Objective: Add the ability to play your iPod, iPhone, Android, or any other MP3 player to your E39.
Applicable Vehicles: 1997-2003 BMW E39 5-series (Without Navigation): 523i, 525i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 540i, M5.
Parts required: OEM Auxiliary Kit (82 11 0 149 390), 3.5 mm stereo cable.
*You may also need to upgrade your CD player to one with a build date later than 09/2002, see Prerequisites for more info*
Tools Required: Metric ruler, Drill, 2 mm and 10 mm drill bits, Phillips Screwdriver, Flashlight, Torx # 10 driver.
Time Required: 30 to 45 minutes
There is also a video at the bottom of the article if you prefer.
Prerequisites: Your vehicle must have a CD player with a build date of later than September of 2002. Just because your car is a model year 2002 or above does not mean that this is the case. To check the build date of the CD player, follow the steps in the first paragraph below. The build date is on the label of the CD player, and the software (SW) must also be 40 or 50 for this to work. SW Version 42 will not work with this upgrade. Newer players can be found on eBay or similar sources. You can install a newer CD player in a 2000, 2001, or 2002 model year vehicle, and you will get the same functionality. Unfortunately, if you have navigation, this kit will not work with your setup and you would need to get an aftermarket hookup such as a Dice unit or an Intravee, or you can get the OEM adapter for navigation models, that DIY is here.
First, remove the volume knob from your MID; it just pulls off. Once that is off, if you look in the hole where the knob used to be, at the bottom, you will see a small hole for a 2 mm Allen wrench. Turn it 1/4 turn to the left, and swing the MID out to the right of the vehicle and unplug it. Loosen the two screws that you can now see on the bottom edge of the CD unit. They are captive, so we will just loosen these, not remove them. If you slide the CD unit out, you will see a sticker with the version number on it. We can leave the CD player in for now, as we will need to slide it out in a bit to plug the cable into the CD unit. I would recommend taking a few seconds now to plug the MID back in to test the auxiliary cable and make sure it works with your car. AUX will only appear on the display if there is a source (iPod, iPhone, etc.) plugged into the other end of the cable. If it doesn’t work, double check the model and software of your CD player.
The BMW instructions that come with the kit tells the user to mount it in the glovebox; I chose that route because I have a Bluetooth dongle that I use to wirelessly stream my music to the radio. Others have mounted it in the cupholder area and other odd places, such as the little cubby under the armrest.
Assuming you are mounting it in the factory location, the next step is to remove the glovebox. This is done by sliding off the lower cover, unclipping the strut on the left side and the nylon strap on the right side (open the glovebox to reveal these), then loosen the two 10 mm nuts underneath, unplug the flashlight wires, and remove your glove box. Ryan Schultz’s video on how to replace the glovebox strut gives you a good idea of how this is done. I would also recommend taking a small flathead screwdriver and prying down the glovebox light and unplugging it, as this will be on as long as the glovebox is not installed in the vehicle.
Using the image above as a guide, and the Auxiliary Input faceplate as a template, line up the right edge of the faceplate against the indentation in the glovebox wall indicated by the black arrow. Mark the center-point of these 3 holes with a punch or something similar. Next, drill 2 mm holes through all three holes in the template. Then you will want to expand center hole with a 10 mm drill bit. Do this slowly and carefully. Next, mount the faceplate the inside of the glovebox using provided screws.
After this is done, go back in your car and remove the panel that is behind the glovebox strut on the left hand side. It is held on by two Phillips screws; one is located behind the strut, so just swing that out of the way. The other screw is up slightly higher and to the left of the strut.
Once the panel is removed, take the auxiliary wire and route it down the right side of the radio plate. If you shine a flashlight into the area, you should be able to roughly see the path that the wire should take. It took me a little bit of messing around to get it routed correctly, but you have plenty of slack. Once the wire is routed as shown in the photo below, run it below the pin at the rear left of the glovebox and insert it into the center hole of the faceplate, securing it with the nut provided. You can now reinstall your glovebox panel, glovebox, CD player, and MID. Do not make your 10 mm bolts that hold the glovebox onto the rail too tight; if the glovebox opens slower or not at all afterwards, loosen these nuts a little bit.
Pull the excess cable slack back into the radio cavity. Again, I would double check that it works if you haven’t already before putting everything back together.
If you find yourself cranking up the volume on your stereo to hear your music at a reasonable level when using the AUX input, you can adjust the volume of the input by going into the Tone controls. There, you will find a setting to increase or decrease the volume. This helped substantially in my case where the volume was far too low.
Overall, I am very happy with the way my install turned out. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or comments about this DIY!
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