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Thread: Ignition switch

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Cave Creek, AZ
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    1982 320is

    Ignition switch

    Yep, as luck would have it, mine took a dump on me today.

    the car wont start when i turn the key. I can bring the key back one click (to where the key normally sits when the engine is running) and get my aux fan to start.

    I had to get a push start from the gas attendant at the pump this afternoon.

    The push start only worked when i backed the key off, and made sure the aux fan was on( made sure the key was in the spot it normally is in when running)

    it would not respond to a push start if i didnt back the key off to ensure it was in just the right spot.

    Any ideas on what might be wrong with my baby? Im short a car this week, and need this fixed. UGH!

    How much is this gonna cost me, and someone give me some pointers on how hard it is to install.

    FML

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    no one has replaced this?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    E21 320i, e39 540i/6
    repost:

    If you ever need to, here's how to remove the cylinder:

    Remove the under column panel. Once off, you'll see 7 total round-head security bolts:
    (A) Metal retaining plate over the lock cylinder
    (B) 4 round-head bolts just above the lock cylinder. These attach the steering column to the upper column cover where the lock cylinder is housed.
    (C) Further towards the front of the car is a bracket that holds the column to the dash support brace. After removal the column will drop enough to separate the upper cover from the column.

    Using a dremel, grind flats in all 7 bolt heads and use a hammer/screwdriver to rotate and loosen each bolt. The lock cylinder will not come out until the cover is unbolted and separated from the column. I replaced all these bolts with regular hex bolts. Once the bolts are out, unplug the cylinder and it should now slide out freely.




    To hot wire/bypass the factory ignition switch:

    Skip all the hassle above and leave the switch in for column lock security. It's a pretty simple wiring job to bypass the switch. I used 2 "aircraft" style ignition switches and a start button from my local autoparts store.

    Unplug the ign. switch wiring harness under the dash. Use male and female spade connectors and heat shrink tubing to insulate to make your connections.

    (A) Red wire - 4mm^2 (10 gauge) - hot from the battery.
    (B) Purple wire - 4mm^2 (10 gauge)- ACC
    (C) Green Wire - 4mm^2 (10 gauge) - Ignition
    (D) Black wire - 2.5mm^2 (12 gauge) - Starter Wire
    (E) Plug to starter wire

    Run a 10 gauge wire from the hot wire (A) to a switch then back to the large purple wire (B). This switch becomes ACC. Run another 10 gauge wire from the hot lead (A) to another switch, then back to the large green wire (C), this becomes ignition. Then run a smaller 12 gauge wire (D) from the hot lead (A) to a start button then back to the starter plug (E). This wire goes to terminal 50 on the starter. You will end up with 3 wires off the hot lead (A) going to your 2 switches and a start button. If you want to operate everything from one switch, simply run a single 10 gauge wire to your switch, then split off the switch with 2 wires - one to the purple ACC wire and one to the green ignition wire. You will also have to reconnect the horn wire (brown w/ yellow stripe) and 2 other wires that don't show up on a wiring diagram. My guess is that one of them has to do with the key/door buzzer and one is the bulb test circuit, but I'm not sure. Since I use the old ignition switch to lock the column (thus I have to turn the key to drive the car) I just ran a small jumper from 1 side of the plug to the corresponding terminal on the other plug to connect the horn and the extra wires.







    To start the car, turn the key to unlock the column, flip your switches up, hit the start button, and away you go.
    Last edited by jrcook320; 03-21-2017 at 10:39 PM.

    '81 320i turbo | t25, 931 CIS, 250hp, 13.92@100mph | 2.2L m10 Turbo Build | My E21 Videos |

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    thank you for reposting your writeup!

    I suck at electrical, so this is going to have to wait till the weekend. Should i just go this route instead of replacing the ignition?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    depends on your preference. It's cheaper, easier, cooler and a whole lot more fun. I love the push button start. My acc and ignition switches are mounted on the center console below the stereo and the start button is mounted where the fog light switch goes.

    '81 320i turbo | t25, 931 CIS, 250hp, 13.92@100mph | 2.2L m10 Turbo Build | My E21 Videos |

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    E21 323i,E32, VZ SV8
    haha dammit, as luck would have it, the plug at the back of mine decided to turn into a smoldering mass on me shorted out a ripper, smoke effin everywhere
    7 break off nuts later i had it all out, going to just cut a chunk out of the top cover on my parts car to get the other one off
    hope i can be assed to get the spare out tommorow,i've borrowed my older bro's skyline till i fix it
    and FYI!! mine had break off nuts on the colum bracket also, they faught all the way out till i got multi grips on them
    AWSOME WRITE-UP, going to see tommorow if i can just do this, hope the wiring is the same on US and euro spec cars?
    Last edited by MAD LIL E21; 10-17-2006 at 07:42 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt P. View Post
    i call bs.

    no way a 318 can beat a horse in a straight line

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
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    1982 Bmw 320i, 1995 Bmw 325is
    Hey man,

