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#1 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 08:28 PM
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Is anything special required to hook up an aftermarket cd player in a BMW?

Not talking anything fancy here. Just off the shelf stuff from Best Buy.

I've installed 4 head units on American cars in the past and all were really easy. But does the BMW's factory set up use different size antenna connectors or a different wiring set up or different voltages than regular American cars?

In short, can I go buy any head unit, hard wire it and have it work? Or do I need any adapters and what not?

Thanks in advance!

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#2 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 09:09 PM
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I have a Alpine CD head in my 1988 750 and all I had to do was hard wire it in, bypass the factory amp (I use the internal amp in the head) and it works great.
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#3 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 09:59 PM
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So it'll hook up just like any other American car I've done?

That's awesome. I'm more excited about my new car everyday!

Now if I can just find a head unit that someone goes with the astetics of the dash and I'll be set!

(Amazing how much I didn't care about how it looked when I put a new CD player in my Dodge Dakota last month. haha Now with an M3 it's suddenly more important to me. Funny how that works out)

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#4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 12:31 AM
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thats not exactly true. What year is it?

Also, you will need an antenna adapter and as always adapter harnesses are reccomended over hardwiring.

<span style='color:gray'><span style='font-family:Courier'>1995 e36 3 Series RIP
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#5 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 11:03 PM
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Where can one find an antenna adapter?

Would Best Buy have them? Will I have to go to an electronics store?

Thanks for pointing that out before I got a head unit home, the dash apart, and realized I didn't have enough parts. I'd have probably been pretty sore at the world at that point. haha

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#6 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 11:23 PM
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BB or CC should have them, as should any good install shop.

<span style='color:gray'><span style='font-family:Courier'>1995 e36 3 Series RIP
1999 e46 3 Series BURN IN HELL
2000 MR-S Roadster= Current</span></span>
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#7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 10:17 AM
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The recomended installation materials for an aftermarket headunit in most 90's models BMW cars are as follows.

Wiring Harness (Metra part# 70-8590)

Antenna Adaptor (Metra part# 40-NI10)

Both can be purchased at your local shop. The install is very straight forward, and removing the head unit is a snap, easier than with most domestic cars (no panels or dash pieces to remove). Prez has a good DIY on the whole procedure.

IF you want something that looks great in a Bimmer, go with Nakamichi or Alpine. Alpine is the popular choice due to it's rep, and value. Some have amber illumination and this goes well with the rest of the cars interior illuminiation. Nakmichi is my fav. head unit maker, and they look almost oem in a Bimmer. A little pricier, and less universal in their playback applications, but great sound, and fantastic build quality. I would recomend {THIS}

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#8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 09:25 PM
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Is the factory head unit the same size as the aftermarket units? Or will I find it to be slightly larger. (I haven't taken measurements and I'm nowhere near the car right now).

Will the aftermarket unit slide right in and mount easily? Or will I need some kind of cradle to hold it in the dash?

By the way, thanks to everyone for your help on this. I'm sure this is all basic stuff to you long time BMW folks. But thanks for taking the time to share it with me.

I swear, I've been an American truck guy my whole life. I can still tell you the VIN number off my first Ford Bronco along with every ding dent rattle ping and bolt size for every part in that truck. But getting into the world of BMW's is like having to learn cars all over again. Thanks for bearing with me while I catch up.

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#9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 12:00 AM
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BMW HU is standard DIN size. The aftermarket HU sleeve will work fine.

As for bolts, you'll find most on the e36 are 10mm.

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#10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 06:54 PM
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The more you work on your new Bimmer, the more you will figure out why we are all so crazy about them. They are very logically thought out and put together. The head unit is very strait forward and simple.

Open the little doors on each side of the head unit
Loosen hex screw to behind each little door
Radio pulls right out.


This kinda stuff is common all over the car. Fun and easy to work on, wait till you change the plugs

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#11 (permalink) Old 07-17-2004, 10:22 AM
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Man you're not kidding about how well the car is organized! Those Germans really know how to put stuff together!

I spent about 7 hours yesterday washing, detailing, and tuning up my new car. So I pretty much touched every part and every inch of the thing. I was amazed at how accessible things are. (Except the oil pan....that 3.8 inches of ground clearence is a system shock when you're used to a lifted pickup. haha)

I haven't gotten the new head unit yet (mail order) so I havent' messed with the stereo yet. But I did look at how it's installed and it really is the most simple and efficiently put together system I've ever seen. All the stereos I've installed before required alot of 'creativity' to make them both functional and good looking. This one looks like a simple swap out.

And thank goodness someone turned me onto Crutchfield.com. What a great place that is to shop. (I say that now....before I've actually recieved anything. haha) But they included the wiring harness and antenea adapter free. Can't beat that kind of service.

So since I've bought this car everything has gone perfect with it. Do things go wrong when you're a Bimmer owner? haha

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#12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2004, 03:13 PM
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yeah, parts break too.

But rarely.

<span style='color:gray'><span style='font-family:Courier'>1995 e36 3 Series RIP
1999 e46 3 Series BURN IN HELL
2000 MR-S Roadster= Current</span></span>
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