Radio Upgrade for E39 540 - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
#1 (permalink) Old 05-12-2004, 07:17 AM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
Has anyway replaced there stock E39 540 with an aftermarket radio? I am looking to use the radio from my old car which is a Clarion automatic flip-out TV. Is the stock radio the same size as DIN sized 3rd party products? I am thinking of selling the Clarion with my other car because the DVD is a seperate unit and they now have ones with it built into the head unit. Anyway, just wanted to see what my options, I have mostly seen people talking about replacing there speakers but havent said anything about changing the factoru head unit!
Arcade is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 (permalink) Old 05-12-2004, 11:21 AM
You Can Has A Custom Title!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Eugene Oregon
Posts: 2,718
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
007ben is an unknown quantity at this point
Send a message via AIM to 007ben Send a message via Yahoo to 007ben
the HU is difficult to change. I've witnessed install shops turn someone away with a E39 once they figured out how hard it would be.

2008 128i Jetblack
007ben is offline  
#3 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 06:22 PM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
What exactly is HU?
Arcade is offline  
#4 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 08:40 PM
3rd Gear Member
 
mrogers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Posts: 552
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
mrogers is an unknown quantity at this point
HU = Head Unit, what's in the dash, often called a "deck"

Trust me, you do not want to replace the factory head unit in the E39, especially in the 540i. Not only does it totally f' up the look of the dash, but you loose all of your onboard computer controls. Plus, replacing the head unit won't do a damn thing unless you take care of the real achilles heel in the E39--the speakers.

I replaced 8 cabin speakers (two tweeters and mids in the front front, two tweeters and mids in the rear), and then added a single 10" sub in the trunk--nothing monstrous, I'm not trying to shake everyone's windows. But with those upgrades, and leaving the HU alone, the system sounds FANTASTIC. I highly, highly recommend going this route. If you STILL want to replace the head unit after all that, then go for it, but don't waste your money and time on that until you at least do the speakers.

For more info on my upgrade check out this thread.

Anyone who ever buys used cars online, anyone even THINKING of starting a &quot;Is this deal too good to be true?&quot; thread, anyone who wants to be more educated about protecting themselves must <a href='http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm' target='_blank'>read this</a>.

<img src='http://www.3xmk.com/mrogers-files/forums/bmw/bmw_sig_small.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
mrogers is offline  
#5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 09:26 AM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
Duh, just figured out that HU means Headunit. I've been seeing other people stating not to bothering replacing the HU as well. I definately will be changing all speakers and installing 1 or 2 subs. The reason I want to change the HU is because I have a Clarion HU with motorized 7" LCD with DVD, TV, etc. This was from my old car and I would want to use it in the 540. Is it really that hard to change the HU?
Arcade is offline  
#6 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 03:38 PM
3rd Gear Member
 
mrogers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Posts: 552
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
mrogers is an unknown quantity at this point
Well, here's what I've read and seen...I'll post the thread if I ever find it again.

First of all, the physical location that you have to place the aftermarket HU in sucks--it has to go in the top center on the standard HU/tape deck combo, which is about where the wooden door is right now. The wooden door has to come off, or stay up all the time--it can't be pulled down because due to the depth of the cavity behind the dash the HU will stick out too far to close the door. Secondly, the whole reason it has to be in the top portion that the bottom part, where your primary radio controls are now, is way too shallow for an aftermarket HU.

In addition to all that, the BMW units are a lot wider than aftermarket HU, so you have to find 1) a bracket that will fit, and B) a filler faceplate to go around your aftermarket HU. This is where it looks ugly. I'll try to find the pic I saw once.

And, like I said, you loose your OBC controls--you'll never be able to reset your average MPG, trip time, speed alarm, etc.

EDIT: Here's the picture of an aftermarket standard size head unit installed in an E39. It looks like a gaping hole was punched into the middle of the dash and then a bunch of cheap plastic was used to fill it in. I admit that's probably as good as it gets when you do this on an E39, but seeing that much empty plastic makes me think of a Cavalier or something. Hopefully you'll be happy with the new speakers and subs. What would you use the LCD for anyway? This is supposed to be the ultimate driving machine, not visual entertainment machine! No offense intended... I'm sure you have reasons, that's just not my thing. Anyway, I hope this info has helped.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	e39_headunit_kit.jpg
Views:	9835
Size:	180.4 KB
ID:	8240  

Anyone who ever buys used cars online, anyone even THINKING of starting a &quot;Is this deal too good to be true?&quot; thread, anyone who wants to be more educated about protecting themselves must <a href='http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm' target='_blank'>read this</a>.

