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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Below is my account of my install in a 2001 330xi. I researched the topic for about 2 weeks before getting all the info I needed/wanted. I've consolidated what I learned here - hope it helps someone out.

Parts List (no S&H included) Total $2028

AVIC Z2 – J&R Audio - $1164
GEXP10MT Nav Traffic – J&R Audio - $160
iPod interface – ABT Electronics - $37
Bluetooth Adapter – ABT Electronics - $83
PAC OEM-2 – Crutchfield - $30
BMW Wire Harness – Crutchfield - $20
Motorola/Male to Volk/Female Antenna Adapter – Crutchfield - $5
PAC SWI-PS – eBay from abc car stereo - $38
HVAC Controls Relocation Trim – Circle BMW – $35
Double Din Bezel – Rich Silva - $200
Rear View Camera – Rocky Americas (FKA Yan Lab) - $135
20’ custom double shielded RCA for Rear Camera – Rite AV - $17
30A SPDT Relay – Auto Toys - $5
4 position Blade Fuse Block – Auto Toys - $9
1A Diodes for quenching SPDT Relay – Auto Toys - $2
Black//Red 14G wire 50ft. each – eBay elrays shop - $16
Yellow 14G wire 108ft. – New Level Motorsports - $13
ABS Textured Sheet 1/8" Thick x 12" x 24" – Parts Express - $7
Various metal plates – local hardware stores – $5
Trim Panel removal tools (small and large sets) – Harbor Freight – $10
½” drive Torx bit set – Harbor Freight - $8
Wire Pulling Lubricant – local hardware store - $7
Fuse Taps – Radio Shack - $2
Shrink Tubing assortment – Harbor Freight - $3
Zip Tie Assortment – harbor Freight - $5
20 - #4-40 x ¼” round head slotted machine screws with nuts – Home Depot - $4
3 – ¼”-20 x ¾” round head slotted machine screws with nuts – Home Depot - $2
1 yard Black auto headliner – Hancock Fabrics - $4
Metric M5 (0.8 pitch) x 8mm screws with washers – Local Hardware Store - $2

Tools List (what I used)

Dremel (I say that a flexible extension is a must to make life easier) – cutting wheel for plastic and reinforced cutting wheel for metal
Vise – helps to make precise bends in metal bracket
Hammer – to bend metal brackets of vise
Pliers – needle and lineman
Wire Cutters
Screwdrivers – flat and Phillips, Torx T10 & T20
Torx Bits – T20, T50
Tin Snips
Soldering iron with pencil and flat attachments
8mm and 10mm sockets
Panel removing tools
Lighter – to heat shrink wrap
Small round file – to smooth burrs on any metal you cut
Cordless Drill – always a plus
Lots of zip ties of various lengths (mostly 4” and 6”)

Location of Components –
XM and iPod processors in slots under relays in passenger footwell
Bluetooth receiver velcro’d to inside of center console on transmission tunnel
PAC SWI-PS velcro’d to the driver’s vent (sorry no pic taken)
Microphone in overhead OEM microphone location
Fuse Block above fusebox at glovebox site

What I removed for the install – Center air vents in dashboard
Business radio and mounting bracket
Passenger A-pillar trim (microphone lead run up this pillar)
Passenger front/rear doorsills and surrounding trim
Passenger footwell trim under relays
Passenger air vent
Passenger sun visor
Passenger oh-s*** handle
Center headliner trim that holds OEM microphone/sunroof switch, etc.
Glove box assembly
Wood trim on dash
Wood trim piece with window controls around shifter
Center console on the transmission tunnel (not armrest)
Passenger seat with seatbelt assembly
Rear seat bench and side bolsters
Rear deck with seatbelt assemblies
Rear pillar trim
Driver side rear passenger doorsill and trim
All trunk trim
Sunglass pocket and surrounding trim
Steering Wheel bottom trim
Driver’s side footwell trim under steering wheel

