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-   -   Hardwiring a Radar Detector: What could possibly go wrong? (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686647)

Indydave 04-01-2013 06:23 AM

Hardwiring a Radar Detector: What could possibly go wrong?
 
I would have preferred that my first post on this forum not be embarrassing, but hopefully someone can learn from my mistakes.

A little background: I was an ASE Master Technician and full-time Mazda technician at a dealership. This was only a little after dinosaurs roamed the earth (1986), but I'm not an amateur with DIY work and have installed dozens of aftermarket stereos and other electronic add-ons over the years. I have hard-wired my Valentine One for several cars including a 2007 X5 and an 2008 M3. I had no fear whatsoever of pulling down the overhead console in my 2012 X3 and finding the appropriate wiring.

So last Saturday, I decided to take on this project, expecting it to take no more than an hour.

I had read the threads posted here about this project, so I was aware that the console would be difficult to remove. I actually didn't have any problem getting the console pulled the first 1.5" away from the headliner, but this wasn't quite enough room to access the metal clips that actually hold it in. While trying to get just a little more clearance so I could release a side clip with a screwdriver, I applied a too much pressure and pulled apart some of the "innards" of the console. When this happened, part of the courtesy light switch dropped and became lodged between the two sections deep inside the console. There was absolutely no way to undo this damage with the console in the car, so I released the super-strong clips, dropped the console, unplugged all the connectors and removed it from the car.

With the console removed, I switched on the car and found a 12V wire and a ground wire that would suffice for the V1 wiring.

I took the console in the house and got it under a magnifying lamp and tried to figure out what do do with it. I determined there was no way to fix it without disassembling it, so I took it apart. This component contains the sunroof switch, three light switches, three light bulbs, motion sensors for the Anti-theft alarm, the switch for calling BMW Assist and the passenger airbag light. The assembly consists of several pieces and it is designed to be assembled fairly easily but not to be disassembled at all. I managed to get it apart (breaking a couple of clips in the process), but without causing any damage to the switches or the circuit board (or so I thought).

I reconnected it, stuck it back in the roof, breathed a sigh of relief and started the car. And immediately discovered three problems:

1) The passenger restraint warning message appeared on the display along with the airbag lights in the dash.
2) The courtesy lamps didn't work
3) The sunroof didn't work.

I removed the console again, rechecked all the connections and removed the wire taps I'd put in for the V1. I reassembled it and got exactly the same result.

I knew I'd have to go to the BMW dealer to get the airbag light reset. I decided to go with full disclosure about what had happened, thinking that they'd cut me some slack (having bought 4 vehicles including 3 BMWs there in the past 3 years).

Instead, they reset the airbag light but found there was still a fault with the Control Module in the console. After some additional troubleshooting, they determined that the console would have to be replaced. Bottom line: $500 in parts and $600 in labor, none of it covered by warranty. While I didn't expect them to file a fraudulent warranty claim and let me off the hook altogether, I also didn't expect to be charged full retail for parts and labor. I griped about it and they took off a whole 10% from the bill.

So my V1 install (which still isn't done) cost me nearly $1,000.

My advice if you're contemplating this:
1) Don't use the console. You're better off routing wires to the fuse box.

2) If you do decide the use wires above the console, do NOT disconnect the console from the wiring and turn on the car. I'm certain that this is what caused the airbag warning.

I did insist that they return the old console. I wanted it A) as a reminder that I don't know how to work on cars anymore and B) To make sure my dealer couldn't submit the part as a warranty claim.

After I got it home, I took it apart and reassembled it. I've provided instructions and photographs showing how it comes apart and goes together in the PDF document linked below. I hope you never have to use it.


https://dl.dropbox.com/u/48981318/20...console%20.pdf_a_

neelkc12 04-01-2013 08:35 AM

Don't hardwire - Use Savvy connector instead
 
https://store.valentine1.com/store/closeup_20220.asp

Much easier . Just hook up to your OBD port for power.

02420X3 04-01-2013 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neelkc12 (Post 7486324)
https://store.valentine1.com/store/closeup_20220.asp

Much easier . Just hook up to your OBD port for power.


Don't forget that the OBD-II port on your X3 is the one X3 power source that is ALWAYS on. Everything else - cigarette lighter ports, etc. - turns off after no more than 15 minutes.

neelkc12 04-02-2013 09:33 AM

My valentine 1, connected to the OBD port turns "OFF" , immediately after I hit the ignition "STOP"

02420X3 04-02-2013 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neelkc12 (Post 7489113)
My valentine 1, connected to the OBD port turns "OFF" , immediately after I hit the ignition "STOP"

Interesting. My OBD-II port maintains 12V of power on pin 16.

Ml3456 04-03-2013 07:54 AM

IndyDave, how did you get his off the roof. My wife wanted me to straighten out a missions tallied light in the overhead console. I easily snapped out he front and back tabs but the middle was so tight I didn't want to break it and stopped. Is there a screw or tab I'm missing that needs to be removed/unlatched first?

Thanks. ML

Indydave 04-04-2013 05:05 PM

There are clips on both sides of the console, just about centered (front to back). You can pull the console down about an inch (maybe a little more) which will give you enough room to access these clips. You really need a tool (like a bent screwdriver) to properly release them. If you have really small, really strong fingers you might be able to do it by had. But do NOT try to muscle it out without releasing those clips

Indydave 04-04-2013 05:10 PM

I bought the OBD connector from Valentine. Took 15 minutes to install and hide the wires. It powers down with the ignition. This is a much better solution than hardwiring to the overhead console. Plus it's completely reversible and can be moved to the next cool BMW you buy.

noka 04-04-2013 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Indydave (Post 7495634)
I bought the OBD connector from Valentine. Took 15 minutes to install and hide the wires. It powers down with the ignition. This is a much better solution than hardwiring to the overhead console. Plus it's completely reversible and can be moved to the next cool BMW you buy.

A few questions, if you don't mind:
- Where did you mount the V1 (e.g. with suction cups and if so where,... or maybe you use the visor mount)?
- Do you use the V1 concealed display and if so, where did you locate that?
- Where did you hide the wires going to the OBDII connector?

Indydave 04-04-2013 06:35 PM

I mounted it high on the windshield just to the left of the rear view mirror. The only problem with this location is you can't see the visual signal if the visor is down.

The wires are easy to hide. You can tuck them in the headliner along the windshield, tuck under the trim at the top of the A-Pillar, then under the wide weatherstripping all the way down to the OBD. You can do it without any tools.


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