E39 MID removal (without Torx) - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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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 11-09-2010, 01:03 PM
650-530i 650-530i is offline
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E39 MID removal (without Torx)

Hey Guys,

The radio in my 2002 530i has finally lost enough pixels to warrant some action. I found the information about how to remove the radio on this site but unfortunately, it looks like the previous owner broke the Torx screw latch release when he installed the Ipod set up.

Since it looks like it is spring loaded, I have tried to get at the latch from under the radio and from behind with no success. I think I might be able to fab up a release tool but cant seem to find any pictures on the web that show any detail of the latch mechanism.

Has anyone had any success getting their radio out with a broken latch release? There has to be a way! Right?

Please help! My radio is mocking me every time i get in the car.

Thanks,
Al
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2010, 01:23 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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It's not a torx, I believe it is a 6mm hex. You're referring to the screw behind the volume knob, right?
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2010, 01:27 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Use a small screwdriver and twist it CCW:

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Old 11-09-2010, 01:37 PM
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2010, 01:41 PM
650-530i 650-530i is offline
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Fudman,

Yes. That is the screw that I was referring to. It looks like there should be a screw there but there is just a hole. There is also a small piece of stamped steel that is flopping around behind the clear cone and seems to not be attached to anything.

When I look at the area, it clearly looks like someone was pretty heavy handed with the fragile latch mechanism.

Thanks,
Al
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2010, 02:39 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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2 mm Allen wrench, 1/4 turn to the left, pull gently out.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2010, 08:29 PM
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My MID is held in with an allen wrench (not a torx):
- Insert a 1.5 mm Allen hex-head wrench & twist 90 degrees counterclockwise to retract the MID lock pin.

The 2mm allen wrench is for the business CD:
- Twist the two 2 mm allen head clamp-adjust screws under the Business CD just until they spin freely.

Instructions here on post #1819 of this thread.

BTW, you might not even have the screw in there at all (just move the latch as explained in that link).

Also, from the bestlinks thread, you'll see pictures to give you better ideas:
- MID removal instructions (1) (2) (3) (4)


Last edited by bluebee; 11-10-2010 at 07:26 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-10-2010, 04:54 PM
650-530i 650-530i is offline
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My MID definitely has the "Screw" release instead of the "Slot" release setup. The only problem is there is nothing for a Torx or Allen wrench to grab. When you look in to the small hole located below the volume control knob, there is just a loose piece of sheet metal floating around inside the MID. No screw.

Apparently, the previous owners heavy handedness has caused the latch release mechanism to break off.

Is there a way to get access to the latches by taking off the center section of the dash around he MID? I am hopeful that there is a way to get the unit out without resorting to the 5 lb carburetor adjusting tool (AKA The Mallot)


Thanks,
Al
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2010, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 650-530i View Post
No screw.
Hi Al,

I said it before, but you didn't answer so I'll just ask it again just in case the easy answer is your solution.

Since the screw is apparently missing, did you try just pulling out on the MID?

What happens when you simply grab it (as best you can) and yank it backward?

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:21 AM
650-530i 650-530i is offline
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Hi Bluebee,

Sorry I missed the initial question.

After removing the heater control unit, I did pull out on the MID with some force but it didn't budge. It definitely seemed like the latch was still engaged in to the dash and I was afraid of doing serious damage to the dash.

I might be wrong but the way I understand the mechanism works is just like any door in your house. I think the latch is spring loaded so that the MID can just be pushed in to place and the spring latch gets compressed and pops out once it is completely seated. Kind of like just pushing a door closed.

The Torx or allan screw is like the door knob. It just retracts the spring loaded latch back so that MID, or the door can be opened. So in my case, since my release mechanism is broken, I am trying to open a door without a doorknob.

Thanks
Al
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2010, 09:39 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Hi 650-530i,

I notice that you live in Sunnyvale CA (San Jose area).
Hook up with some local forum members and see if they are nice enough to show you their MID backside so you can see what it looks like (the latching mechanism).
This way you know where to pick it.

Post a pic of your existing situation.
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  #12  
Old 11-11-2010, 09:46 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Another thought: this HVAC sampling fan DIY may help if you can manage to get the HVAC Control Panel (held my metal spring tabs on top) out. Then you can reach from below to play with the latching mechanism of the MID unit::

http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/428942/
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  #13  
Old 11-12-2010, 03:30 AM
overlordjd overlordjd is offline
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before I knew about the screw behind the volume button, I was able to get the MID out using a flat screw driver to slip between the top left corner of the MID and the dashboard to remove it. See the picture BlueBee posted above showing where the latch is located and get creative.
Be carefull not to cause any indentations on the dashboard.

