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Old 04-02-2010, 12:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Adding Bluetooth/Ipod Dock to 2003 e39 - Anyone done this to their 5?

Hello all,
My wife sold her 3 series convertible which, thanks to your help, I was able to fix and then sell it. She now has a new Mini Cooper, which has almsot the same controls verbatim as my 03 525i. She has the bluetooth phone and Ipod USB mp3 player option, and since my 5 is pre-wired for just about everything, why does she get all the fun.

Anybody tell me where to start? What problems they had installing these units? lessons learned?

Thanks,
Fro
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One huge difference between your car and your wife's is that her MINI is running an optical MOST bus. Your e39 runs a wired I-Bus. Also, in 2003 Bluetooth was not so common, at least not to OEMs. Meanwhile, the iPod could not connect to OEM radios until BMW introduced the first adaptor in June 2004.

So her MINI was designed with Bluetooth and iPod in mind, but your car not at all.

The adaptor introduced in 2004 should work in your vehicle. It is not officially supported by BMW, and may experience some minor glitches, since it was never tested for that application. You might occasionally lose the iPod mode, or have to remove/replug the iPod, but I would be shocked if it didn't work at all. At the website listed below, you can pick vehicles by year. You'll have to pick the vehicle that has the radio most similar to yours (post a picture?)

Unless you have navigation, the radio cannot show any text. And, there is no way to select artists etc, because the I-Bus does not offer such a feature. Therefore, all that was available was to make 5 custom "BMW1" "BMW2" etc playlists available from the 6 preset radio buttons (the adaptor is faking like it is a CD changer, basically). The 6th preset uses the entire iPod as a huge playlist, so you can put it in random mode and keep skipping until you hear something you like, then un-random. Or, you can unplug the iPod, select something, re-plug it, and a handy Resume Play feature will keep playing your selection.

Installation is not for the faint of heart. You need to remove the radio, disconnect the battery, and remove and swap some pins into the connectors on the back of the radio. A special BMW workshop tool is needed to remove the pins, unless you can find some kind of a tube of the exact diameter to push in the locking tabs. As I recall, this harness swap could be faked with some Scotchloks or similar-not a great solution, but if you can't get that tool, maybe your only option unless you pay for dealer install.

If you want to run satellite radio as well, then a long audio wire has to be run clear to the back of the car. If you have a DSP system the you need a special model which has an optical output.

Look at BMW North Americaand good luck.

P.S. There are a number of aftermarket units out there. However, BMW has a HUGE number of requirements for devices on the bus, including hardware and software, which they do not release. It is definitely possible to hack a device to WORK on the bus, but absolutely no guarantee it might not cause problems like interfering with bus communications or keeping the bus awake. Try those at your peril.

P.P.S. Or, you can do what I did: tear out the crummy OEM radio, and put in an iPod-specific Alpine radio. Threw out the lousy factory DSP amp and "sub"woofers, never looked back since. Maybe cheaper than the BMW unit installed at a dealer.

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Old 04-02-2010, 09:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Head-Unit is correct. It will take a lot of work to make everything work and you are not guaranteed results. It's probably just easier to stick with an ear piece unfortunately.
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Or a speaker. The Blue Ant and the Jabra piece are pretty good. Not as convenient as built-in, but what can you do.

It's really just better to either just use a factory AUX in for the iPod, and a headset for Bluetooth, or change it all out for aftermarket.
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, guys

Aftermarket radio isn't an option. I appreciate the sound quality from aftermarket units, but preservation of stock look is paramount. wouldn't mind replacing the amp and "subs". BAss on this system is not very strong. Where is the amp? Is it behind the dash?
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The factory amp would be on the left hand side of the trunk behind the panel, kinda where the CD changer would go. With some minimal fabrication, an aftermarket amp can be mounted there. also it's possible to stick one inside the spare tire with ingenuity. Speakers tough to replace without modifying the factory look as they are a weird shallow 4.5" size in the doors (rear speakers-who cares, useless unless you have 5.1).
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tip, Head_unit!

I'll investigate my options with the amp. I'm going for a completely stock look. What about upgrading to a NAV system? Is the wiring included with that? Would that make it easier?
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes and Yes...check out my bluetooth thread here http://www.bimmerwerkz.com/forum/5-s...ome-70164.html

And Bavarian Sound works for the ipod adapter BMW Audio, BMW iPod, Speakers, Subwoofers, & more | BSW: Bavarian Soundwerks
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fro3and5series View Post
What about upgrading to a NAV system? Is the wiring included with that? Would that make it easier?
Most likely the car doesn't have a GPS antenna prewired is one problem. You can snake one through the dash and stick just under the windshield and probably works OK. I don't remember if there are other wiring differences. At some point BMW stopped even offering Nav as a dealer-possible upgrade; one of my buddies there said it was just too much trouble.

Since these cars are pre-MOST I don't *think* the nav requires re-coding.

The bigger issue is that the BMW navigation is a confusing piece of which has awful choices of on-screen colors, making it very hard to understand what you're looking at. The menus are truly Byzantine, like someone's graduate thesis about how to design HMI for the terminally insane. And to cap it off, at least one of the generations WOULD NOT LET YOU FIND POIs BY NAME!!! Confirmed that with our BMW contact; unbelievable.

And after all that pain, while you could SEE track info, you still could not SEARCH your iPod-the systems are simply not capable of it.

So keeping the stock look really makes things tough. If I were to do it over I would still swap out for an aftermarket radio. Failing that, you could try to swap in a later MP3 BMW radio, but expensive. Factory, an AUX adaptor might be cheaper, if power can somehow be wire in.
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