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BattleBMW 01-20-2013 08:14 PM

Head Unit Questions
So I am looking to replace my hu with a new double din, and was wondering what is the largest screen size that will fit. I found on that I really like but I dont know if it will fit. Also does anyone have any other suggestions, I am looking for a hu with iPod compaltaility, bluetooth, and usb & aux ports on the rear of the unit.

edjack 01-20-2013 08:50 PM

Talk to the suppliers.

mda185 01-20-2013 09:49 PM


Originally Posted by edjack (Post 7326612)
Talk to the suppliers.

What he says. Crutchfield is very good about knowing what will fit. Best in the business for information like that for over 25 years. You should also understand that your car most likely has an amplifier mounted in the trunk that is fed by the head unit. Installing an aftermarket head unit is not simple plug and play on E39's with the trunk mounted amp. You are probably best off installing a head unit with 4 or 5 volt preamp outputs or using an OEM interface adapter to pad down the speaker level outputs on the Pioneer head unit. The factory amp expects to see a signal of around 5-6 volts rms at its input for full volume.

When I upgrade my system this spring, I am going to replace the factory amp with a higher quality aftermarket unit. I am also replacing the door speakers and installing a small subwoofer. I will keep the factory MID head unit and use a GROM Audio adapter to get USB, Android and iPod interfaces.

Stone Roots 01-21-2013 01:06 AM

I ditched my head unit years ago and never looked back...:bigpimp:

Joelgk 01-21-2013 05:43 AM

Will be keenly following this thread as this project has also been close to my heart, but scared of damaging something tampering with the OE set up...

DennisCooper! 01-21-2013 06:40 AM


Have a search across all the BMW forums for double DIN installs - there's many threads about it. If you purchase a premium brand unit from the likes of Pioneer, Sony, Kenwood, Alpine etc, then you'll know you have a quality unit and the proper physical dimensions. You'll also need a fascia fitting kit. If you want the unit to sit 'flush' to the dashboard contours, then you'll need to modify the cabin airbox and purchase the Janus Design fitting kit and fascia/bezel. If you don't mind the unit sticking out by perhaps an inch or so, then you can get one of the fitting kits which 'tilt' the head unit up a little so the lower rear edge clears the airbox - thus no modifying of the airbox is needed.

Pretty much every double DIN premium brand unit has the functions and features you mention.

Joelgk - I think you've mentioned before you want to upgrade your setup. What is it you wish to achieve exactly? are you looking to keep the oem head unit in the dash? if so, then you won't need to follow this thread and instead work out which add on aftermarket products you need to purchase and install with the OEM setup. If you don't mind not having oem looks in the dash, then you can remove everything oem, and install aftermarket head unit, amplifiers and speakers.

Cheers, Dennis!

Joelgk 01-22-2013 01:01 AM

Dennis, Thanks for asking, here are my thoughts

1. I am open to replacing the OEM HU, but need to understand if the OBC will still work. My car is equipped with the OE DSP and hence Dynavin and Eonon cannot be fit
2. I need to use the steering wheel controls
3. Can also replace the Amps and Speakers and add on a sub as well

The most critical factor is that I would not have any expert advise other than on this forum regarding what parts to buy, where from, and on installation. If I have this, this I would not mind going for it.
The other factor is that it should not look awkward as add ons and still be tasteful and fit well.

Would appreciate any thoughts in this direction.

DennisCooper! 01-22-2013 10:33 AM

Hi Joel,

There's currently no aftermarket head unit that fully supports the OBC functions. The Dynavin has a 'reader' option for some of the parameters only. The 'Eonon' and other similarly branded cheap chinese unit's are a gamble if they'll arrive working and continue to work etc - for instance Eonon were a site sponsor on a UK forum and they've just been removed due to not consistently supporting a substantial number who'd bought and experienced all sorts of issues.

Some owners *must* have the OBC, and other's like myself who never had it are still able to live each day and drive our E39's ! other's who also had the OBC and have changed to an aftermarket head unit are also still alive and able to drive their cars ! - in short, keeping the OBC is not the be all and end all in terms of head unit's if you are open to having an aftermarket head unit - you can still see many parameters in the instrument cluster for instance.

