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E46 (2002 325i) Aftermarket Radio Installation

117731 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Bambam87
Hello All,

I recently purchased a 2002 BMW 325i, I am loving it except the stock radio which makes it painful to listen to music through my ipod, so after looking through some options I thought the best way to do this would be to get a pioneer, sony whatever radio with an aux input or with an usb ipod controller and install it

I read through some information and it turned out to be more complicated than I thought, so I thought the best option would be to ask people knowledgeable in this matter before I start taking the car apart, so here are my questions

1. If I get an aftermarket radio, will I be able to use the steering wheel controls with that? If not how can i do it?

2. Where can I find a wiring harness "offline" I can buy it online but I will go on a long trip in a couple days and would like to do this before that.

3. (A general lore question) Why car stereo ports, inputs not standardized? Like there could be 2 connectors going into the headstages one for steering controls and one for speaker connections you can make them with as many pins as you like with each pin having a standart function say pin 1 for wheel connector would be volume up etc. Then all this installation stuff would be a simple plug and play issue, is there a good reason that they are not standardizing these?

Thank you so much
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I did the same thing within a day of buying my BMW, just took my aftermarket deck from my old truck. You will not be able to use the steering wheel controls stock, but if you add an adapter, you will be able to again. I believe that Best Buy, or anywhere that installs, would have wiring harnesses to purchase since they do same day installs themselves.
E46 Sedan After Market Radio Install

Hey Guguma,

I am in the process of installing all new equipment on my 2000 323i. Here is what I have found so far:

- An aftermarket head unit will have a huge impact on the sound of the factory speakers, it's truly a night and day difference.

- You can maintain your steering wheel controls simply by getting the Axxess ASWC unit. Just make sure your head unit allows for steering control (I got the Sony MEX-BT3900U and it sick!) All you have to do is connect three wires to the correct pins (easily instructed) and the steering wheel unit will automatically detect your vehicle and head unit. It even gave me access to two extra buttons that previously did nothing with the factory head.

- Wiring harness can probably be bought at any car stereo installer. But I suggest you go with Metra. It is very likely that you will need the Metra 70-8590 but their site will tell you your vehicle specific harnesses and whatnot.

- Pulling the panels off and installing the new unit was a cinch and, if your detail-oriented and careful, don't bother paying a "professional" to set your car up. There are plenty of resources online to puzzle the (install information) pieces together. Bavarian Soundwerks (BSW) has a youtube channel which is extremely helpful in pulling panels, trim and doing general installs on bimmers.

Hit me up with any questions!

Question on cd Deck

Hey, I appreciate all of the info about installing an aftermarket stereo. I have a 2002 325i, and I did a bunch of research, and got the wiring harness and the AXXES Steering wheel control adapter, and I had another question. Will I need to get an antennae extension, or an extra dock to fit my stereo in? I bought a simple Sony stereo, and it is a standard size. Will I have to cut anything or install a new dock to attach my stereo?

Thanks for great info.

Answer on CD deck

Hey Dan,

You will need an Antenna adapter to interface between the factory antenna and input to the new head unit. I went with the Metra 40-VW10 ( and it works great.

You will probably also need the Metra 99-9300 dash kit ( to make a clean fit where the factory head unit was.

However, there is what's called the sub-dash with is already in your car. It's the plastic piece that separates the air vents, head unit and a/c controls. To make the new sony head unit fit, I had to pull out the sub dash and cut part of the back off. This does not affect any functionality of the sub dash nor are you able to even see it since it sits back behind your dash board. Even with this slight modification I am able to return the car to factory without any problems or buying additional parts. And now my new head unit fits into the slot where the old radio was!

Let me know if you have any more questions!!
I have a question for someone who's done an install....according to Crutchfield you can't install a head unit that has a faceplate that folds down or is removable in our cars. I've looked at some install pictures, and I can't imagine why that would matter. Anyone have experience with this? I like the Pioneer DEH-P9400BH, which has a faceplate that folds down. Thanks!
most of the faceplate adapters for our cars are considered an ISO mount as the radio is actually mounted behind the faceplate as opposed to through it. I have a radio with a fold down faceplate and the adapter and it works fine. You just have to make sure that the stereo you are purchasing has removable trim around the faceplate .

