The following article gives detailed instructions on installing an auxiliary input port into a BMW E60/E61 5 series vehicle. Even though we have used a 2005 530i touring to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any BMW vehicle with an iDrive display that does not have an auxiliary input port (including the E63/64 6 series and E9x 3 series) with minor modifications.
Adding a BMW auxiliary port to your vehicle will allow you play external devices like phones, tablets and iPods through your stock sound system. A BMW auxiliary input is an inexpensive and quick way to upgrade your older model vehicle.
Ladies and gentlemen…we have a situation. Our pre 2006 BMW E60s don’t have a way to access the music on our smart phones and devices. We are plunging into a state of panic and ultimate anarchy.
Ok, we are obviously being a bit facetious. But putting our flippant humor aside for a moment…we do have a problem that needs to be solved. How can we integrate our digital devices into an outdated BMW sound system cheaply so we can access and play our stored music? Add a BMW auxiliary port to your vehicles head unit.
There are other more expensive solutions out there that will allow you to retrofit your BMWs sound system to play digital devices, even some that will allow you to access your device with the steering wheel controls. But if you are looking for a quick and easy solution to the problem, the installation of a BMW auxiliary port is the best way to go.
Adding an auxiliary port to an E60/E61 5 series with the iDrive system creates an extra set of challenges. Adding a BMW auxiliary input to a vehicle with an iDrive system requires the sound system software to be upgraded so it recognizes the new auxiliary port and displays it on the iDrive screen. This requires taking it to the dealership (or an independent repair shop that has coding capabilities) to have the auxiliary port programmed.
Fortunately there is an easier solution. If you have a laptop computer and can receive your home’s internet signal in your vehicle, you can install your own auxiliary input port and have it programmed remotely in the comfort of your own garage or driveway. The BMW Repair Guide uses BimmerTech for all of their iDrive upgrade solutions. We have used them on many projects and are very happy with the product, the support, and the results.
1. Auxiliary port with remote coding services (required) – Installing a new auxiliary port in your BMW E60 5 series is only half the battle. After installation, you will need to code your vehicle’s iDrive unit so it will operate. Biimmertech offers an affordable solution with remote coding allowing you to program your new auxiliary port in the comfort of your own garage or driveway in less than an hour.
- Using a plastic trim removal tool, remove the passenger side dash trim. The easiest way is to start on the “door side” of the trim. Once you get the end loose, the rest can be removed by hand.
- With the help of a metal pick, remove the door lock electrical connector.
- Use a phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws anchoring the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) control panel to the dashboard.
- Using your plastic trim removal tool, carefully pry the HVAC control panel and lower trim loose from the dashboard. This step can be challenging so be patient…keep gently prying, alternating sides. The panel will eventually pop loose.
- Disconnect the three wiring connections behind the HVAC controller.
- Remove the two phillips screws securing the sound system’s head unit to dashboard. Pull the head unit loose so rear electrical connections are visible.
- Disconnect the “quad” block electrical connector on back of head unit. This is done by sliding up the retaining clip and pulling the connector straight out of head unit.
- Remove the center console switch center. Disconnect the three electrical connections on rear of switch center.
With the BimmerTech BMW auxiliary port kit, you will have to “transfer” the wires from the kit’s auxiliary plug to the existing head unit’s auxiliary plug. In other words, you will probably find an existing auxiliary plug in the back of your head unit (most likely driving your bass speakers); removing the existing plug and inserting your BimmerTech plug without transferring over the old wires will cause you to lose part of your sound system. To get around this issue you must merge the two plugs.
- If you have an existing auxiliary plug in your head unit, you will need to disconnect the wires of your new BMW auxiliary port and insert them into the existing plug. First, start by identifying and removing the auxiliary port in your existing head unit as shown below.
- Lay the new BMW auxiliary input on a table so you can easily work on the connector. Using a flat blade micro screwdriver, remove the inner connector from the outside plug casing as shown below.
- Using a flat blade micro screwdriver, gently push down on the silver metal clips holding the auxiliary wires inside the connector. While pushing down on the clips, you will be able to pull the wires loose from the connector as shown below.
- Install the new wires into the existing plug per the instructions from BimmerTech. For our 2005 E60 530i, the following were the instructions we used:
- Plug the auxiliary port back into the head unit’s quad block. Then reinstall quad block back into head unit. You are now ready to route your auxiliary port to where you plan on mounting it.
The BMW Repair Guide feels mounting your new auxiliary port in the center console storage compartment is the most safer option for playing music while driving. We do not endorse mounting it it in the glove box. The following are instructions on how to mount the BMW auxiliary port in your center console storage compartment in a BMW E60 vehicle. If you still wish to mount it in your glove compartment, click here to see instructions from BMW on how to do that.
- In order to route the BMW auxiliary port cable to the center console storage compartment, we must start by removing the center console trim. Begin my removing the shifter boot (we don’t need to remove the shifter handle for this installation).
- Remove the two T20 screws attaching the trim to center console.
- Remove the iDrive controller knob. It just pulls off.
- Using a plastic trim tool carefully pry up back of center console trim. Once you can get your fingers under it slowly and carefully release it from the rest of the center console.
- Disconnect the iDrive menu button connection and move trim off to the right side as far as possible.
- Loosen the parking brake boot using a plastic trim tool and pull forward enough to gain access behind it. We suggest starting at the back of the boot with the trim tool as shown below.
- Route the BMW auxiliary input port to the parking brake through the center console. Note – use patience when feeding the cable over the center console a/c duct into the parking brake compartment…it may take several tries.
- Roughly locate where you want to mount the BMW auxiliary input inside the center console storage compartment. It obviously must back up to the parking brake since that is where we will be coming out with the cable.
- Starting on the parking brake side, drill a hole with a 5/16 inch bit into the storage compartment as shown below.
- Feed the BMW auxiliary input through the hole and into the storage compartment.
- Attach the face plate to the threaded end of the cable, securing it with the nut provided.
- The storage compartment is very narrow, so unless you have a right angle drill, you will not be able to mount the plate with the provided screws (there is not enough space to drill the screw holes with a regular drill). Instead of running out and buying a right handed drill, we suggest using a few dabs of black silicone adhesive on the back of the faceplate. The black silicone adhesive will create a strong bond to the faceplate and will actually be stronger than using screws. ***Let dry 24 hours.
To access the auxiliary port on your iDrive screen, you will need to have your vehicle coded. This is another reason we use Bimmer-Tech…they include a coding cable and remote coding service with your purchase of the auxiliary port.
Coding is really simple…you will be asked to download three programs onto your laptop so Bimmer-Tech can access your computer remotely. Just follow the instructions of the programmer and they will have it coded in no time. The whole process took us 15 minutes and worked beautifully. Best of all, no trip was needed to the dealership to code the auxiliary port.