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      07-10-2012, 12:51 PM   #1
StigJ
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Ignition/start failure

I've had some problems now and then with my Z4 Coupe that it would not start. Did run a diagnostic last year but nothing came up. Just some communication errors that we did not find any answers to. I think also my Intravee is making some mess.
So I started investigating a little

In the video below you can see that when I move the key from step 1 (acc) to step 2 (ign) sometimes only the airbag light lights up in the ign position. When try to start the starter kicks in, but that is it. So there is no difference between acc and ign.
If I take the key out and try it again it usually works fine.
Here you can see what happens:


So I asked my mechanic what it could be. Try to change the ignition switch he said. Its just the last part that the wires goes in to. Its not the complete lock.
Ok. so I first checked how much a new one would set me back. Almost 120$. Yeah right! So I bought two used ones for 15$ (for both). Bought two if one of them would fail.

Then time to do the change.

here you see the two switches.




Its no. 3:
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...84&hg=32&fg=30

Off with the bottom part of the steering column. Its only one screw just beside the lever for adjusting the steering wheel. Then wiggle it a little to get the two pieces to part.



Here you can see the ignition switch where the wires is connected.


Just pry the little lock to disconnect it.




The switch is held in place by two small flathead screws that is located under the red screw locking paint.


Just loosen them a litle and pull out the switch. Put in the new one and fasten the screws and connect the plug. Now you can do a test if its working as it should.
It looks like I found the problem and got rid of it


I put some screwlock glue back in the holes and reassembelede the steering column. Now its to hope that the problem stays away.


As the nosy person that I am I had to open the old switch to see what was wrong. Looks like its wear and tear on the plastic.
The second step (ign) is the two brass parts on the right side of the 3 contacts.



A little video of how it works:
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      08-03-2012, 02:25 PM   #2
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freaking awesome post.

I'm having a similar no start problem with my car. It's very inconsistent--and the key lock itself feels kinda loose/sloppy. the instrumentation does light up completely in the ignition position (ign), but turning to the spring loaded position to start doesn't trigger the starter motor turn the motor over. I have to start the process from the beginning again any maybe it will start. My battery is new, Autozone H6-AGM.

do you think the switch is my issue too?

where did you buy the used parts?!
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      08-03-2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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Sounds like you have the same issues as I did. So get a new switch. I got mine from a company in Denmark that deals used and new parts and with wrecked BMWs.

I can also add that I have had no faults with the ignition after I changed this.
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      08-04-2012, 04:14 PM   #4
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Could you post where you sourced the used parts? Always good to have a list tucked away. Thx!
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      08-04-2012, 04:34 PM   #5
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www.koed.dk
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      08-05-2012, 08:21 AM   #6
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In the US, you can also try your local "you-pull-it" junkyards. this switch is used in the entire E46/E39 line as well so it will be easy to find in salvage yards.

p/n 61326901961

I just picked one up yesterday for $10!
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      01-17-2013, 10:41 PM   #7
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Just wanted to say, this is by far the best post I have seen. Vids, pics, step by step.. awesome! Thanks for all the help and sharing your knowledge. Great stuff. Just hope this solves my problem lol
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      02-22-2013, 09:53 AM   #8
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Thank you for the kind words. Glad it could be for some help

An for info I have not had any errors with the ignition after I changed this part.
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      09-02-2014, 06:42 PM   #9
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Sorry for bumping an old post, but I just wanted to give you a huge "thank you" for this writeup. I've been having intermittent starting issues for the past couple months but could never replicate it at my indy's shop. So this week it was very persistent, engine would fire only after the 2nd or 3rd time turning the key. Took it to the dealer as they are in a very convenient location for me... diagnosed a bad starter ($170 for diagnosis) and they wanted $1300+ for the fix. No f-ing way I'm paying that much. My indy replaced the starter for $600 as I assumed the dealer knew what he was doing in placing the "bad starter" diagnosis. New starter goes in on friday, and everything seems to work fine, but then I get a couple starts this weekend where it takes 2-3 key turns to fire the engine. I start to get angry.

Fast forward through the weekend, and wouldn't ya know it, stranded in my garage on a tuesday morning when I'm supposed to go to a new clinic assignment (not cool). Engine won't fire no matter how many times I turned the key. Now I'm really pissed off. I wind up borrowing a good friend's car for the day. I get an ignition switch from the part's warehouse after letting the dealer know exactly how I felt, pop it in in 20 mins courtesy of this post, and sure enough car is working like a charm. Starts up every time like a champ. Lesson learned yet again!
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