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Ignition Switch Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Ignition Switch Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, trim panel tool, T20 Torx driver, BMW special lock cylinder tool

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Ignition switches

Hot Tip:

Always disconnect battery before working on your electrical system

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty ignition switch

Complementary Modification:

Replace the mechanical switch as well

Both of the ignition switches are covered in this tech article, the mechanical lock cylinder and the electronic switch. The mechanical lock cylinder wears out from normal use. The lock cylinder may become difficult to turn or jam. If this is happening, try a different key before condemning the lock cylinder. I have seen many worn keys over the years. The theft pin of the lock cylinder may also break, causing the lock cylinder to spin freely, with or without a key installed. Replacing the mechanical switch hasn't changed in quite a while. I will describe the process and seek out a previous tech article for illustrations. For example, you could refer to our BMW Z3 ignition switch article.

The electrical switch also wears out, creating a no start condition or electrical gremlins. I have seen warning lights on, power windows not working and many other problems caused by a faulty ignition switch. If you have low voltage to fuses or weird electrical gremlins, check the power out of the switch. It should match battery volts. If it does not, there may be resistance inside the switch, dropping the voltage and causing your problems.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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.

Release the steering wheel position adjuster. Then move the steering wheel all the way forward and as low as it will go.

Lock Cylinder: This is the BMW special tool 32 3 110 used to remove the lock cylinder.
Figure 1

Lock Cylinder: This is the BMW special tool 32 3 110 used to remove the lock cylinder. You can also use a piece of stiff wire or a paper clip. Before I had this tool, I used a paper clip. The benefit of this tool is the bend in it. The bend is designed to release the locking tab when the tool is rotated, and it works great.

Lock Cylinder: This is the hole you will insert the tool into when removing the lock cylinder (green arrow).
Figure 2

Lock Cylinder: This is the hole you will insert the tool into when removing the lock cylinder (green arrow). Rotate the ignition switch to the accessory position, or one back from run. Insert the tool and wiggle it until the lock cylinder disengages. You will feel the lock cylinder become loose, and it will pull out of the steering column. If need be, wiggle the key back and forth to seat the tool. Once the lock cylinder has been released, pull it out of the steering column. On some models, you won't be able to fully remove the lock cylinder from the vehicle yet. You still have to remove the EWS antenna. You can do this before removing the lock cylinder. I find it easier to do with it removed. With the lock cylinder in the accessory position, slide it into the steering column until it locks into place. The remaining portion of the article will cover the electrical switch. It is more problematic and frequently replaced.

Remove the driver airbag and steering wheel.
Figure 3

Remove the driver airbag and steering wheel. See our tech article on steering wheel removing. Once the steering wheel is removed, be careful not to rotate the clock spring. There is a small plastic lock that helps to keep the clock spring centered. However, do not rely on this to protect the clock spring.

Working at the top of the steering column trim panel, remove the plastic Phillips head screw (red arrow).
Figure 4

Working at the top of the steering column trim panel, remove the plastic Phillips head screw (red arrow). Then remove the plastic anchor it screws into. Lever the anchor out using a small flathead screwdriver.

Working at the bottom of the steering column trim panel, remove the plastic Phillips head screw.
Figure 5

Working at the bottom of the steering column trim panel, remove the plastic Phillips head screw. Then remove the plastic anchor it screws into. Lever the anchor out using a small flathead screwdriver.

Using a plastic trim panel tool, separate the steering column trim by levering it apart.
Figure 6

Using a plastic trim panel tool, separate the steering column trim by levering it apart.

Once separated, remove the lower portion of the trim downward.
Figure 7

Once separated, remove the lower portion of the trim downward.

Working at the top of the steering column trim panel, lever the flexible trim off the steering column upward, using a plastic prying tool.
Figure 8

Working at the top of the steering column trim panel, lever the flexible trim off the steering column upward, using a plastic prying tool.

Then lift the upper steering column trim cover to detach it from the steering column (green arrow).
Figure 9

Then lift the upper steering column trim cover to detach it from the steering column (green arrow). You may have to lever the top and bottom covers apart (red arrow). Be careful not to damage or scratch them. Once the top cover is removed, remove the lower cover.

Remove the four T25 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 10

Remove the four T25 Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Pull the switch assembly forward and remove it from the steering column and access the electrical connectors.
Figure 11

Pull the switch assembly forward and remove it from the steering column and access the electrical connectors.

Working at the right side of the switch, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (green arrow) and pulling the connector straight out.
Figure 12

Working at the right side of the switch, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (green arrow) and pulling the connector straight out.

Working at the left side of the switch, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (green arrow) and pulling the connector straight out.
Figure 13

Working at the left side of the switch, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (green arrow) and pulling the connector straight out.

Pull the switch assembly forward more.
Figure 14

Pull the switch assembly forward more. Cut the zip tie holding the remaining harnesses together. Then disconnect the remaining electrical connectors by pressing the release tab and pulling the connector straight out.

Next, we will be removing the electrical connector and connector mounting bracket (red arrows) to gain access to the switch.
Figure 15

Next, we will be removing the electrical connector and connector mounting bracket (red arrows) to gain access to the switch.

Using a small flathead screwdriver, lever out the connector retaining tab.
Figure 16

Using a small flathead screwdriver, lever out the connector retaining tab.

Pull the wiring harness out of the mounting bracket (red arrow).
Figure 17

Pull the wiring harness out of the mounting bracket (red arrow).

Remove the lower harness-mounting bracket that's attached with a T20 Torx fastener.
Figure 18

Remove the lower harness-mounting bracket that's attached with a T20 Torx fastener.

Remove the upper harness mounting bracket that's attached with another T20 Torx fastener (red arrow).
Figure 19

Remove the upper harness mounting bracket that's attached with another T20 Torx fastener (red arrow).

Pull the harness and bracket down and away from the steering column.
Figure 20

Pull the harness and bracket down and away from the steering column.

Working at the bottom of the steering column at the ignition switch, scrape out the ignition switch fastener paint (red arrows).
Figure 21

Working at the bottom of the steering column at the ignition switch, scrape out the ignition switch fastener paint (red arrows). I use a small flathead screwdriver to remove the paint.

Once the paint is removed, loosen the small flathead screws enough to free the ignition switch.
Figure 22

Once the paint is removed, loosen the small flathead screws enough to free the ignition switch.

Once the screws are loosened, slide the ignition switch out of the steering column.
Figure 23

Once the screws are loosened, slide the ignition switch out of the steering column.

This photo shows the switch removed from the steering column (inset).
Figure 24

This photo shows the switch removed from the steering column (inset). Install the new switch in the reverse order of removal. Be sure that the screws are (red arrows) loose enough for the switch to slide into place. When tightening the screws, hold the switch all the way into the steering column. Do not apply too much pressure, but this ensures the switch is properly engaged.






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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:47:29 AM