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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 01-22-2013, 12:02 AM   #1
surveyranger
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 23
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i Sedan
Kenwood KDC-X696 & Speaker Install DIY

First DIY, so here goes…After owning our 2003 325i sedan for 10 years, I felt it was time to upgrade the radio to have Bluetooth, USB, and play MP3s. I also needed new front low-range speakers because one of them popped. I’m not familiar with putting in radios or speakers, so I went to Crutchfield. I picked out Polk DB-651s speakers, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X696, and an Axxess ASWC steering wheel control adapter. Crutchfield threw in the adapters for the radio install and the next-to-worthless instructions.

Luckily, I have this site and the rest of the internet. After perusing the Bavarian Soundwerks section, I hit upon these videos for to remove the radio and access the speakers:

Radio Removal: BSW - Dynavin - BMW E46 3 Series Installation - Part 1/2


Speaker Install: BSW - BMW 3 Series (E46) Sed/Wag Speaker Upgrade Install 1/3


The videos mentioned disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery, so that’s where I started. The radio came out just like the video said with no broken parts. The speakers however…I ended up breaking four of the door trim retaining clips (part #07149158194). I used trim tools and took my time, but it’s like those clips were meant to break. Make sure you have a few extras.



SPEAKERS: Once I got the door panels off, I moved the panel to my workbench. The speakers came out after unscrewing 3 Phillips head screws. The screen on the front does NOT need to be removed. I noticed that BMW uses proprietary clips for their speakers. These are different than what’s on the Polk speakers, so I cut those off. The speaker posts are about 1-5/8” apart. I carefully peeled back the wrap around the speaker wire harness by cutting the wrap (without touching the wire) and crimped .110” and .187” female quick slides onto the ends (Picture in the attachment). I used the guide here to determine what clip connects to what wire.

Driver side: + = Blue/White = .187” female quick slide & - = Blue/Brown = .110” female quick slide

Passenger side: + = Blue/red = .187” female quick slide & - = Blue/Brown = .110” female quick slide

Below is a side-by-side of the speakers. The OEM is 5-1/4”, and the mounting bracket is built into the speaker. The Polk speakers are 6-1/2” and need a separate bracket.



I couldn’t use the foam gaskets that came with the speakers because the Phillips screws for the speaker bracket barely made it to the door mount. With everything lined up, the screws only go in one turn before bending the tabs. After tightening the screws until the speaker no longer moved around, the tabs were bent down 1/4”. Did I do it right? I don’t know because the instructions from Crutchfield said to “fabricate a mount” and “attach speaker using mount.” Like I said earlier, next-to-useless. Then, I put the foam pad from the OEM speaker onto the back of the new speakers and put the door panels back on. The quick slides don’t release as fast as the BMW connections, but they get the job done.

RADIO: Along with the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X696, I got an antenna adaptor, BMW wiring harness adapter, and a trim kit. I wanted to keep using the steering wheel controls, and got the Axxess ASWC. I followed the video from Bavarian Soundwerks all the way to the point where the AC controls are removed. I pulled those out to make it easier to guide the radio in. Then I went to work soldering all the wires together. I chose solder because I wanted low resistance connections. After reading the three different instructions, I came up with the following connection plan:



I started with the Axxess ASWC because it was the simplest. I attached the adapter for the 3.5mm and taped it up to keep it from coming apart. I taped up all the wires except the red, black, pink, and brown.



I did the same for the BMW wiring harness adapter and the radio harness. I noticed that the BMW harness did NOT have a pin 7 to connect the ASWC. I tried a molex connector from a computer, but it was too small. Then I took the pin out of hole 13 and moved it to hole 7. Using a small jeweler’s screwdriver, I inserted the tip into a small slot next to pin 13. This bent the tabs in, and I pulled the wire out. Then I bent the tabs back out and slid it into the hole for pin 7.




Once the BMW harness was modified, I began soldering the wires together (see connection chart) to form a straight connection, and taped them with black electrical tape. Looking back on it, I’d suggest twisting the ends together and soldering them, then taping them. The difference is the way the wires would fold when putting in the radio.




The last bit of prep work involved mounting the microphone and feeding it through the dash. I mounted it on the right side of the instrument panel (1). Then, I took off the trim panel below the steering wheel, fished a stiff wire from the opening (3) to next to the steering wheel (2), taped the end of the microphone cable onto it, and pulled the 3.5mm plug through. Then, I fished the wire from the radio opening (4) to the first opening (3) to get the 3.5mm plug for the microphone into the radio slot. It took a little work, but it was doable. The antenna adapter simply slid into the existing antenna connection.



