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From digest.v6.n630 Tue May 6 18:57:22 1997
From: (Phil Marx)
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 14:22:49 -0500
Subject: <E30> new keys for your bimmer

John Bolhuis wrote (snipped):
>Short recap: There are thick keys
>and thin keys - thick keys are for the valet - they don't fit the trunk or
>glovebox. There are master and non-master keys - master keys will
>double-lock, non master keys won't. My primary key was a thin non-master,
>so it turned all locks, but wouldn't double-lock. I wanted a real master
>key that I could use to double-lock, i.e. a copy of my spare stubby-headed
>little master key.

>I decided to stop in
>at A&A lock in Menlo Park. They turn out to be the friendliest, funniest,
>fastest, most competent key makers I've ever seen. Problem solved for
>under $4.
> <Moral of this now tediously long story> If you need a key for your E30,
>see a locksmith. Don't bother your dealer.
> John Bolhuis

The master and valet keys are not different thicknesses, they have a different thickness of the center groove only. The valet key is made without the center groove "ground-down" so it won't physically fit in the glove box or trunk lock. The reason it won't operate the dead-bolt locks on the driver's door is that it is lacking length and "nodes" at the tip-end so it won't operate the "extra" part of the cylinder assembly. The factory blank with the "S" engraved at the hilt is long enough to be cut to operate the dead-bolt function, the "I" blank is not. All E30s with deadbolts came with "S" profile master keys (2), one headless master (wallet) and one "I" profile valet key missing the end "nodes". If you cut an "S" blank from a non master-key, it will still not have the extra "nodes" to operate the dead-bolt. If you cut an "I" profile master blank from an "S" profile master it still won't operate the dead-bolts. I recommend using the factory steel blanks as the brass junk from key shops have been known to bend and break in the locks, particularly on keys whose code causes deep cuts and weak spots. Any key machine can cut the OE blanks, some shops just don't like to because it causes extra wear on their wheels.

  • -Phil Marx BMWCCA #6021
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