All aftermarket premium brand head unit's and their manufacturers will have steering wheel control adaptors in their accessories range. If you find there isn't one etc, then aftermarket ones from the likes of Connects2, PAC and Paser have units - so this is really a non issue. I personally don't even need those as I find it quite easy to reach over less than 12 inches away to adjust volume etc, the money I saved there I put towards other parts of my audio system!

Adding amplifiers and subwoofers and uprated speakers is also easily done.

I have no idea on who is a good installer in India though ! - perhaps I should open up a high quality installation shop back home somewhere! ;)

Cheers, Dennis!

Joelgk 01-23-2013 04:46 AM

Dennis, thanks for your continued interest and guidance,

If I am to replace the HU as stage 1 of the complete system revamp, before I get to the speakers and amps (stage 2), then

1. Which high end double din dvd/cd unit can I pick?
2. Is there a prefab frame that can be bought or should that be custom made to fit the system?
3. How do I link up the steering controls?

Stage 2

1. Which amp would suit the above HU. Is it straight forward to replace the DSP amp? What wiring mods should one do for this?
2. Speakers are a more straight forward affair I would guess,
3. Sub too can be brought in with the selected amp I suppose.

Did I miss out anything?

Ah , yes, the OBC will now function only in the cluster and I can live with that, unless the aftermarket HU brings those benefits as well, which I doubt very much.

Cheers and thanks in advance for your support...

If your plans include a full stop shop in South of India for BMW, we can become partners. Right now all BMWs are serviced at the official BMW centres and indy's are non existent. Merc have plenty of them, BMW's are a much rarer breed.

diggyd357 01-23-2013 05:20 AM

Alpine IVA -W205 This unit will do everything you could want plus the sound quality is fantastic. The other thing with the cheap Chinese units is they sound like crap. This Alpine is amazing !

Joelgk 01-23-2013 05:33 AM

Tried searching that model on the Alpine site and drew a nought!

DennisCooper! 01-23-2013 12:15 PM

Hi Joel,

It seems that battlebmw hasn't come back to this thread and I'd also suggest to have a read up on double DIN installs as per my response in post no. 6. Also, drop me a PM if you wish - there's some good mid range and entry level products from excellent quality brands which will provide you with an excellent sounding setup without having to cost the earth. It's also quite possible I can send unit's across to you should you not find stockists in India and I can help you with each aspect and more of what you ask. That Alpine head unit, the IVA W205 is a dicontinued model and was part of the lineup from 2008/9 I believe.

Cheers, Dennis!

teklord69 01-23-2013 11:07 PM

Dennis since you are the resident audio expert here I hope you can answer my question. Suppose I want to install the dual-din unit on the first post. I have 2003 model with DSP dont care about the steering wheel volume control and will plan on not using the DSP amp or subs. I will re-wire my own speaker wires and buy new speakers, amps.

I have the low cluster so all the trip computer is on the dash not the mid. what else will I lose aside from the obvious once the MID is gone?

DennisCooper! 01-24-2013 12:54 AM

Hi Teklord,

It's only oem audio features that you'll 'lose'! once you remove the head unit(s) in the dash, the DSP amplifier and oem speakers that's it, you just have 'no' audio. It's not as though you lose AC controls etc. Depending on which double DIN you fit, is whatever features you'll gain, i.e bluetooth or GPS etc.

Keep in mind that if your oem head unit setup has things like speed dependent volume or phone prep which routed audio through front speakers, then features like those would go.

JimLev and a few other members are probably more knowledgable about oem setups than I am, I focus on high quality aftermarket setups and equipment.

Cheers, Dennis!

Stone Roots 01-24-2013 01:25 AM

I changed my stock head unit for a kenwood with DVD NAV SAT and was able to keep all steering wheel control and my phone connects blue tooth so the cars stereo acts as a speaker phone.

mio_e46 01-27-2013 10:45 PM


Originally Posted by Stone Roots (Post 7334159)
I changed my stock head unit for a kenwood with DVD NAV SAT and was able to keep all steering wheel control and my phone connects blue tooth so the cars stereo acts as a speaker phone.

which Kenwood HU?

mpower997 01-28-2013 09:50 AM

I have a pioneer avic-x940bt, has Nav, xm, dvd, sd, traffic tuner, as well as fm, am, cd, ipod hookup, two usbs in the rear, back up camera. I never lost steering wheel controls

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