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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-23-2009, 07:21 PM
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Gian Gian is offline
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Bad AM radio reception. Know the cause. How do I fix?

This is the antenna amplifier behind the c-pillar on the drivers side rear.



I have always had bad am reception. I noticed that when I re-seat the brown connector, the am reception gets real clear.



However, after a few weeks the connection somehow gets loose and the am reception goes bad. I then re-seat it again and all is well. I don't want to have to keep taking off my c-pillar to get to the amp. If anyone has done this, they know how much of a pain it can be. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to tighten the connection long term? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:02 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Try this stuff: http://www.posthorn.com/Stab_2.html

I've used it on low-current connections, with some good luck. In fact, BMW recommends this stuff in the TIS.
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2009, 07:07 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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For a kluge repair...how about tearing off some electrical tape and looping it so that you can create a low-budget harness/sling that would go from the back of the amp, support part of the wire & connector, then around to the front of the amp.

Cheap & quick...but not pretty. But who's gonna see it behind the C-pillar.

kludge or kluge (klooj) n. Slang
A clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem.


funky& feeble example, but hopefully you get the gist.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
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  #4  
Old 08-24-2009, 07:10 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Haha.....QSilver7 is always right!

Look behind your home stereo, the AM antenna is a very low-tech device hanging in the back of the stereo.
BMW engineers failed the "common sense" 101 class.

PS: Just to digress, do people listen to AM at all? I stick with FM and that is it. The last time I scan AM channels was 5 years ago...

Last edited by cn90; 08-24-2009 at 07:15 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Haha.....QSilver7 is always right!

Look behind your home stereo, the AM antenna is a very low-tech device hanging in the back of the stereo.
BMW engineers failed the "common sense" 101 class.

PS: Just to digress, do people listen to AM at all? I stick with FM and that is it. The last time I scan AM channels was 5 years ago...
Yes, sporting events etc.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2009, 09:38 AM
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All news stations , Weather.
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2009, 06:53 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I should not be speaking too soon, for curiosity I turned on my AM station and guess what: nothing works, so I officially join thia "No-AM Station Club"....haha.
Not that I care for AM but I just discovered I have no AM!

I need to open this up tomorrow to check.

PS: This BMW AM crap is too much for me! A $10 radio from Walmart works better compared with the radio from a $40K car!!!

Last edited by cn90; 08-29-2009 at 06:59 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2009, 06:33 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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UPDATE:

So I searched and searched and searhed.....then removed my Antenna Amplifier (pics later).

A few possible culprits:

1. Bad Head Unit (Indash CD player).If you search the internet, some people solved their problem (bad or no AM stations) by changing the in-dash CD player.
This is $250 or so.

2. Bad "ANTENNA-DIVERSITY":Go to:
www.relaoem.com
and search for: "ANTENNA-DIVERSITY"
About $180 or so. It varies from year to year.
Replacing this Antenna may or may not fix your AM stations problem.

The Antenna is in the driver's side C-pillar, I did this yesterday:
- Pry the top of the cabin light assembly, it will pop out.
- The interior trim is held by 2 plastic clips at the top, forward area. Just gently pull the top out. If you break the clip(s) like I did, then you can use drywall plastic anchor as a replacement (this is what I did) or of course, you can go to your favorite dealer, but a drywall plastic anchor works fine.
- Then wiggle the interior trim piece out. No need to remove rear headrest.
- Spend a minute looking at the setup.
- The AM antenna is actually embedded in the REAR windshield, drive's side, above the usual Horizontal heating elements.
Look closely and you will see that the AM antenna is an open loop on the rear windshield.
- The ANTENNA-DIVERSITY module (BMW PN 65258378090 for my 1998 528i, it varies from year to year) is held by two (2) Torx 25 bolts.

