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From Sun Apr 25 23:29:41 1999
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 23:29:13 -0700
From: Dale Beuning <>
To: Quan Ngo <>, Dale Beuning <>
Subject: Re: door lock cylinder rekey.

Have you read this already?


  • Buy the appropriate repair kit:
    • 51-21-9-061-343 (Central locking, left side)
    • 51-21-9-556-313 (all other door locks)
  • work on a sheet of white paper if you can with good light
  • there are two kinds of lock cyl for the E30 and E28, deadbolt and non-deadbolt, I think the introduction of deadbolts was in 1986 model year. Be sure you got the correct part, the two key cylinders should be the same length, if they are not, they sold you the wrong one.
  • have your old lock cylinder sitting in front of you as you do this as it makes assembly of the end piece of your cylinder much easier to do
  • if have deadbolts, be sure you are using a "master" key, one that would activate the deadbolt feature from the drivers door. you throw the deadbolt by being able to turn the key fully 90 degrees, and removing the key in the _horizontal_ position

I'm going to assume you have the newer style locks with deadbolts, if you have the older style, just ignore the part about the last few special tumblers. The little silver slots that you slide into the key cylinder are called "tumblers".

How to key the new lock cylinder:

  • empty the bag of new tumblers out on the sheet of paper
  • sort them by type and number, there are two types, main body tumblers and the deadbolt tumblers. you can tell the deadbolt tumblers by their different shape and that their are fewer of them. When done, you should have 8 piles, sizes 1-4, and two types, deadbolt and non.
  • if you look at your key, you will see the various notches, these notches directly relate to the tumbler numbers. If it's a really deep cut, that location takes a number 4 tumbler, if it's a shallow cut, it takes a number 1 tumbler. Medium deep is a #3, medium shallow is a #2.
  • work on the cylinder 1 slot at a time. the tumbler only fits in the slot one useful way, that is with the little "outrigger" compressing the small spring to the side. Put the springs in last, they only get in the way until then.
  • start the the slot closest to the outside portion of the cylinder. Look at the key, and start laying out which tumblers fit which section of the key.
  • layout the tumblers in order, then insert them into the cylinder in the correct order
  • now do a test fitting of the key in the cylinder, if any of the tumblers stick up above the flush level of the key cylinder, you'll need to fit a different tumbler for that position.
  • once you have all of the tumblers correctly identified, remove the tumbers one by one and insert the springs. use the key to help keep all the tumblers in place. don't forget the grease!
  • insert the inner key cylinder into the outer key cylinder.
  • assemble the linkage on the end of the cylinder that actuates the door lock, drive the pin into place to hold the assembly together
  • test the free turning of the key and the linkage.
  • install new key cylinder into car.
  • congratulations!

Dale Beuning
'95 M3
'90 K75RT
'88 325is -> new drivers door lock cylinder '80 528i

Quan Ngo wrote:

> Hi Dale,
> I'm replacing the door lock cylinder on my car but the kit that I
> bought only come with Germany instruction which is impossible for me
> to rekey the new cylinder. Do you have one?? Please help me out.
> Thanks

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