BMW E36 Ignition Tumbler Removal (for Pre-10/95 Production BMWs)




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enjtoool: Possible see how open the lock in order to change the key the first new one ...... and how to change engrave Ida was Quff Astasa when Adoran ( thank)

theuniqueldy: 1st. my wheels locked & I couldn't drive. So I took housing off & drilled a hole in silver box thing and was able to drive in garage. I ordered a ignition lock cylinder and it came in yesterday. So, TY, this helped, after 1 more cup of coffee I am going to get to it before it gets hot (107 today in AZ.). TY again

John Kyle: Elliot hi there Hopefully you can help, My problem my 94 BMW 325IS 5 speed just wont crank, I turn the key to start and nothing, luckily its a manual, I live on a hill and kick start everyday. So it runs that way but I'm frustrated I turn the key everything comes like it should radio,lights,etc but it just don't turn over it's just nothing... Eliot would that be something you might have information on please....

javier m: Do you have a video on how you replaced the ignition shaft?. i am having trouble installing mine. i got a replacement part and already broke it.. let me now thanx

mitch12392: Eliot- my shaft also twisted in two, I was wondering where I could get one and what the exact name is I have been trying on eBay but can't find one

Dreamweaverdottv: Tanks Eliot, I'll wait for you! In a mean time my temporary resolution - drill a whole in to the stub and screw a bolt in to keep the two pieces together and aligned. The put a clamp covering the two pieces for strength and with pliers sort of molded around the stub profile an then grind out the part of the clamp that sticks out. Remove the safety cable and nut and bolt it in a pressed position. The several plastic and metal pieces that deal with the cable are not used since the clamp is there.

Eliot Hood: If you attempt this I recommend fully removing the ignition housing out of the car and doing is on a work bench as it is almost impossible to precisely drill the hole while it's in the car (trust me I trashed multiple housing at a junkyard before finally getting the tumbler out). To remove the housing there are two security bolts that require a chisel and a hammer to remove (not the easiest job).

Eliot Hood: If you've gotten to here the tumbler's bad and there's a couple ways to get the tumbler out to verify. If you refer to the video where I demonstrate where the latch is on the tumbler, you could take a drill to the ignition housing and precisely drill a hole right where the latch is and then use a screw driver to push down the latch. Make sure to drill a hole smaller than the latch, or you will drill out the slot that the latch goes into and the tumbler won't stay in the housing.

corriemichele: @hoodmeister The Pick Your Part junkyard is a hellzbellz idea! Thanks, had forgotten about that. Ok, new question, hopefully worded better. We've both seen millertimebmw's video & the only thing I didn't hear an explanation about why it is needed is the screw in the bottom of the tumbler. I have figured out that my ignition lock jammed after the tumbler spun in place.

Eliot Hood: Option 3: Basically the same as option 2 but without removing the security bolts (which were a bear in my case). It's possible to get a small power drill on the back side of the ignition housing where the copper latch is located. You can then drill a hole in the exact location of the latch and like in option 2 use a nail to press down the copper latch. I'm not familiar with any other ways so if neither work let me know and I can see what I can come up with. Good luck.

Eliot Hood: Unfortunately I've never found a part number for the 'ignition shaft' because I believe is it considered part of the ignition housing and therefore the shaft falls under the part number of the entire housing or: 32321161551. I found this information at: (see link in description). The best ways I've seen this part purchased is by people on forums with surplus parts or at "you-pull-it" junkyards. Try a post on a popular bmw forum, someone may have an extra part laying around for you.

Eliot Hood: pull the tumbler out, and get to the shaft. If you have the right drill and can get a good angle on the ignition housing, this above method can be accomplished while keeping the ignition housing mounted to the steering column. If you can't get a good angle, you'll have to remove the entire ignition housing. This involves removing the two saucer shaped security bolts underneath the ignition housing. I did this by using a chisel to chisel a notch in the bolt head used to unscrew the bolt.

Eliot Hood: The two bolts are on either side of the steering column. To remove these i used a nice sharp chisel and carefully (but also with some force) chiseled the security screws in the counter clockwise, loosening direction (left, loosy). This gives you eas(ier) access to the tumbler. There's a way to use a thin piece of metal to (shaped like a popsicle stick) in between the inside of the ignition housing and the outside of the tumbler to reach the copper latch. That's option 1.

Eliot Hood: I just recently moved from the area so i don't frequent the place as much. I'll definitely be back there in the near future, but probably not until it warms up around here. How urgent is your need? If you can wait a couple months I can probably help you, if not I'd recommend looking into a different option.

corriemichele: How did you get the tumbler & shaft out of the dash? My tumbler got stuck & locked in place while the car was running. I can remove the key but it won't turn to turn the car off. I had to disconnect the fuel pump fuse to get it to turn off. I've taken the dash apart before & can do it, but was wondering if I could remove the tumbler without all that extra work?

corriemichele: @hoodmeister I know how to unjam the lock & remove the tumbler but, do I need a new tumbler or can I just screw it in place so it doesn't spin or is the screw because the shaft is broken, too and the screw is an easier fix than fixing the shaft? What is the purpose of the screw?

Eliot Hood: The easiest way to do it is to release the tumbler, and then you can pull the shaft out with needle nose pliers. You can get lucky at rays and find the keys in the car and use the method in the video to get the tumbler out. If there's no keys (most likely the case), you'll have to get the tumbler out a different way. I used a power drill to drill the back of the ignition housing in the location of the copper colored pin on the tumbler (in the video). i was then able to push the latch down,

Eliot Hood: @gpagnotti Sorry for the late response, but have you had any luck? It's very important you know if the car is pre 10/95 as I spent hours thinking I was attempting to remove the tumbler the right way when actually I was doing it completely wrong. On your drivers side door jam, there's two stickers, one with psi numbers, and the other with production information. On the lower sticker (production information) you should see a month and a year in the form xx/xx this is your production date

Eliot Hood: Sorry to post multiple comments, I just wanted to post for all to see.

