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Old 08-14-2014, 08:13 PM   #1
bradnic
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E30 OEM KEY OCD Thread

Posted this as a reply in the general forum, but I think it deserves to be its own thread. I've also updated and improved the original post.

EDIT: Repair and replacement lock part numbers listed with photos on post 29.

INFO ON THE DIFFERENT KEY TYPES FOR E30s (and E28s I think)

Description of the 4 keys their cars came with here
Quote:
When delivered new in 1986, my car came with 4 keys.

1. lighted key which operates deadbolt function.

2. key with black plastic head (not lighted) which also operates deadbolt.

3. a valet key with a round head which operates door locks-not deadbolt-and will not open the glovebox door lock.

4. a wallet key with a tiny triangular head - functions like key 1 and 2
This pic came from a 2011 ebay.uk Hartge H27 sale post. It's even laid out in the same order hahaha


Key 1 is the Illuminated Key - there should be an "S" on it but it's obscured in this pic
Key 2 is the General Key - also has an "S"
Key 3 is the Valet Key - note the "I" on it
Key 4 is the Wallet / General (coded) key, and is also a master - note the "S"

NOTE: more info on valet keys further down the thread here

Here is the "official info" from the E30 owner's manual. Some quick points:
- The "unlock inhibit" system is the deadbolt function mentioned above. You need a master key to use it ("S" Key)
- The "B" key is Key 3 above, the Valet Key with the "I" on it.
- Note the trunk behavior with the master key



Some GREAT key info here, posted in 1997.

Quote:
The master and valet keys are not different thicknesses, they have a different thickness of the center groove only. The valet key is made without the center groove "ground-down" so it won't physically fit in the glove box or trunk lock. The reason it won't operate the dead-bolt locks on the driver's door is that it is lacking length and "nodes" at the tip-end so it won't operate the "extra" part of the cylinder assembly.

The factory blank with the "S" engraved at the hilt is long enough to be cut to operate the dead-bolt function, the "I" blank is not.

All E30s with deadbolts came with "S" profile master keys (2), one headless master (wallet) and one "I" profile valet key missing the end "nodes".

If you cut an "S" blank from a non master-key, it will still not have the extra "nodes" to operate the dead-bolt.

If you cut an "I" profile master blank from an "S" profile master it still won't operate the dead-bolts.

I recommend using the factory steel blanks as the brass junk from key shops have been known to bend and break in the locks, particularly on keys whose code causes deep cuts and weak spots. Any key machine can cut the OE blanks, some shops just don't like to because it causes extra wear on their wheels.

-Phil Marx BMWCCA #6021
As of this writing you can still get all the E30 key blanks and illuminated key inserts. you can also order coded keys from the dealer that get screwed into a separate illuminated key head. Here are some pics and part numbers. Hit up your favorite BMW supplier for best price. Stay away from ebay unless you want to pay 2-3x dealer price.

RealOEM key page for a 325i
[URL="http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=1113&mospid=47309&btnr=41_0561& hg=41&fg=40"]

51211900892 Blank for the "General Key" - the one we're all used to, and is probably all worn out


51211900894 Blank for the "Illuminated Key"


32321109801 Standard Key (no plastic bits)


Haven't confirmed the valet key blank part number, but I think it's either this standard key or just a shorter version of it.

32329056354 Illuminated key head
you use this with the coded wallet key the BMW dealer sells you (part number 51211900877, "General Key (coded)". It turns the combination into an illuminated key


51218105039 Replacement battery insert for the illuminated key (has a nice BMW logo now vs the original illuminated key head which has an embossed BMW logo)


32321151013 replacement battery for the illuminated key head


51218213607 BMW Key case (about $12 - someone posted one of these on the rare parts thread recently)


Will keep posting here as I find stuff - hope others do as well.
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Last edited by bradnic; 09-02-2017 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:20 PM   #2
TimeMachinE30
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Good call. Thank you.

Thought that leather key holder was at least 450.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:25 PM   #3
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Awesome info. In definitely going to swing by the local dealer and order some minty fresh keys for both my and my gf's e30s.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeMachinE30 View Post
Good call. Thank you.

Thought that leather key holder was at least 450.
I know right? hell I can get a couple of new half shafts for that lol.
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Old 08-14-2014, 09:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy.B View Post
Awesome info. In definitely going to swing by the local dealer and order some minty fresh keys for both my and my gf's e30s.
If you're keeping the cars for a while, think about ordering the original coded key for your car from the dealer. all of your current keys are worn - if/when you rebuild the driver's door lock, ignition etc. they may not even work right! the dealer cut key will be perfect and can serve as a master for a locksmith to cut other blanks from.

here's my dealer coded key from a couple of years ago, part number 51211900877 (it's a bare "General" key with an "S" marking and no head on it - probably the "headless master" wallet key from the Phil Marx quote). you can see the 32329056354 Illuminated key head I bought too, which the coded key gets inserted into. There's a slot in the key head, and a screw that goes through the hole in the key to hold everything together.


Last edited by bradnic; 09-02-2017 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 09:30 PM   #6
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Just found this pic with google - from a russian car enthusiast site (translated)

Clearly I'm not the only key OCD person out there.

Last edited by bradnic; 09-02-2017 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:35 PM   #7
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LED conversion for the illuminated key head

cool post that shows you how to replace the incandescent bulb in your illuminated key to an LED. This isn't as easy as it looks, so consider yourself warned if you hose your key head



EDIT: here's another LED lighted key conversion thread.

Last edited by bradnic; 04-26-2015 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:26 PM   #8
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this looks damn cool - if it works with a REC43T remote setup.. awesome

http://www.amazon.com/KEY-BLANK-FOLD.../dp/B00FG9G5DG



UPDATE: Kinda pricey but I ordered one anyway. Will let you know how it works out.

Last edited by bradnic; 08-16-2014 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:47 AM   #9
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Mine came with one lighted and two plastic "S" keys. The OCD in me is definitely bothered about not having at least the valet key, and it would never be used because I wouldn't let one drive my car or pay the ridiculous fee.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:16 PM   #10
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I need to buy a new keys for my e30's so bad. I was just gonna buy them from garagistics
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:35 PM   #11
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i must be lucky, my E30 only came with the valet key. no wonder why i wouldn't work the glove box. i thought it was from the gallon of glue the PO used to keep it together. good thing i got a full lock set from the yard with a key.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Wagon View Post
my E30 only came with the valet key. no wonder why i wouldn't work the glove box.
yup.. as designed. would you mind posting a pic of your valet key? If it's original, does it have an "I" on it?
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneEuroE30 View Post
I need to buy a new keys for my e30's so bad. I was just gonna buy them from garagistics

Those are great guys.. They sell the BMW illuminated key blank that's shown on the first post. Looks like a good price too.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:27 PM   #14
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Steel cut keys are among the first things I ordered for each of my E30s.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradnic View Post
this looks damn cool - if it works with a REC43T remote setup.. awesome

http://www.amazon.com/KEY-BLANK-FOLD.../dp/B00FG9G5DG



UPDATE: Kinda pricey but I ordered one anyway. Will let you know how it works out.
Interested in the results of this. Just bought one of the REC43T setups and I'd love a more OEM-looking fob
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