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Thread: 2002 325xi head unit general swap questions

  1. #1
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    2002 325xi

    2002 325xi head unit general swap questions

    So I just got my 1st BMW and I'm looking at doing some audio upgrades because while the factory tuner is nice it lacks blue tooth or an AUX input jack. My questions are do aftermarket car radios require any special harness that is exclusive to BMW? I'm looking to get one of those cheap "all in one" Chinese single DIN units that has a 4.1 in touch screen, Bluetooth, MP3, USB ports, AUX input, NAV System, back up camera etc.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/372271029648?ul_noapp=true

    and have it hopefully integrate with the factory steering wheel controls. Has anyone done swaps like this before and are there basic instructions like how to remove the bezel and remove the stock unit?

    Thanks in advance, Chet

  2. #2
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    Don’t waste your time with that $45 head unit. It’ll die within a month. It’s junque. Buy a quality head unit such as an Alpine, Sony or Pioneer. Be advised that the signals between the factory head unit and the factory amp are balanced differential signals. So, sending the factory amp line level signals won’t work: you won’t be able to hear the audio!! You’ll need to buy “line level converters” to convert the line level signals to balanced differential signals.

  3. #3
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    "Don’t waste your time with that $45 head unit. It’ll die within a month. It’s junque."
    That's disappointing, but I appreciate the advice. Are you saying that even with a high end head unit like an Alpine/Sony/Pioneer that I will need to install the “line level converters and will theses type of units allow use of the steering wheel controls?

  4. #4
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    Yup! Unless the new head unit can send balanced differential signals to the amp. Go to E46Fanatics and check out the audio section. It’s the best for the E46.

  5. #5
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    Having trouble registering at E46Fanatics, but I am considering the AudioControl LC2i 2 for my line level converter. At. $72 it cost more than most of the aftermarket head units I'm looking at LOL


  6. #6
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    You can search E46Fanatics without registering.

    Some head units will output speaker level signals that “may” be acceptable to the factory amp. Do some research here and at E46Fanatics. Also, research online. Here’s a great website: https://www.diymobileaudio.com/#/

  7. #7
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    So being really cheap, wanting the bluetooth + AUX functions on my 2002 E46 without spending a lot of money or adding some dopey "GROM" unit I got to thinking would a head unit from a newer model year 325 or 330 have these features and is the swap just a plug and play???

  8. #8
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    Even the updated head unit from the 2003 model year and new E46 won’t give you Bluetooth. However, it will provide a port in the back for the auxiliary input. BMW started installing Bluetooth that was capable of streaming music after the end of the E46 production run in 2006.
    Grom and other adapters are known for providing excellent service. They use the cd changer cables in the trunk yo interface with the factory head unit.

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