Dreamweaverdottv: Hi Eliot - thank you for saving me the 2-3h frustration you had! My case is the same - the shaft. Can you help me with one from your local junk yard - 325i 94? Thanks a bunch!

Eliot Hood: . Remove the interior cover off the bottom of the steering column and then go to the side directly opposite the ignition tumbler. You should see a red circular switch with multiple colored wires going to it, this is your ignition switch. To remove there are two grub screws holding it in place that have red paint over them. Scratch off the paint and take out the screws.

Eliot Hood: Most likely your tumbler has failed and has seized up. I've had this same problem before in cold weather and took a lighter to my key for about 10 seconds and the ignition turned right over (This also works in door locks). Worth a shot, but i doubt it'll work. To be sure it's your tumbler that's failed, you can go in the back side of the ignition housing and see if the shaft is broken.

Steven Grande: I have a 1994 325i the key will go in the ignition ok..but I can Not turn it even 1 click..any ideas

Eliot Hood: The switch will pull right out. You can put a screwdriver directly in the switch and turn it like a key and start your car (the steering wheel will still be locked). Look where you removed the switch and you'll see the end of the ignition shaft poking out. This shaft connects the tumbler to the ignition switch and the shaft locks and unlocks your steering wheel. Use pliers to carefully wiggle the shaft and if it's broken you should be able to tell.

hoodmeister: Awesome video. I'd be curious to know if anyone knows a source for just that broken shaft. Looks like BMW only sells the housing and shaft as an assembly for at least $120.

Eliot Hood: Removing the housing seems like a lot of works, but once you get it out you can get the job done right and it'll be a lot easier. Let me know if any of this does/doesn't work.

Eliot Hood: @gpagnotti First, are you dealing with a pre 10/95 production bmw? Have you tried something other than a bobby pin to disengage the latch? When I actually removed the tumbler from my car I used a wire with a thickness that just barely fit into the hole. If you don't have wire that is strong enough try unroll a keychain ring and use that, this worked great for me. Also you said you can't find the right most edge of the tab, is there any position where you can get a bobby pin or wire in?

gpagnotti: Yes, I believe its a pre 10/95. Ive tried two types of bobbypins, a stiff paper clip, and just got some dental tools that might do the trick. Yes, there are several spots where the pin goes into the cylinder but Im not convinced they are the right spots. Going to try again tomorrow and hopefully this ends this issue.

Nightcoon85: Where did you get your ignition shaft from? I cant find them anywhere.

Eliot Hood: You'll have to use this piece of metal to essentially press the latch down. It's very difficult but with some wd-40 and a little "finagaling" you can get the copper latch down.Option 2 would be: with the ignition housing out you'll drill a small hole in the housing in the exact location of where the copper latch is on the inside. With this hole you can use a small nail to press the copper latch down and pull the tumbler out.

famouslocz: Hey bro i learned a good amount from your video but i have a 96 318ti and it is stuck in the position before the engine is on and what i was wondering was can i fix the tumbler by taking it out and messing with it or do i need to get a new one?

millertimebmw: Great Video!

hoodmeister: @corriemichele. No, ended up getting it from a "you pull it" junk yard. Destroyed a few BMW ignition assemblies in the process!

bengee feliciano: fml my wife loss my keys im trying to replace just the tumber is it posssible

Eliot Hood: If you still cannot turn or wiggle the shaft, it is good and the tumbler is broken.

Eliot Hood: Should have mentioned that...In order to buy the shaft you actually have to buy the entire ignition lock assembly with everything (shaft included) already in place. I got my shaft from a "you pull it" junkyard nearby my house [I frequent this place all the time (for those in the DMV area it's called Crazy Rays)]. If you can find a junkyard similar to this, that's what I recommend, but if you can't let me know and I can see about running to my junkyard and getting one for you.

Dante Pantuso: this is a serious question I need help removing the tumbler with the key its a 325i 93 I getting ready to call bmw. my mother lost my key while my leg was broken

gpagnotti: Thanks for the post. I am dealing with this issue right now. Before seeing your video I looked at the new tumbler to figure out how to disengage that latch and was sure I was in the right spot, but I had no idea there was a spring along the shaft. I think this is what's preventing me from pulling the tumbler out. Going outside now to see if I can get this thing going....thanks again.

Eliot Hood: Unfortunately you're in for some trouble. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but you'll have to either remove the entire ignition housing or drill a hole in the ignition housing to be able to push down the copper colored latch in the video. To remove the ignition housing you'll have to remove all the plastic components under the steering column to exposed the ignition switch (blood orange color) and the bottom of the ignition housing. There's two security bolts that have dish/ufo like heads.

corriemichele: @hoodmeister Did you find the answer? I have the same question.

Eric Rupert: Eliot - I live right by Rays. I just got a full housing there the other day. Several nice 325 just came in, anyway, I need to know how to extract the shaft, mine is broken, got the tumbler out of the donor unit and can fig out how to release the shaft.

gpagnotti: Ok this video and the other video by millertimebmw have been a lot of help. Here's the issue Im running into. The metal tab that can be seen inside the small hole where the bobbypin rotates with the key. You can never get to the rightmost edge of the tab to insert the pin. Even when I put the bobbypin into the ignition and it goes in about 2/3 its length, the latch on the counterside of the igntion (the one we are tryign to disengage) still will not let the ignition be released. Need help.
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BMW e36 Ignition Tumbler Removal (for pre-10/95 production BMWs) 4.7 out of 5

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