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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone I have benefited countless times from the Bimmerfest fourms and now I feel like I finally have something to offer.

Recently my 93 ignition tumbler failed, most likely the shaft connecting the tumbler to the switch snapped and I was unable to release the tumbler with the bobby pin trick using the detent in the tumbler. I didn't have the dough or the time to tear the column apart so I figured "why not just rewire this sucker to a push button?" So I did.

In this thread I will step through exactly what I did to convert the stock ignition to a simple dual toggle/momentary button keyless ignition.

I figured I would post my intentions here since I'm a rookie member and make sure this is going in the right place before I get started. Hopefully this thread will benefit other Bimmerfest users!
 

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Interesting! But you'll still need to get the column apart to remove the steering lock. It may not be locked now, but you risk it locking at any time. It's a wreck looking for a place to happen with the lock mechanism still in there.

Welcome to the fest!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I drilled out the column to remove the spring on the steering wheel lock. Another handy trick that I'm pretty sure I picked up here. I actually did this job a couple weeks ago but I haven't had time to make the thread. Now that I am I can't find my damn wiring diagram! No big deal though I need to remove the shroud to snap a couple photos anyway.

I was able to get this done by following the examples of others but I had to piece it together so I wanted to just do a comprehensive step through of how I got it done.

Okay so this is sort of a wiring diagram(I used a multimeter to figure out the switch but I lost the original so i may need to retrace a couple wires and repost):



I bought light up blue and red toggle switches at Radio Shack for $4 each and I already had a length of primary wire I had bought from an auto parts store. These switches use spade connectors so you have to pick up some of those too. The switches are also equipped with a ground spade with will be tied to the brown ground wire from the harness.

This jumble of wires probably wont help you too much since I was using a red wire to extend the connections but you can see the black/yellow ignition wire spliced to an extension that runs to the momentary switch. Also, the small orange wire that is wire nutted with the big green wire is just an extension of small green/white wire.

Here is the location of the push button momentary switch. Some people had deleted the cigarette lighter and mounted the push button there, but I use that to charge my cell phone. Running to the switch are the black/yellow ignition wire and the thick green wire.


In other threads on this topic people used relays to crank the engine. I didn't see a reason to do this because as far as I'm concerned that's the job of the starter solenoid. These switches should not be encountering high current flow. Ultimately, if the tiny little plastic switch that was originally there could handle it I don't see why these new switches should be any different.

There was a knockout in a great spot for my red toggle that runs the accessories. Only problem is the switch sticks out too far so sometimes operating turn signals can lead to accidental accessory off situations (gauges, cruise control, radio).


This is the underside of the steering column. I found a thread somewhere that showed how to drill out the spring that engages the steering wheel lock. I used an 1/8" drill to pilot the hole and I believe a 3/8" to drill out the spring. I got lucky and nailed this almost dead center. The spring almost fell out. Otherwise you just use a paper clip or screwdriver to pry it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm 90% sure it's correct, which I'm sure doesn't mean much and I haven't retraced the wires yet. I don't really know how to draw the schematics so let me lay it out here now and I'll get around to putting a meter on it soon.

On my 93 318i the color coding went as follows:

Brown=ground
Red=12v +
Purple=accessories
Green=run(keeps car running, i split the 12v from that so the momentary is only active when it is hot)
Green/White stripe=no idea what it powers but is pig tailed to Green "run" wire
Black/Yellow stripe=ignition(cranks the starter motor, hooked to momentary switch)
Blue/White stripe=no idea, i think it's for park/neutral switch because it's designed to be an open circuit until the tumbler is pushed in and turned which makes it contact Ground on the ignition switch. Maybe someone else can fill us in on that one.

Sorry about the diagram! I don't have any experience with threads and it proved harder than I thought to do a step by step.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I can almost guarantee that the major wires are the same, purple is accessory, green is run etc. To test the other wires just use a multimeter to check which wires have voltage when the switch is turned to different positions, that's how I figured mine out.
First thing I would do is nail down the ground, I didn't see a brown wire on yours. Just set your meter to ohms, probe each wire with the other probe grounded on the colum(mine had another visible ground wire bolted directly to the aluminum column). When the meter reads little or no resistance you have your ground. I'm guessing bases on the location on the switch its the red/green wire, but don't quote me on that.

Others have posted that the color coding changes frequently but one of those smaller gauge striped wires should be hot when switch is in the run position (assuming your battery is connected), that's the one you should pig tail to the green wire. The other one...dunno still waiting for someone to clue me in but the car runs fine.

Out of curiosity are you having the same issue with broken tumbler?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This job really isn't hard anyone can do it. Let me know if you get stuck


Burning the midnight oil...every time the engine starts
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This eliminates the tumbler and the actual switch so yes. HOWEVER, you must also disable the steering wheel lock otherwise bad things can and will happen. The good news was that this part was actually fun. I put a photo of where I drilled on the bottom of the column. That hit the spring dead on so just shoot for that.
 
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