BMW Auxiliary Port Installation Time – 3 Hours
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 BMWs 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, I’m obviously being a bit facetious. But putting my 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 How can we integrate our digital devices into an outdated BMW sound system cheaply so we can access and play our stored music?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.
Upgrading a vehicle that has the BMW 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 input and displays it on the iDrive screen.
This article deals with adding a BMW auxiliary port to a 2005 (E60) 530i with an iDrive sound system. Instead of taking the car to the dealership to have the software upgraded after installation, the BMW Repair Guide uses a company called BimmerTech for all of their iDrive upgrade solutions. What we like about BimmerTech is that they supply you with the BMW auxiliary port cable that you install yourself…then they will remotely upgrade you vehicles software so you don’t have to go to the dealership! We have used them on many projects and are very happy with the product, the support, and the results.
Tools and Supplies
- Using a plastic trim removal tool, remove the passenger side dash trim. The easiest way is to start on the right (door) side. 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 a bit of a pain 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.
Preparing auxiliary port for installation in head unit
- With the BimmerTech BMW auxiliary port kit, you will have to “transfer” the wires from the kits auxiliary plug to the existing head units 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)…so removing the existing plug and inserting your BimmerTech plug will cause you to lose part of your sound system…and that’s “no bueno“. To get around this issue you must merge the two plugs. The following shows you how to do it. ***Note – if you do not have an existing aux plug in your head unit, or if the existing auxiliary plug has a different wiring lay out than we show below, call the BimmerTech help line…they are extremely friendly and will be more than happy to help.
- 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.
Determining a mounting point for your auxiliary port
BimmerTech and BMW suggest mounting your new BMW auxiliary input in the glove compartment. We think that is a bad idea and highly suggest you mount it in the center console storage compartment under your right arm rest. Why? Because your new BMW auxiliary port cannot be controlled by the iDrive or the steering wheel…it is simply an input to play the music on your device on your vehicle’s sound system. You must control what music you play from the device itself. That being said, you can see how cumbersome it would be operating your device plugged into a port in your glove compartment. Mounting the port in your center console storage compartment is much more convenient…and safer while driving.
The following is instructions on how to mount the BMW auxiliary port in your center console storage compartment. 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.
Programming iDrive to display auxiliary port
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.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. And congratulations for Doing It Yourself!
The Repair Difficulty Level displays graphically how challenging the repair is, from easy to advanced. Easy repairs usually require very few tools, have short repair times and do not require jacking and supporting the vehicle. As the difficulty level rises, expect the repair to demand more time, specialized tools, and better understanding of mechanics to complete the job.