Even if you were able to get the HVAC unit out, it would still be a PIA to get the MID out. I know because I've tried
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  #14  
Old 10-20-2011, 03:17 PM
neide neide is offline
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Did you ever succeed it getting it out? I've got the same issue (though on a 2006 X5). I've not had any luck getting at the latch from the side, but I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking at in the picture and I'm trying to be cautious to not damage the dash.
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  #15  
Old 10-20-2011, 05:39 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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If you still haven't got it out look at these pics.











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  #16  
Old 10-20-2011, 05:47 PM
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I think these pics are great ... but ... mine is certainly NOT a Torx; it's a hex.

Are 'some' E39s Torx while the others are hex?

Here's mine, for example ...
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  #17  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:05 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Does it really matter? Both torx and hex work in mine.
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  #18  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Does it really matter? Both torx and hex work in mine.
If you don't strip it, I doubt it matters 'what' is used.

But, I suspect stripping is due to two factors:
a) The wrong tool is being used
b) Way too many turns are being employed

PS: So that the pictures stay with the thread, I've taken the liberty to shrink to 640x480 & attach Jim's fantastic pictures below.
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Last edited by bluebee; 10-20-2011 at 06:23 PM.
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2011, 09:37 AM
neide neide is offline
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Thanks guys for the photos. I'll try it this weekend and see if that doesn't get me through and post later.
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  #20  
Old 10-21-2011, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neide View Post
I'll try it this weekend and see if that doesn't get me through and post later.
Please do keep us informed ... good or bad ... because this is a canonical thread which will be referred to others in the future who inevitably have the same issues.

Bear in mind you 'can' remove the trim all around the MID using some of these DIYs or ... at least ... there are PLENTY of pictures in these DIYs from the bestlinks (found by a simple search of /trim F3):

- How to remove interior cockpit trim (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & how to remove the IHKA air conditioning control panel to clean the circuit board (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to remove the trim and bracket holding the MID & HVAC/IHKA panels (1) (2)
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  #21  
Old 10-21-2011, 10:29 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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BTW, Jim's photo sure 'does' look like a Torx ... so I'm beginning to think 'some' have Torx and others have 'hex'.



Here is Doru's T10 Torx DIY photo set:
- Hualigan DIY install for e39, e38 and e53



This one also seems to use a Torx:
E39 (1997 - 2003) > Help to remove my low MID



Yet, mine (2002) seemed to be a hex. And the Ebay implication is also hex.








Further references:
- How to remove the MID (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
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Last edited by bluebee; 10-21-2011 at 10:30 AM.
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  #22  
Old 10-21-2011, 12:03 PM
neide neide is offline
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Most of the instructions for pulling out the HVAC controls suggest that you need to push from behind. Of course, if I can't get the radio out I can't do that. I'm hoping that using a little leverage from one side should pop those controls right out, as they are apparently just held in by pressure.

If that works, i should be able to slide a tool through and pop the release, I think.
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  #23  
Old 10-21-2011, 03:02 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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To assist you in getting the HVAC unit out get a small allen wrench and stick it in the front slots on the left side.
Rotate the allen so you aren't pulling on the small horizontal plastic pieces.
Pry from the edge as you pull on the allen, it should come right out.
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  #24  
Old 10-22-2011, 01:02 PM
neide neide is offline
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Success! Not quite how I expected it to go.

First I used Jim's suggestion above to get the HVAC unit out:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
To assist you in getting the HVAC unit out get a small allen wrench and stick it in the front slots on the left side.
Rotate the allen so you aren't pulling on the small horizontal plastic pieces.
Pry from the edge as you pull on the allen, it should come right out.
Then, for a long time I attempted to reach up through the HVAC and flip the release pictured above (thanks again for the good pics). I seemed to actually find it a few times, but couldn't get it to throw.

So I all the sudden had the thought that if the latches were on the left side, I should be able to pry the MID out from the right side, and one quick try later (with a small screwdriver), I had it out. Strangely, there are clips on that side as well, but it didn't seem to matter. I did have the other ones moved a little bit it appeared (on the left side), so that may have helped.

Thanks all for your help. I was able to get the AUX cable installed. The only thing left to do is hookup power so I can leave a bluetooth transmitter hooked up in the glovebox. I bought one of these (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0059M4G9K) from Amazon and it seems to work well. That way we can play music in the car from any of our various devices.

Thanks again, if you have any questions please fire away!
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  #25  
Old 10-22-2011, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neide View Post
I bought one of these
Thanks for the wonderful update. It's rare that people give the courtesy of an update and it's nice that you did!

Just a hint. It's another nice courtesy to the (current & future) reader if you snap a quick screenshot of the link when you refer to Amazon/Ebay/Craigslist ads since it saves us all having to do so and because they disappear with alarming frequency ...
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