BMW 16:9 Widescreen NAV Retrofit

I always wanted BMW OEM Navigation in my car. Since I bought my car preconfigured off the lot, I wasn’t able to choose the navigation option. Come to think of it, I am not even sure if they offered it for MY2000 cars. Anyway, I decided to do the retrofit after I heard it was possible from various E46 fanatics and the Yahoo! openbmw group.

The navigation retrofit is a difficult install because it is directly involved with the factory sound system, which means you have to either modify the factory loudspeaker wiring harness or replace it completely. I decided to just replace the loudspeaker wiring harness to keep things as “factory” as possible. Please do NOT use any of the part numbers in the pictures, a lot of parts I ordered were actually the wrong items. I had to return and reorder some of the major parts but forgot to take pictures the second time around.

Some navigation history and tips for those of you who are just learning about BMW’s navigation system.

1. This is the 16:9 aspect ratio version navigation, usually referred to as the “widescreen” version.

2. A BMW OEM Video module is available to watch TV. Within this module, you can tap an auxiliary input and line level outputs easily. This means you can connect other devices like video game systems, front/rear view cameras. The only drawback is that the video is disabled when your car exceeds a certain speed, 5mph if I remember correctly. Products are available from NavTV and other vendors who have modified the stock video module to bypass the video/speed limiter. I have traced the modification down to a single programmable chip that is located on the back side of the video module, however, I haven’t figured out how to modify it yet.

3. Problems, problems, and more problems. The wiring harness, radio tuner, and other parts for the navigation system change frequently and differ from model to model. At first I bought a CD player based navigation screen housing but it turns out that the radio tuner needs to be able to recognize that a CD player is installed for it to work. The radio tuner has been updated over the years to support CD and MD. You can’t just get an updated radio tuner because BMW has changed the radio connector over the years, which means a completely different wiring harness. I ended up just getting the tape based navigation screen housing after I cleared up all this with a few head mechanics. Even now after everything is installed and working, the BMW diagnostic system at the dealer can’t recognize my navigation, probably because its not 100% compatible.

All the parts were also extremely expensive, ordering navigation from the factory is always better, unless you can find an insane deal off of Ebay or something. Even then, you will most likely be missing a few parts. Anyway, enough talk on to pictures.

This is the BMW OEM loudspeaker wiring harness w/HK. This cable basically connects the screen, navigation computer, speakers, and antennas together.

Here is a close up of the wiring harness. Again, do not use these part numbers, they were wrong.

Here is navigation screen housing. This is the indash CD player unit, there is also a tape and MD version of the same housing.

Here is where the wiring harness connects to the navigation screen housing.

Here is the front view of the navigation screen housing.

Here is the top view of the navigation screen housing.

The top metal cover comes off easily by removing a few screws.

With the cover off, you can see the CD player.

The CD player is just a module connected by a ribbon cable.

Moving the CD player aside, you can see the two navigation screen connectors.

Here is the box for the navigation screen. Again do not use these part numbers, I forget if they are correct.

Here is the navigation screen after it was unpacked.

The back of the unit has two ribbon cables that need to be connected to the housing.

Slide the ribbon cable through the front of the housing.

Insert the ribbon cables into the connectors and tighten the connections.

Put everything back together and it should look like this.

Another shot from the front. I forgot to buy knobs, so they are still missing.

This box is the plastic instrument panel piece that you need to replace to relocate the AC controls to the lower deck.

Here is what it looks like unpacked. The only real difference is that the edges match the curvature of the AC control unit.

I originally had the BMW OEM Business Radio. Here is my car after I yanked everything out.

To install the wiring harness, you have to remove all the seats and most of the carpeting.

My interior was pretty dirty and I found a lot of disgusting things under my seats. It was a good time to clean everything out.

Here is another shot of the ripped out interior.

The wiring harness is installed along the drivers side. The battery cable, accessory cables, and my personal custom cables are located on the passengers side.

If you ever get a chance to take out all your seats, you’ll notice that there is quite a bit of cabin space in the E46.

Here is another shot of the interior, the module underneath the armrest operates the airbag. The cables beside it is for car phones kits.

My car looks like it got stripped of everything.

