11-24-2012, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
My Ride: 330xi
Repost - some pics lost, can't find them.
After getting a couple tickets while just driving to work and not paying attention to my speed – I got pissed and bought a radar detector after not having one for over a decade. SO this is what I did for my 2001 330xi.
I wanted one that’s totally concealable and highly rated. I researched a bit, and used the ratings at GuysofLidar.com to help. Basically it came down to my old friend, ESCORT. I went with the 9500ci and did the install myself. It’s a lot of work and requires tons of patience, but I’m very happy with it.
Unfortunately I only took pictures for my own reference, and not with the eye of doing a great DIY. I hope this account of my install helps though.
Things you’ll need: RJ-22 connectors (if you plan on shortening the excessively long wiring) – AKA 4P4C connectors – found them from a local electronics supplier ($3 for 15) - these are smaller than the usual "telephone" connectors which are RJ-11
RJ-22 crimping tool ($20)
Escort 9500ci detector ($1010 on eBay new)
Plumbers tape ($3)
Torx T20 Driver
Torx T10 Driver
USB A to B printer cable
Location of Components: GPS Aerial – back deck in the stock GPS aerial location. I used to have my XM aerial here, but I got rid of XM. The wiring for this ran down the doorsill harness on the passenger side.
ESCORT 9500ci Brain – located in the passenger footwell – the white plastic thing was modified from my previous install for my radio. This makes for a stretch on the concealed LED wiring (not very long), but it’s a good open location to house this rather than stuffing it under the driver’s footwell. The picture below is old - but the brain sits where the XM processor used to be.
Front Detectors – This took forever to get worked out. I thought about it forever! Finally decided to Dremel into the top half of the black plastic grill. I used blue painters tape to mark out where they would go first. The laser detectors are located 3/4” below the bumper (notice the spacer on the detector which is just a piece of ¾” wood stock). This gives it room to clear the stuff behind the bumper. The center detector (radar) requires a cutout in the front air duct (#2 in the diagram below) to give clearance (otherwise this detector will have to stick out beyond the painted bumper – UGLY). You need to use a level to make sure they are level to the ground – a pain in the a$$. This required MANY test fittings of the bumper to get it right – I did get very good at managing the front bumper by myself. Make sure the laser detectors sit far back enough so they don’t protrude and cover the access to the bolts that hold the bumper on.
Rear Laser Detector/Shifter – again, for a totally clean install, I drilled a small hole in the plastic of the trunk lid grip so that the wire could be routed in the grip, and into the trunk in relatively watertight manner. The detector/shifter was mounted on the lower part of the license plate, and the wire run behind the license plate holder. With a dark car like mine, you can barely notice it. I Dremeled and folded a notch in the license plate so the wire from the detector/shifter would not be seen looping behind the plate.
Concealed LED - I wanted this in plain view for the driver, yet concealed. I took apart the gauge cluster and CAREFULLY serially drilled out the screw hole to the right of the upper midline display (just above the speedometer). Do this VERY CAREFULLY. Take your time, I used drill bits that were only 1/64 or 1/32 increments at a time to drill this out to a full ¼” diameter as recommended by the install manual. The little mounting ring for the LED needs to be notched ever so slightly with a razor blade so it will fit against the bezel for the speedometer.
Display & Control Modules – I wanted these to be totally hidden if I got pulled over. I toyed with the idea of having the display module in the rear view mirror (would have gotten the mirror etched and mounted the display inside the mirror), but this defeats the purpose of a stealth install. Every passerby and the cop pulling you over will see the bright blue LED in that location. I decided to modify the ashtray and make an ABS plate covered in black vinyl to house the modules. I used small wood blocks and behind the modules so they sat flush, and a friction fit on the ABS plate so that I could take it apart easily in the future if needed.
Speaker – the drivers footwell foot controls trim panel (that has the speaker for the rear parking sensors and the OBD plug) has plenty of room for a Dremel to cut out a square to house the radar detector speaker. I used JB-Weld to glue(epoxy) a couple small L-brackets to mount the speaker near flush.
USB Plug - this is to update the unit with new firmwares and databases. Next to the spot where I dremeled out for iPod cables, I dremeled a square to fit the USB Plug. It requires me to remove the flashlight before using it. The first picture is from the top surface of the glovebox surround with it removed. The hole for the USB plug is not cut yet. The second is with the glovebox reinstalled and the plug circled. Pardon the crappy pics.
When it’s all done, you just need to register the unit and download the latest Escort Detector Tools so you can update the firmware and the speedtrap and red light camera database.
DIYs I used:
My own Double Din Stereo Install shows lots of pics of things taken apart
Remove Front Bumper
Remove Rear Deck
Remove Glovebox (skip step 35&36)
Remove Gauge Cluster -
Remove Radio and Center console