Hi... new to the forum because my son's purchase of a '92 525i has me getting sucked into his car problems!
Our first issue was the spinning key cylinder. After some research we determined the issue... a broken ignition housing. We managed to get the key cylinder out and there was the broken piece. It appears from some other forum threads that this is a fairly common problem and others have dealt with it. A pair of needle-nose Vice Grips got him around for a while as he used them to turn the pin that leads into the ignition switch.
So, we ordered a used steering rack off of Ebay (to strip the ignition housing off of), but while we were waiting for it to arrive he started to experience trouble with getting the car to start. We thought that his battery might be going dead since it was getting cold out at night.
Yesterday we replaced the ignition housing successfully and now we can turn the switch with a key again. But as was his problem with the Vice Grips, the engine isn't turning over. We got out some jumper cables and tried a jump for about 5 minutes... and finally after a bunch of tries and holding the key for a few seconds the starter jumped and the car started.
We ran it for a while, took it for a ride, my son was thrilled. Back to the house we shut it down... and it wouldn't start again. So we pulled the battery and ran it down to the local part store. They tested it and claimed it was low voltage, probably some bad cells. So, we dropped $100 on a new battery and installed it. And of course, it is still didn't start.
When we turn the key the Aux comes on... but it almost like it isn't turning far enough to close the starter ignition circuit. I don't hear the starter clicking... if it were getting power would it click repeatedly or just once? Is it possible that him pulling the pin in and out of the ignition switch with the Vice Grips damaged something inside the switch?? Or are we looking at other possibilities... like starter motor or a electric issue to the starter (a short?). Since we now know the battery is good, it could only be one of those I think. I'm not a good electrical guy, but I figured maybe I could buy a little tester and check to see if power is getting to the starter when we turn the key. Can anyone give me an idea where or how to check this? Or any other ways to pinpoint the problem?