Welcome to what is going to be a very long article, and a great wealth of knowledge. I am going to attempt to break down exactly what you need to do to retrofit a BM53 Radio, Auxiliary Input, and SIRIUS XM Radio into your BMW E39 5-series. It is important to realize that the BMW E39 uses an infrastructure for technology in the car known as I-Bus, or Information Bus. Picture it as the platform, and the language of hardware/software that makes everything technology communicate. I-Bus was first used on the 1989 BMW E31, or 8-series. It offers an impressive data transfer rate of 9.6KB/s. I-Bus was used until 2006, on the E46 3-series and E53 X5-series. This gave BMW a long time to create newer, better, faster, and more functional hardware that operated off of I-Bus. Note that many BMW models used I-Bus, but the majority of these are not compatible with the products listed in this article due to their age. The oldest car that I would expect to work with SIRIUS XM, for example, would be a navigation equipped E38 7-series.
What am I Doing? Personally, I am adding auxiliary input and SIRIUS XM and the most modern BM53 radio to my 02/2000 production BMW E39 M5. I will first retrofit the radio, then SIRIUS, and then auxiliary. I also wired the XM antenna and 3.5mm cable into the car.
Objective: Update all of our car’s old I-Bus hardware to the latest possible I-Bus compliant components to support the most modern features possible. This includes, but is not limited to, SIRIUS satellite XM radio, auxiliary input, and MP3 ID3 tags for the CD changer.
Applicable Vehicles: 1997-2003 BMW E39 5-series: 523i, 525i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 540i, M5. 1994-2001 BMW E38 7-series: 730i, 740i, 740iL, 750iL, E53 BMW X5, 1998-2006 BMW E46 3-series: 323i, 325i, 328i, 330i, M3. More models may be supported by the product(s) featured in this post, such as the E83 X3, etc. **This DIY requires navigation-equipped cars**
Prerequisites: In order to support auxiliary input, you need one of the more modern BM53 radios. If your car is a 09/2001 production and later, your car already has a BM53 radio. However, it may not be late enough to still support auxiliary. Refer to the BM53 radio part numbers below for information about support. You will need to check the part number in your car to the number in the list below.
In order to support SIRIUS XM Radio, you need a few pieces of hardware. Firstly, your car needs to be equipped with navigation to follow this DIY. You need the MKIV navigation computer, and the 16:9 widescreen BMW display. A post about upgrading those components can be found here. You also need a BM53 radio new enough to support SIRIUS, so refer again to the BM53 radio part numbers below.
BM53 Radio Support with Part Numbers
65126904213 No aux input, no Sirius, no MP3
65126904214 No aux input, no Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126919080 No aux input, no Sirius, no MP3
65126919081 No aux input, no Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126922512 Aux input, no Sirius, no MP3
65126922513 Aux input, no Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65106933089 Aux input, no Sirius, no MP3
65106933090 Aux input, no Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126927910 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3
65126927911 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126943449 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3
65126943450 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126964398 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3
65126964399 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126972662 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3
65126972665 Aux input, Sirius, no MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126976961 Aux input, Sirius, MP3
65126976962 Aux input, Sirius, MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
65126988275 Aux input, Sirius, MP3
65126988276 Aux input, Sirius, MP3 (re-manufactured part number)
Parts Required: Depending on what you’re trying to do!
|Part Number||Part Description||Price|
|65126988275||BM53 Radio to Support MP3, AUX, and SIRIUS XM||$658.22|
|65120439436||SIRIUS XM Receiver||$295.60|
|61126913957||C43 to BM53 Radio Harness Adapter *||$78.04|
|61126913955||C43 to BM53 Radio Antenna Adapter *||$34.71|
|61126924785||C43 to BM53 Radio CD Changer Adapter *||$66.34|
|65128364756||BM53 Radio to SIRIUS Module Cable **||$39.74|
|84110150526||SIRIUS Module to CD Changer Slave Cable||$12.83|
|82110149390||Auxiliary Input Cable||$33.94|
|84110141975||SIRIUS Installation Bracket Kit (Bracket, bolts, zip ties) ***||$–.–|
|51498166702||Trunk Carpeting Expanding Rivets ****||$0.99|
|Amazon||SIRIUS XM Antenna||$16.08|
|Amazon||XM Antenna FAKRA Adapter||$19.95|
|Amazon||Additional XM Antenna FAKRA Adapter||$19.99|
|Total Price *****||$1,276.43|
* For vehicles produced in or before August, 2000. Needed for BM53 radio retrofit.
