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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 03-25-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
avincent52
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Dead key on BMW 325? Try this first.

My key died, and naturally, I searched E-46 for advice. Instead of the $240 new key from BMW, the thread suggested opening the key and replacing the battery. (FWIW, I did this on my wife's Mazda with a battery from CVS, a screwdriver and DIY from the owner's manual)

Kinda buried in the thread was the procedure to resynch the key.
So before getting out the X-acto and soldering iron that's what I did.

1) Insert the key in the ignition to position II and remove it quickly, within 5 seconds or so.

2) Hold down the unlock button on the key, and press the lock button three times within five seconds.

3) The doors then lock and unlock to confirm the process.

In short, while the battery DIY is great if the battery really is dead, re synching the key is a lot easier. Try it first.

FWIW, it didn't work the first time, for me, but I tried it again and had success. Thanks for a clue to an easy fix.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
edgy
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Thank you so much for posting this. I thought my key died as well, but following your instructions worked perfectly for my 330Ci on the first try.

Only thing I'd clarify on number one is to switch back from position II to off to remove the key, but that is probably obvious to everyone but me.

Thank you, thank you for saving me the trouble of worrying about fixing this!

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Old 03-25-2010, 03:48 PM   #3
Bandersnatch
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A quick reminder if you have more than one remote. Doing this with just one remote will cause any others to stop working.

You have to resync all remote keys one right after the other - i.e. do steps 2 and 3 with key #1, then steps 2 & 3 with key #2, etc.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:29 PM   #4
AlpinWeissM3
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Going to have to try this later, one of my keys doesn't work for locking/unlocking so if this works out I'll be very happy.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
cwhite1303
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Cna you use this method to sync a "new" key maybe purchased from eBay? Without going to dealer.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:43 PM   #6
bumere46
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Originally Posted by cwhite1303 View Post
Cna you use this method to sync a "new" key maybe purchased from eBay? Without going to dealer.
you have to implant chip from your old key into a new one
search for a diy
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:06 PM   #7
edgy
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Originally Posted by Bandersnatch View Post
A quick reminder if you have more than one remote. Doing this with just one remote will cause any others to stop working.

You have to resync all remote keys one right after the other - i.e. do steps 2 and 3 with key #1, then steps 2 & 3 with key #2, etc.
Thanks for this tip too... that did happen to me and I thought I'd have to do some searching for the answer...
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:03 AM   #8
falcon1209
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Great! Just what I was looking for! My keys took a beating when the wife put them through the spin cycle.

A need-to-know for any BMW owner.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandersnatch View Post
A quick reminder if you have more than one remote. Doing this with just one remote will cause any others to stop working.

You have to resync all remote keys one right after the other - i.e. do steps 2 and 3 with key #1, then steps 2 & 3 with key #2, etc.
truth

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwhite1303 View Post
Cna you use this method to sync a "new" key maybe purchased from eBay? Without going to dealer.
no. it will not be cut to your car, and will not start your car. you can program any key to the locks, but if its not coded/cut to your car it won't start it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:40 PM   #10
bimmerlover84
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Talking Thanks!!

I just got my 01 325i and the key hole does not work on the door so I had to constantly leave my car unlocked to get in. That is a problem for me because I run a travelling computer repair business. Today, I decided to change the battery on my remote and it looked like a pain in the ass. I came across your directions, followed them, and was so happy to be able to lock my car. lmao.....stupid I know, but it's little things like that that make me love my Bimmer that much more.

Thanks again!!
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:02 PM   #11
Viktimize
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerlover84 View Post
I just got my 01 325i and the key hole does not work on the door so I had to constantly leave my car unlocked to get in. That is a problem for me because I run a travelling computer repair business. Today, I decided to change the battery on my remote and it looked like a pain in the ass. I came across your directions, followed them, and was so happy to be able to lock my car. lmao.....stupid I know, but it's little things like that that make me love my Bimmer that much more.

Thanks again!!
In the future, take a look at the driver door handle. There is a lock cylinder for manually locking and unlocking the doors. No need to leave your car sitting unlocked.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:04 PM   #12
bimmerlover84
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Originally Posted by Viktimize View Post
In the future, take a look at the driver door handle. There is a lock cylinder for manually locking and unlocking the doors. No need to leave your car sitting unlocked.
HAHA!!!! I know THAT.....The cylinder doesn't work.

That's why I was happy about being able to just reprogram the key fob.

Last edited by bimmerlover84; 09-23-2012 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Seemed like I had an attitude.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #13
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bimmerlover84,

You are the classic E46 owner, 1 key for the car, door lock linkage broken.

You really need to step up and spend some money as once you get locked out of your car the $200 you spend now will be a bargain!!

You need to purchase this to repair your driver door lock linkage -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-DOOR...f3f131&vxp=mtr

Very easy to do if you can open your door, I think it is just 1 screw and you do not need to remove the door panel.

Then you need to purchase a additional keyfob from the dealer. Many dealers try to rip you off for keys, a decent price on the keyfob is $160, shop it around if you cannot find one for $160.

