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Electrical: First Generation Key Refurbishment

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Electrical: First Generation Key Refurbishment

  #76  
Old 02-12-2016, 06:08 PM
Rich.Wolfson
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Switchblade Shell

Originally Posted by valvashon View Post
...I don't remember which eBay seller I got my first two flip shells from (edit- eBay history shows it as "4s_shops") but after I used those two I went directly to my Chinese supplier and got a quantity to stock. Those seemed like exactly the same ones, so there may only be one type of this aftermarket designed shell. You will probably have to use a bit of super glue to attach the rubber pad to the back of the shell (it fits on little plastic posts) and also to attach the plastic wings thing to the rubber pad. You'll see what I mean when you get it. You will then need to attach the silver wings to the plastic thing- there is double stick tape on the wings but I recommend a second layer of double stick tape. It looks just like regular Scotch tape but is sticky on both sides. Pay attention to how the spring and button thing comes out so you can reassemble it properly. I should probably do a write up on the flip style key with pictures....
As always, you are spot on.

Originally Posted by Steve Kane View Post
I have the clamshell key for a 03 Mini Cooper. I just bought a flip key from eBay but my issue is the ignition chip won't stay out in the housing of the flip key. How can I best overcome this small obstacle
I've had eBay key shells, both the switchblade and regular for years planning to eventually change one of my 2003 R53 keys to a switchblade. Last week the "wings" button simply disappeared on the key I regularly use, so the priority was moved up to the top and today I did the conversion. It was really easy.

My local locksmith cut the blade for $25. It took all of 3 minutes. Moving the pieces was also relatively easy. Taking Dr. Bruce's advice I paid close attention to the way the new switchblade shell comes apart. Particularly how that spring is wound. It's not intuitive so look closely. I also used a drop of gel glue to anchor the switch pads and the immobilizer as that just flopped about in the slot. Just a drop, as little as you can, will do it. And the foam ball that comes in with the new case goes back in there to stabilize everything when it's assembled.

The whole job took under a half hour not including the drive to the locksmith to get the blade cut. And I am stoked as it looks great.

Doc. If you are ever in Northern New Jersey, the beer is on me.

///Rich

PS-So
. Thanks again Doc. The clamshell is great!
 

Last edited by Rich.Wolfson; 02-28-2016 at 04:13 PM.
  #77  
Old 03-03-2016, 07:27 AM
joshzash14
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Just wanted to give the Doc a big thanks for fixing my key. If anyone ever needs their key fixed the Doc should be the first person they contact!
 
  #78  
Old 08-25-2016, 03:46 AM
JKo
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Still no three button flip shells?
 
  #79  
Old 01-12-2017, 08:39 PM
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Dr. Bruce aka MINI Key Hospital Doc.

Sent you a PM a out a key repair or if I was going to DIMyself where would you recommend i get the key Shells?

Oliver
 
  #80  
Old 03-01-2017, 09:19 PM
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valvashon
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Originally Posted by okeeton View Post
Dr. Bruce aka MINI Key Hospital Doc.

Sent you a PM a out a key repair or if I was going to DIMyself where would you recommend i get the key Shells?

Oliver
If you are going the DIY route I would totally recommend the shells that eBay seller "artiway" sells. They aren't the cheapest but they are high quality and finished and ready for use.

Dr. Bruce
 
  #81  
Old 10-18-2017, 01:48 PM
alistaircookie
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Thanks to Dr. Bruce's wonderful guide, I have now swapped three first gen keys with broken buttons into replacement cases!

Here are some things I learned:

Some ebay cases are pretty crummy

I bought a couple cheap replacement cases on ebay before I saw Dr. Bruce's posts, and they turned out to be a bad fit. Though the parts could still be swapped, they'd have to be affixed in place. Also, there was no logo on the wing button, which was difficult to depress and uncomfortable to touch. I didn't end up using these cases.

Used keys make excellent case donors

Instead of buying more new replacement keys, I purchased used OEM Mini keys with good buttons on ebay (for less than $35 each). These are original cases, so the fit is perfect. Of course, they're also old; so the button may break on them soon too. So check the photos closely.

You can remove the roll pin with a #53 drill bit

Instead of drilling through the case or cutting the plastic out around the roll pins that hold in the cut metal key, you can simply insert a #53 drill bit into the open end of the pin and pull the pin out.

A friend and I found that a #53 drill bit fit perfectly - you have to work it in a bit, and it fits pretty snug. We had the aid of a bench mounted drill, which we turned manually to help with removal; but a regular drill should work fine too. Just be sure to turn the drill by hand. (Don't turn the drill on! That could be dangerous!)

Oh, and it's easy to press the roll pin back in by hand, or with a block of wood or a mallet (or anything hard really).

Sometimes other parts break

On one of my keys, the switch button had fallen off the circuit board. It's tiny and annoying to deal with, but I soldiered it back on and it worked perfectly thereafter.

Thanks again for the guide and photos Dr. Bruce!
 
