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My understanding is a lot of places won't cut blanks they don't sell as some of the cheaper blanks are too hard and put a lot of wear and tear on the bits.

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A lot of people use them, you still need a key blank and then get it cut. I didn't want to mess with a Chinese fob or another gizmo that I'd only use once.
Good point!
I will stick with what is tried and true.
Thank you VpointVick

I have a step learning curve to endure as I jump into the e46 world.
Prior to this I was into the Air Cooled 911s, 996GT3s, Mk1 Capris and NA miatas.
Barely any electronics in the air cooled realm.

One day I will share how it all happened. It was a traumatic one.
Let's just say NexTel Buddy saved the day. I had to re-pin several connectors in a 2002 Touring.
 

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Keep in mind BMW will no longer sell you a replacement EWS. If your car has already gone through 10 keys or someone's already hacked up your EWS to work with an aftermarket key you're stuck paying the exorbitant rate to have the dealer replace everything.

So far I've had better luck getting HU-58 (E38/E39) keys cut than the HU-92 keys that the E46 uses. The Ilco fobs feel nicer than the cheap crap that a lot of locksmiths stock but all of the aftermarket blanks are cheap brass instead of the alloy that BMW/Huf uses. This isn't a new thing, it took me a long time to find a shop that would cut steel blanks for a sidewinder Volvo key. Most shops balked, but the one that didn't pointed out that the steel blanks made for easier clean up.
 

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Keep in mind BMW will no longer sell you a replacement EWS. If your car has already gone through 10 keys or someone's already hacked up your EWS to work with an aftermarket key you're stuck paying the exorbitant rate to have the dealer replace everything.
Not that this isn't a real possibility but does anyone have and first hand experience of someone running out of keys and having to re-key? I have never seen it myself in 16yrs working on BMWs and I think the highest key I have ever seen is #8.
 

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Not that this isn't a real possibility but does anyone have and first hand experience of someone running out of keys and having to re-key? I have never seen it myself in 16yrs working on BMWs and I think the highest key I have ever seen is #8.
The 325 came with a hacked up EWS and a junky flip key so my options are aftermarket keys or an EWS from BMW. Right now I've only got one key for the car and I'm still looking for a locksmith who can actually cut HU-92 blanks properly. Or I can buy a key and hope the locksmiths didn't change the seed on the EWS and that it works ($150–$300). Or I can buy the hardware to bang on the key and see if I can get the password out of it ($300). Or I could just buy a set of keys + EWS for $500 if BMW would authorize the sale.

I'm not sure what the situation is on the 540 but it only came with two keys (one key worked with the ZKE the other with the EWS). I'm not 100% sure whether 4 or 5 slots have been used. If the misbehaving key changed slots that would wreck my chances of getting a working key from BMW without an EWS (if the fixed code is write-once). I'd like to have a complete set just for resale value and the difference in list price between a set of keys with EWS and without is only about $100. If you've got to order from a dealer and go through their service department you're looking at double the cost, at least.

And, yeah, if you search you'll find people who've either run out of slots or have failed EWS units. I can stomach the insane cost of tailgate trim, the special tools, the increasing cost of wear items, the shady local dealers (I'm looking at you BMW SF and Peter Pan BMW), and the interior upholstery and slicktop headliner (and other stuff) being NLA. Getting bent over for keys is a bridge too far. If the size and Ray Charles styling didn't put me off of new BMWs, this does.
 

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The 325 came with a hacked up EWS and a junky flip key so my options are aftermarket keys or an EWS from BMW. Right now I've only got one key for the car and I'm still looking for a locksmith who can actually cut HU-92 blanks properly. Or I can buy a key and hope the locksmiths didn't change the seed on the EWS and that it works ($150–$300). Or I can buy the hardware to bang on the key and see if I can get the password out of it ($300). Or I could just buy a set of keys + EWS for $500 if BMW would authorize the sale.

I'm not sure what the situation is on the 540 but it only came with two keys (one key worked with the ZKE the other with the EWS). I'm not 100% sure whether 4 or 5 slots have been used. If the misbehaving key changed slots that would wreck my chances of getting a working key from BMW without an EWS (if the fixed code is write-once). I'd like to have a complete set just for resale value and the difference in list price between a set of keys with EWS and without is only about $100. If you've got to order from a dealer and go through their service department you're looking at double the cost, at least.

And, yeah, if you search you'll find people who've either run out of slots or have failed EWS units. I can stomach the insane cost of tailgate trim, the special tools, the increasing cost of wear items, the shady local dealers (I'm looking at you BMW SF and Peter Pan BMW), and the interior upholstery and slicktop headliner (and other stuff) being NLA. Getting bent over for keys is a bridge too far. If the size and Ray Charles styling didn't put me off of new BMWs, this does.
Makes sense for your situation and yes I've seen anecdotal info about people running out of keys but I've never seen someone say I personally ran out of keys.

