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7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

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  #1  
Old 02-25-2014, 09:40 AM
Adrian Sane Adrian Sane is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW 740i
01 740i gps/radio harness and double din question

OK so... first off.... great forum! Love all the info I've seen on here. Now, I've looked through the forums and read through the threads but haven't found anything that relates to my situation.

What I want to do:
Install an aftermarket (Pioneer AVH-P 8400bh) double din in my 2001 740i... no need to say it's impossible... I've seen and heard horror stories from other forum members. Shops won't even touch my car.

The problem:
I've looked and looked but can't find an after market wiring harness that will fit the two plugs from the original wiring harness. I'm assuming one is for the navigation and the other is for the radio. I managed to find some on ebay, amazon, and other sites but they don't fit.

The bigger problem:
I really don't want to cut into my car to get this done... is there any way or resource I can use to make this any less painful?

Pics below:
What I have vs what I've found and what I need.... plus some shots of my head units home....

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2014, 09:49 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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As I understand, the factory amplifier will not work unless it can communicate with the original radio.

So your options are:
- Install a different amplifier
- Run new wires from the head unit to the speakers
- Hide the original radio somewhere in the dash or in the trunk.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I have not rewired my E38 yet, but I have done it with my old 95 Continental which has a very similar audio system.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2014, 09:58 AM
Adrian Sane Adrian Sane is offline
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Wow... that is absolutely gonna suck if I have to run new wires for all 10 speakers. I planned on installing a new amp and speakers anyway so I guess it's just going to have to be done. I dont want the hassle of having to relocate the stock radio either.... guess my options are limited.
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2014, 11:00 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Here is what I am planning to do with mine.

- Replace the head unit (I have a Sony mechless mp3 player).
- Replace the amplifier (I have an old but still good Alpine MRP-F320, 4 channels + sub).
- Rewire the original wiring to pass 4 line level signals from the head unit to the amplifier.
- Replace the woofers (already done, Kicker 5CS).
- Reuse the tweeters and the mids.
- Reuse the original speaker wiring.
- Add passive crossovers to feed tweeters and mids.
- Optionally, add an adapter for the steering wheel buttons (such as Pacific Audio SWI).

It will take some cutting and soldering, but at least I won't have to pull any new wires.

Or maybe I can find a complete set of connectors so I could leave the factory wiring intact? On the other hand, I don't think it would affect the car's value all that much.
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2014, 12:02 PM
Adrian Sane Adrian Sane is offline
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I have a similar plan. Unfortunately I have to replace the midst and tweeters as the four on the rear doors a re blown anyway.... I'll just replace them all. I'll have to cut the wiring before the factory amp and eliminate it completely so I can use a new one or two.
Then maybe 2 or 4 crossovers... maybe a capacitor.... I still need to figure out how to mount my head unit without cutting or gutting my air vents that live right behind where the stock radio was. I think all in all the biggest job will be cutting and rewiring the speakers. If I stick with the factory ones I'll have to either trace them or find the color specs on everything... including power, acc, ign.... I'd hate to have to cut the factories and make jumpers.
I never thought about the steering wheel adapter.... kudos for the idea!
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2014, 03:45 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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I just took my radio out and checked the dimensions...

The good news - my new radio is not any longer than the old one, so it will fit in the pocket without any hacksaw activity involved.

The bad news - there would be no room for an adapter harness. I can either cut and solder the wiring, or butcher the plastic. I think I will rather deal with the wiring and leave the air duct alone.

And the ugly news - my new radio's front panel sticks out too far, there may not be any room for the trim cover to close unless I can recess the radio a few millimeters.



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  #7  
Old 02-25-2014, 05:27 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Looks like the radio connectors are dime a dozen. Well, $4.49, corrected for inflation. Plenty of them on eBay:



Now if you find a source for the amplifier connectors, let us all know. It sure would make for a clean and reversible installation, as opposed to hack-and-slash jobs commonly found in old cars.
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2014, 08:01 PM
jmorgenson jmorgenson is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 740iL
Has anybody looked into those BMW DSP adapters? I've been researching aftermarket head units for a while and it seems there are DSP adapters that allow you to couple an aftermarket connection with the OEM coax wiring to the DSP Unit in the car via a DSP adapter.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2014, 12:38 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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I looked at those DSP adapters, media bridges etc. Those I've seen revolve around integrating an iPod into the existing audio system. Basically, a modern equivalent of a cassette adapter. Better (and more expensive) ones can also play mp3 files from a storage card, emulating a CD changer (with all its limitations). You get to keep the old ugly tape deck and the old hissy amplifier.

I prefer to install a modern head unit with features one would expect from an audio player today. Scrollable, sortable and searcheable track list, track name display and so on. The only factory part I would like to keep is the steering wheel buttons. Everything else in that "premium" audio system is pretty weak even by 1998 standards.

My mission status updates:

- Ordered a radio harness adapter. So the original radio connector will stay intact, to the enjoyment of the next owner.

- Gave up on finding the amplifier connectors. Will have to cut them off, as much as I hate to do that. Well, that's life.

- Counted my wires. Unfortunately, there are not quite enough of them going from the head unit to the trunk. There are only 2 twisted pairs for audio, so I would have to run my 4 channels on single wires without a shield or a dedicated ground wire. Theoretically, it should still work fine with high level and low impedance signals (4 volts 220 ohms). We shall see.

- The new head unit will fit perfectly. The wooden door will still close in case I want to hide my non-Bavarian radio out of sight.
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  #10  
Old 02-28-2014, 08:49 AM
Adrian Sane Adrian Sane is offline
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There's apparently a huge difference in wiring based on model years. I have an 01 740i. From what I've seen, available aftermarket wiring harnesses (or DSP's) differ greatly. I ordered a harness from eBay and was told it would fit perfectly with the oem wiring. What I got was a 12 prong adapter. It doesn't fit at all. Not even close. (See photos below).

The first photo shows what my head unit had attatched. I'm assuming one for the gps and one for the tuner itself.

The second photo shows what I got from ebay. 12 prong adapter.

The third photo shows something my brother found for me on a foreign version of ebay. Looks close... but if you look closely you can see that there are tabs that will prevent a proper fit.

Last photo is of the gaping hole where the stock radio lived. I don't know what that metal tab is on the top but if I can remove that I think it will give me a little more wiggle room to get a decent fit for a double din receiver (Pioneer AVH 8400BH), that I want to install.

Questions, comments welcome.
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2014, 09:17 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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According to WDS, all E38s should have the same square radio connector. In reality BMW seems to be playing by ear, changing stuff around every year for no apparent reason.

I have the same dilemma with the trunk side of my installation.
Should I cannibalize my factory amplifier for the connectors? Or should I try to sell it? People have bought a few of those on eBay in the past, I don't know what for.
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2014, 07:45 AM
Adrian Sane Adrian Sane is offline
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Im wondering if anyone else in this forum (or other), has the same issue that I have. And if they so, what they've done to overcome this wiring difference.
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  #13  
Old 03-06-2014, 07:49 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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I don't think you have too many options to choose from. Either find matching connectors somewhere, or cut the original connectors off and solder the new harness in.
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aftermarket, din, double, harness, nav, radio, wire


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