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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first forum post but I figured I would share my findings and experiences with installing door speakers into my E46 2003 330i Sedan.

To start off I must say that I didn't find this even close to as easy as everyone else seems to make it look.

First of all I connected Parrot Bluetooth CK3100 that I bought second hand off eBay, that was pretty simple, it all fitted behind the glovebox and it was fairly easy to connect the cables into the radio connecter. It only required an ISO connecter which I think came from connects2. I mounted the microphone with double sided sticky foam pads on top of the steering wheel, the bit where it goes under the instrument cluster. The display panel I mounted to the right of the steering wheel just above the headlights switch again with double sided foam pads. It doesn't work with the steering wheel controls which I thought I was going to be a little upset about but it really makes no difference to me at all, I have the Parrot on auto answer, I can voice dial just by saying 'Call' and then whoever, and just hit the end button on the control to hang up.

AMP and Speakers

I started by building a box for my amp which was by far the easiest thing I did in this project. I only did this because I ended up with an entire sheet of 3/4 inch MDF when I found out (after it had been cut) that you have to buy the entire sheet in Wickes and cannot buy half or quarter.

The amp I am using for my speakers is an Infinity REF475a which I had from my old car. Getting the wiring to the amp wasn't particularly difficult, there is a hole for wiring with plenty of space for any cables going through to the boot from behind the passenger side rear seat. I don't have fold down seats but they just pop out.

I decided that I was going to tap into the current speaker wiring behind the glove box. Some people tap into the rear speakers but I wanted four channels so that I could still use the fader and replace the rear speakers if I wanted to. I actually cut the ISO cable wiring from the Parrot so I could reconnect that if I needed to. Feels a bit better than cutting the BMW wiring. The wiring follows the same pattern as any other car just run from that hole going through to the boot underneath all the passenger side trim, up to behind the glove box. I ran from the boot, four speakers cables, two RCA cables and the remote. I put my LOC behind the glovebox, I originally ordered a SVEN4 from CarAudioSecurity but they had problems getting it so sent me a Raptor one instead and refunded the difference. They said that it pretty much the same in terms of quality. The only thing they did neglect to mention was the fact it didn't create a Remote Turn on signal.

So my signal path (forgetting the parrot) goes, HEADUNIT >> LOC >> AMP >> and then back into the other half of the stock speaker cable I had just cut. Most people seem to agree that the stock cable is good enough. I have connected my remote speaker cable to a blue cable (I think) on the ISO connector, this means the AMP is on whenever the Headunit is on. This does mean I have to turn the headunit on to get any sound when someone phones and it goes through the Parrot. If I can find a different cable to connect this to that is on on ignition and also on if the Headunit is turned on that would be perfect.


I bought some Focal PolyGlass 165v30 Anniversary Edition speakers for quite a good price, again, I think from CarAudioSecurity.

Every speaker install thread you read says "CUT YOUR DOORS!!". With these speakers I didn't have a choice but I have to say that I found it to be a little more tricky than the impression I got. I would still stick with that statement, the new speaker mounted in the door does sound far better than the stock speaker mounted in the stock location. I've now found I can't listen to music because it is so much easier to notice how terrible it sounds in comparison. I can't wait to get it finished and them both in.

This is a good guide to removing the door pannel (and accessing the tweeters): http://www.e46fanatics.com/howto/howtodetail.php?howto_id=27

I really think these speakers are about as deep as you can fit in the door, you might be able to find a little bit more depth in there but not much. For reference my speakers are 2-13/16" (71.8mm) deep, 165mm diameter with a cut out diameter of 142mm.

I ended up cutting the door and then mounting the speaker onto two 3/4 inch MDF rings. I tried one ring which worked great up until the point you lower the window and find it hits the magnet. Two rings fit but only if you are prepared to cut the old mounting location for the stock speaker out of the door panel completely. This is quite easy to do with a Dremel. This is what I would recommend. I also had to remove one of the door panel fastener leg things. There are three that hold the door panel on around the speaker, I had to remove the top one. It will also make your job easier if you temporarily remove the speaker grill.

To mark where to cut the door I placed one of my MDF rings between the door panel and the door, lined it up, pushed it back against the door and drew around the inside of it with a marker pen. This gave me a line to cut.

Cutting the doors.... Well... This was the worst and hardest part. Someone on here mentioned using tin snips. On a coupe maybe but the steel on the sedan door panel is not exactly thin. The bottom section that you will have to cut is thinner than the top section though. I decided the best route was to use a metal cutting blade in my Ryobi 18v Reciprocating Saw. I couldn't have been further from the best route if I was on the moon. It made alot of noise, alot of mess, and although it did cut the metal it wasn't exactly neat. I also managed while I was there with my Reciprocating Saw to cut part of the wiring harness in the door. This was by far the worst part in the whole thing. The electric mirror motor no longer worked in my left mirror. I managed to reconnect it using Chocolate Blocks (Terminal Blocks) but it was not a fun experience. I guess I'm quite lucky I missed the one for the airbag.