  #82  
Old 12-08-2017, 10:32 AM
davmac
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Thanks to everyone in this thread – especially valvashon. With the insights shared here 2 Mini keys are in new cases and working beautifully.
I’ll add a couple tips that may add to the knowledge pool.
1. The key shells by the ebay seller artiway are good, but not oem quality.
Good: I ordered 3 key shells and this was the first to arrive – from Taiwan!
Bad – 2 gripes: First there is no roll pin provided. To reuse the old roll pin you will need to clean up the blind countersunk hole in the replacement shell case so the pin can be pressed through the blade and into the shell base. You may still need to file or trim the length of the roll pin. Second, even with the roll pin firmly pressed in you will need a little epoxy to make the key blade tight in the shell. Without a bit of epoxy the key will rock side to side – pivoting on the roll pin.
I tried to add as little epoxy as possible to the skinny sides of the key blade, trying to stay away from the roll pin hole. Then I pushed it into the slot in the shell. The final step was to press the roll pin through the shell and key blade. If this shell is replaced the key will need to be cut out.

2. Review of ebay key shells from other sellers: I bought 2 others. Both appear to be OEM. Ebay seller names: nycom-tech and topautopart. Both included Valeo markings on the plastic shell, included the roll pin to secure the key blade and Valeo was marked on the key blade. The best product among these 2 was from the seller named nycom-tech. This seller advertised having US based stock and it did ship from New York state. I suspect, however, that the key shell was shipped from overseas and then reshipped from New York as it actually took longer to arrive compared to the one ordered from the seller artiway. The key shell from nycom-tech had only 1 picture and it was not clear if it was even OEM design. What I received appeared to be OEM design and included the nice chrome looking Mini logo switch cover (which was not pictured). However, I did have to add glue to secure the chrome Mini logo switch cover and even had to push the plastic portion of the button cover through the key shell and melt the tabs to be sure it was well secured. The key blade was a perfect fit. The plastics and rubber of the key shell felt like the OEM materials. This key shell included a roll pin that was a perfect fit too (not too long).
The key from topautopart came directly from China. No chrome button cover was included. It did include a key blade and roll pin. It took about 3 weeks to be delivered. I did not use this one so can’t comment further.

3. There is an alternative way to remove the key blade roll pin. You will use hydraulic force to push the roll pin out. You will need a very small hex tool or pick. You want something that will fit tightly and can be pushed into the center of the roll pin. This will be your piston. I used plumber’s putty, but you might also use grease. Push the putty into the center of the roll pin with your finger tip and use your tiny pick to pack it in. Eventually you will push enough putty into the hole that it will get under the roll pin and push it up and out. I had one come out in a couple minutes, but really struggled with one too. This method may require some patience but will remove the roll pin without any collateral damage.

Finally, I’ll join others to advise you avoid the replacement shell design that is 3 pieces. These are a clam shell with a separate piece of plastic to hold the key blade and roll pin. There is no way for these to produce the results you want – a secure key blade in the FOB shell.
 
  #83  
Old 03-10-2018, 07:35 PM
jimz68
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Just got my key back from the good Dr.
It's so nice to have a fully functioning key again !
Thank You for providing this service.

Jim
 
  #84  
Old 06-01-2018, 01:25 PM
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How do I get in contact with Dr. Bruce at the Mini key Hospital?


Help,
Joel
 

Last edited by locojoel; 06-02-2018 at 08:56 AM.
  #85  
Old 06-03-2018, 08:16 PM
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Finally cleaned out my PM box! You can PM me or send me an e-mail directly to "[email protected]". Include a picture or two and a description of what your key is or is not doing.

Thanks!
 
  #86  
Old 07-03-2018, 07:56 AM
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My mechanic offered to buy a new key shell for me. This is what I recieved. It's a little different than what you have shown on here. Does anyone have experience with this style? I'm worried about the blade not being secure in the main shell. I have this style replacement
 
  #87  
Old 07-03-2018, 04:04 PM
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valvashon
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Ugh. Those shells are garbage (at least the lot I bought from my wholesaler was). These same remotes were used on some Land Rover models and this shell is a bastardization of the Land Rover shell (with a different style blade in the plastic thing) and the MINI shell. They didn't seem to get the spacing right and the "wings" button doesn't really hit the microswitch on the circuit board properly.


Try to look for one on eBay that doesn't have the blade in a separate plastic thing. The seller "artiway" had good quality shells but I don't see that he has them at the moment. You can message him or look for a shell that is two pieces with a blade that is not in a piece of plastic. Those are much closer to the OEM ones and are preferable.


Dr. Bruce
 
  #88  
Old 07-04-2018, 09:04 AM
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Thank you, you have confirmed what I had suspected. I was hoping the garage would have bought the one you use, as it looks basically like a direct replacement. I will order one from the supplier you mentioned.
 
  #89  
Old 08-29-2018, 06:28 PM
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Finally! I replaced my worn out clamshell. I have had it for a while but just got to fixing it last night. Thank you Dr. Bruce for sharing your experiences. It helped a lot. Mostly in my confidence to tear the key apart. My only addition or suggestion would be, share what kind of JB Weld you use on the blade. I tried some of the steel weld as it was all I had on hand. It didnt seem to work and was messy. I finally used a generous amount of super glue. It feels great now, but I wonder about longevity. (Being jostled around in my pocket).
 
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