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Thread: The ULTIMATE US OEM Keyless/Alarm Thread

  1. #1
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    The ULTIMATE US OEM Keyless/Alarm Thread

    EDIT: 11/2012 - I edited this post with some new info I discovered. The link I had to the 2 button fob programming led to some instructions that were incorrect. I have changed the link so it leads to programming instructions that work correctly. I also discovered that a single 2 button fob can be programmed to work on more than one control module at the same time. More info on this is under "How It All Works".

    Questions about the US Spec OEM alarm/keyless come up all the time. Here are all the details on both systems that were used, including programing instructions. The US alarm/keyless system is completely different than the Euro version. I can't speak for Canada or any other country. This only applies to US E36's

    If you think you might have one of these installed from a previous owner I can tell you the big 'give away" sign will be the red LED right in front of the shifter. If you see one of those then pull the glovebox out and see if you can see the control module. You can't miss it with it's bright green harness connector. Be aware that Ive seen cars outfitted with lots of options that fill up those slots in front of the shifter. In this case they install an LED above the headlight switch so look for that too.

    BMW used 2 Alpine alarm/keyless systems on the e36. The first used a 3 button fob the later version used a 2 button fob. The cutoff was sometime in the 96/97 model year. It was a dealer installed option. Your car came prewired from the factory with a connector behind the glovebox and a hood switch in the engine bay. The dealer installed the control module, LED and Horn/Siren. More on the horn/siren later. Almost all US e36's came prewired for this option. You can look in the trunk and you'll see this button.

    As long as your car is prewired you can use either system. Ive installed both systems in a 95 even though it was supposed to get the 3 button system. Ive seen the 3 button system installed in a 98 even though it was supposed to get the 2 button system. All cars that were supposed to get the 3 button system will have a small cage next to the A/C dryer. That cage has the horn for the alarm. You can unplug the horn and connect an electronic siren. I've seen the horn/siren connector back next to the "B" post and I've seen it tucked up under the radiator support just above the passenger headlight. It all depends on the year/model. Only the 3 button system is capable of using the horn. If you take it out, the horn is identical to the ones on the other side of the car that go off when you press the horn button inside the car. The alarm horn is comletely separate and it can be removed without affecting the other horns.

    Each system will work with just the control module installed. The LED and horn/siren don't need to be installed and the hood switch doesn't need to be connected. More on the hood switch a bit later.

    Whichever unit you use you will need to match the control module to the correct fob. You can't mix and match them. Each unit has its own harness too. These can't be mixed and matched. In fact the green connector on each harness is a different size so you can't even try to make them work. Looking at the module itself will instantly tell you which fob you need. The three button module has a small door on the back and a dip switch on the end of it but, just to be sure look, at the FCC ID number on the back of the module. If its number A269ZUA070 then you need a 3 button fob with FCC ID number A269ZUA071. If the FCC ID number is A269ZUA110 then you need a 2 button fob with FCC ID number A269ZUA111. If the FCC ID number isn't visible then just look at the control module itself. It is physically different.

    THE PARTS:

    2 Button Complete Setup


    3 Button Complete Setup


    2 Button Fob


    2 Button FCC ID


    3 Button Fob


    Siren


    Horn Cage


    Harness Connnector Location


    Control Module Location


    Hood Switch


    Trunk Button


    2 Button Control Module FCC ID


    3 Button Control Module End


    3 Button Control Module FCC ID





    ABOUT FOBS:

    You absolutely have to have the correct fob for the module. It must have the correct FCC ID number. There are lots of pretty flip key fobs etc on ebay but they will not work with these systems. There is also a ton of Subaru 2 button fobs that look identical to the BMW 2 button fobs. They even have the same FCC ID number but they will NOT work on our system. I don't know why, but they don't. It has to say BMW on it or it won't work.

    If you are looking for a replacement fob you can usually find them on ebay for $35-$50. The 3 button ones tend to be more expensive. You can also get a replacement at "Keylessride.com" and a few other places online. The best way to track down a replacement is to use the FCC ID number of the module or fob. Google is a good place to start.