I ended up buying a Dremel 300 from B and Q to cut the ring off the back of the door panel (which it did amazingly, I'm actually looking forward to doing the next one). I used one of the metal cutting blades that came with that to have a go at finishing cutting the door. It did work, but took ages. I bought the quick snap metal cutting wheel instead and that did seem to be a little quicker and tidier. Although it will take a while this is what I am going to use for cutting hole in the other door. I think this is one of those things that it is definitely better to take your time over. If there is any interest in this thread then I will post back on how that goes.

I would recommend the use of lots and lots of Dynamat or similar, I used Vibe Sound Deadening which worked fine. I applied this to wherever I could, on the window rail and all along behind the speaker. I also used it to wrap around the speaker rings after they were mounted to help seal this to the door. I used Plastercine which I got from WH Smiths to seal between the door and the first speaker ring as the door surface is not flat. I attached the first speaker ring to the door with some self tapping metal screws and then attached the speaker and second speaker ring into that with some four normal screws just to hold the speaker in and four screws going all the way through to the second ring. Obviously there is no way of screwing these in without Pilot holes, the wood would just split.

The only other things worth mentioning, I used moisture resistance MDF just because I figured it would last a bit longer but I would imagine normal stuff would probably work. I just don't want it to fall off because something has happened to the wood because moisture got into it after all my hard work.

The trick with the tweeters is a hot glue gun. Splodge of glue on the back of the tweeter and stick it in where the old one was.

Mounting the crossovers was interesting, I was quite worried at this point, after all this work, speaker mounted but there was no where for the crossover to fit. Best place for it is in the recess in the weatherproofing behind where the pocket is in the door panel. It is the part of the grey weatherproofing that covers the big hole in the door. Gaffer tape to make sure it fits and then glue from the glue gun on the back of the crossover to keep it in place.

This will be much easier to see from the pictures when I do the other side.

I will post pictures of most of the things described here when I do the drivers door side.

If you have any questions then let me know, there are probably things that I have found but forgotten to put in this post.

Other Threads I found Useful:

This one is very similar to my install:

This one is very good but is for a coupe so a bit different:

Even after all of this I think I will still want a sub but I'll wait until I have got the other door speaker in. I think if I do go for it then I will go for an 8w7 in a box but connected into the ski pass.

On a side note or two a couple of other things that may be of interest,

I recently noticed that my car was using up oil far faster that it probably should. I figured I must have an oil leak somewhere. I took it to the dealer and they charged me £50 for the pleasure of telling me that the oil filter housing had a leak. They wanted around £200 to replace a gasket that was itself £4. My advice would be not to pay this and to do it yourself. I tried a couple of other garages but their prices were pretty high too. One told me that it was too complex and they couldn't do it. I took it over to my girlfriends brothers house (he is a mechanic) and we both managed to do it in an hour or two. It really isn't difficult, just quite a few things to remove. There is a very good DIY on here somewhere.

Following some advice on here and after getting fed up with my clutch I decided I was going to replace the stock clutch stop. All the people on here who did it seemed to be American and had shops that just happened to sell all the bits you need.

My solution was (and has worked perfectly), pop to homebase buy one pack of "Hex Head Screws" (M10 x 50mm bolts), and one pack of Chair Feet 19mm (3/4"). Take one bolt and then if I remember rightly put one nut on it, then one washer, then two nuts. The chair foot pushes onto the head of the bolt and will stay put. The bolt unfortunately was exactly the right size before the chair foot so cut the amount off the bolt that the chair foot adds, if that makes sense. Stand them both on the head and cut off the part of the bolt with the foot on it that is taller than the plain bolt. If you really can't be bothered with all that PM me and I'll make you one for a price.

MAF / Cruise Control:
When we disconnected my MAF to remove the air filter for the oil gasket problem we forgot to reconnect it. This meant every time you press the brake cruise control stops working and won't work again until you restart the car. Took me ages to work out that we had forgotten to reconnect it and thats what it was. Its quite strange that that was the only symptoms.

When I get a free weekend I can't wait to get rid of it... All the people who have done it don't seem to be regretting it for a second. After having a couple of hire cars recently, it is great to get back into mine but the gear shifts really aren't quite how they should be and driving the other cars proves it isn't just my driving!

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24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Still haven't started the drivers door yet... I tried to cut two more MDF rings for the other side but they went quite badly and weren't very good circles. I've left some wood with my Mum so that she can cut them on her Scroll Saw. Put my glovebox back today, it only took a couple of minutes. I am getting some electronic noise through the speakers when the car is idling and there is no music playing but the AMP is on. It seems to depend on how close the LOC is to the fuses and stuff behind the glovebox. It goes away when I move the LOC out of the glovebox area. I've tried wrapping it in tin foil but it doesn't seem to make much difference. Anybody got any ideas? I'm going to try a ground loop isolator and see if that makes any difference.
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