I took the opportunity to clean as many interior pieces I could, since its been a good 3 years since I had my car.

Here is the AC module and accessory strip.

Just for kicks, I took apart the accessory strip to see if I could add other buttons for other devices.

I cleaned my seats and for once they look new again.

Back to the install. Here is where the wiring harness enters the trunk.

Here is the trunk end of the wiring harness. It connects to the HK AMP, CD changer, navigation computer, video module, etc.

Since I previously had the BMW Business Radio, the radio tuner were located in the front of the car. For navigation based cars, the radio tuner is relocated in a separate module in the rear.

Here is the front of the wiring harness where it goes underneath the front drivers seat.

I decided to keep the original wiring harness in the car since I might need extra cables for future projects anyways.

Once you manage to get the head of the cable to the front console, it branches over to the passenger side to reach the speakers on that side.

The each speaker cable travels up to where the door meets the car. This was a pain in the ass, and will take some clever maneuvering if you don’t want to remove the more panels.

The thin cable on the right side is from the wiring harness. The thicker cable on the left is for the power window.

Here are some pictures after both wiring harnesses were installed. I zip tied the new wiring harness to the old one so it would maintain the same path.

Amazingly there is space to run both harnesses.

Here is where the wiring harness enters the trunk and the antenna cables go upwards into the roof liner.

This is the antenna module. You can see the blue and white cables that run to the rear glass that are used for the FM signal.

In order to reach the rear speakers, you have to remove the screen.

As the evil oldest brother, I got my younger brothers to clean my car.

Actually, they were dying to clean it, I didn’t know it was that dirty that a 6 year old would care.

And for some reason they like wiping windows too, I’m not complaining.

I need more soldiers.

Anyway, after connecting everything together, you will need to install the firmware update for the navigation system. There is also a navigation firmware key disc is needed to unlock the updates. Then you need to obtain the DVD disc containing the maps. I just backed up the DVD map disc from our MY2003 X5 and used that. The navigation system will take some time getting used to. I have to admit, that it is not the most user friendly system that is out there, but it just looks so good compared to aftermarket solutions.

I always wanted BMW OEM Navigation in my car. Since I bought my car preconfigured off the lot, I wasn’t able to choose the navigation option. Come to think of it, I am not even sure if they offered it for MY2000 cars. Anyway, I decided to do the retrofit after I heard it was possible from various E46 fanatics and the Yahoo! openbmw group.

The navigation retrofit is a difficult install because it is directly involved with the factory sound system, which means you have to either modify the factory loudspeaker wiring harness or replace it completely. I decided to just replace the loudspeaker wiring harness to keep things as “factory” as possible. Please do NOT use any of the part numbers in the pictures, a lot of parts I ordered were actually the wrong items. I had to return and reorder some of the major parts but forgot to take pictures the second time around.

Some navigation history and tips for those of you who are just learning about BMW’s navigation system.

1. This is the 16:9 aspect ratio version navigation, usually referred to as the “widescreen” version.

2. A BMW OEM Video module is available to watch TV. Within this module, you can tap an auxiliary input and line level outputs easily. This means you can connect other devices like video game systems, front/rear view cameras. The only drawback is that the video is disabled when your car exceeds a certain speed, 5mph if I remember correctly. Products are available from NavTV and other vendors who have modified the stock video module to bypass the video/speed limiter. I have traced the modification down to a single programmable chip that is located on the back side of the video module, however, I haven’t figured out how to modify it yet.

3. Problems, problems, and more problems. The wiring harness, radio tuner, and other parts for the navigation system change frequently and differ from model to model. At first I bought a CD player based navigation screen housing but it turns out that the radio tuner needs to be able to recognize that a CD player is installed for it to work. The radio tuner has been updated over the years to support CD and MD. You can’t just get an updated radio tuner because BMW has changed the radio connector over the years, which means a completely different wiring harness. I ended up just getting the tape based navigation screen housing after I cleared up all this with a few head mechanics. Even now after everything is installed and working, the BMW diagnostic system at the dealer can’t recognize my navigation, probably because its not 100% compatible.

