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Pelican Technical Article:

Radio Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, radio tool set, wire crimpers, wire strippers, plastic trim panel tool

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Radio, wiring harness adapter, antenna adapter

Hot Tip:

Disconnect battery before removing radio

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty radio

Complementary Modification:

Install aftermarket radio

The radio is located in the center of the dashboard. There are a few different radio options that came in BMW Z3 models. You can swap your radio out using the instructions below. Always check the fuses before condemning your radio. If you want to install an aftermarket radio, use these instructions to remove your radio. Then install a wiring harness adapter to the factory connector and install the aftermarket radio. I suggest always using a wiring harness adapter and avoid cutting any wires on the factory harness. This way if you want to reinstall the factory radio, it will plug in and work as it did when new. In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the radio on BMW Z3 models.

To avoid marring the paint and trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

This photo shows the different tools for removing BMW radios.
Figure 1

This photo shows the different tools for removing BMW radios. The U-shaped tools, the Allen key and the 5-sided driver are all used on specific models. Z3 models required the 5-sided driver,Pictured at the far right.

Working at the radio, locate the small access panels on the each side of the radio (green arrows).
Figure 2

Working at the radio, locate the small access panels on the each side of the radio (green arrows).

Using a small flathead screwdriver, gently lever the access panels open.
Figure 3

Using a small flathead screwdriver, gently lever the access panels open. Left side is shown in photo, repeat this step for the right side also.

This photo shows the left side access panel open, the green arrow points to the fastener you have to loosen.
Figure 4

This photo shows the left side access panel open, the green arrow points to the fastener you have to loosen.

Using the 5-sided radio tool, loosen the radio fasteners about 10 turns.
Figure 5

Using the 5-sided radio tool, loosen the radio fasteners about 10 turns. Once loose, try to slide radio out of dashboard. If radio will not budge, loosen the fasteners a few more turn, until radio is free. The fasteners do not have to be removed, just loosened, they are captured and part of the radio.

Then slide radio out of dashboard enough to access electrical connectors.
Figure 6

Then slide radio out of dashboard enough to access electrical connectors.

Working at back of radio, disconnect electrical connectors.
Figure 7

Working at back of radio, disconnect electrical connectors. Slide the large black connector in the direction of the green arrow to disconnect. Pull CD changer connector (yellow arrow) straight out of radio to disconnect.

Then pull the antenna connection straight off the radio to disconnect.
Figure 8

Then pull the antenna connection straight off the radio to disconnect. If you are replacing your factory radio with a replacement factory radio, stop here. Reverse the steps you followed to reinstall the new radio. If installing an aftermarket replacement, keep following the steps in this procedure.

When installing an aftermarket radio, you will need an adapter for the electrical connector (green arrow) and the antenna.
Figure 9

When installing an aftermarket radio, you will need an adapter for the electrical connector (green arrow) and the antenna. You will also need to crimp connect the new radio to the adapter (yellow arrow). The adapter will come with wiring information as will the radio. Follow the supplied instructions.

This photo shows the antenna adapter.
Figure 10

This photo shows the antenna adapter. The green arrow points to the BMW side of the adapter and the yellow arrow points to the aftermarket side of the adapter. If your adapter has a wire, be sure to connect it to the antenna wire on the aftermarket radio. This helps to boost the signal.

Before finalizing the wiring, install the radio mounting cage (green arrow) into the dashboard.
Figure 11

Before finalizing the wiring, install the radio mounting cage (green arrow) into the dashboard. Follow the instructions supplied with your new radio.

Once complete with the wiring, slide the new radio into the dashboard until it if sully seated and snaps into place.
Figure 12

Once complete with the wiring, slide the new radio into the dashboard until it if sully seated and snaps into place. If it wonÂ't slide in, the wiring may be jammed up in the back Pull the radio back out and move the wires out of the way of the radio. Install any trim pieces and then enjoy your new radio.

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Comments and Suggestions:
eagle Comments: Hi my z3 stereo speakers are not working properly, needing to buy new ones , where can I get them from, can I replace them myself.
September 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Blackudder Comments: Thanks for the reply. I can't call as I live in New Zealand.
May 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This number will get a Parts Specialist on the line. 1-310-626-8765 - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Blackudder Comments: All went well but BMW have separated bass speaker in foot well from tweeter in door housing. The new connector does not have additional wiring to bass speakers in foot well so audio only comes from the rear speakers and the tweeters in the doors. Is their a fix for this or have I got the wrong adapter.
May 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have the wrong adapter, or it is not wired correctly to the amp. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the wiring diagram.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:08:03 AM