E30 Stock Headunit/Stereo to Aftermarket
This is for those without a lot of car electronics experience, and they want to take out the stock BMW tape deck headunit out and put in an aftermarket stereo. when came time for me to do it, i could only find tidbits, and procedures from going from one aftermarket thing to another. hopefully, this will help those out there like me. Many thanks to Dudesky too, without his help, I would have never got that damn thing working.
Two things make this difficult for the novice, central grounding of the speakers, and the stock amp. the stock amp is located in the trunk, on the left wall right in front of the power antenna. pull down the trunk side and you will see it, but luckily, we wont need to remove it or the antenna, we just need to take it out of the speakers circuit. In my first E30 the amp was garbage, and everytime it hit a bump, the sound crackled. Yup, it was the amp, because the headunit worked fine in my grandmother-in-laws Mercedes, and when the amp was taken outta circuit it sounded fine.
I tried to use the amp with the new headunit in my second E30, but it sounded like shit. so forget about it. also, this is how it was for my E30 (and my last one as well), but of course I have to say that your wiring may vary! Also, be sure to disconnect the negative terminal of your battery prior to any electrical work.
First we need to figure out what we need and have in the dash. For most aftermarket headunits (mine was an Aiwa, now I have an Alpine :woot) the color code is:
Black - Ground
Blue - Auto Antenna
Blue/White - Amp Remote on (wont mention this again, if you need this then you shouldnt be reading this! Tape this off and forget about it)
Yellow - Constant Power
Red - Switched/Ignition Power
Grey - Positive Front Right
Grey/black - Negative Front Right
White - Positive Front Left
White/black - Negative Front Left
Purple - Positive Rear Right
Purple/black - Negative Rear Right
Green - Positive Rear Left
Green/Black - Negative Rear Left
Your aftermarket wiring harness may vary
so we need to take those and connect them to the wires that are coming from in the dash. In there it is a mess of wires that seem to loop retardedly. dont worry about how they are wired, we are going to undo all that anyway. There are some extra wires that come out of the headunit, 1 pair is not used, the other i dont know what its for (perhaps amp remote on, didnt need it). you basically need only the wires that are used in your new harness. Before you connect them though, follow the procedure below for finding the correct negative wire.
Purple/White - Switched/Ignition power - connect to Red on aftermarket harness
Brown/Black - Ground - connect to Black
Red/Green - Constant Power - Connect to Yellow
White - Power Antenna - Connect to Blue
Grey/Red - Dont know, tape it off and forget about it.
This is where it can be a little tricky. The right side speakers (front and back) have the same wire color for negative, Blue/Brown. The left is the same way, Yellow/Brown. Ill tell ya how i figured it out in a minute.
Yellow/Red - Positive Left Front
Yellow/Brown - Negative Left Front
Blue/red - Positive Right Front
Blue/Brown - Negative Right Front
Yellow/Black - Positive Left Rear
Yellow/Brown - Negative Left Rear
Blue/Black - Positive Right Rear
Blue/Brown - Negative Right Rear
As you will notice, Red is the front speakers, black is the rear speakers (speaking about the secondary wire colors), and brown is negative, while Yellow/Brown is the left, and Blue/Brown is the right. So it makes a bit of sense there.
Picture of the stock headunit wiring:
Sorry, forgot to take pics of the wiring I did in the dash.
Important - To find the proper negative lines for each of the respective speakers I used a 9V battery and a 12V light bulb, like the ones used in your tail lights. Go to the trunk where the amp is and find the wire bundle that has twisted wire pairs that match the wires from the dash. You will also see other wire pairs there; we will discuss those in a second. Those are the wires going from the speakers to the amp.
Cut into one of the twisted wire pairs that match one of the pairs of wires from the dash. Attach the 9V battery here (and make sure nothing is attached at the other end, and the bare wires are exposed, but not touching anything). Then go to the dash, attach the positive wire to the light and then try the negative wires. Once you find the correct one, you can instantly assume that the other wire that is the same color is the opposite speaker, in this case, the opposites are front and rear. Do the same for the other side of the car (if you did the left, then do the right, or vice versa). When you find what the correct wires are, twist those bad boys together, then connect everything to your new aftermarket wiring harness.
The next thing to do is to cut into the lines that go from the amp to the speakers and match them up to the lines that come from the dash to the amp, the lines you just cut into. also be sure to properly tape off all the wires that come from the amp. There will also be other single wires there, dont touch em. The speaker wired pair colors are below. These pairs should be twisted together.
Grey/Red - Positive Left Front
Grey/Purple - Negative Left Front
Grey/White - Positive Right Front
Grey/Brown - Negative Right Front
Black/Red - Positive Left Rear
Black/Purple - Negative Left Rear
Black/White - Positive Right Rear
Black/Brown - Negative Right Rear
Again, these wires follow a general code for left vs right, and front vs rear. But who cares anyway?
Thus, connect the following wires in the trunk:
Grey/red and yellow/red
Grey/Purple and Yellow/Brown
Grey/White and Blue/red
Grey/Brown and Blue/Brown
Black/Red and Yellow/Black
Black/Purple and Yellow/Brown
Black/White and Blue/Black
Black/Brown and Blue Brown
After I finished in the trunk:
And thats it. After making everything nice and neat, crank that new Headunit. I used 3M Splice connectors for all wire splicing, then wrapped wire bundles with electrical tape. what you use is up to you. In all actuality the color of the wires does not matter, just as long as you get the correct current going to the right speaker, but i kept all color codes as I *believe* they were supposed to be for simplicity sake.
Also some helpful tips that helped me, courtesy of Dudesky:
PS - I have a stock BMW Headunit for sale, wiring harnesses included ;)
The finished product:
Nice :thumbup You've just gained a few hp by taking out that factory amp . . use it as a doorstop :D
The "don't know" wire in the second image from the top is most likely the dash light dimmer. Some stereos have an option of connecting to it, so the intensity of their illumination can be varied.
The head unit shown in the picture clashes horribly with the dignified austerity of the classic E30 cockpit. Does anyone know of any modern aftermarket units that do not cater to the bling-bling crowd? Specifically, something with a SD card connector and a USB port? I went both to a local audio store and to crutchfield.com - those horrible blue lights... They're everywhere...
^^^ i know what you mean about it not matching. the head unit pictured was bought by my wife when i was deployed. i have since replaced it with a alpine unit, but it only looks moderately better. the only way to make it look decent would be to find an all black hu, which is next to impossible IMHO.
Would you like fries with that too?:D J.K.:D
On a serious note, on the horrible blue lights, alot of companies are implementing that now so head units displays are more readable in the daylight. They are also more flashy looking than before to try and get the upper hand on their competition. You might have a hard time trying to find a company that "won't cater" to that kind of crowd. Now one with an SD Card slot I have not seen, but do know that Kenwood and JVC have come out with head units that have usb ports on them to where you can connect a memory stick or external drive to them.
hey celsdogg, nice features on your bimmer, looks like she's fully loaded, huh? I've noticed big OBC, power windows, A/C....
yeah, its decent, but i think those things were standard here in the states. i dont really have an OBC, its just date and time. my first e30 had a power roof, this one is a crank, but i dont mind :)
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