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Car Navigation, Audio & Electronics
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  #1  
Old 05-18-2007, 11:19 AM
Roly Roly is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 328i Vert 5-spd
Where is the factory amp on an E36 convertible??

Cause it's not in the trunk like everyone says! ;-) I TORE my trunk apart last night. I removed all the "quasi-carpeted" panels and there is NO factory amp. I can see all sorts of small motors and cables for operating the convertible top (It's a 328ic with a power top) but no amp.

On the right side there is a huge red power cable and a smaller black cable coming from the battery going into the passenger compartment. On the left side there is a large bundle of cables coming in from the passenger compartment that splits off and goes to various places, but nowhere in that trunk do I see a factory amplifier. Can someone please help and point me in the right direction? I'm beginning to think it will be easier just to run new speaker wires from the headunit I'll be putting in rather than try to find this elusive, near mythical "factory amp".
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2007, 11:55 AM
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Technic Technic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roly View Post
Cause it's not in the trunk like everyone says! ;-) I TORE my trunk apart last night. I removed all the "quasi-carpeted" panels and there is NO factory amp. I can see all sorts of small motors and cables for operating the convertible top (It's a 328ic with a power top) but no amp.

On the right side there is a huge red power cable and a smaller black cable coming from the battery going into the passenger compartment. On the left side there is a large bundle of cables coming in from the passenger compartment that splits off and goes to various places, but nowhere in that trunk do I see a factory amplifier. Can someone please help and point me in the right direction? I'm beginning to think it will be easier just to run new speaker wires from the headunit I'll be putting in rather than try to find this elusive, near mythical "factory amp".
Assuming that your car in fact have an OEM amp, it should be somewhere behind the rear left passenger side panel, according to these schematics:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...01&hg=65&fg=20
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...54&hg=65&fg=20

Athough it is not clear if in fact it is the rear left -it could be the rear right- I would bet $1 plus tax and tips that the OEM amp is located in the same rear left area as the E46 amp.
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  #3  
Old 05-18-2007, 01:01 PM
Roly Roly is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 328i Vert 5-spd
Thanks! Those diagrams are quite helpful. IF they are accurate for my vehicle. It's a 1998 328iC vert. I don't know if that has the same stock stereo as an M3 vert. I'll go back in tonight and look on the left. I tore all the panels off but I was definitely looking more on the drivers side area of the trunk. Although with all the panels off, if it's right there tucked away in the corner, how would I possibly not see it??? I'll have to take pictures...
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  #4  
Old 05-18-2007, 01:34 PM
Roly Roly is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 328i Vert 5-spd
OK, I went to that site and put in the last 6 digits of my VIN. So this is as accurate as it can get. It knew my car was a 1998 328iC and even knew it was stick shift. There are 3 stereo options. I know I don't have the HK stereo option because there's no sub and I've pulled my headunit before and it said "Alpine". So from the other 2 options one has a factory amp:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...01&hg=65&fg=20

And one does NOT:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...00&hg=65&fg=20

But on the one that does not there is only ONE speaker in the front door panels. My car has 2 speakers there..... Or is it possible that my car has 2 grills/housings in the front door but only 1 actual speaker? Would BMW do that in the interest of not having to make 2 versions of the front door panel??

I just got back from my trunk where I tore open the passenger side.... and I do NOT see an amp anywhere back there. I can't be THAT blind. I'm looking in the exact spot on the diagram and it's just bare sheet metal.

I'm pretty confused. I think what I'll do is hook up my aftermarket head unit this weekend, and if I power it up and get sound, then I can't have a factory amp right? My aftermarket head unit is not one of those unique ones made specifically for beammers with the factory amp, it's just a regular head unit that puts out 180 watts to 4 speakers.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2007, 03:41 PM
Roly Roly is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 328i Vert 5-spd
Well I just tore into my car some more on my lunch break. I removed one of the rear panels so I could access the rear speakers - a mid and a tweeter. There are FOUR wires going in, not 2. So I think the signals have to be coming from a factory amp/crossovers otherwise I'd expect only 2 wires in, not 4. I just can't believe how well they hide the #$#@ing thing!

I have a bad feeling that because it's convertible, the amp is in some completely inaccessible location BEHIND the power top mechanics and motors. It's NOT anywhere at all visible in the trunk, even after removing all the carpeted panels. It's a big black box on silver sheet metal, it shouldn't be hard to find.

I even found a site where a guy shows a picture of the amp location in his e36 SEDAN and mine is not there, that space is taken by convertible top operation stuff. Maybe the amp is BEHIND all of that? If it is I'm moving on to plan B....

I think it might just be easier to forget about the stupid amp and run my own wires. I already have to run RCAs and a blue remote wire (for the sub) to the trunk.... it's probably not much more work to just run my own speaker wires to the back seat mids and say screw the rear tweeters. They're not necessary anyway. Front speaker wires are pretty easy to run. I just have to get from the head unit to the kick panels and I can pick up the factory wires.

I'm technically using my front aftermarket tweeters as mids right now and they sound great. I could continue doing that with the aftermarket head unit. They'll take 200 watts. More than adequate. Before you laugh, take a good hard look at the factory "mids" in the front door panels. They're not mids at all, they're tweeters.... and they're much smaller than the grills would lead you to believe.

I think I'm gonna' go with plan B and run my own wires. Stupid amp! What an asinine system! Crossovers belong at the speaker level like the industry standardized on long ago. One last try - Are there any e36 convertible owners out there who have successfully located the factory amp?
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2007, 06:39 PM
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Technic Technic is offline
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The OEM amp is behind the rear seats, right side (black square plate in this picture, to the right side of the subwoofer) : http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...0&d=1166057892
I owe you $1.21.