Install notes:

Radio Bracket – I could not find any of the old style metal straps that some people were using for their double din installs and I did not want to break out my woodcutting tools and get a bunch of sawdust flying. I opted for some 1/16” steel mending plates that I found at Home Depot and just drilled some holes where I needed them and fashioned a pretty sturdy bracket while trying to minimize cutting the stock radio bracket. I made several connections to the plastic bracket to minimize it’s flexing after install since the AVIC is a pretty heavy unit. I didn’t want any trouble with skipping CDs or excessive vibrations due to a flimsy bracket. The bracket was pretty rock-solid when I was done – barely any flex at all. The mounting screws are metric M5 (0.8 pitch) and the longest I used (with two plates thickness and a washer) was 8mm. The rest were the ones that came with the radio. Everything was adjusted on the bench with Rich Silva’s bezel used to properly center the radio in the bracket. Once adjusted – every screw was dressed with Lock-Tite.

Cutting HVAC air box - This took BY FAR the longest of any aspect of the install. I made templates with cardboard first, and then tested the fit a million times with many small adjustments to the piece till it fit right. This was transferred to ABS, and then tweaked a lot more after that. Also, to maintain some serviceability to the air box, I did not plaster the whole thing shut with duct tape. I used some 1/4” soft rubber/foam weather-stripping from Home Depot to seal most of the gaps (front, back, driver’s side). I was as conservative as possible on the passenger side of the cutout. I noticed that the arm for the passenger damper in the closed position sits just behind the back end of the radio. If you are conservative in the cut, and meticulous about the test fitting, you can have the dampers working perfectly when you’re done with the install. The “wall” you make will only impede on the damper by about a quarter inch. See “Floor Vent Damper Mod”.

Floor Vent Damper Mod – I wanted absolutely full retained function of the dampers. I know that relocating the rod lets the driver damper work fine, but the passenger damper still needs a notch cut out to accommodate the modification to the air box. I did not want any air leaking to the passenger footwell when it was supposed to have the damper closed. I used 0.018” music wire to make a few torsion springs that would allow a corner of the passenger damper to “bend” when open, and stay flat when closed. I made a slit in the damper with a Dremel cutoff wheel and sealed the gap with silicone to keep it flexible. I took great care not to cut the rubber edge of the damper.


13 Posts

GPS and XM aerials ***8211; I opted for the OEM location under the rear deck for the XM aerial and I used the magnetic pad supplied with the GPS aerial of the AVIC for mounting it. The OEM location is a perfect fit, and with the metal pad cut to size, and stuck to the stock gps aerial location. For the GPS aerial, I bent a bracket I found at Home Depot, and just used one of the existing screws holding the trim to screw it on. It***8217;s a perfect metal mounting surface for the GPS aerial. With the rear deck off, you will notice that you have a lot of room under the deck to fit things for the future (little amps for stealthbox ***8211; a small fan would take care of ventilation just fine). I ran the wires down the passenger side of the car. At the midpoint of the passenger floor, I had to divert the GPS wire to the center tunnel and used a coat hanger to fish the wire under the carpet into the center console are behind the radio (Otherwise it was too short to go up the passenger firewall and around). Don***8217;t make the same mistake I did and take the XM wire here too ***8211; keep it running up front to where you will have the XM processor mounted.)

Rear View Camera ***8211; This is just a novelty item for me. I know where my car begins and ends and have not trouble parking it (especially with the parking assist). Anyways, the CCD camera I got from Rocky Americas (FKA Yan Lab) rocks ***8211; and is slim enough to fit in the rear keyhole with NO DRILLING NECESSARY! I***8217;ve spoken with the owner of Rocky Americas and he will honor $135 shipped for this camera if you let him know by email you***8217;re an e46fanatics forum member. When I bought mine, this did not include a warranty, but did include DOA replacement.

