G'Day All, DEATH2000 expressed some interest in a small mod I made to my 318is... thought I'd give a brief description and post some pics in case anyone else wanted to go the same way.
The mod? Well, later model BMW's appear to have Bluetooth or even iPhone connectivity, but for we band of E36 brothers and sisters there is no such luxury.
Until now. I purchased for a reasonable price a Dension iPhone interface. This is a nifty little box that comes complete with the wiring necessary to plug straight into the back of your BMW head unit, no cutting, soldering or other corrective wiring needed. You unplug the CD changer and the radio harness, plug the adaptor into your radio, plug the Dension controller into the CD changer socket and then the standard radio harness plugs straight into the adaptor - thats the limit of the wiring. At this stage, the head unit can go back into the dash. All that's left is to place the cradle in some convenient place and hide the actual unit out of the way.
Now I mentioned unplugging the CD changer, but believe me, when you have an iPhone connected that you can now control from the head unit, you won't miss the CD changer. I unbolted and sold mine.
So what's the benefit? Well from the head unit, you can select any playlist on the iPhone, or songs by artist or songs by album. You can skip forward or replay the songs using the head unit - in exactly the same fashion as if you were using a CD changer. If you have a text capable head unit (BMW Business CD43 is text capable - thats what I have) then you can see name of the track that's playing.
On to the pictures. First off, a shot showing where I placed the Dension unit (Ignore the silver paper... that isn't supposed to be there!!)
As can be seen, the unit tucks up behind the climate control unit quite nicely (Climate control? Well, unit that controls aircon, heater etc etc
A closer shot
Next, a closer shot with tray replaced and showing placement of optional USB port (The USB port allows insertion of any USB device which the Dension unit will also search through and play music from. It will also allow rapid updating of Firmware when released)
Next, a shot showing placement in my car of the cradle. It sits right at the end of the ashtray and no, it doesn't interfere with the ashtray opening
A further shot, taken from the side showing height of unit.
and finally, my iPhone in the cradle. Mine is a 3GS but the unit comes with adaptors for the cradle to fit iPod, iPod touch, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and 4S - there is also a whole load more adaptors that seem to fit smaller iPods
I am sorry not to have any pictures of the finished project i.e. with all parts replaced and the unit operating...... if anyone is interested, I shall take some photos of just that and upload them.
If anyone is considering going this route for their E36, feel free to contact me - I'd be happy to pass on all I learnt during the fitting process.