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Thread: '98 E36 M3 Complete Audio Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe

    '98 E36 M3 Complete Audio Build

    Hello fellow enthusiasts! I'm about to embark on a complete audio overhaul and upgrade with my son on his first car, a '98 M3. I'm hoping to detail and catalog our effort from the beginning through the final product. I'll be posting "before" pictures in the day or so. Here's a detailed list of our initial intentions with the project as well as the materials we've purchased.

    First thing's first, we will be replacing the "original" (398,000 miles!) 80 amp alternator with a new Bosch 140 amp alternator. Also double checking the battery itself to see it's general health.

    Second, the existing head unit. The previous owner has already swapped out the original head unit (and cd changer) with a new Alpine CDE-175BT. It's an excellent receiver with Bluetooth, USB & Aux input, as well as 3 sets of preouts (front, rear, sub). We have the original head unit and cd changer in a box of random parts.


    Speakers:

    Front – Infinity Kappa Perfect 500 3-way component with the Kappa Perfect 300 midrange. The 300 midrange is a 3.5” speaker that technically should not fit the existing opening in the door, so we’re going to figure out a way once it arrives.

    Rear – Alpine R-S69 6x9. These will fit the existing rear deck spots on the 6x9 adapters already installed for the BavAudio speaker swap.

    Sub – Alpine R-10WD4. 10” dual coil sub wired to 2 ohms to match the power coming from the amp.


    Amplifiers:

    Infinity Reference 704a – 4-channel amp wired to run at 2ohms, 100w/channel
    Infinity Kappa K1000 – Mono amp for the sub running 1000/1 at 2ohms


    Sub-box:

    We’ll be building a custom sealed enclosure/amp rack that will fit on the driver side of the trunk. The plan is for it to fit snug within the side so that access to the spare tire is not infringed upon. The amplifiers and crossovers (for the fronts) will be recessed into the front/side facing panel of the box, in theory no wires will be visible.


    Misc:

    Will be running 1/0 off the battery in the back to a dist. Block with two 4 gauge wires to the amps. Amps will have their grounds running to the same point with a bolt directly attached to the frame, pic to follow. There will be a 200amp inline fuse within 12” of the battery. We will be running 12gauge wire to the sub, 14 gauge wire to all speakers.


    Any and all feedback welcome and appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Here's a few pics of what we're starting with, as well as the cardboard template for what we'd like to build for the trunk enclosure and rack.

    IMG_4559.jpgIMG_4560.jpg
    IMG_4562 (2).jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Working on the sub enclosure/amp rack, it's taking more time than a simple box, but we feel it'll be worth it when it's all done and looks awesome.

    IMG_4576.jpg IMG_4578.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Making progress, we have the sub enclosure/amp rack essentially complete, and took the time and effort to throw something a little fun in the design!

    IMG_4600.jpgIMG_4640.jpgIMG_4644.jpg
    IMG_4651.jpgIMG_4653.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Removed the interior of the car yesterday to start working on running all the wires. Good times! We're running 3 sets of RCA's from the already installed head unit plus the remote, down the center of the vehicle, across the back bench to the trunk. The speaker wire will run from the trunk up either door sill to the front speakers. One decision we had made was to mount the nice looking crossovers for the 3-way front speakers onto the sub enclosure, as seen above. The down side of that is we have to run much more speaker wire to the front of the car than if they were mounted up front somewhere. But they look nice, and the crossovers are fricken big anyways and it would be a challenge to put them somewhere reasonable up front (maybe under a seat?).

    ps - found enough change under the front seats to almost pay for the gear...

    IMG_4704.jpg IMG_4706.jpg
    IMG_4707.jpg IMG_4708.jpg
    IMG_4709.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Wiring is finished! The install is just about complete, we have a few other projects that made sense while the interior was taken out, such as the rear deck refurbishment to fix the faded felt. Hoping to have everything back together tonight to reconnect the battery and see how it sounds!





  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Here's a few more of the speaker install. The new 5 1/4 speaker in the footwell did not fit into the factory insulation, so the insulation came out and I wrapped the enclosure in sound proofing.





  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Herndon, VA
    Posts
    428
    My Cars
    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    I'm in the same boat as you right now, doing a full install and not reusing the factory wiring, but your budget is much larger than mine I would have loved to get a 3-way setup up front, but there are none I could find for a reasonable cost. How did you run the new speaker wire through the front door pass-through thingy? What are you doing for the faded rear panel? And yeah, it's tough finding a good location to mount the crossovers in the front, it's looking like many zip ties will be involved. Aside from the area inside the front speakers, how much sound deadening did you install?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    26
    My Cars
    1998 M3 Coupe
    Running the wire through the pass through was a bit of a pain, but I got it done. I unscrewed and removed the rubber boot that the factory wires run through so I could work with it a bit easier. Then I taped each wire to a long, thin screwdriver and gently pushed the screwdriver through the rubber boot. It's a very tight fit, especially on the driver side where there's already a ton of other wiring running through there.

    For the faded rear panel, I mixed RIT black fabric dye and vinegar in a spray bottle and gave it 4 coats followed by running a brush over it to even it out. There's a tutorial here on the site I believe, otherwise there's a YouTube video out there for that as well.

    I did not install any other sound deadening, but I'm considering doing the trunk hood under the felt. I considered the doors, but there's already a decent sound deadening material from the factory so I didn't get too crazy there.

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