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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 03-23-2012, 05:59 PM
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Ceramic Controls Retrofit - Complete

Probably a world first. (Not the first for me by any stretch...)

I've replaced all of the controls in my 550xi with the ceramic equivalents. This required replacing the shift knob, complete iDrive controller, front HVAC panel, radio panel, and the rear HVAC panel.

Should I have checked the $650 option box? Probably. But for some reason doing things this way is cathartic and enjoyable for me. I love taking my cars apart to figure out how they work.

Anyways... pictures below. Oh, and I also finished re-installing the Hexagon trim, as well.
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  #2  
Old 03-23-2012, 06:21 PM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Dude, you have WAY too much money in this car. LOL. You definitely should have checked the factory option!

Looks great! The ceramic control option is really, really nice. I'll have to see soon!

By the way, I see you're not QUITE finished, LOL
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  #3  
Old 03-23-2012, 06:35 PM
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Yeah. My vacuum ate that piece. I forgot it was off and put it in the cupholder. Then I vacuumed it. The piece is back in place now
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:36 PM
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By the way, how much was all this stuff?

I was debating if to get it or not, but in the end I decided not to get it -as much as I liked the tactile feedback of the controls- because the standard controls in aluminum finish matched better the other trim inside my car, but I'm tempted to swap the iDrive controller and the shifter...
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex_c View Post
By the way, how much was all this stuff?

I was debating if to get it or not, but in the end I decided not to get it -as much as I liked the tactile feedback of the controls- because the standard controls in aluminum finish matched better the other trim inside my car, but I'm tempted to swap the iDrive controller and the shifter...
It wasn't cheap. Definitely double the factory option. Whatever, though. It's all in good fun and I enjoy it.

The car needs to be coded still. My AC doesn't run nor do my heated/ventilated seats right now.
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Last edited by wdimagineer; 03-23-2012 at 07:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 03-23-2012, 06:53 PM
5fix 5fix is offline
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Hey WD, how about a little credit....I spent an hour pulling my console apart to get you the part number off of my ceramic I drive controller! Not feelin the love here. Looks great!
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:58 PM
Blkthght Blkthght is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
It wasn't cheap. Definitely double the factory option. Whatever, though. It's all in good fun and I enjoy it.

The car needs to be coded still. My AC doesn't run not do my heated/ventilated seats right now.
I have to admit, your earlier post a month ago when you were thinking about doing this is what motivated me find a car at a dealership to take a look at the ceramic controls in person. After looking at them, I immediately added them to my order (DGII 550i). They're stunning. CA giving me the option invoice price ($590) clinched it for me. Thanks for paying the price for all of us to learn from.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:05 PM
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Hey WD, how about a little credit....I spent an hour pulling my console apart to get you the part number off of my ceramic I drive controller! Not feelin the love here. Looks great!
Thank you again! BMW's screwy parts catalog is a constant source of amusement at Tischer. I don't think I ever mentioned but the PN for the controller in factory cars is listed as being for a Chinese market extended wheelbase 5-Series. It's since been corrected in the April update.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blkthght View Post
I have to admit, your earlier post a month ago when you were thinking about doing this is what motivated me find a car at a dealership to take a look at the ceramic controls in person. After looking at them, I immediately added them to my order (DGII 550i). They're stunning. CA giving me the option invoice price ($590) clinched it for me. Thanks for paying the price for all of us to learn from.
I regret not ordering the option. But I do enjoy getting dirty and learning about my cars from the inside out. BMW is clever sometimes in how they do things. This car is the easiest I have ever worked on... and I imagine they designed it that way for their service techs. But for the average Joe like me, it's just an invitation to futz and futz.
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  #9  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:10 PM
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Do you happen to have the part #'s for the iDrive controller and shifter?
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:13 PM
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Do you happen to have the part #'s for the iDrive controller and shifter?
Shifter: 61319251192 (~$600)
Controller: 61319255172 (~$600)
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  #11  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 5fix View Post
Hey WD, how about a little credit....I spent an hour pulling my console apart to get you the part number off of my ceramic I drive controller! Not feelin the love here. Looks great!
What was the part number?

Edit..... should have waited one minute. Got 'em, thanks.
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Last edited by Chuck W.; 03-23-2012 at 07:23 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:16 PM
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What was the part number?
Look ^

The total retrofit cost was nearly $2K. The iDrive controller is around $600.
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  #13  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:17 PM
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Ouch! Thanks for the info.
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  #14  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:35 PM
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Ouch is right. I have the hexagon trim on a new 3 series I bot. It's the best trim ever. It looks like snake skin, I really like it.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:42 PM
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We ran into a snag this morning. As my tech was trying to code my new modules his computer spit out an error saying the parts did not match up to my car. While genuine BMW components, they don't match the build manifest for the car.

So we basically disassembled all of the components, swapped knobs, and reinstalled my old modules with new knobs.

The idrive controller also threw errors. In future when I need software updates they're going to have to plug in my original one.

I'm going to talk to BMWNA to see if they can override my car configuration to include ceramic controls so I can avoid this hassle in future.
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  #16  
Old 03-24-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
We ran into a snag this morning. As my tech was trying to code my new modules his computer spit out an error saying the parts did not match up to my car. While genuine BMW components, they don't match the build manifest for the car.

So we basically disassembled all of the components, swapped knobs, and reinstalled my old modules with new knobs.

The idrive controller also threw errors. In future when I need software updates they're going to have to plug in my original one.

I'm going to talk to BMWNA to see if they can override my car configuration to include ceramic controls so I can avoid this hassle in future.
This is why you can't retrofit the SAT shifter for the stock one. The shifter is the same exact thing...it's just a big box with solenoids in it and a lever on top. The box and the connections are exactly the same no matter which shifter you have. However, if you put a SAT shifter in place of a normal one, the computer won't recognize the part number.