The way to do this is to remove the keyhole assembly and the light fixture. Take out the rubber gasket in the keyhole and turn it inside out. You will see 2 ridges that need to be carefully shaved off so that surface is flat with a very sharp exacto. I changed blades twice on this small job to keep a razor sharp edge at all times. This will gain you the 1.5-2 mm needed to fit the camera. (If you screw up, it costs less than $0.50 for the gasket at Circle BMW). Then, replace the gasket and wet it with some soapy water (old trick from the days of replacing handle grips on my BMX bike). Holding the gasket with your first/second fingers from behind, firmly begin ***8220;screwing in***8221; the camera. It took me two tries before I could get it screwed in without prolapsing the gasket back into the trunk lid. I used some Loc-Tite on the threads when I was done to make sure the camera didn***8217;t work itself loose in the future and cause a huge water leak into the trunk. Best thing to do is make an extension with some tubing (I used extra heat shrink tubing) and squirt some Lock-Tite on the threads.

Running the power/ground/RCA for the camera is a bit tricky if you want to take them through the existing wire boot from the trunk lid to the trunk. First disconnect every point of the harness in the trunk lid and make sure it is free to be pulled in towards the trunk. Remove the wire boot at it***8217;s attachment points at the trunk lid (right corner) and just below the rear window as it goes into the trunk. Now pull everything down into the trunk. Use a coat hanger with the end curled over (so there is no sharp point) to go through the boot and then form the end around your RCA to cup it so you can pull hard and not have the RCA separate from the coat hanger. Use electrical tape to securely fix the power/ground wires and the RCA to the coat hanger. Make sure to seal the RCA plug completely with this tape so the wire pulling lubricant doesn***8217;t get all over it. Stagger the wires so that you don***8217;t have one big mass at end of the coat hanger to pull through the boot (it is very tight). Now squirt an abundance of wire pulling lubricant into the boot and rub it onto the first couple feet of the wires. It will take some work, but pull your wires through the boot, and then route up the trunk lid to where you will make the connections. When connecting the camera, I soldered the power/ground and shrink wrapped every connection (including the power plug and RCA connections). You cannot make this happen without the lubricant!

One of the fears I have is not having a mechanical method to unlock the trunk. If the lock actuator ever failed, I***8217;d be screwed. I bought some clear picture hanging wire (basically it***8217;s 75 lb. fishing line). I tied this around the handle to the trunk lock, and thread it out to the trim (it is barely noticeable at all unless you know it***8217;s there). This allows me to manually unlock the trunk. Now to get into the trunk (fold down seats) I need to release the seat. Similarly, I ran some wire from the release to the side bolster on the rear seat and tucked it between the leather and the side pillar. If I ever get locked out of the trunk ***8211; I pull the line to pop the fold down seat, crawl into the trunk, and pop the trunk.

13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
continued (2)....

Wiring Notes ***8211; I bench soldered the PAC OEM-2 in between the radio harness and BMW harness because I read several posts stating the high output from the radio can cause the factory amps to fry (I do not have any plans to upgrade the HK speakers/amps). Then I found several posts (including those from ca1242 and [email protected] stating that it is unnecessary). I opted to cut it out at the last minute. I works great and I have nice loud volume at about volume 15, with comfortable speech at volume 7.

To decrease bulk on the AVIC***8217;s connector 2 ***8211; I removed the pins for the rear monitor A/V outputs. That left only the remote control wire, 2-wire bypass ground pin, and rear view camera input. Anything to help things fit better/easier. BTW, with some patients and judicious routing of wires behind the radio ***8211; you will find that there is a ton of space back there to fit everything you need.

I chose to install a fuse block for the components I added. I do not like having random fuses scattered around the different components. If a problem arises, I want one place to check for fuse problems. I located this right in front of the junction box that sits on top of the fuse panel above the glove box. Fit perfectly.