If the trim around this faceplate is removable you probably won't have too much of a problem. The radio will need to be installed out a little more than you might anticipate, but if the radio is installed too far back there won't be enough room for the display to move.

No trim to remove, so the radio will need to be installed DIN and won't look right with the angles of the faceplate trim.

I hope this helped shed a little light on the matter and I didn't confuse things any further.
I just bought a 2001 325xi and Im installing an aftermarket HU, I ran into a problem I have everything hooked up right my HU turns on but I get no sound , what do I need to do?
Hi guys I have 2002 325i I take my car with the mechanic to try clear the engine light in the board but when he clear it the radio stop working. is not any fm or am station or the cd info in the screen just the lines like it was off (I try to turn on and get a code but no appears nothing) any vary knows how I can fixed it or reprogrammed?
Thanks in advance
Hi all,

I just got an audiovox mediabridge installed in my 2002 bmw 325xi... works great so far! It has bluetooth integrated, I can listen to music and make phone calls and the controls on the steering wheel work...! If you've got an iphone- Siri works as well! You don't need to change the faceplate of the radio if you use this...

I think the unit is something like $220 cdn...
Can someone link me to the correct working harness for stereo? (2002 325xi) thanks I can't find it :/
No sound

I just bought a 2001 325xi and Im installing an aftermarket HU, I ran into a problem I have everything hooked up right my HU turns on but I get no sound , what do I need to do?
I am having the same problem, did you find a solution?
No sound

I am having the same problem, did you find a solution?
Did anyone find a solution to the "no sound" problem?
no sound solution

Did anyone find a solution to the "no sound" problem?
Ok, we figured it out. My harness that came with my pioneer stereo had a blue and white wire that had a sticker over it saying it was for the remote. The aftermarket bmw harness had a solid blue wire that was supposed to be for an electric/retractable antenna (which most cars don't have anymore). I hooked those 2 wires up, and voila! Worked like a charm.

Hope this helps others who are having issues.
I just bought a pioneer stereo. I have the wiring harness and everything. Even though I will probably be able to figure out how to wire it up, I'd still like to confirm my wiring. Are there any good tutorials on how to install aftermarket stereos on E46's?
Just match color to color on the wires. I used butt end crimping connectors, but if you can solder the ends and then heat shrink around the connections, it's better. But either way works fine. There's a few tutorials on youtube for installing stereos that show how to remove the 2 vents above the stereo for easier access, and because the space is so small, you might need to do that too just to get the harness and wiring tucked back in. I had to do that because I also bought the steering wheel control adapter. It took some maneuvering, but I was finally able to get everything tucked in nicely.
I just bought a pioneer stereo. I have the wiring harness and everything. Even though I will probably be able to figure out how to wire it up, I'd still like to confirm my wiring. Are there any good tutorials on how to install aftermarket stereos on E46's?

Just curious, because all the info here is great and appreciated, but do any of these head units allow for vehicle info to be displayed?
The last eonon unit I put in my 323i has obd info so I can see what a scan tool can see when doing a live data test when I have the Bluetooth obd dongle inserted into the obd test port.
Hi I have an 04 BMW 325i wagon e46 and I had the stock radio in my car when I got it and all of a sudden 6 months later my radio volume knob stop working and my battery went dead ... Got a new battery and still no radio so I went online and got one from someone on the internet and then my radio work for a week and then my battery went dead again...So thinking it was the stock head units I went and got an aftermarket one and a after market wireing harness and antenna kit and installed it and everything works for a week and 3 days later my car is dead again took out fuses #7 5amp and #41 30amp fuses and my car works fine for months ... but no radio ?????? Any ideas or solutions for me to check any information is helpfull I think I have a draw but don't know where to look.....
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
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