5-Series Audio Uplift

  We have this 1995 BMW 525i. We picked it up on the preowned market. Pretty nice, considering we paid well south of high on the cheddar scale. Being a 1995, it had a rockin CD changer in the trunk and a rollin cassette deck up front. That's why, driving it to work, I wore earbuds with the iPod. Since its the Junior Girl's designated ride, she needs to focus on her driving, not earbuds and texting. So she landed a new audio engine for Christmas 2010.

  Click for a Larger Image Here is the cockpit with the as-delivered audio machinery. It is pretty cool. It passes the radio channel to the instrument panel when the channels change. Probably passes CD track info too, but we never put a CD in to try. Wonder what it would do with a cassette?

  Two little allen head screws beneath some flaps on the front of the Head Unit and its out. Check out the monster connector on the left. Its pretty clever - very German. Also, note the proprietary antenna wires. It has another wire, but I don't know what it does - I don't read German or electricity. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Here's where the precision fabrication of the wiring harness goes on. Had to use a whole series of tools from the Plier family. Some for cutting, some for stripping, some for squashing, and some for bending. See the blue wires? Our first cut at the harness did not use those wires. Turns out the BMW amplifiers won't go on unless those blue wires are connected.

  A few bits and pieces had to be moved around to get all the new componentry in place. Most of it so that we could wire the speakerphone microphone up into the overhead console. This car is well insulated with lots of panels blocking wire access. But, with the help of bimmerforums.com, we figured out how to find the battery, take trim off, and figure out the blue wire above. What would we do without the Internet? Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Putting it all back together. The sliding roof makes it easier to take pictures.

  Finished installation. See how the lights on the head unit can be matched to the interior lighting of the rest of the car? Also, there is an iPod/USB connector in the front and in the back. The back one exits into the glovebox, where there is a bluetooth adapter plugged in. This is what makes the hands free phone work. It also allows wireless connection of the iPhone, but then the iPod playing features of the head unit don't work. Luckily, both can be connected at the same time. Its beast! Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Most of the work went into getting the hands-free microphone up to the overhead. Here it is screwed into the overhead console plate with the sliding roof switch, behind the dome and map lights.

Sing to Me