ignition cylinder but your key will not turn for any reason or your keys are gone for good. This would be your very last resort!

Either pay a locksmith or rip the sucker out orrrrr order a replacement key. Well I located the little tab that locks into place in the steering colum. I used the little hole where the paper clip goes if you had the key as a reference point. I measured how far the tab would be in the column on the replacement cylinder and took that to the car.

With panels off and column bare I realized that there were 3 fins on the column same side of cylinde that we want to try to access. With a drill and a small drillbit I was able to drill through the aluminum fins fairly easy and with a flat head and hammer remove remaining pieces.

With that out of the way I used my measurement off the new cylinder and reference point to figure where I want to start cutting because there was no way to fit a drill I ended up using a sawzall blade by hand cutting in a straight line. The key to this was to cut behind the tab so new cylinder would slide in an still lock into place

After sawing through I was able to slip in my flat head with the assistance of a small hammer. This took a little bit but then with the ews antenna off the cylinder and out of the way so it didn't get damaged I was able to slip a screwdriver between the cylinder and housing. Bam!!! It was out! If done correctly the replacement should slip right back in.

I know it sounds kinda savage to do to a bmw but the reason I did it was because I bought the car without keys!! Original owner lost them so I replaced ignition, key, ews and DME.
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