- I removed the ANTENNA-DIVERSITY module, pried the case open using a flat screwdriver (be careful so you don't hit anything inside), examine all the solder joints. Nothing out of the ordinary, no broken solder joints (I took some pics of the Module inside anatomy but no time to post them now).
- Re-installed the Module. All connections are tight.

- Then I go to front seat and also checked the REAR of the MID and CD player for cables tightness. Everything is good.

- Then I found out that I am back to sqaure one: FM works fine, but no AM radio stations.

So the morale of this UPDATE is: when AM radio goes bad, go to Walmart and buy $10 radio and store it under the car seats so you can listen to AM stations!!!
Or if you are rich with lots of money, then change either the CD player or the ANTENNA-DIVERSITY module (swap with a good part first to make the diagnosis beforehand!)

Last edited by cn90; 08-31-2009 at 06:37 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2009, 11:41 AM
poolman poolman is offline
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Hard to listen to talk radio through a 10 buck unit---got to keep up with the goings on in the country---lest
we become something we don't want---like socialists
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2009, 12:30 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
Hard to listen to talk radio through a 10 buck unit---got to keep up with the goings on in the country---lest
we become something we don't want---like socialists
Well, I bough a combo CD-AM-FM radio for $19.
AM stations are clear like crystal!

--------
Another option is Sony ICF-B01 for $40:


PS: If you Google BMW AM reception, you will get the answers!
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  #11  
Old 08-31-2009, 02:10 PM
Darkflame808 Darkflame808 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Well, I bough a combo CD-AM-FM radio for $19.
AM stations are clear like crystal!

--------
Another option is Sony ICF-B01 for $40:


PS: If you Google BMW AM reception, you will get the answers!
If you buy 10 of those you can upgrade your desolder the speakers and upgrade your bmw sound system.


Sorry I had to.
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2009, 02:27 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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IMHO - why fix

Who in the hell listens to AM anyway? NOT ME! And if I am going on a trip, I take CD's?
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2009, 10:45 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Games!

Around here, they only have the ballgames on AM, that's primarily what I use AM for, plus the local ESPN affiliate.
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  #14  
Old 09-05-2009, 03:58 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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OK,

UPDATE. I just spent the whole Saturday morning figuring out this BMW AM Radio Reception problem.
Here is the Fix!
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=4494437

HTH.

Last edited by cn90; 09-07-2009 at 01:22 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-05-2009, 06:14 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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That's an excellent write-up...it surly will be helpful to others in the future!
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #16  
Old 09-07-2009, 11:19 AM
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While I was fiddling with the radio amp., I accidentally broke off this wire. What is the consequence of this. It did not affect the radio reception. Can I just solder it back on?

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  #17  
Old 09-07-2009, 12:15 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCRX View Post
While I was fiddling with the radio amp., I accidentally broke off this wire. What is the consequence of this. It did not affect the radio reception. Can I just solder it back on?

Yes, this is part of the diversity antenna system. Solder it back on carefully, Us a soldering pencil and use no more heat than possible. You want this wire on there properly. It depends on what frequency you are listening to for the system to use whichever wires it feels are needed. Solder it back and If you do not feel comfortable doing the soldering, have someone do it for you. Either way, put it back!
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  #18  
Old 09-07-2009, 01:08 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCRX View Post
While I was fiddling with the radio amp., I accidentally broke off this wire. What is the consequence of this. It did not affect the radio reception. Can I just solder it back on?

It is part of the FM Antenna in my write-up:



The thing about FM antenna is that the signals are very good locally so, even without it you can still listen to FM until you go far away from the station then it drops off much faster than it should be.

I'd re-solder them BOTH (your remining wire is ready to come loose too from rust build-up.
Just be careful with the soldering tip, there is alot of trim work nearby etc. so it is easy to burn stuff!

PS: Did you by the way check the Antenna Connection "Center Round Pin" behind the CD as in my DIY mentioned above?
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=4494437

Last edited by cn90; 09-07-2009 at 01:23 PM.
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