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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-27-2007, 07:36 PM   #1
luckysnafu
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Thumbs Up DIY V.2 - EASY WAY to make a brand new diamond key work in your older car (99-00)

This is the 2nd version of my DIY to make the newer diamond style key work on your older car (99-00) that currently uses the older (crappy) square rubber key.

My first DIY (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...key%2A+battery) took a used diamond key and was a pain to do. This version takes a brand new diamond key and replaces the transponder and battery which is very simple.

Enjoy.

1. Purchase a brand new diamond key. I bought mine from ebay for under $70 shipped. Make sure you buy the correct version of the key since there are two versions. One version has a ridge on top (not for our cars) and the other does not have a ridge (which is for our car).
The key I bought was brand new, with the up arrow and trunk picture raised up on the key (no printed on). Also, this key did NOT appear to be glued together, rather is snaps apart and together, so there is no need to cut it open and glue it back together, it snaps shut! This is great if you ever need to replace the battery.



2. Get your key cut. I found a local locksmith who cut my key for $25. It took him about 5 minutes to cut and he tested it in the door and ignition to make sure that it worked. When I called and said I needed a BMW key cut, he asked what year and looked it up and said I had to go to the dealer because it needs programmed. I then stated that I only needed the actual metal key part cut and I would program it myself and he said he had the equipment and could do it. You may have to call a few places to find a locksmith who will cut your key.

3. Gather the necessary parts/tools to replace the transponder and battery. Here is a picture of what you may need and what I used. New diamond key, old square key, utility knife, vice grips, small pliers, small cutters, small screw driver (phillips) and a non-rechargeable battery. The vice grips and pliers won't be needed unless you have a diamond key that needs glued back together when you are finished.


4. Start with the old square key and remove the small cover on the back and remove the two small screws.


5. Remove the battery holder/circuit board from the key body by prying up on one end with a small screw driver.


This is what the back of the circuit board looks like


6. Locate and pop out the transponder chip. It is located in the corner of the square key shell (top right corner of my pictures). Mine was glued in so I popped it out with a small screw driver.


[img[http://luckysnafu.smugmug.com/photos/177643620-M.jpg[/img]


7. Place transponder aside for the moment and put your old key back together. Your old key will now no longer start your car. It will still have the remote function and the actual key part can unlock your door/trunk and turn your ignition on. It just will not start the car unless you put the transponder back in.

8. Take apart your new diamond key. Since my key was so new, it just snapped apart, there was no glue to cut through. I ended up taking my utility knife and placing it between the two halves of the key where the hole for your keychain is located. This will allow you to pop the two halves of the key apart.

Please note in this picture, the blade is NOT located where I described, it's just to illustrate what I did!


9. Here is what the inside of the diamond key looks like.

close up


10. Pop out the circuit board. It should just pop out if you put your fingernail in one end and pop it up or use a small screw driver. Be careful not to damage the board or the key shell.


rear side of circuit board once removed from shell


11. Remove the transponder from the circuit board. The transponder is actually located inside the copper coiled wire (bottom right side of my pictures). I removed this by using my small cutters and just snipping each end where it was attached to the circuit board. You may use any method you desire just be careful not to mess up the circuit board. It does not take much force to remove the transponder and copper wire since they are only held on by small amounts of solder.


12. Take your old transponder that you set aside earlier (from your old square key) and glue it to the diamond key's circuit board in the place of the transponder/copper coil that you just removed. I used some silicone glue to attach my transponder to the circuit board. Test fit your key before gluing to make sure the key will close with your transponder on the circuit board. If you put it in wrong your key may not close the whole way.



13. Replace the rechageable battery with a non-rechargeable battery. I used the radio shack version of the original battery from the square key (http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2062103)
I am not going to go into detail since there are other DIY's out there that address how to do this, here are a couple that will help you out. I did not solder the contacts to my new battery, the pressure from the case is enough contact to make the key remote work. Feel free to solder them if you want to.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=451510
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=481585

14. Put the key back together. Put the circuit board back in and then snap the case shut.
Admire your new diamond key


15. Program the key remote so that it unlocks your car. This procedure is all over the forums, do a search if you don't already have the info.

16. Enjoy your new diamond key and laugh at all those who said this was impossible

Total Cost of key:
Uncut key from ebay = $70
Getting key cut = $25
Battery for key = $5

Total cost = $100
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Last edited by luckysnafu; 07-27-2007 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:07 PM   #2
Yasser E46
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Congrats!!

I will do the same for the mine!
Excelent DIY!!

