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Thread: Driver's door lock cylinder swap questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    E34 535i; E36 325is

    Driver's door lock cylinder swap questions

    BMW makes a repair kit for the driver's door lock mechanism: Genuine BMW Repair Kit Lock Cylinder Left - 51218127209 which fits E34 cars.
    https://c1552172.ssl.cf0.rackcdn.com/18880_x800.jpg

    This kits contains various bits and springs through which the lock cylinder fits. Other than REALOEM parts diagrams, I am unable to find complete instructions or photos on exactly how this all goes together, especially springs. The driver door lock mechanism in my '89 535i is broken and I have a good working spare from a '90 535i, so I need to swap the original '89 lock cylinder into it so the old '89 key still works all locks.

    Shogun and others have posted links and some photos on this installation, but so far I find no specifics on putting this all back together properly. Can anyone please offer further guidance?

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    E34 535i; E36 325is
    Thanks very much for posting this complete article, as I'd already found it but not with the last portion and pictures.

    The Jon Evans post above is for a UK version with right hand drive,so the pics show linkage bits with an "R" for the right hand drive version, and my US model is left hand, showing an "L" cast into the linkage bits. Presumably these are mirror-image R and L opposites.

    Questions about the "R" vs. "L" bits: It seems self-evident the bits should all show R or L facing outwards in the same direction during assembly, including the little ring thingy inside the linkage bits. See picture #5 in the Jon Evans post above.

    Questions: 1.) To be sure, is the little ring thingy inside the linkage bits also oriented with L showing the same direction as the outer L-marked bits?

    2.) Where can I find a BMW shop manual or other definitive source for assembling these parts, to be sure?

    The trouble I have is that using the key in my US-version left hand driver door, turning the key clockwise will manually (without connecting the actuator electrical plugs) lock the door, but then turning the key counter-clockwise will not unlock the door. I want to lock and unlock manually.
    Last edited by Dash01; 10-14-2017 at 02:50 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    This is not the cheap version of the story, but if you take your registration and ID to a dealer, they will make a new lock cylinder for you using your VIN. Call a local dealer and find out how much they'll charge. I did it in SoCal and it was close to $200.

    Flying: Because baseball, basketball, football, golf, soccer, and rugby only take one ball.

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