As far as power, I bolted a wire from the main power on the back end of the fuse box above the glove box (there***8217;s a snap cover accessible when you remove the junction box ***8211; removing the cover shows the big fuses at the back end of the junction box. Each is attached with small nuts. There are two blank spaces on the left side with nuts, and I just slipped a terminal ring under one for the constant +12V power that runs to the fuse box I set up and another one runs to the relay for switched power. I used a relay to have a switched source trigger power for the camera and xm unit. I did not want to draw any power from other sources such as the radio harness above what they already use. Call me paranoid if you must. (Despite my paranoia, I forgot to account for the power from the SWI-PS and had to tap into the ACC+ power from the radio harness as a last minute compromise) I used a quenching diode on the relay for the switched power to avoid any reverse voltage spikes as the relay powered off when you turn the ignition off. Again, paranoia. The relay trigger wire for switched power came from using a fuse tap (available at Radio Shack) into any of the free slots in the fuse box on the top left quarter of the fuses. There were 3 empty slots in there that would only have power with the key in the ACC position.

As far as grounds, I grounded the XM/iPod and Relay together on the frame for the glove box (at the far passenger corner of the frame). I decided to ground the two-wire bypass on the center bolt holding the console to the transmission tunnel.
I found the speed wire (black with white stripe)and reverse wire (blue with yellow stripe) at the junction box above the fuse box. At the junction box, the wires are ended with spade connectors which connect to a common plate. I soldered my wires to extra blades available on the common plate.

Rattle prevention ***8211; I used headliner fabric to wrap the OEM connector for the radio so it didn***8217;t rattle behind bezel. Did this in the trunk lid too with the camera wires and RCA. I dealt with this rattling problem when I didn***8217;t ***8220;insulate***8221; the connectors on a previouse Dension IceLink Plus installation.

Steering Wheel Controls ***8211; Used the PAC SWI-PS. Only needed yellow wire for signal, black for ground, and red for ACC power. I removed the pins for the unnecessary leads to cut down on clutter (left the brown and purple loops on). With the trim off the bottom of the steering wheel, it is easy to see the White wire with red stripe and yellow dots (pin location #9 in my 2001 330xi). I removed the pin very carefully from the connector and cut off about 2 inches from the end. I insulated the end going down the steering column, and bench soldered the pin going to the wheel to the yellow wire of the PAC SWI-PS. Since I forgot to account for the power needs (and fuse used) for this unit, I made a last minute compromise and ran power from the ACC wire of the radio harness to under the steering column and zip tied the fuse to the column. The SWI-PS unit itself was velcro***8217;d to the side of the driver footwell vent to keep it out of the way.

XM/iPod processors ***8211; I modified the off-white plastic rack that holds all the relays behind the glove box in the passenger footwell by using a hot soldering iron to cut out the back end on the top open slot to fit the XM processor, and cutting out the back ends of one of the bottom slots to run all the connectors to the processors. The iPod processor is small enough to fit in the bottom right slot. Plenty of room behind the rack to run all the wires neatly to the left of the rack and wire tie the excess. I wrapped the XM and iPod processors in headliner fabric and stuffed them into the slots ***8211; great friction fit, and no rattling possible. The ipod cable can be routed to the left of the relay rack and alongside the fusebox and into the glovebox via a hole already in the glovebox assembly.

Microphone ***8211; removing the trim from the passenger A-pillar is a pain in the ass with just a T-20 torx screwdriver. I***8217;m glad I had the torx drive bits with a universal joint to get this done. A coat hanger is invaluable to snake the microphone wire from the pillar down under the dash. Make sure to run the wire BEHIND the airbag module with the other wiring. You don***8217;t want it deploying with the airbag in an accident.

