View Full Version : Another one for Justin E36

10-30-2005, 06:22 PM
On my 98 328I

Sometimes, when the key is inserted in the ignition and turned, it
will merely spin in the tumbler. The lock will not engage, and the key
will continue to rotate for greater than a full revolution.

Time for a new ignition switch ?

Justin e36
10-30-2005, 06:33 PM
Be very very careful. If you ever notice resistance do not force the key lock to turn, it will make it worse.

If you dismantle the ignition you will notice that BMW has a plastic pressure ring around the tumbler. The one on yours seems to be loose.

The way it is designed is if the wrong key is inserted into the igniton (or say, a flat head screwdriver), and forced to turn, the plastic ring will break and render the ignition useless... it will just keep turning and turning and turning. It's an anti-theft feature on e36's.

From the sounds of it, the plastic ring on yours is loose and is slipping out of place... possibly partially cracked.

Your choices are to:
a) replace the plastic ring (requires some patience)
b) replace the entire ignition assembly

Replacing the entire ignition switch can be tricky if you have a microchip in yours, as you will have to reprogram the chip. (I can teach you how to do this yourself, without going to the dealership...), you will also have to ensure the new ignition switch is for a manual or automatic, as they are different. And lastly, you'll have to remember this will mean the key for your ignition will now be different from the rest of the locks in your car.

Also, if you are able to get it to click over to accessory okay, but it just trips when you try to actually engage the starter, then you can always wire up a start-engine button. This is what I did on my car. I still have to turn the key over to accessory, but I hit the start engine button to start the car.

If you need more info, feel free to ask..


10-30-2005, 06:39 PM
Thanks J
Ill pull out the tumbler and have a look...i think the stealer can order one to fit the origanal key via the serial number of the car for around 90 bucks... ill look into it more