    Each fob has a "Panic Mode" on it. The 3 button fob has a separate "Panic" button.
    The 2 button fob sets off the "Panic Mode" if you hold the lock button in long enough. The 3 button fob uses the same button to lock/unlock. You have to press a separatebutton to arm the alarm. The 2 button fob uses separate buttons to lock unlock. The alarm is automatically armed as soon as you lock the car.


    HOw IT ALL WORKS:

    The OEM system is separate from any other system in the car.

    It does not disable anything.
    It's not connected to the radio or OBC.
    It can't cause "no start" issues.
    It can't be used while the car is running.
    It doesn't care if the windows are open or the top is down. It will still arm the alarm and lock all the locks.
    It automatically "Double Locks" the car so anyone inside can NOT get out or start the car if they have a key. I know the inside door handles are definately disabled in "double lock" but I've never tested the "no start" function.
    The ONLY thing each system does is lock/unlock the doors, trunk and gas filler door and arm the alarm.
    On Verts it locks/unlocks the glovebox too.
    It doesn't close/open any windows or any other comfort features. There are aftermarket units that will do this.
    It doesn't flash any lights but you can modify it to do this. There are several DIY's on this.
    If the alarm is set off it can be turned off by inserting the key and turning the ignition to position 1 or2 or by starting the car. It can also be turn off with the fob but it takes a bit longer.
    On all units it will chirp Once for unlock, twice for unlock and three times if something is wrong that is preventing it from locking.
    On All units you can manually unlock the doors with the key just as if you didn't have the alarm installed. This will not set off the alarm unless a door or trunk is opened.
    Locking the car with the key doesn't arm the alarm.
    The LED will flash for 36 hours then turn off to save batter life. The alarm remains armed even if the LED stops flashing.
    The 2 button fob is programmed with a series of steps listed below.
    The 3 button fob uses a chip to hold its programming. This is listed below.
    The 2 button fob can be linked to more than one control module at the same time. If you have more than one car with one of the 2 button fob units installed you can program one fob to work with both units at the same time. The only problem is you'll lock and unlock both cars at the same time if they are sitting next to each other.


    LED's and Sensors and other stuff:

    Each system has an LED that inserts into the slots in front of the shifter. The 2 button LED only has the LED mounted. The 3 button LED also has a small speaker that is the glass break sensor. The glass break sensor on the 2 button unit is in the contol module. You can see a small grid in one corner where it is located. Both style LED's will work with both units. The 2 button control module does not have anywhere to plug the 3 button glass break sensor in since it already has it built into the control module.

    The 3 button unit has a movement sensor module that is built into the harness. The 2 button unit does not have this module in the harness and Ive never been able to fiure out if its built into the unit. The module on the harness needs to be bolted to the car somewhere for it to properly sense movement. It has a tab with a hole just for this purpose.

    Each unit has its own fuse built into the harness. I found it very handy to cut this fuse out, then lengthen the wires and relocate the fuse to somewhere that doesn't require the golvebox to be pulled to access it. On manual cars a good place is under the leather shift boot. On Automatic cars Ive found cutting a hole in the back of the glovebox works well.

    There is a connector on the harness for the hood switch. You will find a matching connector on the cars harness that runs behind the module stack. If the hood switch has never been connected to an alarm before it will be buried deep in the harness but it won't be very far from the left hand side of the module stack next to the black harness connector. It took me over an hour of digging to find it.

    The hood switch can be a problem. If the hood doesn't close far enough it won't trip the switch. The system will work without the hood switch connected. You can unplug the switch in the engine bay or at the harness for the control module. As hard as it is to get into the engine bay on these cars if the hood release isn't working, I recommend not using the hood switch. Ive had too many times it prevented the alarm from arming and one time the alarm went off because the switch caused it to thing someone opened the hood. Luckily I was close by when it went off. In order to open the hood, you need to use the hood release. By the time they get into the car and pull the hood release they have already set off the alarm.

    The car battery can be disconnected and the unit and fob will NOT require reprogramming. In fact the control module can be completely removed from the car then reinstalled and it will work as if it was never removed. Removing the fob battery clears any progrmming.