** Vehicles with digital DSP will need this cable.
*** Part “No Longer Available.” Good luck.
**** If broken during installation process.
***** Including upgrading from C43 to BM53 radio on a Digital DSP car. This was my job, your car may require much less hardware.
The above prices are quoted from ECS Tuning and Amazon. Other vendors may vary in pricing. Figures updated April, 2017.
- 8mm socket
- 10 mm socket
- 3 or 6 inch extension
- Flat/phillips head screwdriver, medium size
- Jewelry size flat blade screw driver
- Pry tool would be helpful, screw-driver works
Cost: $30-$3,000 (depending on what you already have, and what you want)
Time Required: 15 minutes to 4 hours (depending on what you’re trying to do)
- Read this whole article, it will help, I promise. Also watch my video, located below. This is a loose description of that very in-depth video.
- Check prerequisites. Note that for SIRIUS you need MKIV navigation and 16:9 display. Note that for auxiliary and SIRIUS you need a more modern BM53 radio.
- Disconnect your battery’s negative cable. It’s under the trunk carpeting in an M5, and behind the trap door in the trunk on the right in a standard E39 5-series.
- We will start by removing the CD changer. On the side closer to the back seat, there are two phillips screws. Loosen those, lift up, and pull out. There will be two wires in the bottom of the CD changer. One is a 3-pin connector, that is power. The other will either be a six pin connector (analog DSP) or a shiny black antenna-looking wire (digital DSP). Remove all wires and put aside.
- Retrofitting the BM53 radio. If you’re just upgrading your existing BM53 radio to a new one that supports more functions, it’s plug and play. To upgrade to the BM53 radio from the C43 is not a big job. You just need the adapting harnesses listed above. Firstly, remove the C43 radio with it’s bracket using an 8mm socket and ratchet. Unplug all of the cables from it.
- Install the antenna adapter (61126913955) in-between the BM53 radio, and the old antenna in the car. This only goes on one way, so snap it into place.
- Install the main harness adapter (61126913957) in-between the BM53 radio and the car’s original harness. This too only goes on one way, so snap it into place.
- Install the CD changer adapter (61126924785) in-between the BM53 radio and the car’s original harness. The white/black end of this harness only goes into the BM53 one way, so snap them into the BM53 radio. The metal ends can connect to the car’s existing wiring multiple ways. My video which shows the correct way to connect these cables is below. Watch that, or plug and play until things work as expected. Remember to test navigation volume and tape audio too.
- Don’t bother bolting the new radio in yet if you plan on installing SIRIUS or auxiliary. We will now move onto SIRIUS.
- Install the SIRIUS module in it’s bracket using the four included phillips screws. Then use the acceptors and included bolts to bolt the bracket and module into the car against the DSP amp.
- Let’s move onto the power and DSP wires for the SIRIUS module. The 3-pin that was previously connected to your CD changer needs to plug into your SIRIUS module now. If you have analog DSP, plug that 6-pin connector into the SIRIUS module as well. If you have digital DSP, leave that cable hang, and get the new DSP cable (65128364756) and install that. One end goes into the car’s original harness for the radio (metal plug) and the other goes into the square port on the SIRIUS module.
- Installing the CD changer. To obtain control of our CD changer, we need the CD changer slave cable (84110150526). Plug the connector with the lever into the SIRIUS module, and the other two ends (3-pin and 6-pin) into the bottom of the CD changer. This will restore original functionality to that.
- Installing the SIRIUS antenna. You will need both FAKRA adapters to make the antenna work with the SIRIUS module. They only go together one way, so hooking it up won’t be a problem. You can install your antenna anywhere you want. SIRIUS states that it needs a clear view of the sky. I routed my antenna up on top of the rear deck against the glass in the corner, and hid the wires behind the C-pillar. It works perfectly, even in my garage with the door shut. You can route the wire into the car back by the back seat behind the carpeting- there is a hole for other wires there. Then hide it behind the back seat’s backrest, and then under the C-pillar. Tie the extra wire up with a zip tie, and plug the antenna connector into the SIRIUS module.
