E39 Ignition Switch Replacement
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E39 Ignition Switch Replacement

Overview

Well, I replaced my ignition switch this morning in hopes of solving a problem with my cruise control. The initial problem was that after having the cruise control on for a minute or so, the car would just pop out of cruise (green cruise light would stay illuminated), then the red SRS light would come on. Upon restart, everything was fine again. As the problem progressed over 2 weeks, I would also loose steering wheel control of the radio.

Dan suggested that it might be the ignition, and Jim Cash provided a “test” to link the problem to the ignition, his test was simple, turn on the passenger side vanity light in the sun visor and see what happens. When I did this, my steering wheel would adjust all the way up, and come back down, I’m told another common indicator for the same test is that you get all sorts of lights on the dash board. Thanks Dan and Jim, I gotta say it was like magic when I did Jim’s test, this guy is amazing.

Vaheh at Crevier got the right part (61 32 6 901 962) out to me on time and a great price ($38).

I didn’t find any detailed replacement instructions, so here are my instructions starting with H8LUUZNs basic notes. Pics of failed ignition are at the end. The replacement did indeed cure my CC problem.

Tools

10mm wrench for the battery
Small Philips screwdriver
Two T-30 torx bits, one long (lower screw), one short (upper screw).
1/8″ slotted screwdriver tip bit (longer is better than shorter)
1/4″ ratchet drive and socket that accepts the T-30 and 1/8″ slotted bits

Instructions

Place the steering wheel in the maximum up and out position.

Disconnect the battery (don’t want a surprise from the airbag).

There is a plastic philips screw on top of the plastic cover at the 12 o’clock postion, and one philips screw on the bottom plastic. Once those are off, carefully remove the top and bottom plastic trim around the steering wheel column. Be very careful, as to not break tabs.

Then you will want to pull out the lower cover as far out of the way as you can, I didn’t see how to remove it completely, but it would help to get it out of there.

You can see the ignition switch from the drivers door looking in and up, pull the tab on the wiring harness and remove the connector from the ignition switch.

There is a black bracket around the ignition switch held in by two torx 30 screws. I removed the bottom one completely and loosened the top one.

The switch itself has two very small screw pins that hold it in place. The heads of the very tiny screw heads are marked with red paint. Scrape the paint away and back the screw pins out using the 1/4″ drive with 1/8″ slotted tip, you don’t need to remove them completely.

Pull the ignition switch out, note the position of the input shaft on old ignition switch, align the new switch to the same position and install.

No secrets putting it back together, just reverse the instructions.

Here are the pics. You’ll note the very discolored contact in the bottom picture, I’m suspecting that is the culprit.

e39-ignition1.thumbnail E39 Ignition Switch Replacement

e39-ignition2.thumbnail E39 Ignition Switch Replacement

e39-ignition3.thumbnail E39 Ignition Switch Replacement

e39-ignition4.thumbnail E39 Ignition Switch Replacement

DIY Difficulty Level
Easy

External links

How to replace a BMW 5 Series ignition switch on Roadfly forums

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Thank you!

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Founder, Roadfly.com

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Creator of The 3 Week Diet & Weight Loss Consultant

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