An EWS module (61359145097) new is $140 online.

Set of keys and EWS module are $525 online 51210303363
 

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Makes sense for your situation and yes I've seen anecdotal info about people running out of keys but I've never seen someone say I personally ran out of keys.

An EWS module (61359145097) new is $140 online.

Set of keys and EWS module are $525 online 51210303363
Realoem.com is a parts catalog not a dealer. They don't actually sell anything. As for the EWS unit itself, Sean from the BMW Mini Part Store said:

Hi, that is the correct part number. One thing to note we are unable to order an EWS. They can only be ordered by a BMW Service Department.
The aftermarket keys work fine with the 540 but the shop made a royal mess out of the E46 blanks. They cut some copies on their noname blanks that were equally bad. I don't know if it's because the HU58 is easier to copy than the HU92 or if the aftermarket key that came with the car is just too worn to copy. I'm not sure how I want to proceed on this car since there's pretty much zero chance I'll pay a dealer to replace the EWS (markup + labor = no go).
 

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Realoem.com is a parts catalog not a dealer. They don't actually sell anything. As for the EWS unit itself, Sean from the BMW Mini Part Store said:

I'm not sure how I want to proceed on this car since there's pretty much zero chance I'll pay a dealer to replace the EWS (markup + labor = no go).
What? Yes I know RealOEM doesn't sell parts, but if you google that part number you will find a number of retailers who will and they list their price right there.

And don't know what Sean means, I just emailed my BMW parts supplier and they confirmed I can order an EWS module or kit with proof of ownership of the vehicle.
****EDIT maybe he means because it is a coded part (coded to the car/requires proof of ownership, like a key) they won't sell it online, I know other retailers will though.
 

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Sure, you can even find the Turner/ECS listings for the EWS unit that are now marked NLA. BMW started cracking down on mail order keys a few years ago so while you might find a listing for it, and you might be able to place the order, your chances of actually getting the part are pretty slim. Around here only BMW SF was willing to move on retail parts pricing but I've stopped buying from them after their idiot service techs kept breaking things on the 325 during Takata recall work. The other area dealers want $200–$300 for a single key. Depending on how much money I want to sink into the 325 I might stop by the local indy who's happy to order/sell you parts at list price.

Keep in mind that a lot of these dealers put little to no effort into setting up their Trademotion sites. For instance a lot of them have tools listed below cost. You can place an order but you're almost certainly going to have it cancelled if they catch on to the pricing errors.

If you've actually managed to mail order keys from some of these sites, that's great let us know which ones. If not, I'm still of the mindset that there are only a couple dealers left that are willing to mail order keys from BMW. The BMW Mini Part Store makes a big deal about being able to mail order keys and they're still unwilling/able to sell a set of keys + EWS.
 

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I'm not sure what we are talking about anymore? Are you saying that you can't get these parts at all or you can but only want to pay retail and none of your local dealers sell at retail or ?

At the end of the day you can get an EWS module or and EWS module/key kit from your dealer. The MSRP price is:
61359145097 list$176.99
51210303363 list$634.99
 

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I'm not sure what we are talking about anymore? Are you saying that you can't get these parts at all or you can but only want to pay retail and none of your local dealers sell at retail or ?

At the end of the day you can get an EWS module or and EWS module/key kit from your dealer. The MSRP price is:
61359145097 list$176.99
51210303363 list$634.99
I'm saying that you cannot mail order keys from the vast majority of dealers so the listings you've found online are mostly worthless. If what Sean said is accurate you cannot order an EWS + key set from your local (retail) parts department either. I'd put some stock in what he said because he works for one of maybe two dealers in the US willing and able to sell BMW keys mail order. Unless you've actually bought an EWS unit recently I'll stick with: you can no longer buy an EWS unit unless you go through a dealer's service department. You can find all manner of inaccurate parts listings online.

I haven't tried the local dealers because their retail parts departments mark up keys significantly and I'm not going to entertain the idea of paying their service departments $200/hr+. Wholesale parts accounts may be different.
 

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Man, we just upped our labor rate at the beginning of the year and we're only at $145/hr. Programming generally goes for 1.5 hrs on module replacement.

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BTW here's the listing that the BMW MINI Part Store has:


It's listed at $519. You can place an order and it will eventually be cancelled.

And, yeah, Bay Area labor rates are crazy. The local indy raised his rates to $142/hr a few years ago. Dealers were around $190/hr about a decade ago, and were over $200/hr about five years ago. The only non-recall work I've gone to a local dealer for was an oil change back when they were running $80 oil change specials so I don't know how much over $200 they are now.
 
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