    I know you can have at least 2 fobs linked to the control module and I know you can have more but I don't know how many..so at least 3 and maybe more.

    2 Button LED


    3 Button LED


    3 Button Movement sensor



    UNIQUE TO 3 BUTTON UNITS:

    The following are features unique to only the 3 button control module.

    The control module for the 3 button unit has a small door on it. Inside this door are a series of dip switches. You'll also find the slot for the chip and the programming button. The control module also has a dip switch on the outside Marked "H" and "L".

    The dipswitches turn certain features off/on. I'm not upto date on all of them but I'll cover the ones I know. There should be a label next to the door with all the "default" settings but I'll list them here in case it's missing.

    1) Trunk SWitch: I don't know sorry (default is to the right-neg)
    2) G B Sensor: Adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor (default is to the right-normal) *See note below.
    3) Selection: Allows you to use the horn or siren (default is to the left-siren )
    4) Beep Chirp: turns the chirp feature off/on (default is to the right-on)
    5) SEMS Cancel: I don't know sorry (default is to the right-on)

    *There is also a switch on the end of the module that is listed as Glass Break Detector. This one is confusing because of the additional setting on the dip switches. I can only assume the one on the dip switches is for the movement sensor and this one is for the actual glass break sensor. Only because if you look at the unit at this end of it there is a line across it that has the words "connector on the end that the glass sensor plugs into and "Sens" on the end of the switch and the switch is labeled "L H". I have to assume the GB sensor dip switch is a misprint.

    3 Button dip switches


    3 Button chip slot


    3 Button Programming Button




    AFTERMARKET:

    The range on our alarms isn't the greatest. You generally need to be less than 100' away. Most aftermarket units have a much greater range. There are after market units that are 100% plug and play with our harness and don't require any splicing of any kind. Some of these units have very nice flip fobs but the key that's included has to be cut to fit your locks/ignition. If you have a a car with EWSII you'll also have to remove the chip from the key and insert it into the new fob of one of these units. Many of them also include additional features such as comfort close of all windows and sunroof as long as your car is set up for those features. You might have to purchase an additional modlue to activate those features.

    PROGRAMMING:

    Here are two links to programming instructions for each fob. Just in case anyone is wondering...the three button fob uses a chip that is inserted into the control module then programmed, then transfered back to the fob. Only one chip is required.

    3 Button programming: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1628698

    2 Button programming: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...2&postcount=19
    Last edited by flyfishvt; 11-11-2012 at 02:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice write up, thanks!

    I am planning on changing to the 2 button, I had everything but the module but had assumed I could use the same harness. Thanks for letting me know I also need to source a 2 button harness!

    I had assumed the hood switch was integrated into the black connector ... so there is a separate connector buried in there just for that switch? I had been assuming my 3 beep alarm fault was a problem with the hood switch. I guess not. I know my drivers lock actuator is not working, was thinking manually locking it would not throw a fault. But if the hood switch is not the culprit I guess that is. I have another actuator, just need to put it in. Do you know if there is any R&R that can be done on a balky actuator?
    David M.
    '96 328 Sedan

  3. #3
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    Actuators are better being replaced. They have tiny micro switches that make them work. Just replace it and save a few hours trying to fix the broken one.

    I have 2 3 button modules and 2 complete harnesses for them. I also have a complete harness and module forthe 2 button system. I also have a siren. I was going to test them and put them up in the classifieds. Sorry but I don't have any fobs. I found 3 of the 3 button fobs on ebay for $60 each while I was grabbing pics for this.

  4. #4
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    Might be interested in the 2 button, actually. I am currently without keyless, some clown PO decided to rip it out and cut a bunch of wires...
    Protip:
    Used cars are always lemons.
    Especially if I've used them.

  5. #5
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    So far I'm looking at replacing my fender and getting a new back window and then getting the top to work, once I get that done I definitely want to go with an alarm, can't do ALL these goodies at once... But first and foremost... Still need to pass emissions -_-

  6. #6
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    I can help you with the top once I get my car back from my daughter so I have it in front of me to compare notes on.

