OLDBMWGUY
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Manual Key Operation with Cover

Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:15 pm

I am trying to use the metal key for my I3 which requires first opening the cover that is just behind the door handle. I have tried to insert the "metal Key" as shown in the Drivers Manual but it does not allow the cover to "unclick" and allow use of the metal key. BMW Genius had no answer. Is there some "trick" to getting the cover off (and then back on)?
2019 i3 BEV, Capparis White, Tera World, Harmon Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 429 wheels

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MKH
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:21 am

Not in English but shows the procedure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l9O_F67e3Y
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

OLDBMWGUY
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:08 pm

Thanks Mark. The video does show the correct procedure. But apparently does not work on my I3.
With mine, I can press up as hard (or gently) as I want while also altering the direction slightly. Nothing. I have tried both sides of the I3, same result.

BACKGROUND: My reason for needing to use the smaller "metal key" vice the fob is that when I go to the beach I have to swim with the key on me and the fob is not waterproof. (Can't leave anything on the beach in Hawaii, it "disappears" in seconds).

I have heard from other I3 sources that some covers have fallen off while driving (after removal and re-attachment) since it is equally as difficult to put the cover back in place securely as it is to remove in the first place. So I have purchased another "cover" (un-painted) from the dealer to use for those times that I would go to the beach rather than use my original painted cover, or possibly lose it. (Part # 51-21-7-379-775/776 (door cap)). $30.


Examination of the inside of the "new" cover while inserting the key was somewhat helpful in discovering how the cover attachment is supposed to work. It seems simple. The insertion of the metal key from the bottom slightly moves a plastic strut inside the cover to free the cover (supposedly).

So this morning I tried again. After about 20 minutes of everything short of using a hammer to force the key upwards in the slot, the drivers side finally did come loose. Unfortunately there was absolutely no clue as to what exact movement "released" it. Then I did use the metal key to manually successfully lock/unlock the I3 as expected. But then it was another 20-30 minutes of rather increasingly frantic experimenting with attempting to re-attach the cover back on to the handle without any success. Finally in utter frustration I hit the cover squarely with my fist and it "snapped" into place. Not a very sophisticated method, but the only thing that worked.

Needless to say, repeating the above methodology while at the beach parking lot does not seem to be a viable solution.
Asking at the dealership has not been too successful but I will try again. Any other ideas?
2019 i3 BEV, Capparis White, Tera World, Harmon Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 429 wheels

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MKH
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:47 pm

Since the manual key access is for rare emergency use, guess not made for easy on/off repeated access.
https://surf-stash.com/car-key-stash/

https://www.makospearguns.com/Key-Lock-Box-p/mklb.htm
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:18 am

Thanks again Mark.

I might have to resort to the "lock box" solution. I think you are right about the non-everyday use for the key.

I did find an I3 expert who showed me how to undo/do the cover. Apparently the technique required varies by age of the vehicle but for mine it involves inserting the key then pulling it sort of "up and towards" you to release. To re-affix the cover you put in the top portion first then the bottom til it "snaps" in.
He mentioned that he also thought that the "cover" for his 2017 I3 was of slightly different size then for my car.
Thanks again.
2019 i3 BEV, Capparis White, Tera World, Harmon Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 429 wheels

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MKH
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:30 pm

Thinking on it - Since you have a 'spare' cover. I would look at cutting the tabs off the spare, so it fits over the handle smoothly but does not latch to anything, with a small metal plate glued to the inside of the handle, and a neodymium magnet or two glued inside the cover (if space etc will allow all this of course - would pop mine to see if this is even possible - but mine has 'comfort access' which puts sensors in the door handle, so a different setup than yours ). Would provide an OEM look, with an easy on/off for key access. And could always go back to 'factory' with the original cover
Last edited by MKH on Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

OLDBMWGUY
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:01 pm

Hmmm....... an excellent idea! Too bad that BMW did not think of that for starters. I could just use it on "beach" days and put the regular cover on most of the time.

But I also have the "Comfort Access" on my I3, does that have some effect on the cover? Are you thinking that the magnetism would effect the "Comfort Access" operation?
2019 i3 BEV, Capparis White, Tera World, Harmon Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 429 wheels

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MKH
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:52 pm

It may, since there are some sort of sensors in the door handle. Would need some experimentation to check for sure.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

jadnashuanh
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:50 pm

Pretty sure the comfort access stuff is rf based, not magnetically controlled.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

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MKH
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Re: Manual Key Operation with Cover

Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:23 am

Pretty sure the comfort access stuff is rf based, not magnetically controlled.
I was thinking more it might affect the touch-sensors on either side of handle in the center. But small neodymium magnets along with some steel washers, glued in near either end of the handle cap and base likely wouldn't cause any problems.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

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