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Nick E

E39 head unit replacement

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Looking to replace the head unit in my 525i.

 

It has the radio and MD player.

 

Not sure if I want to spend the money on a double din unit. I may just put a single din in. Always worked for me on other cars, and I use minimal features anyway.

 

I've read you need to modify the blower box with some double din units, so if I did go down that route, I would buy a shallow depth one.

 

What is available on the market now in shallow depth? Parrot was big 7 years ago, but that was 7 years ago.

 

If I went down the route of a single din stereo, would I still need to modify the blower box?

 

Thanks, 

 

Nick

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4 hours ago, Nick E said:

Looking to replace the head unit in my 525i.

 

It has the radio and MD player.

 

Not sure if I want to spend the money on a double din unit. I may just put a single din in. Always worked for me on other cars, and I use minimal features anyway.

 

I've read you need to modify the blower box with some double din units, so if I did go down that route, I would buy a shallow depth one.

 

What is available on the market now in shallow depth? Parrot was big 7 years ago, but that was 7 years ago.

 

If I went down the route of a single din stereo, would I still need to modify the blower box?

 

Thanks, 

 

Nick

 

I went single DIN Nick in my previous 530i Sport saloon; with a Bluetooth Kenwood head unit that had full hands-free and A2DP music playback capability; just fed the mic and wire up the A pillar and had it just next to the rear view mirror

 

All plug n play, no cutting needed etc:

kenwood.jpg

 

IMG_20170830_112300.jpg

 

kenwoodmic.jpg

 

I was fortunate enough to find a genuine OEM BMW single DIN fascia

 

The issue with you is that you have a touring, so the BM54 amp that feeds the rear speakers is in the boot space, under the plastic covers. Whatever you fit up front, you have to connect to that etc.

 

This is why I've left my system in my touring OEM (16:9 nav head unit etc) and I've simply fitted a Grom Audio BT3 Bluetooth ket that again is full hands-free and A2DP music playback capable and works with the OEM steering wheel controls and head unit etc. It just plugs into the CD changer wiring :) 

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Bugger. Thanks for that.

 

Even if I were to use a harness adapter, I'd still need to plug into the CD?

 

So the Grom just plugs into the CD? 

 

Stupid question too.. I couldn't see where the CD changer is. I'll get some shots in a bit. There's an amp looking thing on the left side of the boot, and a Nokia on the right.

 

Not sure what's what

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You may not have the physical CD changer there but you'll have the wiring. The Grom would plug into that and then you run the mic into the cabin (much easier with a touring as you can fold the rear seats down and hide the wiring under the trim and then across the top of the rear door train, B pillar and the top of the front door trim etc 

 

The BM54 is usually under the plastic covers that are under the load space cover, so check under there. Just a few bolts etc. The Nokia is the built in sub

 

If you get an aftermarket head unit, you need to connect that to the BM54 in the rear or install another amp to power the rear speakers. 

 

Lots of info on Google re this and this forum via the search function :)

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Hi Nick,

 

You mention that your car has the OEM Radio and MD player along with the 'amp looking thing' ! - can you post a picture of the setup in the dash and at the rear left side cubby storage as that will determine if you have a modular/separate amplifier to the modules in the dash. 

 

If the car does have a separate amplifier, then if you did choose to fit a shallow depth double DIN or Single DIN head unit, you'd need to fit the extension harness that 'extends' the power/ground/speaker/antenna wires from the rear of the car to the front dash area so that the new unit can be connected up. 

 

If the car doesn't have a separate amplifier, then all the connections are at the dash area so you can wire/connect the head unit and you won't have the extra £40/50 expenditure of that extension harness. 

 

There's a number of modern shallow depth double DIN head units available nowadays, the cheapest one is the Kenwood DMX-125DABS unit which is around £180/199. As you already have found, the modern shallow depth double DIN units mean there's no cutting/modifying of the airbox needed, saving you potentially £2/300!

 

If you opt for a single DIN unit that's traditional depth (ie with w disk mechanism internally) then when mounted higher up in the dash location, the rear lower edge clears the top front edge of the airbox. 

 

The OEM fascia above in Dan's pictures has long been discontinued by BMW and finding them either used or new old stock is extremely rare nowadays. The one pictured above I sourced along with one other and sold both a number of years ago now. Only ever seen 1/2 more for sale since. 