    Too bad you aren't in the market for an alarm system. There are several on the classifieds here. One is even brand new in orriginal packaging with 2 fobs. $250 and thats a decent price. I'm not selling any of the ones I have till I can test them out.

  7. #7
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    I have the 2 button on mine and even with the drivers door lock actuator not working everything else works, just have to lock/unlock the door with the key. The comfort relay still works too, I just have too much resistance in the drivers window so it stops part way up, but the sunroof and other window still closes. Three beeps still indicate something isn't closed all the way.

    1998 328is 5sp Cosmos Schwarz Metallic Sparco strut brace factory X-brace M rear diffuser Apexcone ellipsoid w/55w 5000K HIDs thinline angel eyes/smoked Lamin-X blacked out tails corners side markers and fogs LEDs where ever they fit, ASC-T & CDV delete DDM pedals 35% tint all around Eibach Pro Kit springs and HD lip. Poly LCABs and RTABs. 2003 325XI, StahlGrau metallic money pit, auto, 17" style 73's and just black grills.

  8. #8
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    All the comfort close features with the key will still work. What i was saying is the alarm/keyless will not activate any of them. They still need to be done with the key.

    You get 3 beeps and the locks still lock/unlock with the alarm fob? or do they just lock/unlock with the key in the door? Ive had several of these systems in 2 different cars and 3 beeps always means something is wrong and nothig will lock/unlock with the fob.

  9. #9
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    Yes the three beeps indicate something wrong and nothing locks. I have a wad of paper stuffed between the hood and insulation to ensure the switch closes.

    1998 328is 5sp Cosmos Schwarz Metallic Sparco strut brace factory X-brace M rear diffuser Apexcone ellipsoid w/55w 5000K HIDs thinline angel eyes/smoked Lamin-X blacked out tails corners side markers and fogs LEDs where ever they fit, ASC-T & CDV delete DDM pedals 35% tint all around Eibach Pro Kit springs and HD lip. Poly LCABs and RTABs. 2003 325XI, StahlGrau metallic money pit, auto, 17" style 73's and just black grills.

  10. #10
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    If you get three beeps try unplugging the hood switch AT the switch. Even if the hood switc is connected at the wire harness inside the car you can disconnect it at the switch and the system will work as long as there aren't any other issues. My guess is that your lock actuator is what is causing it though. its making the alarm think one of the doors is open.
    Last edited by flyfishvt; 02-19-2012 at 09:51 PM.

  11. #11
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    you're awesome fly!
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  12. #12
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    I think you misunderstood me, the only thing that doesn't work is the drivers door lock actuator. When I took the wad of paper out I got the three beeps or if my wife didn't close the door all the way. Just get the proper number now.

    1998 328is 5sp Cosmos Schwarz Metallic Sparco strut brace factory X-brace M rear diffuser Apexcone ellipsoid w/55w 5000K HIDs thinline angel eyes/smoked Lamin-X blacked out tails corners side markers and fogs LEDs where ever they fit, ASC-T & CDV delete DDM pedals 35% tint all around Eibach Pro Kit springs and HD lip. Poly LCABs and RTABs. 2003 325XI, StahlGrau metallic money pit, auto, 17" style 73's and just black grills.

  13. #13
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    Naw...I just got tired of posting the same thing everytime someone brought any of this stuff up. Now I just send them a link to all the answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
    I think you misunderstood me, the only thing that doesn't work is the drivers door lock actuator. When I took the wad of paper out I got the three beeps or if my wife didn't close the door all the way. Just get the proper number now.
    So no three beeps and the drives door lock doesn't lock? Wierd. I wonder if some of the linkage is disconnected from the actuator.

    There is a rod that goes from the lock tumbler to the actuator. It has a history of popping out of its plastic grommet. Also a couple other rods that connect everything that can pop out. But that would mean the actuator is actually working but not connected. You could hear it working if you stand next to the door. Its pretty distinct sound.
    Last edited by flyfishvt; 02-19-2012 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  14. #14
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    Excellent write up!

