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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I just ordered my kit for the BMW E46 Electric Rear Sun Blind (BMW part# 51460004718) and look forward to installing it over the holiday weekend.

Because the original BMW .pdf file for DIY Installing a rear electric power sunshade aka electric sun blind or auto / automatic rear sun shade is very confusing and put together completely wrong most likely from a botched attempt at translating the original german, I reorganized the text and images in this more coherent JPEG version for all to print out and use.

CLIFF NOTES for steps (a.k.a how easy this is):

1. Remove glove box, ashtray cubby console w/ console switch bar, rear seat back and rear deck.

2. Cut out a hole that is pre-shape/pre-lined up already on the underside of the rear deck for the sunshade.

3. Insert sun blind. Run wiring from deck to right side foot panel/door sill (a lot easier than it sounds because all our LHD cars already have a main branch of wiring running down that side)

4. Reinstall rear deck. Reinstall seat back rest and seat cushion if you removed it.

5. Run wire under door sill (and B P!llar) to glove box area. You don't even have to remove the sills or the p!llar because you can easily tuck the wires under the sill where is overlaps the carpet.

6. Once at the glove box area tap wire into fuse box and the supplied button control switch.
If you are using a uni-button switch or if your kit comes with a uni-button switch (most likely since all retrofit kits come with the uni-button) then you will eventually prefer getting the newer unified all in one console button bar. Buy the bar and then tap the yellow and white wires from the original kit's 2 pin button harness into pin 14 and 15 on the large connector that plugs into the console button bar.

I'm saying this because the uni-button is for pre 2001 BMW E46s and will NOT fit into your 2001 and later E46 button bar style console switch. After you are done put everything back togther and viola.

The only key areas of difficuly will be properly cutting out the hole in the rear deck. BMW already has it pre-outlined on the underside showing you where to cut. But getting the proper saw to get a clean precise cut is tricky.
A traditional hack saw or dremel rotary saw is not going to cut it (excuse the pun). Pneumatic Power Saws are a tad bit strong IMO since you would have to secure the deck so that the Saw won't shred everything the minute the blades hits the plastic.

I am using a basic household 12v Black&Decker Drill with a special drill bit I got from Home Depot that is made to actually cut thru plastic as if your drill is a saw. This way I can drill my starting point along the pre-outline on the underside of the deck and just run the bit down and around the outline of where the hole for the shade needs to be.

Another key issue is the confusion of the sun blind control switches. Most DIYers with post 2001 e46 cars only realize after the fact that they have to purchase an entirely new version $200+ button bar with all the buttons (heated seats/dcs/hk/sport/tire/sunblind) on it just for the sun blind button and this can make this project annoying and unexpectedly more expensive than you may think at the start of it. You can use the big uni-button the kit comes with but there is literally no place for it to fit on your console dash if your car is a post 2001 E46 (you can however still wire it up to the sun blind and keep the large button tucked away in the glove box or inside the sunshade cubby)

Enough here I present the "corrected" JPEG version of the original BMW PDF file. This should make this ultra rare and coveted Retrofit DIY more pleasant to comprehendable to the average BMW E46 driver.


Also my pictorial DIY of the process will be up by the Fall.






E46 SEDAN Electric Rear Sun Blind:

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Yeah Del has been DIY'ing his butt off over at E46fan too! :D

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good luck with the retrofit man. I installed a manual retrofit sunshade about a year ago and love it!

Fit it to the place where rear trunk release button mounts. lots of space behind it. Switch has a SW and HW version on it, looks like its a bit more involved

Pictures as promised:

Fairly fast one week shipping from Portugal!

And everything looks mint!

Massive Switch is thicker and almost as big-lengthwise than my Blackberry

It is also bigger than the key. :facepalm:

The wiring is very confusing at first glance. :hmm:

All of the obvious mounting spots in the car that I had in mind is not going to work...

The uni-button switch, when you open it up and peek inside, is much more complex that previously thought. I may end up getting the console switch group button bar with the sun blind button ($200)

The seller also sent me a nice little schematic sketch for my install. :)

more pics.


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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
And I still want your button as it perfectly fits my console ;)
Hey it is yours I will ship it to you with the 5 pin pigtail wire harness connector so it will be easy for you to install (most sellers on eBay don't sell the switch with the harness connector).

Can you please explain a bit more of the wiring? Apart of the obvious motor connection and the pair to the switch, what about the rest?

I figured it out.

When you are using the uni-button switch the switch itself serves as a micro-ECU for the shade function which is why only TWO wires leave the shade and go to the uni-button switch.

The switch's blue/violet wire provides power for the micro-ECU inside the switch's body and also sends power to the shade's motor. This wire you can tap using a fuse leaf connector into an open fuse slot behind the glove box or tap any fused power source inside the car.

The brown wire grounds everything. This you can tap into anywhere you find a brown ground wire.

As for the yellow and white wires that leaves the switch (eventually becoming the blue and black wires at the shade's motor) these are ONLY commanding the shade to go up or down via some sort of pulse feedback loop signal.

The extra grey red wire only serves to provide the ambient back light for the switch when the dash lights are turned on. You can splice this to the the grey red wire at the ashtray amber bulb or the grey red wire at the trunk switch.

Now the Console Switch/Button Bar that has all the buttons and the sun blind button. The console switch/button bar pretty much takes on the job of the uni-button by grounding and powering the shade circuit. Which is why when you use the console switch the wiring is actually EASIER since all you need to do is run the blue/black or yellow/white wires and tap into (yellow into pin 14 and white into pin 15) the pin slots of the huge connector on the back of the console switch/button bar.

BMW part number 61 31 6 925 512


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
hi its me alec said:
Well I sent an email to my parts guy, and he said the harness is no longer available (also the retail on the switch is $150, wow!!)

Did you get a part number with your harness? Otherwise I suppose I can probably buy the connectors and make it myself.
Funny thing is that I thought the exact same thing as you did when I was shipping out the uni-button switch-As you may have heard it didn't fit in my 2001 car so I sold it to Paraklas.

What I realized at the last minute as I was packing it up for shipment that "now suppose the console bar switch button doesn't work for the blind and I have to go back and buy another uni-button switch that will most likely NOT come with the wire/pin harness pig tail for the shade HOW WILL I REMEMBER WHICH PIN OUT LOCATIONS DOES WHAT?"

So for insurance I snapped pictures and made labels in the event I needed to double back and buy the uni-button from eBay (they sell lots of the buttons on eBay but none come with the NECESSARY pin out harness connector) and create a homemade pin harness for the button (IE. Once you get the button-if you are going to use the uni-button then all you need to know is what pin locations does what and create a homemade harness using female connector pin pigtails)

In any case BMW phased out the uni-button so getting it will either be expensive, impossible or incomplete if you get just the button off eBay.
Just get the console bar with the button the wiring is less work which is why I opted to get that over cutting up my dash and splicing my fuse box for the uni-button.


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