 

For the double DIN option, then depending on your budget, what you'd like to have in the head unit etc there's a number of units available from the established and reputable brands. I have a couple for sale in the FS section, either with or without the OEM look fascia I offer to the E39 market. 

 

For the single DIN option, then so long as you mount it in the higher location as shown above, you can choose pretty much any of them. There's a few short body single DIN units around too. I'd suggest a front speaker upgrade too if you do go with an aftermarket unit as the OEM speakers were mediocre when brand new, and perhaps deteriorated over the years. 

 

There's a few routes you can take, including keeping the OEM modules and 'adding on' to it with other products like the Intravee/GROM/Bluebus/Processors etc and all comes down to what you'd like to have/acheive.

 

Cheers, Dennis!

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Dan, and Dennis in particular, thank you for those replies.

 

Busy day yesterday. Didn't get any pictures in the boot. Will do so this morning, and we'll go from there.

 

Nick

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Nick E said:

Right hand side

 

 

20201015_114615.jpg

20201015_114623.jpg

 

The Nokia is the sub; the black thing looks like your amp, but not sure it's a BM54; the part number above it is for that holding piece, not the amp. You'll need to remove the amp to look at the labels on the other side

 

Either way; whatever you fit up front will have to be fed to the rear

 

Have you been able to find the CD changer wiring, it'll be on that loom somewhere, you may have to unwrap some of it to find it; it'll be 2 small plugs FYI

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No. I'm really not sure what I'm looking for. 

 

I'm only used to pretty basic car stereo wiring.

 

I'll dig around a little more on the net.

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9 minutes ago, Nick E said:

No. I'm really not sure what I'm looking for. 

 

I'm only used to pretty basic car stereo wiring.

 

I'll dig around a little more on the net.

 

image.png.55a214649805deababdd61bfa2118d83.png

 

That's what the plugs look like; they'll be tucked up in the loom somewhere if you don't have a CD changer fitted Nick

 

image.thumb.png.82786df54be274e897f40a97c84ed821.png

 

This is similar to what my gubbins looked like in my touring; I removed the CD changer and plugged the Grom BT3 kit into the plugs etc

 

Take the load space base out and remove that side cover and have a good look around; take the black plastic covers off too, so you can see what or what isn't fitted underneath :) A simple tool kit is needed that's all ;) 

Edited by d_a_n1979

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This is what's apparent without taking the tyre changing kit stowage off..

 

Presume you mean remove that to see what else is there?

 

 

 

 

20201015_143213.jpg

20201015_142502.jpg

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16 minutes ago, Nick E said:

Reading up on the net.. Damn that DSP!

 

Is it DSP you have fitted?

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1 hour ago, d_a_n1979 said:

 

Is it DSP you have fitted?

 

Yup. Just realized that today, as I paid it no attention before.

 

I wish there was a cassette player instead of that MD player. Would have been quite happy with a cassette deck adapter and plugged that into my phone!

 

Don't suppose there's an equivalent MD adapter?

Edited by Nick E

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6 minutes ago, Nick E said:

 

Yup. Just realized that today, as I paid it no attention before.

 

I wish there was a cassette player instead of that MD player. Would have been quite happy with a cassette deck adapter and plugged that into my phone!

 

Don't suppose there's an equivalent MD adapter?

 

Grom Audio do a DSP conversion kit too pal that works with the BT3 kit :)

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11 minutes ago, d_a_n1979 said:

 

Grom Audio do a DSP conversion kit too pal that works with the BT3 kit :)

 

Cheers Dan. I'll get in touch with them. It looks like that's going to be the only workable solution that isn't a massive pain in the arris.

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33 minutes ago, Nick E said:

 

Cheers Dan. I'll get in touch with them. It looks like that's going to be the only workable solution that isn't a massive pain in the arris.

 

That was one reason why I went down that route Nick! It's all plug n play etc... But the other reason for me is that I'm trying to keep my touring as OEM as possible etc, so certainly didn't want to stick a crappy (IMO) Chinese head unit into the car and then start faffing feeding a thick loom to the rear etc

 

The Grom, for me, works superbly and sounds absolutely fine. I'm not after audiophile level sounds in my touring, I've audiophile stereo systems in the house, but what I did want was a good sound and full Bluetooth connectivity for calls and music etc. 