Last edited by Technic; 05-18-2007 at 06:41 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2007, 03:58 PM
Roly Roly is offline
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Nice spot for it.... Well thanks for the info anyway! I actually went with plan B this weekend and ran new speaker wires down one side and RCA's down the other side. I ran out of daylight / time and only made it to the backseat with the RCA's, I had the rear seat cushion out. If I had taken the rear seat back off I'm sure I would have seen it.

If someone else does a search on this topic, it's definitely worth noting:
The factory amp is NOT in the trunk on an E36 convertible.

FYI, running new wires from the head unit is really not that hard at all. You have to remove the panel that is - from the point of view of your feet if you were driving the car - above your feet in the footwell. Same thing passenger side. You don't even have to remove them all the way, just pull the front down, run wires from the head unit under those panels.

Then remove the kick panels where you can pick up factory wires for the mid/tweeter. If you plan on putting a sub in the trunk like I am, you could take out the factory "subs" in the kickpanels (I can't believe they consider those subs.... but anyway) and put in crossovers there and send your signal to the mid and tweeters in the doors. The human ear can't tell so much WHERE bass is coming from so it doesn't matter if it's coming from the kickpanels or the trunk.

Your rear speaker wires continue down under the door sill and up under the rear seat cushion then up the rear panels on either side.

I'm a web designer not a car guy and I had no prob doing this. It's really easier than it sounds. Everything "pops" off. I spent probably 4 hours connecting and soldering everything for the head unit and maybe an hour running wires. The speaker wires is the easy part. I probably would have killed more time trying to figure out what's what going in and out of the factory amp and how to bypass everything.
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2007, 06:30 PM
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Technic Technic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roly View Post
Nice spot for it.... Well thanks for the info anyway! I actually went with plan B this weekend and ran new speaker wires down one side and RCA's down the other side. I ran out of daylight / time and only made it to the backseat with the RCA's, I had the rear seat cushion out. If I had taken the rear seat back off I'm sure I would have seen it.

If someone else does a search on this topic, it's definitely worth noting:
The factory amp is NOT in the trunk on an E36 convertible.

FYI, running new wires from the head unit is really not that hard at all. You have to remove the panel that is - from the point of view of your feet if you were driving the car - above your feet in the footwell. Same thing passenger side. You don't even have to remove them all the way, just pull the front down, run wires from the head unit under those panels.

Then remove the kick panels where you can pick up factory wires for the mid/tweeter. If you plan on putting a sub in the trunk like I am, you could take out the factory "subs" in the kickpanels (I can't believe they consider those subs.... but anyway) and put in crossovers there and send your signal to the mid and tweeters in the doors. The human ear can't tell so much WHERE bass is coming from so it doesn't matter if it's coming from the kickpanels or the trunk.

Your rear speaker wires continue down under the door sill and up under the rear seat cushion then up the rear panels on either side.

I'm a web designer not a car guy and I had no prob doing this. It's really easier than it sounds. Everything "pops" off. I spent probably 4 hours connecting and soldering everything for the head unit and maybe an hour running wires. The speaker wires is the easy part. I probably would have killed more time trying to figure out what's what going in and out of the factory amp and how to bypass everything.
I used to have a 1998 323i Convertible -base 6 speaker system- and did the exact same thing, ran speaker wires one side and RCA's the other for my aftermarket system.
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2007, 04:44 AM
uckumajjang uckumajjang is offline
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Do you have more pixs of your car Technic? the way u put the subwoofer in your car was damn brilliant. I put two 10" subs in my trunk and there were no space for anything. how big was your subwoofer? I want to hear more about your audio fix up.
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2007, 10:04 AM
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Technic Technic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by View Post
Do you have more pixs of your car Technic? the way u put the subwoofer in your car was damn brilliant. I put two 10" subs in my trunk and there were no space for anything. how big was your subwoofer? I want to hear more about your audio fix up.
That was not my car, I found that photo here: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...89&postcount=4
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  #11  
Old 05-22-2007, 12:07 PM
Roly Roly is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 328i Vert 5-spd
That is a a pretty great setup. Why throw a big box in the trunk, when the whole trunk can BE the box?? I bought 1, 10" sub with a box for this car. But even the box for the one 10" is looking really big considering how little trunk space there is in an E36 vert. And it weighs about 20 pounds - all 3/4" particle board. I haven't done the sub yet so maybe I'll do something like this setup instead. Plus it looks pretty damn cool!

I'm stuck at the rear seat back. Anybody know how to get that out?? I read a thread on here that said "Just pull it" and it should pop off. Well I gave it a solid couple tugs and I'm not sure it just "pops" out like the bottom cushion. I'm wondering if it's not screwed on somewhere. I do have the rollover protection option and rear headrests. I'm wondering if that makes it more difficult to remove the rear seat-back.
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2011, 04:15 PM
JTHiggins JTHiggins is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 323i Vert
I was playing around with my car today and thought I would bring this back to life. I havent been able to locate my amp yet either, and am going to dig a little deeper tomorrow. One question I'm asking myself - once I find the amp, will I be able to swap it out with another amp by using all the OEM wiring?

I tried looking behind the rear seats per this diagram:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...01&hg=65&fg=20

But I don't see the amp directly behind the seats - is it possible it is located behind th additional black material I see lining the trunk wall? (I didn't go so far as to rip out the seats because I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it all once I find it yet)
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