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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-04-2014, 03:34 PM
VAtoCali VAtoCali is offline
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Serial Number?

I just bought myself a 96 318ti and need the radio code. I know that you need the serial number to plug into DCS but I'm having a hard time finding it. I've taken the factory stereo out and none of the numbers (the sticker on the bottom of the stereo) were correct. So then I checked out the area behind the head unit and saw a 10 digit number but still no luck. One of my old BMW colleagues has entered in all the numbers into DCS but no dice. I would really appreciate any help

Last edited by VAtoCali; 12-04-2014 at 03:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2014, 06:45 PM
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bliger7gz bliger7gz is offline
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What is this "DCS" you are talking about?

Iirc the code is 5 digits, at least mine is, and previous owner was smart enough to write it on the radio and I have the card with the code printed on it.

I know you can press some buttons on the radio (not sure which exactly) and it'll show you its serial number, then you go to a dealer and ask for the radio code.
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2014, 08:37 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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All you have to do to find out the s/n is press and hold the "M" button when turning the radio on. I don't know what "DCS" is either, but just press and hold the "M" button until the s/n is displayed, then provide that number to your local dealer who will then provide you with the security code. There is no need to remove anything.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 12-04-2014 at 08:38 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2014, 07:12 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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DCS = Dealer Computer System

The data system at the BMW dealer that they get their info from.
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2014, 09:08 AM
VAtoCali VAtoCali is offline
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Thanks I'll give it a shot
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2014, 09:29 AM
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Nline6 Nline6 is offline
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Cant you just provide proof of ownership, and the VIN at the dealer to get a radio code? Thats what I had done with my old 5 series. They wouldnt give me the code over the phone (because tape decks from the 90s are a hot theft item)
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:02 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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They'll still need the stereo s/n.
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2014, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nline6 View Post
Cant you just provide proof of ownership, and the VIN at the dealer to get a radio code? Thats what I had done with my old 5 series. They wouldnt give me the code over the phone (because tape decks from the 90s are a hot theft item)
They can look up the code based on the VIN, but what will be in their system based on just the VIN will be the SN for the radio installed at the factory. That might be correct or might not. If the radio has ever been changed out, they'll need the radio SN to look up the code.

Some dealers will just give you the code over the phone, some require you to come in, some require proof of ownership. It really is all over the map as far as following the process....
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:46 AM
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Nline6 Nline6 is offline
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They didnt need it when I went in. The guy at the counter just said it will only be the correct code, if this was the original stereo to that car, which is was. Dcwright, I have heard that from many people, Not all dealerships are created equal.
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Last edited by Nline6; 12-05-2014 at 10:48 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2014, 07:27 PM
VAtoCali VAtoCali is offline
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Unfortunately I've still have not figured out the radio code/serial number issue. I couldn't get it from pressing the M button because from my understanding, there wasn't an M button on this model year.

I have several friends that work for BMW but they are all on the east coast and I'm not out here in CA. When I've talked to them they all tell me the same thing, you need the serial number and it can't be looked up by the VIN. Does anyone else have any ideas. I really like to keep my cars factory and don't want to replace the head unit.

Thanks again everyone
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2014, 07:38 PM
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Post a photo of the head unit you have so we can help figure out best way to find the SN on it.
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2014, 07:51 PM
VAtoCali VAtoCali is offline
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2014, 08:08 PM
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I believe on your radio the "M" button is your "Mode" button.
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2014, 08:18 PM
VAtoCali VAtoCali is offline
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I was hoping that was the case as well but no dice : /
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2014, 08:38 PM
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Have you tried holding the M button while you turn the radio on? If your try this hold the button down for 8-10 seconds.
If that doesn't work, park the car somewhere that it will be safe with the keys in and the ignition on. Turn the ignition on and leave it on for an hour. Turn the ignition fully off, then back on and push and hold the Mode button.
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