    This happen to me. It was hard to explain to people about turning the key back too. It was definetely the ignition switch. But I knew nothing about this electrical, and I didn't have this nifty diagram and pic. I got it done at shop, I think the switch was like 120 or something which hurt me, but meh, its done now and works.
    '95 325is w/ Motorsport Package, CAI, Fk Springs, GC RSM's, Dinan Chip, Ellipsoid Projector HID's with Angel Eyes, Fog HID's
    '82 320i w/ Bilsteins/Eibachs, front "s" type spoiler, aftermarket exhaust
    '88 325is blk on blk, lowered with headers

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    E21 323i,E32, VZ SV8
    i have spares, there are a few different types also
    it's just when i can get my ass into gear and do it, E32 is a comfy car to get to and from work..but just no fun
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt P. View Post
    i call bs.

    no way a 318 can beat a horse in a straight line

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    It took a few hours, but im all wired up with a push button start using the key for the accessory, the fog switch for ignition, and a momentary switch from Checker Auto parts ($5.00) for the starter placed in the rear defroster spot in between the headlight and fog light switches.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Haha I have the exact same switch, with the same circle insert, in the same location. But if someone knew what that was they could start your car in about 5sec. Do you still need the key to turn on the acc and unlock the wheel?

    I know someone here whose entire car operates on switches, I know where its parked too

    edit/ almost in the same place:
    Last edited by blitzed310; 10-21-2006 at 08:47 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by blitzed310 View Post
    . Do you still need the key to turn on the acc and unlock the wheel?
    Yep. And i know where that car is parked too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    '83 320i, '04 STi
    my dad used to have code keypad on his dunebuggy which was pretty cool. but then the keypad died so he scrapped it. It couldnt be too hard to devise some circuit to better secure starting the car though.

  13. #13
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    Honestly tho, outside of our group of enthusiasts, there is no interest in these cars. How often do you hear about an E21 getting "stolen"? Broken into, maybe, but come on, who are we kidding.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    WOOT, Matt got himself a push button start, but both you and CJ are halfassing it, you guys still use keys HAHA

    E21 LEGION


    Crypto success: http://brief.watchersfrontline.com/SHV

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoostedE21 View Post
    WOOT, Matt got himself a push button start, but both you and CJ are halfassing it, you guys still use keys HAHA
    Half assing? Your the one rolling around with no steering lock. I could start your car with no keys and drive off.

    You would not only need my remote to open the door, a key to unlock the wheel , a certain switch to turn on the acc., a certain switch to activate fuel pump, and then the push button to start my car. No one but me and my dad could start my car.

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    I'm still using keys too... I figure it's a decent security feature to lock the column. Half the time I forget to put the keys in the ignition, start driving and it locks on me, half the time I leave them in the ignition when I park the car.

    '81 320i turbo | t25, 931 CIS, 250hp, 13.92@100mph | 2.2L m10 Turbo Build | My E21 Videos |

  17. #17
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    Well, only you and a few other people know how to start the car. Not to mention i have a switch you have to turn on first to start the car. Like Matt said, no one would steal E21's

    E21 LEGION


    Crypto success: http://brief.watchersfrontline.com/SHV

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoostedE21 View Post
    Well, only you and a few other people know how to start the car. Not to mention i have a switch you have to turn on first to start the car. Like Matt said, no one would steal E21's
    I'll steal your car bitch and feed it to my pigs.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by blitzed310 View Post
    I'll steal your car bitch and feed it to my pigs.
    Shhitttt, you cant handle that son!

    E21 LEGION


    Crypto success: http://brief.watchersfrontline.com/SHV

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoostedE21 View Post
    Well, only you and a few other people know how to start the car. Not to mention i have a switch you have to turn on first to start the car. Like Matt said, no one would steal E21's
    unless youre a hick up near my area... "ooooh look there earl, that there is a BMW, lets take it" Someone thought the stereo was valuable enough to rip it out of my car before i bought it. Maybe i'm just paranoid.

    No offense to people named earl or who consider themselves hicks

  21. #21
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    IM in the "secret switches" boat as well. heh..heh..heh..

    I can sense a drunken bet formulating for bfest 2007, in the parking lot friday night..

    CJ: hey Matt! I bet u $20 u cant start my car! or something along those lines..

  22. #22
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    haha nah it's just a cold start injector problem and you find that out the next morning
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt P. View Post
    i call bs.

    no way a 318 can beat a horse in a straight line

  23. #23
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    I just wanted to clarify a part of this, to remove the ignition switch from the column do you need to turn the key to run? I've replaced them in other cars before and the key needed to be used.

    I ask because I lost the only key for my e21 after I let a friend borrow the car

    is there a source to buy new ignition switches with keys? I got a new one with 2 keys for my mustang a year ago for $20...

  24. #24
    Join Date
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    If you remove the ignition switch you will have to hotwire the car with switches. If it's removed there is nowhere to put the key in

    I didn't remove mine, I bypassed the electrical switch on the back of the lock cylinder, therefore I still have to use a key to unlock the column.

    '81 320i turbo | t25, 931 CIS, 250hp, 13.92@100mph | 2.2L m10 Turbo Build | My E21 Videos |

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    my question is can I remove the ignition switch without having the key, buy a new one, and install that.

    or, can I remove the ignition switch without having the key, and convert to a push button start without having the steering wheel lock on me.

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