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Remote Key Antenna Signal Booster
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Remote Key Antenna Signal Booster

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, 10mm socket, toothbrush, electronics cleaner

Applicable Models:

BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)

Parts Required:

Remote key antenna, remote key antenna housing

Hot Tip:

Use soft bristle brush when cleaning

Performance Gain:

Proper remote lock function

Complementary Modification:

Clean and lubricate door latches on other doors

Central locking in BMW E60 models controls door locks, trunk lid or luggage compartment lock and fuel filler flap lock. The electronic functions of central locking are spread out over several control modules, with sensors and actuators connected directly to a control module in the vicinity of their installed location. The car access system (CAS) module is the master control module for central locking.

The lock mechanism in each door consists of a latch, an exterior door handle and an inside door lock release handle. Only the driver door (left front in North America) is equipped with a lock cylinder. The exterior door latch is responsible for locking, unlocking and latching the door shut. The latch itself is pretty reliable. However, having the electronic lock solenoid integrated in the latch creates some problems. The lock solenoids fail over time, leaving you with a malfunctioning lock. If it is the driver lock, you can still lock and unlock with the key. With other kinds of doors, you may not be so lucky. If you are having a problem with the lock, try cleaning and lubricating the latch. I find this will restore function of the lock from time to time. If I can successfully restore function this way, I still replace the latch to avoid future problems. It is a good test to see if the problem is electrical or mechanical.

The door locks can be remotely unlocked using the remote key. The remote key sends a signal to the antenna boosting module and relays to the CAS. ON Sport wagon models, the boosting antenna is mounted beneath the rear spoiler sealed inside a plastic housing. The plastic housing has an integrated rubber gasket that loses the ability to seal over time. This allows moisture to enter the housing, corroding or damaging the antenna booster. When this happens both of the remote keys fail to open the vehicle. You can remove the booster and try to clean it, this works about 60% of the time. If function doesn't return after cleaning, replace it.

Each inner door trim panel is equipped with SRS airbags. For safety reasons, be sure to disconnect the vehicle battery before beginning work on the door panel. See our tech article on the battery.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

When a remote key fails to open the vehicle, be sure to try your spare.
Figure 1

When a remote key fails to open the vehicle, be sure to try your spare. Don't chase issues until you're sure both remotes exhibit the same issue.

The remote key sends a signal to the antenna boosting module and relays to the CAS.
Figure 2

The remote key sends a signal to the antenna boosting module and relays to the CAS. ON Sport wagon models, the boosting antenna is mounted beneath the rear spoiler (red arrow) sealed inside a plastic housing.

Start by opening the rear glass on the tailgate.
Figure 3

Start by opening the rear glass on the tailgate. Then remove the four rubber plugs (red arrows) from the top of the glass frame. Once the plugs are removed, remove the four T30 Torx fasteners (inset).

Slide the spoiler toward the rear bumper about two inches to detach the mounts (red arrow).
Figure 4

Slide the spoiler toward the rear bumper about two inches to detach the mounts (red arrow).

Lift the spoiler just enough to access the plastic hose on the right side of the third brake light.
Figure 5

Lift the spoiler just enough to access the plastic hose on the right side of the third brake light. Pull the hose straight out to remove it (red arrow).

Then on the right side of the third brake light, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling the connector straight out to remove it.
Figure 6

Then on the right side of the third brake light, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling the connector straight out to remove it.

Lift the spoiler up a little more to access the plastic housing (red arrow).
Figure 7

Lift the spoiler up a little more to access the plastic housing (red arrow).

Lift the plastic housing lid up and remove it.
Figure 8

Lift the plastic housing lid up and remove it. Then disconnect the final spoiler electrical connector by pressing the center release tab (red arrow) and pulling it straight out (inset).

You now have access to the antenna booster (red arrow).
Figure 9

You now have access to the antenna booster (red arrow).

Inspect the bottom corners of the booster for signs of corrosion (red arrow).
Figure 10

Inspect the bottom corners of the booster for signs of corrosion (red arrow). You can see my subject vehicle is corroded and will need repair.

Remove the 10mm nuts (red arrows).
Figure 11

Remove the 10mm nuts (red arrows).

Lift the booster up to access the electrical connectors.
Figure 12

Lift the booster up to access the electrical connectors. Detach the coaxial connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling it straight out. Disconnect the center electrical connector by pressing the center release tab (blue arrow) and pulling it straight out. Then on the right side, disconnect the electrical connector by squeezing the release tabs (green arrows) and pulling the connector straight out to remove it. Remove the booster from the vehicle.

The booster housing has to be removed to try to clean it.
Figure 13

The booster housing has to be removed to try to clean it. Detach the four clips on each side using a flathead screwdriver (red arrows).

