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gjm

E46 aftermarket headunit install

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Miss M would like bluetooth connectivity for her car.

There are options that retain the stock headunit, but many $$$ seem to be involved. I've even seen one where the cassette mechanism is replaced by a bluetooth unit.
Simpler and quicker is an aftermarket unit.

Anyone fitted one? I know it requires a single DIN adapter to fit the larger 'hole' the BMW unit uses - any good sources for that?

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Aliexpress?  https://www.aliexpress.com/item/one-din-Fascia-For-BMW-3-Series-E46-1998-2005-CD-DVD-Stereo-Radio-Panel-Dash/32849302159.html

I've only changed factory units.  Prefer the linked lighting, ergonomics, and cool features like speed-related auto volume control...

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I'd not yet looked at Ali - but if it is a viable option then could be the way we go.

Have a new JVC Bluetooth headunit coming at some point. Will keep the BMW one, of course - can always swap it back in when the time comes for Miss M to part ways with her (current? Latest?) 318i.

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i have one of those android double din original style units which works a treat, between 3-400 nzd from aliexpress. relocating the heater controls lower can be a painwithout the proper bracket.

prior to that i had a grom which worked by plugging into the CD changer lead in the boot, but itwas a fairly average experience. think that was 90 bucks from trademe at the time.

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2 hours ago, qube said:

https://www.trademe.co.nz/2163784198

$20 locally in nz if you dont want to wait 3 weeks

Not going to be much difference in price to ordering from Ali, either.

The unit we've got for 'er ladyship is also available from Jonvy: https://www.jonvy.co.nz/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=7721
Nothing flash or fancy. But should do the job.

Sadly the radio is unlikely to work. The car originally had the radio antenna in the windscreen, and when the screen was replaced (prior to our ownership) the new screen had no such connectivity. Ho hum. Unlikely to be a problem.

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Get a shark fin antenna, cable it up, job done!

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... mind you, do the yoof of today listen to FM? 🤭

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55 minutes ago, Olaf said:

... mind you, do the yoof of today listen to FM? 🤭

Spotify streaming seems to be the way, these days...

 

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4 hours ago, Olaf said:

Get a shark fin antenna, cable it up, job done!

Most of the shark fin aerials where for car phone kits . I don’t think they cover fm frequency’s. 

I did however reuse mine as a Bluetooth aerial when I removed my jap phone cradle and retrofit a ULF for handsfree and voice commands.

the old analogue tv aerials which sit between the body and rear bumper may work be an option . I’d connect it to the rear radio antenna behind the lh c pillar trim. It needs to be powered via 12 volts to its white wire.

 

fm antenna is normally built into rear window btw

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6 hours ago, Neal said:

Most of the shark fin aerials where for car phone kits . I don’t think they cover fm frequency’s. 

fm antenna is normally built into rear window btw

On my e46 Touring, the FM antenna is in the side window.   

I had thought the shark fin on my e60 was for radio duties (FM, Tel, Satellite radio & GPS)... I used to puzzle how the FM wavelength was effectively catered to by such a small stub!  1/16th wave folded dipole? 🤔.  As you say - FM is in the glass and the shark fin is the diverity antenna.  

I found this on Aliexpress whilst googling... https://www.aliexpress.com/i/32919244671.html  not convinced it'd be effective, looks like it's a cosmetic update to existing bee-sting antennas.  Ahh the bee-sting. Sometimes I miss my Golf GTi MKII.

 

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Does the car have a CD stacker in the boot? Have seen them replaced with bluetooth module

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1 hour ago, Gaz said:

Does the car have a CD stacker in the boot? Have seen them replaced with bluetooth module

Don't think it does, but I'll see if we can check later.

 

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Single din headunits with those fascias always look out of place on BMW's. The way @qube did it for his E39 was ok though. Id just get a dynavin etc clone and be done with it, they are only a couple of hundred more and have much many more features, even if dont use all of it its surely helps when you sell the car.

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1 hour ago, Eagle said:

Single din headunits with those fascias always look out of place on BMW's. The way @qube did it for his E39 was ok though. Id just get a dynavin etc clone and be done with it, they are only a couple of hundred more and have much many more features, even if dont use all of it its surely helps when you sell the car.