Hacks ***8211; 2 wire bypass as seen on the forum everywhere. Ground the parking brake lead and add a wire to connector 2 in the empty bottom right pin and ground also. The 2-wire bypass is well explained here by SMinnTech. Look to the bottom of the page where it says "07/06 Bypass

For all units made since 07/06, or any unit updated with the Bluetooth Update CD"

Mistakes I made that you can avoid and hints ***8211;
1. Don***8217;t connect the battery with any airbag connector disconnected ***8211; THIS INCLUDES HAVING THE PASSENGER SEAT DISCONNECTED
2. Replace the front passenger footwell trim (along the front edge of the doorsill going up to meet the glovebox edge) before putting the glovebox back in (this trim piece is partially covered by the glovebox).
3. I have read the IP-BUS cables are directional and the colors on the plugs need to match on the back of the components. I don***8217;t believe this is true at all, but don***8217;t look over this in case it***8217;s true. (When I couldn***8217;t get any iPod sound, I replaced the cables to run the correct direction. Didn***8217;t help. Then I played with the Power Antenna settings and got all the IP-BUS components working with sound).
4. When I reconnected the battery I got the ABS/DSC/Brake warning lights all stay on despite starting the car ***8211; don***8217;t worry, you just need to pull forward at >3mph and stop. The lights should go away. I freaked for ½ an hour thinking I screwed something up.

THAT'S IT!!!. Thanks to all the forum members that posted and did this before me. All my website sources are in a small zip file HERE.

13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks guys - couldn't have done it without everyone else's help.

BTW - Rich, your bezel was the only reason I did this. I had looked into it years ago, and there was nothing out there. I just stumbled on your thread this year. Also, I noticed the bezel keeps the headunit just a few mm deep. Before I go notching the top inside edge of the cutout - I just want to make sure it is a solid piece of material and not hollow (feels like it is)

2,415 Posts
thanks guys - couldn't have done it without everyone else's help.

BTW - Rich, your bezel was the only reason I did this. I had looked into it years ago, and there was nothing out there. I just stumbled on your thread this year. Also, I noticed the bezel keeps the headunit just a few mm deep. Before I go notching the top inside edge of the cutout - I just want to make sure it is a solid piece of material and not hollow (feels like it is)
Yes it is solid.
Thanks and post more pics.


13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
PLEASE NOTE: My switched power is WRONG

I don't know how I made this mistake, but I realized it when my XM unit was not holding anything in memory. In my description/diagram of the fuseblock I had wired the XM unit to switched power. THIS IS WRONG. It need a constant +12V source. I changed my jpeg to show the correction and in light of this, the relay is probably total overkill and unnecessary. Sorry for this oversight if anyone has already followed this and made the same error. I cannot edit the actual post, but note the corrected picture. so sorry.

13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks for the write up! i'll be using this sometime in the future!-- any completed pics of the way the dash looks?
thanks - an no, not yet. I figured most everyone knew what it looked like anyways. I have a couple projects left though - I am not satisfied with the bluetooth hands-free. I've ordered the Parrot CK3000 Evolution and will be installing that in the next few weeks. Also, would like the radio to sit a few millimeters more shallow than it does now - will require a small notch on the backside of Rich's bezel.

I'll post some more pics after that.

294 Posts
Bravo Dude Excellent Write Up!:bow:

882 Posts
wow.. perfect timing for me to stumble upon this. Well, sort of. I am looking into something like this and was 100% about to do it until I saw this :eek: It looks a little harder than I had thought, I don't know if I'm prepared for all the custom cutting and what not, but I may just have to try it

So there is absolutely no way to install something like this without the custom modding right :dunno:

Great write up :bow:

13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update on install

Well, after suffering for several months now (and not using the bluetooth handsfree integrated into the Z2), I finally broke down and bought a Parrot Unit. Also, I had mentioned that I wanted the radio to sit a little shallower in the trim piece I got from Rich Silva. Finally, living in the pacific northwest, I have my parking and fog lights on a lot more than the Xenons. I hate my radio dimming in the middle of the daylight just because I turned on my parking lights for some misty or rainy weather. My install notes are below:

