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Old 02-24-2011, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Car: 1998 740iL BMW
Posts: 2
mikegdearborn is on a distinguished road
Question Spinning Key 1998 E38 / Steering wheel removal

Hello everyone, I wanted to post this and get some answers from those who have been here or know how to accomplish a few of the tasks associated with this problem.

I have the dreaded spinning key issue

Temporary fix - removed steering wheel cowling and unbolted ignition switch from the steering lock housing and used screwdriver to start and stop the engine. I am fortunate that my steering column wasnt locked. You still need the key in the ignition as there is a sensor ring on the key cylinder that determines if the key is present.


1) I have been unable to remove the cylinder from the steering lock housing fabricating the special tool as I learned about on the internet. I believe that somebody tried this before on my car and screwed it up and just gave up on the whole process (speculation) The cylinder is not coming out. Really this is a statement on my part but if somebody wants to shed some really bright light for others Im sure they would appreciate it.

2) I obviously have the new key cylinder and new key (my key buttons were thrashed when I bought the car) which I bought from the dealership (be ready to show proof of ownership to dealer to get correct key cylinder and or key) and now I have a new steering lock housing the key cylinder goes into. I have to remove the steering wheel to install the housing so I am reaching out to the experts to give me a heads up on steps and tricks. Obviously I have to remove the airbag to get to the nut but I'm hoping somebody can provide some good solid information so I dont destroy any other parts?

3) After removal and reinstalling the airbag, it is my understanding I will have to reset it. What is the special tool to accomplish this, are there any tricks here, do I need to do this immediately or can I drive until I purchase the special tool?

A very appreciative thank you in advance to anyone who can provide solid step by step info, pictures and or video.

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