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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 01-31-2010, 09:51 PM   #1
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Cool Complete BMW Business CD53 Radio Upgrade to Sirius, MP3 CD, Aux & iPod Pictorial DIY

Alpine BMW Business CD53 Radio Total Upgrade w/ Sirius MP3 Aux & iPod Pictorial DIY

First of I would like to give tremendous thanks to SNA77 (Steve), Steve325i (Steve), Solid Jake, SycE46 and countless others from various forums who helped me understand what I was doing and develop this Upgrade DIY. Until this thread there has been a random scattering of information concerning the OEM upgrade of the early years 98 - 9/2001 E46 BMW 3 Series Radio units. The main goal of this DIY thread is to centralize everything one needs to know about upgrading their head unit in any year E46 BMW to have full data capabilities (Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod Data, Aux, and MP3 Data Disc Playback).

This DIY shows you how to add the full OEM potential of in car entertainment (I.C.E) to your 1998 to 2005 BMW 3 series. MP3 Data disc playback, Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod Data Connection, and Aux Input can easily be added to any year E46 BMW for a fairly low cost.

The main turn offs for wanting to upgrade to an Alpine BMW Business CD53 Head Unit with BMW Integrated Sirius & iPod Data Link have been the potentially high costs, the copious amount of seemingly endless parts and cables you need to buy as well as the tedious DIY time to not only install it but getting everything to work in unison. Getting an aftermarket unit for a fraction of the cost has worked out for some folks on a budget. And indeed they have gotten all these capabilities in one head unit but it is not OEM and does not look and feel as good as OEM.

With my DIY you will be surprised how cheap the OEM upgrade can be after all is said and done. Read on...

The cost of this upgrade to the newer OEM parts can vary BUT can be easily offset by selling your old parts you are replacing as they are still worth something to someone somewhere else. (IE. I sold my old 2001 Blaupunkt CD53 Radio on eBay for $185 and used that money to fund the purchase of a brand new condition Jan 2006 Alpine CD53 MP3 Radio which I got off eBay for $200 as that seller was also upgrading to an aftermarket Nav Unit and no longer wanted that Alpine CD53 Unit in his 2007 M3).

You can also opt out of not having to buy the Antenna Adapter at the dealership as my local dealership wanted almost $60 for the part and even online it's still about $30. In the end I substituted in an $8.00 Metra Adapter to do same task that the OEM adapter does.

Next, I swapped my old 1998-9/2001Antenna Amplifier and paid $40 to an awesome eBay BMW Parts seller (germanonly: Mike Zahra is the contact and a really great guy to get parts from) to get the new 2002 Antenna amplifier that would have cost me $100-$365 at the dealership or online.

Total money spent for the upgrade was $68 ($180 - $200 + $8 + $40). How cool is that?

The Parts List is not as endless as it may seem.

You ONLY need:

1. Alpine BMW Business CD53 Radio (2004-2007 Production Date). If you want MP3 Data CD Playback then you will want to get one these three parts number 65.12-6 943 429 or 65.12-6 943 430 or 65.12-6 961 215. If your Radio doesn't come with a Radio Support Pin you may also want to pick one up from the dealership for about 95 cents.

2. Antenna Adapter for 1998 9/2001 BMW E46 Car to Alpine BMW Business CD53 Radios: Again the OEM Adapter ranges from $30 to $60 but the Metra Adapters will do the same thing for only $8.00 or less on eBay. The Metra 40-VW10 and the Metra 40-EU20 are what you need. You need both of them and then you connect the two to bridge the newer Alpine Radio to your pre-9/2001 E46 BMW.

3. 315 Mhz or 433 Mhz Antenna Amplifier for 9/2001 2006 E46 BMW. You need BMW Part No. 65256906075 for 315 Mhz or 65256906074 for 433 Mhz. You must replace it based on what was already in your car. If your older Antenna Amplifier said 315 Mhz you have to replace it with a new one that says 315 Mhz.

The DIY for this is at this link: or you can follow my pictorial DIY for doing it down below.

