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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm aware that this subject has hundreds of threads but then again, it makes it really hard to pin point what I'm looking for because of all the threads.
I have an 89' 535i with stock receiver, disc changer, 10 speaker and trunk mounted amp.
All i want to do is replace the stock head unit and leave everything else just as it is. I'm a little confused because I had read about all the complications of the speaker/amp set-up.
Is it a simple DIY replacement or is there more involved????
Also...I'd like a few suggestions for a mid-grade head unit that makes a good fit.
 

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I considered this when I had my E34...but I decided against it. After looking and countless E34s with aftermarket head units, I realized that they all looked wrong...just didn't seem like anything other then the stock unit belonged there. Good luck with finding a DIY and getting the info you need if you decide to do it.
 

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If you plan on keeping the car and upgrading ANYTHING in the future, I'd run four new strands of 16ga. (or so) speaker wire to the stock amp. Unplug the speaker output side of the amp, hook the aftermarket headunit to the stock speakers. Your aftermarket deck will outperform your 20 year old stock amplifier.

You can also get a Metra Part number 70-8590. This will plug into the factory harness in the dash. You will have to turn the stock amp on (blue/white stripe on the 70-8590), but then you will still be limited to the power/quality that the stock amp provides (roughly 10-12 watts RMS). Most decent aftermarket decks will give you about 16-20 watts RMS, plus the quality is better (unless you get a Dual/Kraco/Pyle/etc.). Stick with the name brands, you wont be sorry.

Kasei is right about most radios not looking correct in the dash. Blaupunkt's London, New Orleans, and Kingston all have an adjustable color (4096 colors) and you can match the orange rather well. Decent quality and mp3 capability.

Myself, I dont care about looks, I care more about the quality. Pioneer's pro line Premier makes some good quality decks. I have this one in my E34, and no it doesnt match anything in my car except maybe the color of the headlights :) :



Good luck on your install. If you have any questions gimme a shout...
 

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Thanks for the input da_bull

I have a 99 528i having disc loading issues. I'm going to replace the tray first, but I really don't think that will fix the problem. I also have a 1976 ford truck that has aftermarket amp,deck,cirrus radio, and mp3. I love my BMW and I agree that it would be nice to have more modern amminities to enjoy while driving.

thanks,
TexasCarNut




If you plan on keeping the car and upgrading ANYTHING in the future, I'd run four new strands of 16ga. (or so) speaker wire to the stock amp. Unplug the speaker output side of the amp, hook the aftermarket headunit to the stock speakers. Your aftermarket deck will outperform your 20 year old stock amplifier.

You can also get a Metra Part number 70-8590. This will plug into the factory harness in the dash. You will have to turn the stock amp on (blue/white stripe on the 70-8590), but then you will still be limited to the power/quality that the stock amp provides (roughly 10-12 watts RMS). Most decent aftermarket decks will give you about 16-20 watts RMS, plus the quality is better (unless you get a Dual/Kraco/Pyle/etc.). Stick with the name brands, you wont be sorry.

Kasei is right about most radios not looking correct in the dash. Blaupunkt's London, New Orleans, and Kingston all have an adjustable color (4096 colors) and you can match the orange rather well. Decent quality and mp3 capability.

Myself, I dont care about looks, I care more about the quality. Pioneer's pro line Premier makes some good quality decks. I have this one in my E34, and no it doesnt match anything in my car except maybe the color of the headlights :) :



Good luck on your install. If you have any questions gimme a shout...
 

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head unit

If you are happy with the speaker/amp setup and are concerned with keeping the dash clean do what i did;I bought an itrip fm transmitter and a used ipod!It cost me $115.02 total and sounds great! 30 second install too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I should add that my current stereo has develpoed some issues. A lot of the pixels are dead, it cuts on and off frequently and I'm have to re-enter the code pretty often. I'm hoping it's only a head unit problem.
I'm really would like something like compliments my interior, color match tuning is a nice feature so I'm leaning towards that. I'm liking the Blaupunkt units so far. MP3 aux would be a plus too.
I'm hoping I have a factory harness (I've read somewhere that some of the early E34's were hard wired) Mine is an 89' so I'd would be helpful is someone can confirm that.
Also, I'm prob just gonna route through the exsisting amp just to make things easier so if it's just a simple harness plug in...I'm good to go.
I'm 40 years old with 8 year old twins so my days of having car audio that that cost more than my actual car are over. I tend to listen at much lower levels and even listen to talk radio a good bit of the time,,,,(I know, here comes the old fart jokes right?)
I appreciate the info on the harness part number da bull.
 

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I cant remember exactly, but it may have the same harness as the 3-series of the day. I dont think metra does their homework on bmw's. I'd buy that locally so you can return it if necessary. Better yet, get your stock deck out and post a picture of the harness in your car. I can tell better that way. Hope that helps...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here ya go. I noticed the black with white stripe connector was unplugged. I didb't see a corresponding connector anywhere. Any idea's??
 

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On 89 and 90 cars you have to cut wires, there is no harness available to make for a simple install.
 

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Torque is correct, you'll have to cut them. That's the old E30 type wiring IIRC. BMW probably had some left over after killing the E30. Personally, I'd run to Walmart and grab about 80 ft. of speaker wire and run new wires to the rear of the car like I described above. There's really no easy way to do it. Your harness up front only has a positive, low level signal, no negative wires. If you unplug them from the radio and look REALLY close on the radio, they are labeled to what their function are. I'd snag the Key switch, memory, and ground, and rewire the speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK...so it's not a plug and play afterall. DA Bull, I think I'll take your recommendation: "I'd run four new strands of 16ga. (or so) speaker wire to the stock amp. Unplug the speaker output side of the amp, hook the aftermarket headunit to the stock speakers"
Just so I'm clear...Can you expain a little more in detail about that. I'm a little lost where the (4) new wires originate from.
 

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Your headunit will have 4 outputs: front left, front right, rear left and rear right.

That's the 4 you run to where the amp is and hook them straight into the connector on the output side ... though you will have to hook each of the 4 wires you run to multiple wires going to the speaker as they are all separate from the factory (for example there is 3 wires running to the front right ... one for the midrange on top of the dash, one for the tweeter next to it and one for the woofer in the footwell) ... all 3 have to be spliced into this one you ran from the FR out on the headunit.

I hope that doesn't sound too confusing, and I hope I'm getting across what da_male_cow meant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the helps guys. I'll have to post some pics of the progress. I don't plan plan on getting the H/U till after Christmas so stay tuned.
 

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Torque once again is correct. There are ten pairs of twisted pairs of wires in the rear at the stock amp. You will cut those from the amp and use the stock wiring to go to the stock speakers, that wasy you dont have to try to figure out how to get the wiring to all 10 speakers, in the doors, dash, kickpanels, and rear deck. Its just easier and more convenient to get all the speaker wires in one place, it just happens to be in the trunk. Once you do this though, you wont have to again, as all the "proper" wiring will be in the dash of the car like 93.47% of the rest of the cars out there. Good luck with the install and if you need anything else, just holler...
 

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If you read this DIY on Bimmerforums, you can use the factory amp crossover to split your new HU feed to all speakers and keep that part of it stock. It can also be done for installing an aftermarket amp fed from the new HU and then split through the factory crossovers to all 10 speakers.
 
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