Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 17:34:21 -0500
From: Stephen Lafredo <slafredo_at_voicenet.com>
Subject: [E36M3] <E36> Does your ignition key spin?
I asked this question a while back and a few others responded and said
to wiggle the key and all would be OK.
Well... here is the scoop.
Turns out that there is a plastic theft deterrent tab in the ignition
mechanism. It is designed to break when some inserts say a screwdriver
into the ignition and attempts to turn the lock. When it breaks the
screwdriver will spin and spin.
Well it turns out that if you DO NOT put your key in ALL the way you
*could* break the same tab. Hence the spinning key. BUT if the tab is
broken and you have the car's key insert all the way everything will
Supposedly BMW has just (read: the other day) released a TSB on this
If you complain, and the mechanic CANNOT reproduce it, it will not be
replaced. Usually the case.
If you complain, and the mechanic CAN reproduce it. You will pay for it.
BMW feels it is your fault or the fault of say a parking attendant.
Either way it's your fault.
Now if you have a good relationship with your dealer it might be
submitted as "does not engage", which should be covered under warranty.
At least until BMW reads this post.
What happened to me (not read: will happen to you). I came home one
Saturday, pulled into the driveway, turn the key, out it came BUT the
car was still RUNNING. Luckily the dealer had Saturday hours and I was
able to drop off the car, stall it (got a stick) and disconnect the
They had to get the part from the Mother land b/c of the coded
protection thang. Thought it would take 5 days! Only took 3.
Just thought you would like to know.
BTW, I peeked at the price for the parts ~$200.
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Stephen Lafredo - 3.2 M3 email: slafredo_at_voicenet.com
DVC, NCC and NJC