I put the other harnesses in the radio slot, and it looked like a hot mess.



I connected the microphone, antenna, and radio before connecting the battery to program the ASWC. I followed the instructions of turning on the car and tapping the volume up button on the steering wheel. It successfully programmed on the first try. Then I disconnected the battery again. I tucked the ASWC box to the right of the radio. Then, I had to use a trim tool to pull the wiring harness going through the AC controls in order to position the BMW radio connector.



After that, I fed the wires behind the tab in the back. This is when I wished I’d have soldered the connections differently. This took a lot of patience and cost me some bloody knuckles. I didn’t hear anything crack or pop, so I assumed I didn’t break anything.



To prepare the radio, I had to take off the outside ring around the KDC-X696. It was as simple as lifting it over some tabs. The instructions for the trim adapter said not to push the tabs down on the radio mounting sleeve even though the radio instructions said to do it. I thought this was odd, but went with it. Once I verified the radio slid in all the way, I put the AC controls back in. Then, I slid the radio in the sleeve with the trim adapter on the front. The trim adapter had screw holes in the same place as the OEM radio, so I used the two screws from the removal. Before I put the trim strips back on, I reconnected the battery to test everything. It worked beautifully, so I put the trim pieces back on the door and around the radio.



This thing is like 7 pages in my word program so I hope there’s enough information to help out the next guy. I also attached the pictures in case my image hosting site goes down.
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2003 BMW 325i Sedan
Manual, RWD
Hit 100k in Sep 2012
Kenwood KDC-X696
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:15 PM   #2
halo0
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This is a very nice writeup. Kind of surprised nobody commented yet, but thanks!

It looks like your car is not equipped with the Harman Kardan system?
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
surveyranger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halo0 View Post
This is a very nice writeup. Kind of surprised nobody commented yet, but thanks!

It looks like your car is not equipped with the Harman Kardan system?
Thanks. No, it doesn't have the Harman Kardon upgrade. I bought the car when I was stationed in Germany so it made it a little cheaper. I didn't really have the money (or maturity) to spend on the extras...besides heated seats and park distance control. Of course I regret that a little bit now, but the ride has still been very enjoyable.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:52 AM   #4
Rezist09
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nice diy
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
omgscottlikewhoa
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When you modified the BMW harness for the Axxess control wire, I see you moved pin 13 to pin 7's location, and then spliced the orange and pink wires together. Does removing this orange wire from pin 13 have any effect? I see your wiring chart has it labeled as "Illumination".

Last edited by omgscottlikewhoa; 10-15-2013 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:39 PM   #6
surveyranger
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I have not noticed any difference. The lights on the Kenwood radio work fine, along with everything else.
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Kenwood KDC-X696

Last edited by surveyranger; 10-15-2013 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:43 PM   #7
omgscottlikewhoa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surveyranger View Post
I have not notice any difference. The lights on the Kenwood radio work fine, along with everything else.
Awesome, thanks! About to try this install with a Pioneer DEH-X5500HD and Axxess ASWC-1 on my '02 325Ci, and this has been very helpful. Will report back if I come across anything interesting.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:49 PM   #8
surveyranger
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Good luck! The only thing I would do differently is the soldering of the wires into the radio connector. I soldered them in-line, but I would change it to align the wires tip-to-tip (kind of like a rat tail splice). I didn't have a lot of room to run the wires and ended up folding them.

Example of what I mean
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:05 AM   #9
Edaub33
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Kenwood KDC-X696 & Speaker Install DIY

Do your phone controls work? I'm thinking about this install but with a JVC head unit. I did some searching and found nothing. Thanks in advance


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Old 11-02-2013, 08:43 PM   #10
surveyranger
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The R/T changes the input between Bluetooth, Aux, USB, etc. The mute button on the steering wheel works though. I don't know if the steering wheels operate the radio differently for phones because I did not have that feature before the new radio.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:09 AM   #11
Hatchboi23
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Will this work on a 2001 330ci coupe
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:34 PM   #12
surveyranger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatchboi23 View Post
Will this work on a 2001 330ci coupe
I'm not sure. I went to Crutchfield, but they only carry the newer Kenwood KDC-X697.
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