The Dynavins are nice, but the N7 (for the E46) is $1k++. I expect a clone would be much cheaper, but it's sadly not going to compare to the $80 for a bluetooth headunit, plus a bit for a fitting kit.
Appearances would be more important if it wasn't a student car - resale value is likely to be measured in the very, very low $000s, if not $00s!

Personally I'd like an Android-enabled Dynavin-type solution, but Miss M just wants bluetooth connectivity. 🤷‍♂️

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I had thought about the option of maintaining the factory stereo + climate control at the top area and where the cubby hole flap door is, mount a sony/jvc unit behind it and close the door. Super stealth. Cant remember if there is enough depth for a headunit behind there, its been a while since i've opened up an e46 console..

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if you go mechless (no  cd / tape ) Bluetooth an d usb only, the units can be smaller. I had a very nice single DIN Alpine in my e46.

re Bluetooth only units try these guys https://gromaudio.com/store/all-bmws.html - I just installed one in my E39 and it's easy to do ith good results whilst retaining the factory look and feel.

Other option is Eonon Android unit, effectively  a Dynavin "clone" they seem well reviewed and you get a lot of functionality, and up to date android OS.

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2 hours ago, hunter said:

if you go mechless (no  cd / tape ) Bluetooth an d usb only, the units can be smaller. I had a very nice single DIN Alpine in my e46.

re Bluetooth only units try these guys https://gromaudio.com/store/all-bmws.html - I just installed one in my E39 and it's easy to do ith good results whilst retaining the factory look and feel.

Other option is Eonon Android unit, effectively  a Dynavin "clone" they seem well reviewed and you get a lot of functionality, and up to date android OS.

This might work... Retains stock appearance.
https://gromaudio.com/store/bt3_adapters/bmw-mini-98-05-bluetooth-adapter-car-kit-behind-the-radio-connector.html

I'll investigate Eonon. For Miss M it'll need to work with Apple (which it may well do) - I see it's Android-based.

 

Edit: This looks funky! https://www.eonon.com/Android-Car-GPS/Vehicle-Specific-GPS/BMW-E46-Android-8-Octa-Core-4GB-RAM-Car-Radio-GPS-Navigation-System7Inch-1-Din-Multimedia-Car-DVD-CD-Player-Support-Bluetooth-WiFi-4GDongle.html

Edited by gjm
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pretty sure the aerial is in the rear glass not the front, with all the modules behind the C Pillar trim. maybe i am thinking of E38/E39 tho. but even on E46 cabby they have a whip antannea abd the wagons are in the left side window so...

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15 minutes ago, _ethrty-Andy_ said:

pretty sure the aerial is in the rear glass not the front, with all the modules behind the C Pillar trim. maybe i am thinking of E38/E39 tho. but even on E46 cabby they have a whip antannea abd the wagons are in the left side window so...

Could be! To be honest, I kinda assumed something based on sparse knowledge. You're not the only person who has said that, so there must be another reason why the radio part isn't working.

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11 minutes ago, gjm said:

Could be! To be honest, I kinda assumed something based on sparse knowledge. You're not the only person who has said that, so there must be another reason why the radio part isn't working.

i dont recall trying it. i didnt really drive that car about all that much.

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42 minutes ago, _ethrty-Andy_ said:

i dont recall trying it. i didnt really drive that car about all that much.

No worries. Hardly a real issue! :) 

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e46 antenna is in the rear glass., believe the antenna amp is in the C pilar as well.  The grom works, it's cheap and cheerful but has limitaitons. For example mine never seemed to turn off when the car turned off and the phone would stay connected to it.  There may be clones on aliexpress (haven't looked) for cheaper still.

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https://www.trademe.co.nz/2175597811

this works decent and you dont need to get anything else like headunit/cover plate/adapters etc. plug and play for music, bluetooth calling etc through the factory stereo

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On 6/4/2019 at 3:32 PM, qube said:

https://www.trademe.co.nz/2175597811

this works decent and you dont need to get anything else like headunit/cover plate/adapters etc. plug and play for music, bluetooth calling etc through the factory stereo

Cool!

Looks like a cheaper and locally available Grom-type solution.

Am I right in thinking it connects to the back of the existing radio, and USB, microphone, auxiliary wires (whatever) are run to the glovebox or wherever suits?

Edited by gjm

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