Now i just have to found a new complete key like yours!
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:17 PM   #3
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Dude, you really gotta get a hobby! While I can understand any number of aesthetic mods to the car...the freakin' key?!!! Whatever floats your boat.
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Old 07-28-2007, 01:24 AM   #4
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Excellent DIY! Thx!
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:08 AM   #5
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Wow, impressive
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Old 07-28-2007, 04:29 AM   #6
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r u kidding us. This is a great DIY for those that loose a key, or what have you!
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Originally Posted by grafiksguy View Post
Dude, you really gotta get a hobby! While I can understand any number of aesthetic mods to the car...the freakin' key?!!! Whatever floats your boat.
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Old 07-28-2007, 05:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grafiksguy View Post
Dude, you really gotta get a hobby! While I can understand any number of aesthetic mods to the car...the freakin' key?!!! Whatever floats your boat.
You Sir are an excellent and productive member of this site.
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Old 07-28-2007, 07:46 AM   #8
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Dude, you really gotta get a hobby! While I can understand any number of aesthetic mods to the car...the freakin' key?!!! Whatever floats your boat.
Totally uncalled for comment. This is an excellent thread.

This is NOT just an aesthetic mod. I have a square key and it looks disgusting because the rubber buttons soften and sort of dissolves after a few years. Those of us who have these keys will know exactly what I'm talking about. The dealer wants $200 to replace the whole key since you can't just get a replacement case.

Spending $200 to replace a key that works but looks like crap because of the cheap rubber is bad enough. Replacing it with a new square key that will probably look like crap after a few years too because it is of the same quality is even more infuriating. It's the same as replacing window regulators with the same crappy OEM regulator that will break again or spending $60 for cheap plastic sunshade clips. It's a crappy design but BMW has no interest in improving it since it must be a cash cow for them. Even if you DIY, they still profit from supplying the replacement OEM ones no matter where you buy it from.

Frankly BMW should be supplying improved Diamond keys as a replacement to fix the problems with the rubber square keys. I would be willing, but not happy, to buy one from them if they did. Since they don't, we are lucky to have clever solutions from fellow fanatics to solve problems that BMW has no interest in correcting.

If someone could design a better regulator, they would make a fortune.
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:58 AM   #9
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OMG this is awesome. FINALLY I can have key that actually looks like it goes with my car.
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:16 PM   #10
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^+1 and less bulky too.
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:33 PM   #11
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Wow, who knew that such a humble object could evoke so much passion.

MacGyver lives and I stand corrected for my previous, insensitive remarks about the key upgrade.
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:10 AM   #12
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Great!!! Will it work with alarm?????

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Old 07-29-2007, 09:09 AM   #13
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Great!!! Will it work with alarm?????
Yes, the new diamond key remote will work exactly the same as your old square key remote, including the alarm.
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:23 AM   #14
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I want to do this so bad. I was thinkin about it all day yesterday. All my friends that have the old style key are gonna flip out. Thx a lot luckysnafu!
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:49 PM   #15
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Can you share with us which company on Ebay you bought the key from? I was hoping to avoid getting a key that doesn't work since it isn't a direct replacement and the uncertainty of Ebay vendors sometimes.

THX
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:54 PM   #16
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Wow, who knew that such a humble object could evoke so much passion.

MacGyver lives and I stand corrected for my previous, insensitive remarks about the key upgrade.
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:25 PM   #17
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Can you share with us which company on Ebay you bought the key from? I was hoping to avoid getting a key that doesn't work since it isn't a direct replacement and the uncertainty of Ebay vendors sometimes.

THX
The ebay seller is midwestkeyless, do a search on ebay for "uncut bmw key" and our key should pop up. The auction title should read something like this "1998 1999 2000 98 99 00 BMW X5 Z3 Z4 KEY REMOTE UNCUT"

Make sure the picture of the key matches your existing key because there is a version with a ridge on the metal key part that you don't want.
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:03 PM   #18
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The ebay seller is midwestkeyless, do a search on ebay for "uncut bmw key" and our key should pop up. The auction title should read something like this "1998 1999 2000 98 99 00 BMW X5 Z3 Z4 KEY REMOTE UNCUT"

Make sure the picture of the key matches your existing key because there is a version with a ridge on the metal key part that you don't want.
Thank you, I found them but I wanted to make sure. There is any ebay company from taiwan that for $100 will send you a key and instructions to modify it or use a valet key but I think I will stick to your DIY.

There was even one that says they will modify for you if you send them your key but that's not something I would consider. Sending the key to your car to a complete stranger...

Thanks
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:38 PM   #19
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you're the man
cool DIY

I already have the diamond style key but this was interesting to learn
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:13 PM   #20
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Went to radioshack to pick up a new battery for my new remote key and they were out of the CR2016's that I usually use. I already know that the CR2032's don't fit since they are too thick, but they also have the CR2025 which thicker than the 2016 but not as thick as the 2032. I bought one just to try and was able to squeeze it into the key remote. The 2025 should last longer since it is rated 160mAh, which is a lot more than the 2016 rated at 90mAh.

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