 

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2 hours ago, d_a_n1979 said:

 

That was one reason why I went down that route Nick! It's all plug n play etc... But the other reason for me is that I'm trying to keep my touring as OEM as possible etc, so certainly didn't want to stick a crappy (IMO) Chinese head unit into the car and then start faffing feeding a thick loom to the rear etc

 

The Grom, for me, works superbly and sounds absolutely fine. I'm not after audiophile level sounds in my touring, I've audiophile stereo systems in the house, but what I did want was a good sound and full Bluetooth connectivity for calls and music etc. 

 

 

This one Dan?

 

https://gromaudio.co.uk/products/bluetooth-hands-free-and-a2dp-car-kits/bmw-mini-rover-bluetooth-integration-kit-677.html

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51 minutes ago, Nick E said:

 

Thats the one pal. 

 

You'll need the DSP adaption kit too. 

 

If you're struggling message them, they're really good to deal with 

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Hi Nick,

 

The MD player option is very rare ! hardly ever see those nowadays and even when new, hardly anyone specified them!

 

The OEM DSP setup is a specific type of setup and trying to 'add' onto it is more involved as there's no inputs and the speakers themselves are customised to the Amplifier. Only one company makes aftermarket, much better sounding and compatible speaker upgrades but they only change the woofer and tweeter and retain the factory midrange driver and come in at around £400/450 ! The oem 'sub' doesn't really provide 'sub bass' , just a bit of a lower end. If you ideally did want to increase Sound Quality then choices are limited if you wanted to keep the DSP amp and/or OEM head unit. Contrary to internet belief, you don't have to be an 'audiophile' to get better music performance in a car - that's like saying you have to be a formula 1 driver to get a more powerful car!

 

The GROM unit with the DSP adaptor that you'd need in this case will give you Bluetooth mobile phone and music streaming - if that's all you want/need, then it'd be a decent 'plug n play' type solution for you. 

If you would like to have better sound quality and performance for a modest amount of spend, then the best 'value' for money would indeed be a good quality brand head unit, upgraded front speakers which would could be had for around £70-150, the MDF speaker baffles for around £20 from an ebay seller. You'd perhaps omit trying to improve the Touring roof speakers as the location is atrocious - they play directly to the boot floor! and in due course, you could add a modest subwoofer option for some real 'sub bass' that's fully controllable for level and intensity. This route would give you excellent features and functionality improvements and you get much better sound performance as well all with good reliability and relative ease of fitment. 

 

It comes down to what you want :)

 

Cheers, Dennis!

 

 

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All good info here guys. Thanks.

 

Basically it's down to cost. I'm not expecting audiophile quality in the car. I just want to bluetooth from my phone to the stereo for calls, nav and music. I wasn't expecting it to be so complicated, and I have other things to pay for now, so don't want to be spending a fortune.

 

The Grom unit is coming in at around £200 including unit, conversion kit and shipping. 

 

I'll look into the idea of removing the whole ruddy lot of the current setup (head unit and amp), and rewiring in a new set of front and boot speakers with a replacement head unit, and make a decision from there.

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Popped into Halfords to get an idea of costs.  Pretty much what I thought. 

 

Chap said no need to run into an amp at this stage, if I wanted to just run the amp straight to the speakers. Could do an amp later on.

 

However, he did suggest the Bluetooth to radio transmitter dongles, which I completely forgot about. I used one in Dubai years ago and it was brilliant. Think I've still got it. If not, will buy another.

 

It's a brilliantly cheap and cheerful way of getting music through the current system until I decide what I want to do.

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45 minutes ago, Nick E said:

Popped into Halfords to get an idea of costs.  Pretty much what I thought. 

 

Chap said no need to run into an amp at this stage, if I wanted to just run the amp straight to the speakers. Could do an amp later on.

 

However, he did suggest the Bluetooth to radio transmitter dongles, which I completely forgot about. I used one in Dubai years ago and it was brilliant. Think I've still got it. If not, will buy another.

 

It's a brilliantly cheap and cheerful way of getting music through the current system until I decide what I want to do.

 

Yup; they do the job; wife's got this one for the Racing Jazz: https://www.amazon.co.uk/ORIA-Bluetooth-Transmitter-Universal-Hands-Free/dp/B07N767T35/ref=sr_1_10?crid=WZN3MWCV2JFL&dchild=1&keywords=bluetooth+fm+transmitter+car&qid=1602861979&sprefix=bluetooth+fm%2Caps%2C188&sr=8-10

 

Just have your phone volume set a bit lower than full blast and you'll get clear sound etc

 

Still have to faff with it for calls; but for music it's fine etc :) 

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