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Discussion Starter #1
The radio in my '97 seems to have a mind of it's own these days. Most of the time it won't work at all, not even turn on. All I see is the clock. But every once in a while when I start the car the radio will work fine, until I shut it off, then next time I start the car it doesn't work again.

I've tried pulling the fuses, and replaces all the fuses in the glovebox and truck related to the sound system with new fuses just to be safe. I've tried disconnecting the battery for 30 min. None of that works.

I assume my head unit is toast. Anything I'm missing? And if I have to replace it, what years will fit in the '97. This is an early car so no CD player. Would love to just replace with a later unit that's got a CD. Prefer to keep it original and not go aftermarket.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Funny, it came on yesterday morning, 22 degrees and snowy. But none of the controls on the face of the radio work- can't change volume or channels. But that all works fine from the steering wheel controls. Shut the car off when I got to the train station, and it hasn't worked since. Must think it's British with Lucas electrics.
 

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Hi,

I've noticed with temperature changes, certain things can 'sort of' start to work again, and/or then go 'off again' !

It's a 14 year old unit, and it's probably signs it's dying or giving up.

So the choice is with you of what you'd like to do

1. replace with another similarly aged unit that works, then hope it continues to work and not exhibit these symptoms the following week or month..
2. Do lots and lots of research, find out which OEM BMW modules from later cars will work and fit, perhaps with extra looms and get it all fitted etc. If say its a MID and CD player setup from a 2001 car, those electronics will also be a decade old...
3. Consider one of the all in one chinese E39 specific head units.
4. Consider aftermarket brand new and high quality products at the loss of 5-10% of OEM looks in the dashboard.

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi,

I've noticed with temperature changes, certain things can 'sort of' start to work again, and/or then go 'off again' !

It's a 14 year old unit, and it's probably signs it's dying or giving up.

So the choice is with you of what you'd like to do

1. replace with another similarly aged unit that works, then hope it continues to work and not exhibit these symptoms the following week or month..
2. Do lots and lots of research, find out which OEM BMW modules from later cars will work and fit, perhaps with extra looms and get it all fitted etc. If say its a MID and CD player setup from a 2001 car, those electronics will also be a decade old...
3. Consider one of the all in one chinese E39 specific head units.
4. Consider aftermarket brand new and high quality products at the loss of 5-10% of OEM looks in the dashboard.

Cheers, Dennis!
My feelings too. I've had this car since new so if this is the first electronic component to fail I consider myself lucky. My '04 X5 has had far more things fail in half the time.

I'm actually leaning toward your option #4. That way I can get rid of the worthless cassette player and get CD capability, as well as usb plug for iPhone4 and even Bluetooth interface. Kenwood makes a few head units that have red backlighting to blend in with the rest of the dash.
 
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