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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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Old 11-20-2011, 08:01 PM
guguma guguma is offline
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Location: USA
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2002 325i
Question E46 (2002 325i) Aftermarket Radio Installation

Hello All,

I recently purchased a 2002 BMW 325i, I am loving it except the stock radio which makes it painful to listen to music through my ipod, so after looking through some options I thought the best way to do this would be to get a pioneer, sony whatever radio with an aux input or with an usb ipod controller and install it

I read through some information and it turned out to be more complicated than I thought, so I thought the best option would be to ask people knowledgeable in this matter before I start taking the car apart, so here are my questions

1. If I get an aftermarket radio, will I be able to use the steering wheel controls with that? If not how can i do it?

2. Where can I find a wiring harness "offline" I can buy it online but I will go on a long trip in a couple days and would like to do this before that.

3. (A general lore question) Why car stereo ports, inputs not standardized? Like there could be 2 connectors going into the headstages one for steering controls and one for speaker connections you can make them with as many pins as you like with each pin having a standart function say pin 1 for wheel connector would be volume up etc. Then all this installation stuff would be a simple plug and play issue, is there a good reason that they are not standardizing these?

Thank you so much
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:58 PM
FenderGuy05 FenderGuy05 is offline
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Location: Daly City, CA
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2002 e46 325i
I did the same thing within a day of buying my BMW, just took my aftermarket deck from my old truck. You will not be able to use the steering wheel controls stock, but if you add an adapter, you will be able to again. I believe that Best Buy, or anywhere that installs, would have wiring harnesses to purchase since they do same day installs themselves.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:05 AM
wisdomandsound wisdomandsound is offline
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Location: CA
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 323i
E46 Sedan After Market Radio Install

Hey Guguma,

I am in the process of installing all new equipment on my 2000 323i. Here is what I have found so far:

- An aftermarket head unit will have a huge impact on the sound of the factory speakers, it's truly a night and day difference.

- You can maintain your steering wheel controls simply by getting the Axxess ASWC unit. Just make sure your head unit allows for steering control (I got the Sony MEX-BT3900U and it sick!) All you have to do is connect three wires to the correct pins (easily instructed) and the steering wheel unit will automatically detect your vehicle and head unit. It even gave me access to two extra buttons that previously did nothing with the factory head.

- Wiring harness can probably be bought at any car stereo installer. But I suggest you go with Metra. It is very likely that you will need the Metra 70-8590 but their site will tell you your vehicle specific harnesses and whatnot.

- Pulling the panels off and installing the new unit was a cinch and, if your detail-oriented and careful, don't bother paying a "professional" to set your car up. There are plenty of resources online to puzzle the (install information) pieces together. Bavarian Soundwerks (BSW) has a youtube channel which is extremely helpful in pulling panels, trim and doing general installs on bimmers.

Hit me up with any questions!

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Old 01-10-2012, 07:51 PM
BmwProject BmwProject is offline
The Shiz
Location: Utah
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 325i
Question on cd Deck

Hey, I appreciate all of the info about installing an aftermarket stereo. I have a 2002 325i, and I did a bunch of research, and got the wiring harness and the AXXES Steering wheel control adapter, and I had another question. Will I need to get an antennae extension, or an extra dock to fit my stereo in? I bought a simple Sony stereo, and it is a standard size. Will I have to cut anything or install a new dock to attach my stereo?

Thanks for great info.

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Old 01-16-2012, 11:06 AM
wisdomandsound wisdomandsound is offline
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Location: CA
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 323i
Answer on CD deck

Hey Dan,

You will need an Antenna adapter to interface between the factory antenna and input to the new head unit. I went with the Metra 40-VW10 (http://www.cartoys.com/Products/prod..._Adapter?rdr=t) and it works great.

You will probably also need the Metra 99-9300 dash kit (http://www.cartoys.com/Products/prod...Dash_Kit?rdr=t) to make a clean fit where the factory head unit was.

However, there is what's called the sub-dash with is already in your car. It's the plastic piece that separates the air vents, head unit and a/c controls. To make the new sony head unit fit, I had to pull out the sub dash and cut part of the back off. This does not affect any functionality of the sub dash nor are you able to even see it since it sits back behind your dash board. Even with this slight modification I am able to return the car to factory without any problems or buying additional parts. And now my new head unit fits into the slot where the old radio was!

Let me know if you have any more questions!!
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:44 PM
ga1990 ga1990 is offline
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Location: St. Louis
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 04' M3
I have a question for someone who's done an install....according to Crutchfield you can't install a head unit that has a faceplate that folds down or is removable in our cars. I've looked at some install pictures, and I can't imagine why that would matter. Anyone have experience with this? I like the Pioneer DEH-P9400BH, which has a faceplate that folds down. Thanks!
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:05 PM
The_Don The_Don is offline
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Location: Temecula
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 01 325Ci
most of the faceplate adapters for our cars are considered an ISO mount as the radio is actually mounted behind the faceplate as opposed to through it. I have a radio with a fold down faceplate and the adapter and it works fine. You just have to make sure that the stereo you are purchasing has removable trim around the faceplate .

If the trim around this faceplate is removable you probably won't have too much of a problem. The radio will need to be installed out a little more than you might anticipate, but if the radio is installed too far back there won't be enough room for the display to move.

No trim to remove, so the radio will need to be installed DIN and won't look right with the angles of the faceplate trim.

I hope this helped shed a little light on the matter and I didn't confuse things any further.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:52 PM
Jmill1988 Jmill1988 is offline
Registered User
Location: Pennsylvania
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 325xi
I just bought a 2001 325xi and Im installing an aftermarket HU, I ran into a problem I have everything hooked up right my HU turns on but I get no sound , what do I need to do?
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:42 PM
cris777 cris777 is offline
Registered User
Location: washington
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 11
Mein Auto: 2002 325i
Hi guys I have 2002 325i I take my car with the mechanic to try clear the engine light in the board but when he clear it the radio stop working. is not any fm or am station or the cd info in the screen just the lines like it was off (I try to turn on and get a code but no appears nothing) any vary knows how I can fixed it or reprogrammed?
Thanks in advance
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:23 AM
Kavita Kavita is offline
Registered User
Location: Toronto, ON
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: BMW 325xi 2002
Hi all,

I just got an audiovox mediabridge installed in my 2002 bmw 325xi... works great so far! It has bluetooth integrated, I can listen to music and make phone calls and the controls on the steering wheel work...! If you've got an iphone- Siri works as well! You don't need to change the faceplate of the radio if you use this...

I think the unit is something like $220 cdn...

Last edited by Kavita; 04-23-2014 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 06-12-2015, 09:41 AM
325xi-BMW 325xi-BMW is offline
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Location: Phoenix
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 325xi
Can someone link me to the correct working harness for stereo? (2002 325xi) thanks I can't find it :/
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:09 PM
Courtney1109 Courtney1109 is offline
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Location: SC
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2004 BMW X3
No sound

Originally Posted by Jmill1988 View Post
I just bought a 2001 325xi and Im installing an aftermarket HU, I ran into a problem I have everything hooked up right my HU turns on but I get no sound , what do I need to do?

I am having the same problem, did you find a solution?
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