Remove the electronics from the booster.
Figure 14

Remove the electronics from the booster. Note the corrosion inside (red arrows).

Using a soft bristle brush, clean the corrosion off the module.
Figure 15

Using a soft bristle brush, clean the corrosion off the module. Then spray the module using electronics cleaner. Repeat until clean. Once clean, reinstall the booster and recheck the remote key operation.

I used my BMW scan tool, under remote key test (red arrow).
Figure 16

I used my BMW scan tool, under remote key test (red arrow).

Press and release the button.
Figure 17

Press and release the button. See if the signal changes from no button-to-button. If it does, the booster is now working. If not you will have to replace the booster. If you do not have a scan tool, don't worry. Just check function once the booster is reinstalled. If you found corrosion, you certainly found the main issue. So the remotes will work or not. If not, replace the antenna. booster.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Maz Comments: I cant get my remote to open the doors of my BMW E60 2004. Tried everthing so far. I even changed the diversity antenna. According to INPA the DWA is good but CAS initialization is locked. The unlockhold + lock three times does not work.
Is there any software to program my remote via OBD cable?
Thanks
August 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need a factory kevel scan tool, like ISTA or Autologic. INPA is an engineering tool and does not perform software at that level. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ed Comments: BMW scan tool, any recommendations, 08 550i April 08 build date
June 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Autologic or ISTA. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ed Comments: 2008 550i remote no longer works though I can use physical key to open and need to push key in to start. Replaced diversity antenna and remote battery. What else would potentially cause remote to no longer work aside from Control Unit CAS? Unless the CAS is the culprit.
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if the battery is good, it could be an antenna, CAS or the remote itself. You will need a BMW scan tool to test the system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Peter 2006 530XIT Comments: After significant troubleshooting, the fault was wiring from the right side of the antenna amplifier under the rear wing - sport wagon forward to the right ceiling speaker. 6 leads were broken or very nearly so. Grafted in new wires and rechanneled the wires in the hinge area. Oh boy what work it was though - but cheap.
April 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Peter 2006 530XIT Comments: Since I bought the car a couple months ago I've had intermittent use of keyless entry lock/unlock. I opened my antenna booster up just like the photos. No corrosion seen but I cleaned with electronics spray regardless. Also the many wire connections. Still nothing. I heard maybe the wiring at the hatch hinging can be the problem. But I don't know whether to replace the wiring or the antenna booster circuit board. Which wire? Where is the actually antenna? Whats the part numbers for the booster or wires? Is it the ribbon cable?
April 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: To check the wiring, remove the trim panel on the trunk lift arm, inspect the wiring for damage.

It may be the antenna, only way to be sure is to test the signal reception using a BMW scan tool.

I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
McBasil Comments: Hi,
I NEED A REMOTE KEY FOR MY CAR BMW VIN CY46269
HOW MUCH ? IS IT PROGRAMMED FOR MY CAR?

Thanks/ Regards
April 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
kevesp Comments: Where is this located on an E60 sedan? Is the removal/cleanup/reinstallation process the same for the sedan?
April 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I recall it being attached to the rear window, behind the C-pillar trim. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tjkarch60 Comments: I saw on a Youtube video how to program your key to your car. I'm not sure if this is true, but it can't hurt.
1. Insert key and turn to the run position, but don't start the engine. Pull key out.
2. Press and hold the unlock button, press the center round button 3 times and then release the unlock button.

Again, I can't verify the validity of this, but you can't do any damage.
February 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ron Comments: I have a 2007 bmw 328 convertible. Both my remote keys fail to open the trunk therefore I can only access the trunk by using the actual key. Any ideas what could be the problem?
December 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the trunk latch is getting the signal to unlatch but isn't. If so, it could be a faulty latch actuator. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: Hi guys just had Abit of trouble with my 2004 e60 530i. Story is I only had one key when I bought the car, key was working fine then a of a sudden stopped working, now only works every now and then and when it works it's really slow. I decided to get a spare key cut not from bmw, the locksmith claimed he programmed the key but my car doesn't recognise the key. It starts and opens the doors just the fob buttons don't work.

Went to a few workshops with scan tools but nothing comes up, last resort I even went to official bmw dealer but I haven't tried their diagnostics yet as they charge a lot. He tried a random key he had at the yard to initialise but the car couldn't recognise that either so obviously it comes down to something within my car.

From research in thinking it could be the diversity antenna. The locksmith claimed it could be my CAS module. I have no clue if anyone has any idea could you helps, thanks
September 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If one key is working and the other isn't, it is likely a programming issue. BMW will be able to sort it out for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:52:24 AM