Parrot CK3000 Evolution Bluetooth: I could not handle the echoing and horrendous noise cancelling of the AVIC. Furthermore, I got more and more furious that I spent so much money and got such a crappy bluetooth solution. Parrot has the best noise cancellation software IMHO. I bought the all black version for $81 from Shopcell.com. The BMW harness from QuickConnectProducts.com was part #QCBMW-R and cost me about $55 (well worth not having to splice a million wires). I wired the harness mute to the mute lead of the AVIC. Everything else was just plug and play. I had to mash the wiring for the new harness extension (interposes itself between the AVIC and the car (BMW harness connectors on each end). I took my AVIC microphone out of the headliner space where I had it and moved it to the steering column. There is a great space already there with a plastic screw that can be used to house a slightly modified mic holder (the one that comes with the AVIC) to hold the AVIC mic. Next to this, I double-stick taped the mic footpad for the Parrot. The wiring went straight back, and into the dash just under the instrument cluster (remove for the install here). Since the mic was no longer stealth, I wanted the Parrot Evolution control buttons hidden as well as possible. I carved a block of styrofoam to house the controller and covered it in black vinyl. It sits in the right half of the ashtray. The back right corner of the astray bottom got a 1/2 inch drill to it, as well as the HVAC trim piece under it. The wires were easily routed to the brain of the Parrot that I hid under the dash WAY UP in the driver footwell. If you look straight up from the driver footwell, you will see there is a ton of space around the steering column (basically right behind the A/C ducting that travels behind the instrument cluster to the driver's left vent). I just crammed it in there (covered in headliner fabric to make sure it stayed snug, and didn't rattle). This brain of the Parrot is also where the bluetooth radio is. I wanted it away from the AVIC bluetooth (in case I use it in the future for anything). All the harness wiring basically gets crammed to the right of the main cabin vent ductwork (right next to the passenger airbag). When all connected, the system works GREAT. People know I'm calling from a handsfree, but there is NO ECHO and it has great functionality. I haven't even fully set it up yet to have my address book programmed so it will call out the caller ID name when someone calls. Having the two bluetooth radios going at the same time (AVIC and Parrot) has not caused any problems with pairing or calls.

Modifiying Richs' Bezel: I took off Rich's bezel and in the top corners on the back side just made about a 1/8 inch notch to accomodate the trim of the AVIC unit itself that is located just adjacent to the touchscreen. It was preventing my radio from sitting flush with the bezel. Minor adjustment, but one that grows on you when you care to notice it every day.

AVIC Dimming only with Xenon's: In the pacific northwest I need to be able to turn on the parking/fog lights without having the map turn to night mode, and the screen dimming. I know I can tell it not to automatically change day/night mode, and I can adjust the hell out of the brightness. I just want it to work the way I want it to work. I disconnected the illumination lead from the harness and just rerouted it to the headlight switch harness (the switch I am referring to is the dial to the left of the steering wheel and just below the left driver A/C vent). It pulls out (after removing the wood trim and the screw(s) holding it in place. Just pull it out at an angle parallel to the downslope of the dash right under it. There will be a big harness attached. This can be pushed back into the hole and retrieved behind the dash (above the driver footwell) and brought into the footwell where you can work easily. The big yellow wires are the ones that trigger the Xenon's (yellow with blue stripe is the one I chose. The other is the Yellow with green stripe). I removed the connector, soldered a lead to it that went to the illumination lead for the AVIC, and replaced the connector. Now the radio only turns to night mode with Xenon's on.

Next project will be to take the composite AV out cable that apple makes and splice the USB connector into the car's power so that I can connect my iPhone 3G and play music and video from the phone, and have it charge at the same time. Right now there is not a good iPhone 3G solution at this point since the damn Pioneer iPod integration can't be used (not for music OR for charging). It'll be a while, but I'll post when I get around to finding the time to get it done.
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