- Let’s install the auxiliary input cable. Take the cable (82110149390) inside to a desk, with a good light. We need to take some pins out of this connector and transfer them to the other connector that actually plugs into the BM53 radio. We need to do this because the BM53 only has room for one black 2×6 (12) pin connector, not two. So we’ll take the three pins from the auxiliary cable and install them into the corresponding slots on the black cable in the car. On the following diagram, we are working with connector C and pins 3, 4, and 10. Pin 10 is ground, and is brown/white. Pins 3/4 and red/white and blue/white and carry right and left channel audio. My video below better details how to move the pins over, but it’s pretty easy. Slide half of the black connector off, revealing how the pins are placed into the connector. Depress the sides with a very small flat blade screwdriver, and gently pull the wires to remove them. Remember where they go, or reference the diagram below. Install these pins in the same place on the black adapter in the car, and then plug the adapter back into the BM53 radio. Don’t worry, the pins will be available on the connector in the car. Simply take your time, be careful, and sure about where you’re putting them.
- Run the auxiliary cable up into the car. I chose to go up the driver’s side… but this depends on where you want the end 3.5mm cable to reside. I chose the glovebox. Get the cable into the car the same way you did the SIRIUS antenna, or go behind the driver’s side trunk carpeting, and get it into the back-seat area through the hole that other wires use. If you’re going for the glovebox, I would recommend once you get the cable in the back seat, run it under the bottom seat cushion, which simply pulls straight up and out, and then under the door sill strips, B-pillar, and then finally under the dashboard and into the glovebox. This can be done with flat blade screwdrivers, and you’ll absolutely never see or know that the cable is there.
- We need to program the BM53 radio into USA area in order for certain features to work. To do this, make sure that everything is connected, and that you’re ready to plug the battery back in. Don’t worry about bolting everything down yet, we’ll make sure it all works first. Plug your battery back in.
- Go to the driver’s seat. We have to put the BM53 radio into program mode to select the proper area. Within a second after hitting the power button, press and continue to hold the SELECT button. Within about 5 seconds, you’ll be in the menu looking at the serial number of the radio. Use the CD track skip buttons ( < and >) to cycle through the different options. When you get to area or location, press numbers 1 or 2 on the left of the 16:9 display until USA is displayed. Once it is, press the radio power button (volume knob) to save these settings.
- Note that the GAL option in the service mode is speed-variable volume on a scale of 1-6. If you want this system to be aggressive, select a higher number using the preset buttons 1-6.
- Stand up, and straighten up your back.
Troubleshooting: Test out your system! Turn on your radio, and start hitting the MODE button. Depending on what you installed, you’re looking for different things. If you installed both auxiliary and SIRIUS, you should see CD, TAPE, FM, SIRIUS, and AUX. Note that AM is selected by pressing the dedicated AM button above the MODE button. If you are missing any of the above inputs, or what you expected, there is one probably place for an issue. This is where the CD changer adapter cable (61126924785) plugs into the car’s existing wiring harness, since you probably upgraded from the C43 radio. You may have one or both of those connectors utilized. Note that they can be switched, and turned around within another. Try all different combinations until you find the modes that you’re looking for. If AUX is not showing up, make sure that your pins are in the correct places, and that they are pushed down into the radio pins all of the way and thus making a solid connection. The radio should see AUX even if there is no source playing into the 3.5mm cable. Please feel free to contact me if there absolutely isn’t anything you can do to get your system to work. Please use email@example.com for inquiries. Please understand, however, that I am only experienced doing this in a 02/2000 E39 M5, but I will do my best to assist with other cars and other setups.
SIRIUS Activation: When you first select your SIRIUS input, make sure that your antenna does have a very clear view of the sky, since you need to activate it. On the module itself, you’ll see either an SID number or ESN number. This is the number you’ll need to give to SIRIUS over the phone or online when you activate your account and plan. You want channel 184 while they activate. Within about 5 minutes, you should have SIRIUS XM radio in your car!
The above video is from Hassan and his 04/2002 BMW E39 530iA. He upgraded his BM53 to a more modern version that would support Auxiliary, and added in the auxiliary cable.