All the parts were also extremely expensive, ordering navigation from the factory is always better, unless you can find an insane deal off of Ebay or something. Even then, you will most likely be missing a few parts. Anyway, enough talk on to pictures.

This is the BMW OEM loudspeaker wiring harness w/HK. This cable basically connects the screen, navigation computer, speakers, and antennas together.

Here is a close up of the wiring harness. Again, do not use these part numbers, they were wrong.

Here is navigation screen housing. This is the indash CD player unit, there is also a tape and MD version of the same housing.

Here is where the wiring harness connects to the navigation screen housing.

Here is the front view of the navigation screen housing.

Here is the top view of the navigation screen housing.

The top metal cover comes off easily by removing a few screws.

With the cover off, you can see the CD player.

The CD player is just a module connected by a ribbon cable.

Moving the CD player aside, you can see the two navigation screen connectors.

Here is the box for the navigation screen. Again do not use these part numbers, I forget if they are correct.

Here is the navigation screen after it was unpacked.

The back of the unit has two ribbon cables that need to be connected to the housing.

Slide the ribbon cable through the front of the housing.

Insert the ribbon cables into the connectors and tighten the connections.

Put everything back together and it should look like this.

Another shot from the front. I forgot to buy knobs, so they are still missing.

This box is the plastic instrument panel piece that you need to replace to relocate the AC controls to the lower deck.

Here is what it looks like unpacked. The only real difference is that the edges match the curvature of the AC control unit.

I originally had the BMW OEM Business Radio. Here is my car after I yanked everything out.

To install the wiring harness, you have to remove all the seats and most of the carpeting.

My interior was pretty dirty and I found a lot of disgusting things under my seats. It was a good time to clean everything out.

Here is another shot of the ripped out interior.

The wiring harness is installed along the drivers side. The battery cable, accessory cables, and my personal custom cables are located on the passengers side.

If you ever get a chance to take out all your seats, you’ll notice that there is quite a bit of cabin space in the E46.

Here is another shot of the interior, the module underneath the armrest operates the airbag. The cables beside it is for car phones kits.

My car looks like it got stripped of everything.

I took the opportunity to clean as many interior pieces I could, since its been a good 3 years since I had my car.

Here is the AC module and accessory strip.

Just for kicks, I took apart the accessory strip to see if I could add other buttons for other devices.

I cleaned my seats and for once they look new again.

Back to the install. Here is where the wiring harness enters the trunk.

Here is the trunk end of the wiring harness. It connects to the HK AMP, CD changer, navigation computer, video module, etc.

Since I previously had the BMW Business Radio, the radio tuner were located in the front of the car. For navigation based cars, the radio tuner is relocated in a separate module in the rear.

Here is the front of the wiring harness where it goes underneath the front drivers seat.

I decided to keep the original wiring harness in the car since I might need extra cables for future projects anyways.

Once you manage to get the head of the cable to the front console, it branches over to the passenger side to reach the speakers on that side.

The each speaker cable travels up to where the door meets the car. This was a pain in the ass, and will take some clever maneuvering if you don’t want to remove the more panels.

The thin cable on the right side is from the wiring harness. The thicker cable on the left is for the power window.

Here are some pictures after both wiring harnesses were installed. I zip tied the new wiring harness to the old one so it would maintain the same path.

Amazingly there is space to run both harnesses.

Here is where the wiring harness enters the trunk and the antenna cables go upwards into the roof liner.

This is the antenna module. You can see the blue and white cables that run to the rear glass that are used for the FM signal.

In order to reach the rear speakers, you have to remove the screen.

As the evil oldest brother, I got my younger brothers to clean my car.

Actually, they were dying to clean it, I didn’t know it was that dirty that a 6 year old would care.

And for some reason they like wiping windows too, I’m not complaining.

I need more soldiers.

Anyway, after connecting everything together, you will need to install the firmware update for the navigation system. There is also a navigation firmware key disc is needed to unlock the updates. Then you need to obtain the DVD disc containing the maps. I just backed up the DVD map disc from our MY2003 X5 and used that. The navigation system will take some time getting used to. I have to admit, that it is not the most user friendly system that is out there, but it just looks so good compared to aftermarket solutions.

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