03-26-2005, 03:03 AM
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Washington DC
Join Date: Aug 2002
Mein Auto: 330CI
Finally put an aux jack in my 2001 330
Just wanted to share my experience. I went with the blitzsafe/CD changer route rather than upgrading the head unit. In the end, works great. Also - BMW service are dumbasses (but you knew that). I couldn't get any audio at first, so I pulled the head unit. The connector was half-unplugged and the locking mechanism broken. I assume this happened when they replaced my head unit under warranty a year ago. I can't believe they would screw up possibly the simplest imagineable service... but then again... am I really surprised Anyway, after bending a few pieces of flimsy metal on the connector back into place it locked in place pretty well and worked fine.
On to the mod: I wanted to find the most unobtrusive, non-invasive spot to mount the aux connector, in the interest of not drawing attention to my mod (since I still have a year of warranty) and also just to keep things clean.
I ended up installing a jack in the center console back-seat ashtray. When the ashtray cover is closed, the jack is out of sight. Also, this has the advantage of keeping the wire from my i-Pod knockoff to the aux jack away from the gear shift & console controls since it goes backwards (versus a console installation). And, if I ever want to reverse the damage, the only hole I had to drill was in the ashtray insert iself - probably a $20 item.
I used 22 guage speaker wire (2 pairs) to get from the trunk to my jack mounting point. The wire is routed as follows:
1) From the trunk, to the corner of the back seat frame where the little rear window opener motor is located. There are plenty of holes in the "frame" to get there easily and some other wires to follow from point to point. There is a plastic cover over the corner of the seat frame that is removed by pushing a single lock pin in; you will need to do this to get the wire through that corner.
2) Tuck wire between seat back & edge of car
3) Remove back seat bottom & route wire safely to the front center of the underseat area
4) The last part is a little tricky. At this point I partially removed the center console. First remove the ashtray insert; then remove two screws & inserts and remove "inner" ashtray insert; then remove two more screws securing center console to car body. You can now pop the back of the center console up a few inches without much trouble.
A this point I needed to use a wire fish to get the wire the last 10 inches, from under the seat bottom to where the carpeting ends underneath the center console. I used a real fish tape, but a coat hanger would probably be serviceable. The carpet is quite stuff and has a thick foam padding bonded to it. At the corner of the hump, however, there's a gap where the carpet folds that's good enough to get a stiff fish tape (or possibly coathanger) through. With a moderate amount of force, I could push it back to the carpet edge at the seat bottom, and see it by peeling the carpet up a little bit there. Then I was able to grab the end of the fish with a pair of pliers, tie the wire to it, and pull the fish back with wire attached.
5) Route through hole at center of inner ashtray insert (where the spring mechanism is found). The wire could interfere with the spring mechanism if it doesn't stay in place, so you may wish to secure it somehow. I didn't bother, seems to be fine.
6) Drill a hole on the bottom corner/side of the outer ashtray insert, underneath the place where the light shines through. This is the best place because there's extra space here due to the light itself so the wire won't interfere with the ashtray movement (it fits quite snugly).
7) Mount a female miniplug jack on the metal "shelf" about an inch from the ashing hole, basically above the light. I got one at Radio Shack with a threaded nut, it was simple to drill a little hole and screw it in.
End result: No visible wires, not even any visible jack (with ashtray closed), and much less wire routing than to go all the way to the front center console. Total time - about 90 minutes.
Last edited by jamietre; 03-26-2005 at 03:23 AM.