    Definitley want to get my fob back! the part that attaches to the keychain broke and it went missing!
    |ProjectTechnik| - The Alberta BMW Enthusiast Community

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  15. #15
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    So Canada cars have the same US spec alarm module and fob?

    Its hard to know. You guys have a few features from US and a few from Euro

    If you do have the same ones then I'll edit the post. Ive got a couple typos to fix too.

  16. #16
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    I had the exact same two button fob on mine. The pic you posted does say "Canada" on the back. When i get a chance to get behind the glove box i will take pictures to compare. I too have the hood switch, and the red LED by my shifter next to the cigarette lighter.
    |ProjectTechnik| - The Alberta BMW Enthusiast Community

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  17. #17
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    The drivers door only locks/unlocks with the key, if I use the fob or switch on the console everything else locks/unlocks and not even a click from the drivers door actuator. It worked intermittently for a while and then it quit. I've got intermittent starter issues right now that are more urgent than a power lock.
    Last edited by jmo69; 02-20-2012 at 12:00 AM.

    1998 328is 5sp Cosmos Schwarz Metallic Sparco strut brace factory X-brace M rear diffuser Apexcone ellipsoid w/55w 5000K HIDs thinline angel eyes/smoked Lamin-X blacked out tails corners side markers and fogs LEDs where ever they fit, ASC-T & CDV delete DDM pedals 35% tint all around Eibach Pro Kit springs and HD lip. Poly LCABs and RTABs. 2003 325XI, StahlGrau metallic money pit, auto, 17" style 73's and just black grills.

  18. #18
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    this is awesome, i believe my 325is has a factory alarm, it has the hood sensor, i have the horn, no fob, led and i havent checked behind the glovebox and for some reason the PO of my car had the horn wired to the washer motor(via blue "scotch locks") where is it suppose to plug into?
    -Justin-
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  19. #19
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    I have the 2 button setup and if you open the alarm module I believe you can configure the sensitivity of the alarm with some dip switches.

  20. #20
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    showoff

    but really, thank you for this. I hope this will help put a stop to all of the threads about keyless entries. it taught me a few things as well. great write up.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyfishvt View Post
    You get 3 beeps and the locks still lock/unlock with the alarm fob? or do they just lock/unlock with the key in the door? Ive had several of these systems in 2 different cars and 3 beeps always means something is wrong and nothig will lock/unlock with the fob.
    With my 3 button system: Hit lock, one beep and everything but the drivers door locks. When I hit alarm I would get two beeps and a second or two later the alarm would go off. When I hit unlock I get 3 beeps and the doors (except driver) unlock.

    Weird ... just went to try it and it works as above, except now the alarm is setting and not immediately going off? A few days ago I did mess with the hood switch, but did not actually try the alarm since I was still getting 3 beeps on unlock. Plus I read above that the hood switch isn't even active unless it is plugged in.

    Edit: maybe it doesn't work, after driving today tried the setting the alarm again and 5 seconds later it went off.
    Last edited by paniolo; 02-21-2012 at 06:52 PM.
    David M.
    '96 328 Sedan

  22. #22
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    My 2 button works fine but goes of randomly during the night. Cant find out why grrrrr
    Tampa

  23. #23
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    Just to clear a question...
    My car is wired and im pretty sure the fob was just lost by the PO.
    So i just need to match the #'s on the alarm "brain" to a new fob and it will work? or does it need to be programed some how? I'm a little confused on that..
    1983 318i to 325i project- http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1756636
    1999 323is DD

  24. #24
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    Each fob needs to be programed to mate up with the control module. Just like syncing a bluetooth item. I gave the FCC ID numbers for the control modules and matching fobs. Make sure they match those numbers. Once a fob is programmed it wont lose that programming unless the battery is removed. The control module can be disconnected over and over and it won't affect programming.

    read the thread again. It all explained. DO NOT get a Subaru fob.

  25. #25
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    OK thanks man, i got it now..
    now to find a fob lol
    1983 318i to 325i project- http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1756636
    1999 323is DD

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