4. If you want to add Sirius and iPod (as I suspect you may want to do) all you need are two more things.

One of the four Sirius Receiver Unit that work with our E46 cars (these you can find on eBay, Craigslist or the forums classified sections-they are not for sale at the dealership anymore);
  • Parts No. 84110141981 1st generation requires Y antenna adapter (84110392102) for units without OEM Navigation
  • Parts No. 84110153365 1st generation requires Y antenna adapter (84110392102) for units with OEM Navigation
  • Parts No. 65120398140 2nd generation
  • Parts No. 65120416377 3rd generation sold only with 1 year subscription

5. For iPod Data Connection you will need either the DICE Silverline kit or the USA-SPEC PA-12. Both these kits are the top two leading kits in terms of performance (USA-Spec) and popularity (DICE) and both cost just under $150 (cheaper on eBay). The Dealership also sells their own spartan iPod retrofit kits priced at around $185 to $200 and performs more similarly to USA-Spec than the DICE.

The cables for these kits around $29 and you have the choice of cable you will get based on what you want to do:
  • The CD Changer Extension/Slave Cable BMW Parts No. 84110150526 that will allow your iPod Data Device to connect to the Radio via the Sirius Unit. So the iPod Data Unit will slave off the Sirius connection to the Radio. This can limit your iPod to being in the trunk as these Slave cables aren't long. So unless your iPod Data Unit comes with a long extension cable that will allow you to run it into the car and connect the iPod there you will be limited to keeping it in the trunk with the iPod.

    However this is good for those that want to use the 2nd Data Link Port for an Auxiliary input to the Radio via BMW Parts No. (don't know it for the aux kit).

  • NOTE: I previously thought and was corrected for thinking I had the option for buying the Data Link CD Changer Cable BMW Parts No. 61128374683 to allow the iPod Data Unit to be connect directly on its own to the 2nd open Data Link port on the back of Alpine BMW Business CD53 Radio.

    This DOES NOT WORK as BMW relegated the 2nd Data Link Port with the menial task of AUX-input only.

    No worries and this is not an issue of any measure because the USA-Spec Data Cable can be slaved off the BMW Sirius Receiver or BMW CD Changer OR even connected directly to the CD Changer Pre-Wired cable if you dont have the Sirius or CD Changer using it.

    In this case I discovered that the USA-Spec Data Cable was long enough to run from the trunk area to the glove box area where I eventually stored my USA-Spec Module. This a better option for those that want to keep their iPod Data Unit, be it a Dice or USA-Spec nearby behind the glove box area or under the dash. The USA-Spec has Aux inputs on the Unit itself and I plan on keeping my Unit nearby in the glove box area so that I can easily access it for the Aux-In port.

    This way I do not have to buy BMWs Data AUX Cable that can cost up to $79.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Here in the diagram below is the correct Pin Out Code Sheet specific for the BMW Business CD53 Alpine Radio All years.

    Note that ONLY CD53 Alpine units made after production date 01/2003 will have fully working AUX-input on their Data Port #2 or B as shown below. Before that date units were shipped with the 2nd Port present on the back of the units but these units were not programmed to engage Auxiliary Input. So you NEED to get a 2003 or newer Alpine CD53 unit to get AUX-in feature.

    Here are specific links for iPod Data Unit DIYs:

    USA-Spec kit

    BMW Retrofit kit

    DICE and DICE Silverline Pro kits

And that is all!

Total DIY time:

Varies depending on how long it takes you to get the parts.
  • The CD53 Radio swap out/installation takes about 20 - 30 minutes.
  • The Antenna Amplifier upgrade takes about 20 - 30 minutes.
  • The Sirius Receiver kit and iPod Data Unit kit placement and connections takes about 30 minutes to an hour for each one. Give more time for the iPod Data as planning and placement of the Module in the cabin of the car may take a longer time.
Tools needed:
  • Basic Screw Driver and a dull clean Butter Knife for the CD53 Radio installation.
  • Torx T20 screwdriver and a flat slim profile ratchet (if you have one) for replacing the Antenna Amplifier.
  • A hefty Pliers for the Radio Support Pin
  • Needle nose pliers for removing the anchor plugs holding down the trunk wall mat lining.
  • Electrical tape
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