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From Mon Jan 26 20:37:56 1998
From: Dale Beuning <>
Subject: Re: E30 lock replacement - help
To:, (BMW List)
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 20:37:52 -0800 (PST)
Cc: ()

I just did a rebuild on the drivers door lock on my 1988 325is.

The new locks cyl are a better design, the old one has an internal ball bearing which is the failure point from concentrating too much force on the cyl, wearing a grove, causing the failure. The new lock cyl has a roller bearing with much more surface area over which to distribute the load.

If you need pics of what the lock cyl is supposed to look like, check these out: Big 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10

To remove the existing lock cyl:

  • remove door panel
  • peal back protective plastic on inside of door near the lock mech.
  • using a long screwdriver, pry the C clip holding the lock in place to the right. The C clip has a lip so it's easy to get the screwdriver in there and twist to get it started.
  • careful you don't drop the C clip
  • once the C clip is out, the lock cyl comes straight out, with a twisting, 90 deg pivot to clear the actuating arm on the end. Hope this ASCII art makes sense
  #1      o  <-lock cyl
     ----]o[-------------outer door skin

  #2   oo-l  <-lock cyl
     ----]l[-------------outer door skin

  #3   oo-l  <-lock cyl
     ----] [-------------outer door skin

You have two choices for the lock cylinder:

  1. buy a whole new assembley with 2 new keys for aprox $70 from the dealer
  2. buy a rebuild kit that you can create a lock cyl keyed to your car for aprox $32 from your local BMW dealer. I chose to go this route as I hate carrying around a bunch of keys, and it was a heck of a lot cheaper!
    Keying the new cylinder
    • 51-21-9-061-343 (Central locking, left side)
    • 51-21-9-556-313 (all other door locks)

To install:

  • insert the cylinder, reverse of above.
  • be sure the actuating arm goes into it's groove
  • seat the cyl against the outer door skin
  • time for the C clip, you have to start it by hand
  • hold the cyl in place with your left hand
  • try out the lock action to insure it works correctly
  • get your right hand/arm all greasy inserting the C clip in place, just get it started, then use your trusty screwdriver to get it seated into place
  • restick plastic
  • reinstall door panel

The Unofficial E36 Homepage
The Unofficial E30 Homepage

> I have a 1991 E30 four door, that the driver's door lock stopped
> working. So I bought the replacement from the dealer, and started to
> replace it; however, I couldn't figure out how to remove the old lock.
> It's pretty tight around the lock, and I cannot reach it. Is there a
> trick to it? I really would like to lock and unlock my car from the
> driver's door again, and not have to admit that I cannot not do a job
> (and hence take it to the dealer). Any help would be much appreciated.
> Michael Cari

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