Steering lock kill switch?

Post your E12 technical questions and comments here. Please, no off-topic posts.

Moderators: Mike W., Pierre

canada karl
Posts: 1065
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:50 pm

Steering lock kill switch?

Post by canada karl »

Sometimes when I go to start the car there's nothing there when I turn the key. Moving the steering wheel or jiggling the key and the power comes back. Must be an inner column wiring thing. Anyone been there and knows how to access and what to look for?
1976 530i. BMW 59 Triumph TR3A(rolling resto). 67 Triumph TR4A(salvageable). 86 900S Winter car
User avatar
Mike W.
Posts: 2798
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:12 am
Location: Sonoma County

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by Mike W. »

That would be either the ignition switch or the interface between the ignition lock and switch. The only wire in the column is for the ground for the horn.
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
User avatar
Lock
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 1:51 pm
Location: Olympia, WA
Contact:

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by Lock »

As Mike said, sounds like your ignition switch. If you haven't ever replaced it, you may need to soon - they eventually fail and don't engage the starter. Wriggling it around to make it work sounds like it might be on its way out.

If you replace it, don't get one of those plastic-cased ones, they fail almost immediately as the plastic bends and malforms. Get the one with the metal case, more expensive but built properly. I got mine on eBay from Europe for a European model, it's the same part but with an extra wire for the ign-off-park-light-on, but unfortunately the US cars aren't wired for that novelty feature.
1979 528i - Sold
PatinaBeforePolish
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:22 pm
Location: Baltimore, Md.

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by PatinaBeforePolish »

If the switch has failed, will the car still start with a remote starter or bump starting?
79 528i
76 530i - Stored since 1992, can it be brought back to life?
86 944- 2023 project
78 F150- Everyone needs a truck
canada karl
Posts: 1065
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:50 pm

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by canada karl »

Good question,,,,,,,and I wonder if a temporary 'generic
ignition switch could be wired temporarily?
1976 530i. BMW 59 Triumph TR3A(rolling resto). 67 Triumph TR4A(salvageable). 86 900S Winter car
User avatar
Mike W.
Posts: 2798
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:12 am
Location: Sonoma County

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by Mike W. »

PatinaBeforePolish wrote: Sun Jul 30, 2023 11:05 am If the switch has failed, will the car still start with a remote starter or bump starting?
Maybe. It depends on the failure mode, the switch has several contacts and functions, off, Acc, Run and Start. Failure of the start mode would probably be the most common, but again, not the only mode. The plastic body can crack and prevent contact. The cam from the lock that goes into the switch can fail, either the cam itself or where it enters the switch. If you get to the run position and the dash lights work, starting from the engine compartment will probably work.

But keep in mind it's two different parts, the lock and the switch. They act together, but can fail separately. You can see in the image, the lock is 10 and the switch is 2.

Image
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
PatinaBeforePolish
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:22 pm
Location: Baltimore, Md.

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by PatinaBeforePolish »

Thanks Mike, this is very helpful. I've always had to push the key while turning to start the car. A few weeks ago it just stopped engaging the starter. I have juice in the accessory and start positions and can bump start the car. It's always been on my "to do" list but looks like now's the time.
@Lock has a good write up on replacement https://www.firstfives.org/phpBB-3.2.1/ ... ock#p31156, thanks Lock!
79 528i
76 530i - Stored since 1992, can it be brought back to life?
86 944- 2023 project
78 F150- Everyone needs a truck
User avatar
Mike W.
Posts: 2798
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:12 am
Location: Sonoma County

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by Mike W. »

PatinaBeforePolish wrote: Mon Jul 31, 2023 7:10 am Thanks Mike, this is very helpful. I've always had to push the key while turning to start the car. A few weeks ago it just stopped engaging the starter. I have juice in the accessory and start positions and can bump start the car. It's always been on my "to do" list but looks like now's the time.
@Lock has a good write up on replacement https://www.firstfives.org/phpBB-3.2.1/ ... ock#p31156, thanks Lock!
The switch is easy, the lock much more involved.

