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Ron Stygar Carl Buckland Dale Beuning Forums Help

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Adding a door lock switch to your E36 3 series.

One thing I hate is trying to reach around over my shoulder and hit the door lock stick on the door. I have a 2 door E36 so my stick is farther back than the 4 door models. Well, I decided to put a new switch in my car that would do the simplest of things, lock the doors. There have been comments on safety issues and double locking the car, etc. This does nothing but lock the doors, to unlock, you must simply pull the door lever. Simplicity. Several people have asked me how I did it and I never really got around to telling them, so read slowly. First of all, I did it using the factory alarm connector. It is a plug in solution that you can remove to work on it at a table or anywhere you please without crawling around inside you car. The other benefit, and the one that is more important to me is that you don't have to disconnect your battery. So here we go, you will need a few parts and pieces to pull it off.

BMW ASC/T Switch Part # 61 31 1 390 806 Cost is $51.75 - 25% = $42.56

Factory alarm harness. I am sure you can pick one up at the dealership, I will look into it for part numbers, but if you have a factory alarm, you are fine.

A plug module to attach the switch to. I bought mine at radio shack as part of a sound module (cat# 276-1324), it also came with some pins that I could use, worked out great. It costs two dollars or so.

You will also need a soldering iron, hot glue gun, and some wire, (I used black and red 20 gauge braided wire) and some screwdrivers to pull out the glove box. Overall it is pretty easy work if you have pulled your glove box before. Otherwise, check out Dale's site for info on pulling out the glove box.

Once you get the glove box out, you can get to the alarm and the harness, you don't need to pull the passenger side kick panel or anything out, just reach in and unplug the alarm harness. If you don' t have a factory alarm, you can get the harness. If you alarm is aftermarket, modify it accordingly at your own risk.

First step is to cut away some of the electrical tape or heat shrink on the harness. Once you have it pulled back a bit, cut it away or tape it out of the way. Now there are a bundle of wires, you will see a +12v yellow battery wire with a fuse attached to it, and a black/yellow wire. Now the black and yellow wire goes to the ZKE door lock input. Now you want to spice into both of these wires. I just removed a little of the insulation and wrapped a 3 foot section of new wire to the exposed wire. I then soldered it, and shrink-wrapped it. Repeat this with the door lock wire, I would recommend using a different color. Now that that's done, wrap the harness with electrical tape (I would say heat shrink, but the factory used electrical tape so I figured I could too.) You may wish to install blinking hazard lights when alarm is armed/disarmed, you can see how to do that from Dale's page as well. It is pretty simple and should take you 20 minutes if you are extremely careful.

Next up is installing the pins on the ends of the wires. You need to make a simple harness. Cut up the socket connector from the radio shack kit and cut it down so it only has 6 holes in it. You are only going to use 4. Now solder pins on to the wires you attached to the harness. Pretty simple. Now, mark the switch with a felt pen or scratch a groove in it so you know which way to insert the plug. Now if you look at the ASC switch, then you will see the pins are numbered. You must run the two wires from the alarm harness to pins 5 and 6. House work is now done, go back into the garage.

Go out to you car and reinstall the alarm harness. Run the wires along to the center of the opening and then tuck them under the center console and let them hang out a little next to the shifter. If you have a 5 speed, this it will be pretty easy from here. Pull off the shifter knob, it will come eventually, pull straight up. Now push in on the sides of the boot to remove it. Now pull out the foam insulation piece. If you have an automatic, then you will need to remove the OBC, reach into the sunglass holder and there is a hold in the top. Put your finger in the hole and push the OBC out, once it's out a little, you can grab the edges and pull it out. Really not that hard to do, I wouldn't recommend using any tools as you might scratch it and that will haunt you later whenever you see it. Now that the OBC is out, pull up on the sunglass holder and the whole thing will come out. Now tuck the harness under the center console and grab it with your hand. You will need to tap into a dimmer switch, I just daisy chained off of the cigarette lighter's light. Before you do this, make sure you either disconnect the battery, or do what I did, and pull the fuses to the cigarette lighter and the dimmer fuses. (Only about 3) Now you will need to solder pins on to the light's wires. I just cut away some insulation and went to it like before. I covered the interior with towels and then a piece of cardboard so I would have something solid to work on. Now I placed an inline fuse in each wire coming from the cigarette lighter light so I could remove it and modify it in the future if needed. Now run the two wires from the dimmer to pins 2 and 4 on the ASC Switch plug you created. Now, make sure that all the wires are well insulated. Heat shrink tubing is cheap and easy to use. Then you are pretty much done. Attach the plug that you made to the switch, close the doors, and press the button. It should lock the doors. Pretty neat huh? Now replace the fuses in the fuse box, and get back into the car. Turn on the headlights. Does the switch light up? Great. If not, you did something wrong back there. Check it. Now feed the plug through the opening in the sunglass panel you wish to use, reinstall the sunglass holder panel and the OBC, plug in the switch, and snap it into the console. I personally put two gobs of hot glue on the harness to prevent it from slipping out. It is not messy and easy to undo. Test it again for good measure, and that's it.

A few words of caution. If you should ground the yellow wire, you are screwed. It will take you hours to fix the problem. The doors lock when you pulse the door lock pin in the ZKE with +12v. If you ground it, you will blow a fuse in your auxiliary fuse box. Ask me how I know. If you do by accident your OBC will not function nor will your alarm. If this happens, email me and I will tell you how to get to the auxiliary fuse box.

So that's it. It shouldn't take that long. Be careful, and have fun. It shouldn't be damaging to your car in any way. I am currently looking into using a SMG switch from the EURO M3 Sequential setup for a door lock switch, you can ask me about it later. It looks a little silly with two ASC switches. If you don't have ASC, then it will look right at home, just don' t tell anyone it locks the doors :)

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at I will be happy to help you with any problems. Thanks go to John Firestone for his insights into the ZKE (BMW's computer that controls the door locks, windows, etc.) And many thanks to Stephen at South Motors BMW in Miami for the parts.

So, now you have a door lock switch, and it is 100% factory looking. You can probably get by with a radio shack momentary contact switch and just drill out one of the blanks, but I wanted my car to look factory. Use this guide at your own risk, and good luck. I have also performed this operation on a 97 M3 so I am pretty sure it will work on all E36s with an alarm port. I plan on adding an HK on/off switch for my sub in the rear so I can turn it off when someone occupies the rear of the car, a second sun roof switch, using a visor switch (fits same holes as ASC switch) and a possibly a garage door opener switch in the console using the SMG switch mentioned above. So if you are interested let me know and I will post those procedures in the future.

I hope you enjoy your door lock switch, I tend to use mine more often at night in the wrong part of town. Makes me feel better to know I can lock the doors so fast, rather than have to fumble around if someone is harassing me. I have had the modification done for 6 months on my 325is and 3 months on my 97 M3 with no problems. Good luck.


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