Trust me, spend the $200 NOW, otherwise when your keyfob fails or you loose your key with the car locked, you will be spending far more than $200.
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Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:30 PM   #14
bimmerlover84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
bimmerlover84,

You are the classic E46 owner, 1 key for the car, door lock linkage broken.

You really need to step up and spend some money as once you get locked out of your car the $200 you spend now will be a bargain!!

You need to purchase this to repair your driver door lock linkage -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-DOOR...f3f131&vxp=mtr

Very easy to do if you can open your door, I think it is just 1 screw and you do not need to remove the door panel.

Then you need to purchase a additional keyfob from the dealer. Many dealers try to rip you off for keys, a decent price on the keyfob is $160, shop it around if you cannot find one for $160.

Trust me, spend the $200 NOW, otherwise when your keyfob fails or you loose your key with the car locked, you will be spending far more than $200.
Pretty sure I am not the classic anything since I have had the car for a week. I am just now starting to work on things. I just programmed the keyfob today. I had the oil filter housing gasket replaced because it was dumping oil the day after I bought it. Tomorrow, I am doing the headliner and pillars. I'll look up the linkage. Thanks for letting me know what it is. I would not have known what to look up. And you're right, $200 now will save a ton of heartache later but as with anything in life.....(except my baby mama), it takes time.

Seriously though, thanks for letting me know what it was. I figured it was something like that but had no idea what it was called. This is my first E46 and I love it. My last Bimmer was a 36 that I picked up for $1,500 and it lasted 30,000 miles in one year with a stuck lifter. I'd still have that if I hadn't broken the trailing arm.

This car runs and handles like a dream so I am willing to invest the money in it to get it back up to spec and beyond.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:03 PM   #15
bimmerlover84
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@jfoj

I ordered the part. Again, thanks a bunch. It's more of a convenience thing, not being able to stick the key in there and unlock it or lock it. Next step is to get the headliner and pillars done tomorrow. Then, hub assemblies, rear coils, etc. But, I don't think I am doing too bad considering I have only had it for 9 days......1 of which, it was in the shop getting a gasket replaced.

Maybe you guys can also give me a heads up on other parts to look at replacing. I know the driver's side regulator is going but I think there is more to it because when the window is going up, it almost sounds like broken glass in there.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:09 AM   #16
jfoj
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Too many E46 are on the 3rd-5th owner at this point and many cars only show up with a single key.

Your situation is very common, only 1 key, either with broken door cylinder linkage or a weak or dead keyfob.

What usually happens is people lock their only key in the trunk, loose their only key, the keyfob battery fails or the GM5 module acts up.

Then they get locked out the car and the E46 and other BMW's are very hard to get into with the central locking system.

Sometimes you can replace the keyfob battery and get going but if you are a butcher, you can damage the EWS circuitry and then the engine will not start. But in any case if you loose your only key and your door cylinder linkage is broken, even with a new key, it will not unlock the car with the keyfob as it is not programmed.

If the car has fold down rear seats you can usually figure a way to get the seat down after getting into the trunk.

Moral of the story, do not use the drivers door lock cylinder on a daily basis, however, check it from time to time and have at least 2 working keyfobs.

If your GM5 module acts up, fix it right away.

See my signature for GM5/Doorlock info and for other useful info.

Good luck with your new to you E46.
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:55 AM   #17
wildirish317
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I just purchased a 2004 325iC, and am the second owner, received two keys from the dealer. However, one of the key remotes is not working (found this out last night). The owners manual states that the ignition actually recharges the battery in these keys, so I was going to try driving around with the "dead" key for a while to see if that helps. (No, I haven't tried starting the car with the dead key.)

Now that I've seen this thread, I will try reprogramming them first.

Thanks again. This is a great website!
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:57 PM   #18
kcult
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Great website, indeed.

I just bought a '99 328i and the key (the only key) would not lock/unlock the doors. It would start the car, but that was it.

I just tried this and on the very first attempt, it worked.

Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:35 AM   #19
neilferrari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avincent52 View Post
My key died, and naturally, I searched E-46 for advice. Instead of the $240 new key from BMW, the thread suggested opening the key and replacing the battery. (FWIW, I did this on my wife's Mazda with a battery from CVS, a screwdriver and DIY from the owner's manual)

Kinda buried in the thread was the procedure to resynch the key.
So before getting out the X-acto and soldering iron that's what I did.

1) Insert the key in the ignition to position II and remove it quickly, within 5 seconds or so.

2) Hold down the unlock button on the key, and press the lock button three times within five seconds.

3) The doors then lock and unlock to confirm the process.

In short, while the battery DIY is great if the battery really is dead, re synching the key is a lot easier. Try it first.

FWIW, it didn't work the first time, for me, but I tried it again and had success. Thanks for a clue to an easy fix.
Thank you so much for posting the steps! You made it easy, however my doors unlocked and did not relock fyi. You saved me $200-$300 if I were to buy a new key.

My issue was the unlock/lock/trunk would only work sometimes. I thought it was a battery issue but looks like everything is back in working order.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:27 PM   #20
phoopsta
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I must say this worked well. My doors didnt lock then unlock automatically but it seemed to sync. Cause it works all the time now.
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