Question about 1998 BMW 3 Series

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1998 323i BMW... The trunk latch will not allow the trunk to open. The key turns both ways with the latch making the familiar mech sounds to lock and unlock the trunk. Still trunk will not open. Is there anyway manually open the trunk from the inside? The dealer suggested drilling a hole behind the licenses plate and work at releasing the trunk. Anyway to punch in the trunk lock? Any ideas?

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  • bndday May 27, 2009

    Thanks for your help. The key was not the issue. The latch arm had fallen out of plastic sleeve. I unlocked the trunk and fixed the problem after following you instructions to drill a hole behind the licenses plate. One suggestion...all though the hole I drilled worked, just right of center (instead of left) would have been perfect. Thanks again.

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HI there,


There are two reasons your keys are not opening the trunk. Either you are not turning the key all the way to the unlatched position (it should click twice), or you are using a valet key. A valet key will only work in the ignition and door latches, but not the trunk. Valet keys usually are missing the black rubber top, showing all metal.

The only way I can think of is cutting a hole underneath the rear licence plate. You can then manually operate the lock link. The hole 40 to 50 mm Dia should be just left of centre 70mm from the bottom of the boot lid. The hole can be plugged afterwards. It may be simpler to get a key and you should have a spare anyway.


Hope this initial info/idea helps.

Let me know for further clarifications

Posted on May 23, 2009

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