J - if your tech finds a way to get the car to recognize "off" part numbers, let me know. I'd like to try swapping shifters.
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  #17  
Old 03-26-2012, 11:43 AM
rlsolomon rlsolomon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
We ran into a snag this morning. As my tech was trying to code my new modules his computer spit out an error saying the parts did not match up to my car. While genuine BMW components, they don't match the build manifest for the car.
Interesting - have you tried any of the aftermarket/hacked/"appropriated" coding tools? E.g. http://www.bmwcoding.com/showthread....inners&p=23801

Richard
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:10 PM
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Interesting - have you tried any of the aftermarket/hacked/"appropriated" coding tools? E.g. http://www.bmwcoding.com/showthread....inners&p=23801

Richard
Yes. My mirrors fold automatically when I lock the car, etc.

In this particular case, it's BMW's ISTA/P system. The system does a complete scan of the car's systems, modules, controllers, etc. and cross-checks it with BMW's database. The entire car can be recoded automatically, etc. Since the modules I added were not part of the car's build, the system asked "Did you replace any controllers?" and then said they were incorrect, and instead gave the correct part numbers - which were what were already in the car.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:56 PM
rlsolomon rlsolomon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
In this particular case, it's BMW's ISTA/P system. The system does a complete scan of the car's systems, modules, controllers, etc. and cross-checks it with BMW's database. The entire car can be recoded automatically, etc. Since the modules I added were not part of the car's build, the system asked "Did you replace any controllers?" and then said they were incorrect, and instead gave the correct part numbers - which were what were already in the car.
Gotcha, I just wondered if any of the other tools would be able to correctly code the car without referencing the BMW USA database. Obviously you'd have to redo this every time the dealer touched the car so it might not be "worth" it regardless.

Richard
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:58 PM
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Yeah - it would be a pain. As it is having to keep my iDrive controller around if it ever needs updating.

Unfortunately there's no way around this. I might call BMW to see if they can update my car configuration to reference ceramic controls, since my retrofit is 100% complete. They might not, but my SA said that they typically listen to customers far more than service folk since we pay the bills.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:10 PM
rlsolomon rlsolomon is offline
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Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
Unfortunately there's no way around this. I might call BMW to see if they can update my car configuration to reference ceramic controls, since my retrofit is 100% complete. They might not, but my SA said that they typically listen to customers far more than service folk since we pay the bills.
I'll be curious to see how you make out - with Audi, it seemed that if you could ever get through to the one person at Audi USA with a clue on your topic that s/he would be helpful and informative. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to find that person.

FWIW, I had the shop manual and scan tool before I even took delivery of my A6, so I'm right there with you on the electronic mods fever (I did the first North American Nav+ retrofit into a C5 A6 waaaaaaay back in the day.) I'm just beginning to learn what modern BMWs have, and it seems like there's nowhere near as much F10 stuff yet as the older models (of course).

Thanks again!
Richard
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:16 PM
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That's really interesting to know. I was doing similar things on my VAG cars, too. My CC was pretty special - world's first retrofit of dynamic suspension, active cruise, lane departure warning/correction, and a bunch of other stuff that aren't options in the NA market.

Gotta love VAG-COM/VCDS. I wish BMW had something similar.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:28 PM
rlsolomon rlsolomon is offline
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Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
That's really interesting to know. I was doing similar things on my VAG cars, too. My CC was pretty special - world's first retrofit of dynamic suspension, active cruise, lane departure warning/correction, and a bunch of other stuff that aren't options in the NA market.
Ahh the fun
http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?p=14868456
Sadly I had to pull the Nav+ because they stopped updating the mapsets, so my car is slowly regressing


Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
Gotta love VAG-COM/VCDS. I wish BMW had something similar.
Agreed!!! I know Uwe was looking into it at one point, but he never seems to have gotten to the beta stage even, and VW/Audi has been keeping him plenty busy! I was hoping you F10 guys would have a tool you liked, but that thread didn't even get crickets I'm not surprised I guess - I forget how "radical" most C5 folks thought we were for modding brand new cars (Though I think I'd had the '00 l3m0n for a *few* months before I started hacking on it: http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?p=14619729)

The coding tools over at bmwcoding seem like a mix of primitive and questionable provenance Uwe certainly reverse-engineered things, but the UI was very usable and the tool totally legitimate!

Richard
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:32 PM
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I'm trying to document my experiences to share with the group at a later time... what works, what doesn't, etc. I'm working with my dealer's tech to experiment. He does stuff on the side, has his own ISTA tool, etc. We'll see what kind of progress I can make with some of the things I want to add.

Where in COS do you live? I used to be based at Schriever, and lived off Woodmen near Powers.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:36 PM
rlsolomon rlsolomon is offline
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Originally Posted by wdimagineer View Post
I'm trying to document my experiences to share with the group at a later time... what works, what doesn't, etc. I'm working with my dealer's tech to experiment. He does stuff on the side, has his own ISTA tool, etc. We'll see what kind of progress I can make with some of the things I want to add.
I really miss the "old" Audiworld before they got bought by Big Brother - the days when Johannes liked a thread and talked you into making into a nice tech article! Again, there just doesn't seem to be as much of that for the F10 as even when the C5 was new

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Where in COS do you live? I used to be based at Schriever, and lived off Woodmen near Powers.
Out by Cottonwood Creek park - small world! I have to confess that from your handle I expected you to be in Orlando or SoCal, but maybe I misinterpreted it...

Richard
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