On my first E12, after a time, I don't know, 275, 300K, it was getting difficult to get the start function to work, I mean I realllllly had to crank it to the max. I took the switch out, there was wear apparent, but put a dab of grease where the tang of the lock engaged the switch and bam, no more problems until 350K and beyond. Not saying it will work for you, but it did for me. This was with a metal case switch.
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
PatinaBeforePolish
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:22 pm
Location: Baltimore, Md.

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by PatinaBeforePolish »

MIne's at 205k and it's been like this for at least 10k miles so I'm replacing the lock and switch at the same time. Looks like the easiest way is to remove the steering column and do it on the bench. I fortunately found a NOS lock cylinder a few years ago but I haven't found any information on re-keying it so I'm resigned to having 2 keys.

My US BMW dealer is able to order the Euro metal case switch. It's about double the price of the US plastic version but he confirmed the plastic ones have a high failure rate. When I ordered it this week BMW had 56 on hand worldwide. The part number shows as interchangeable with early e24s but who knows if they'll make more when they're gone. Call the parts manager Rick V. at BMW Catonsville, Md. - he's very familiar with classic BMW parts and easy to work with.
79 528i
76 530i - Stored since 1992, can it be brought back to life?
86 944- 2023 project
78 F150- Everyone needs a truck
User avatar
528i-1981
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:50 am
Location: Franklin, TN

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by 528i-1981 »

I can remove my ignition key with the car running. This is evidently the result of wear, but does anyone know if this "feature" correlates to impending failure? It's handy for checking my mailbox at the end of the street without having to turn off the car to remove the key.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
User avatar
Mike W.
Posts: 2798
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:12 am
Location: Sonoma County

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by Mike W. »

528i-1981 wrote: Tue Aug 08, 2023 7:09 am I can remove my ignition key with the car running. This is evidently the result of wear, but does anyone know if this "feature" correlates to impending failure? It's handy for checking my mailbox at the end of the street without having to turn off the car to remove the key.
Yes it is wear, wear mostly on the key. My first E12, a 79 was like that when I bought it with a mere 197K on it. But no, it has nothing to do with the interaction of the lock and the switch, it's just a worn key. And in spite of what you may suspect, it doesn't even make the car easier to steal.
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
PatinaBeforePolish
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:22 pm
Location: Baltimore, Md.

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by PatinaBeforePolish »

Stuck on how to remove the cylinder. Is there a set screw underneath the red dot?

https://ibb.co/sWHNqHj
79 528i
76 530i - Stored since 1992, can it be brought back to life?
86 944- 2023 project
78 F150- Everyone needs a truck
PatinaBeforePolish
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:22 pm
Location: Baltimore, Md.

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by PatinaBeforePolish »

Stuck on cylinder removal - does the brass plate around the keyhole pop out?

Image
Last edited by PatinaBeforePolish on Tue Feb 20, 2024 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
79 528i
76 530i - Stored since 1992, can it be brought back to life?
86 944- 2023 project
78 F150- Everyone needs a truck
PatinaBeforePolish
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:22 pm
Location: Baltimore, Md.

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by PatinaBeforePolish »

PatinaBeforePolish wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 7:43 am
PatinaBeforePolish wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 7:42 am Stuck on how to remove the cylinder. Is there a set screw underneath the red dot?

Image
79 528i
76 530i - Stored since 1992, can it be brought back to life?
86 944- 2023 project
78 F150- Everyone needs a truck
User avatar
Mike W.
Posts: 2798
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:12 am
Location: Sonoma County

Re: Steering lock kill switch?

Post by Mike W. »

PatinaBeforePolish wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 7:42 am Stuck on how to remove the cylinder. Is there a set screw underneath the red dot?

https://ibb.co/sWHNqHj
Yes. They call it a grub screw, it's very small, don't lose it. Basic slotted screw.
Stuck on cylinder removal - does the brass plate around the keyhole pop out?
No, I don't think so. At least I've been in far enough to repin it and don't recall removing it. And just for the record, nice pics by the way, that switch does come out even though it's a very tight fit with the wires attached.
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
Post Reply