1. Ignition key will not turn even after jiggling the steering wheel.
Possible cause: Key or lock tumbler worn.
Solution: Link to Evan's Web: Replace ignition key cylinder. (note: if the key won't turn at all, it must be wiggled until it will turn one more time to get it to the magic 55º position to insert the pin. The cylinder may be tight, a small slide hammer hooked to the keyring hole might be necessary to get it to slide out. Worst case scenario would be to butcher the old casting with a Dremmel tool. New cylinders and keys are available from the dealer, matched to the VIN, must show proof of ownership i.e. regisistration papers or title in your name. The dealer will get them quickly, in a matter of days and eliminates having separate keys for the door lock and ignition.
2. Key spins free without engaging starter.
Most likely cause: The internal stub shaft of the steering wheel lock housing has snapped:
Solution: The entire steering column lock casting must be replaced. Link to David Cecil's excellent DIY.
(note: Early 1988/1989 build date E34's have a different casting, confirm part number with your VIN via www.realoem.com).
Check the underside of the steering lock casting to confirm the proper part number:
Most 10/1990 build date and newer E32's, E34's, and E36's use the same casting.
gale, 92 735i
Back to Bimmer repair page