<img src='http://www.3xmk.com/mrogers-files/forums/bmw/bmw_sig_small.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
mrogers is offline  
#7 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 04:12 PM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
Wow, that sure looks plain. I would think somethings could be done to make the filler plate look better, such as doing a custom wood trim job. Who knows, i guess its all up to the imagination. Basically, with the syste, I have now, I want to get the navigation module. So I would have TV, DVD, & Navi, as well as just regular radio.

Would you happen to have a pic of the regular\stock HU so i can see a comparison of before and after?
Arcade is offline  
#8 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 04:16 PM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
Ok, forget about the comparison pic unless you want to post it for others to see. I found a pic on bmwtips.com. Anyway, other than the features you posted, what exactly is the OBC for? I am assuming OBC stands for On Board Computer?
Arcade is offline  
#9 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 05:00 PM
3rd Gear Member
 
mrogers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Posts: 552
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
mrogers is an unknown quantity at this point
Yes, that's correct, and you shouldn't loose any functionality other than that I mentioned.

Anyone who ever buys used cars online, anyone even THINKING of starting a &quot;Is this deal too good to be true?&quot; thread, anyone who wants to be more educated about protecting themselves must <a href='http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm' target='_blank'>read this</a>.

<img src='http://www.3xmk.com/mrogers-files/forums/bmw/bmw_sig_small.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
mrogers is offline  
#10 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 08:25 PM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
Ok, so i have a good idea about replacing the HU now. So basically, if i get the bracket & filler plate then I can replace the HU. If I can find a good custom shop, they should be able to do something about the bland filler and jazz it up. Also, if the shop is real good, they should be able to relocate the OBC somewhere else, like the glovebox or armrest. Like I said its upto the imagination. Too bad im not into programming, i could probably make a custom module that hooks upto the LCD panel of the HU and have it display the functions from the OBC. (hehe, imaginations running a little bit far ahead, huh ). Thanks for the info mrogers!

Now, if someone could tell me what years the E39 540's came with Steptronic I would be good to go.
Arcade is offline  
#11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 08:27 PM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Arcade is an unknown quantity at this point
(Thread Starter)
You wouldn't happen to know where one could get the necessary bracker and filler faceplate from? :wink
Arcade is offline  
#12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 09:15 PM
3rd Gear Member
 
mrogers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Posts: 552
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
mrogers is an unknown quantity at this point
Unfortunately, no I don't know where you can get that stuff. Given that so many shops refuse to work on the head units of E39s, they may have been custom jobs. I saw someone who custom-formed a filler faceplate for his E46 once.

As far as steptronic, I *think* I saw a '99 with it once, but I don't know if it was standard. I'm pretty sure it was standard starting in '00 though. I wouldn't fix yourself on getting a steptronic though. If you find a good deal on a 540i without steptronic, don't let that stop you from getting it. I think it's a novelty that could wear off. The sport mode on the regular autos is pretty good.

EDIT: OK I'm wrong. I found out that for at least 1999 and 2000, the StepTronic came with the sport package. I don't know whether it could be added without the sport package.

Anyone who ever buys used cars online, anyone even THINKING of starting a &quot;Is this deal too good to be true?&quot; thread, anyone who wants to be more educated about protecting themselves must <a href='http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm' target='_blank'>read this</a>.

<img src='http://www.3xmk.com/mrogers-files/forums/bmw/bmw_sig_small.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
mrogers is offline  
#13 (permalink) Old 05-17-2004, 08:55 PM
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
samps is an unknown quantity at this point
I have a 2001 540 that I am putting a stereo into this coming weekend. I am going to try to not use the kit like in the above picture, and have some custom work done. I'll post some pics when it's done.
samps is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com > BMW Model Specific Forums > 5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60)


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2004 E60 Software Upgrade ksz 5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) 13 06-20-2005 12:25 PM
Vanity Mirror Causing Radio Prob. dell 5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) 1 12-14-2004 12:41 PM
Radio Upgrade on E39 maxxym 5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) 7 10-11-2004 09:07 AM
99 Z3 Radio Upgrade rmswenson747 1,6,7,8 - Series and Mini Cooper 0 09-29-2004 12:40 PM
1995 740i Radio / Audio System wmccally 1,6,7,8 - Series and Mini Cooper 1 04-19-2004 12:11 AM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome