Only Get Static on Radio [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Only Get Static on Radio

04-29-2008, 05:31 PM
I have a 1997 M3. The factory-installed radio light died about a year ago, but the reception was still good. Over time, the reception became flaky: Good reception for a few minutes, then reception mixed with static for a few minutes, then several minutes of total silence. I bought an aftermarket 1997 M3 radio and installed it. The radio lights works and I can control the speakers, but I get only static (and barely one or two FM stations.) What's going on?

04-30-2008, 01:47 PM
Antenna is unplugged most likely.

05-01-2008, 03:46 PM
Thanks. Do you know where I would check to see if the antenna's unplugged?

05-03-2008, 11:52 AM
Pull the radio and check. It take a strange 5 sided allen wrench but a 6 sided wrench will work. You have to pull the radio out and see it it is disconnected. Also BMW uses an antenna amp and if you put an aftermarket in be sure the power to the amp is connected.
Hope this helps...

05-08-2008, 02:26 PM
Well, I couldn't find anything wrong with the antenna connection to the radio. I also have 12V output on pin 16 of the radio. I also checked both c-pillar amps and didn't find any loose connections or damaged wires. I'm thinking there must be something wrong with the wiring somewhere, but I can't figure out how (or where) to troubleshoot this! Any ideas would be appreciated.

05-13-2008, 08:47 AM
Are you sure that the radio is ok? If not I would see if someone else that has an E36 would let you swap out the radio and see if theirs works. BMW FM turners are troublesome and I have had one fail on me providing only static on the FM band but fine on weather and AM band.
Assuming that the radio is ok then something must be dislodged someplace.
Do you have a stock radio?

05-13-2008, 10:40 AM
I checked two radios (both used 97 M3 radios), and have the same problem with both! I get no AM and only one FM station on both. I can't imagine both radios are dysfunctional. I'm at a loss as to where else to check.

05-13-2008, 09:56 PM
i would say go aftermarket it would be cheaper than an BMW replacement if you ask me. im not saying anything extreme either.

05-19-2008, 02:25 PM
I don't think the problem is the radio, so an aftermarket wouldn't work either. How can one check to see if the amplifier is functional?

05-20-2008, 09:05 PM
I think you are going to have to break out the Bentley manual. I had run into this problem but it has been so many years ago, like 7 or 8 that I can't recall how to get power to the amp. The best suggestion is to use the electrical diagrams for the Bentley and see which goes to the amp. I recall there was something not straigthforward and tricky that a guy online and I worked on but we solved the issue. I will see if I can find his emails to me that might help guide you. It does very much sound like the antenna amp is not getting power.
I will post something if I can find this but like I said this was a long time ago.

05-20-2008, 09:24 PM
I suggest you contact nordique14 on His first name is Matt and Matt and I did the install of a Sony amp with pnp wiring harness into our E36 convertibles. I do remember that Matt had an issue with the antenna amp and solved it do to some strange BMW wiring.

I would see if he can remember how he solved the problem. I checked my archieves and must have deleted the emails we had.
Best I can do...

05-21-2008, 12:05 PM
Thanks, fun2drive. I do have a Bently Manual. Supposedly there is a white wire from pin 16 from the radio to the amplifier. I believe I've checked it for connection and power, but I'll check again. I'll try and contact nordique14 as well. This is a real mystery. The radio is alright, that I know.