How to Install BMW E46 Android Radio?

BMW E46 is the classic BMW 3 series which produced by BMW from year 1998 to 2006. For the base model BMW E46 radio in the dashboard it does not have navigation system, just FM/AM car radio and a CD player. So you can install an Android BMW E46 radio upgrade with more features.

The old BMW E46 radio may be defective after a few years, or not so good compared with new modern technology head unit upgrade. Now you are able to replace it with an aftermarket quality double din 7 inch HD touch screen BMW E46 Android radio in good price.

Advantages of BMW E46 Android radio

Nowadays, an aftermarket BMW e46 Android radio is the best solution for e46 OEM radio. What can it do for you?

BMW E46 Android Radio After Installation
  • It’s a modern infotainment system, which supports touch screen, HD video play, USB music play, Bluetooth music with your phone, Bluetooth hands free phone.
  • It’s with navigation system built-in. Support igo maps, sygic maps, google maps, waze, etc. Easy to upgrade GPS maps in the future.
  • Supports steering wheel controls
  • Supports aftermarket backup camera video
  • Supports Apple Carplay and Android Auto

Learn more and shop here: BMW E46 Radio Upgrade Apple Carplay

The disadvantages of a BMW e46 Android radio upgrade may be about installation. You may need to ask a mechanic from a local car stereo shop to install it for you.

However, with our step by step installation instructions, you can also do it yourself if you are able to remove the factory radio.

OEM BMW E46 Radio Removal

The first thing you will need to do is prying up the decorative bar above the OEM e46 radio. You can use a special installation tool or a flat screwdriver to pry up the trims carefully, such a pry tool kit is cheap and should be available in a local car stereo shop. If you need, we can also send it to you.

After taking out the e46 trim bar, remove left and right screws so you are able to pull out the car radio. Use a cross screwdriver to take out screws on both side.

e46 trim removal
BMW e46 trim bar removal

After taking out the e46 trim bar, remove left and right screws so you are able to pull out the car radio. Use a cross screwdriver to take out screws on both side.

e46 radio screws
e46 radio screws on left and right sides

Once removed the 2 screws, you are able to take out the e46 radio unit. Disconnect the power plug behind.

e46 radio plug
BMW e46 radio plug

It’s so easy to remove the BMW e46 OEM radio, you can also check this video on how to remove the BMW e46 radio.

Relocate BMW e46 Climate Control Panel

The next step will be take out the climate control panel below the radio. This climate control panel can be relocated below where the storage compartment is.

Note:

Some customers may buy a relocation kit to relocate the climate control panel, but that’s not a necessary part, and we have never provided such a kit before. You can just relocate the A/C panel under the new e46 Android radio unit where the storage compartment is.

You can just pull out the storage compartment below and then push the climate control panel to fit in the hole. It’s not a perfect fit but it works just fine.

ac panel relocation
Relocate climate control panel below the new e46 android radio

Install BMW E46 Android Radio

Installation of the new e46 radio head unit is different for different e46 dashboards.

For BMW e46 business CD/radio upgrade, your dashboard just has a business CD or a cassette, there’s not a navigation screen. Installation is easier, because your 17 pins or 40 pins plug is located behind the OEM e46 radio. So you just need to use a short power cable to connect your e46 plug which was disconnected from the factory radio.

Note: For BMW e46 without navigation screen, the radio plug is either with 17 round pins, or 40 flat pins.

E46 Android Radio Wiring Diagram

You can check this photo showing you all cables and accessories from the Android radio.

BMW e46 android radio wiring diagram

Comment:

  1. You need to remove 2 screws before you push the new radio into the dashboard, these 2 screws are used to protect the DVD loader while shipping.
  2. Short 40 pins power cable with CANBUS decoder connected.
  3. Short 17 pins power cable, usually for BMW e46 1998-2002 year model).
  4. USB cable, it can be put in the glove box or any other place you can put.
  5. Radio antenna adapter, connect your original radio antenna.
  6. GPS antenna, you can put the GPS antenna at top corner of the dashboard.
  7. WiFi antenna, for internet connection
  8. RCA cables, including 4 channels audio outputs, 1 channel subwoofer output, 1 channel camera video input

However, if your e46 has a OEM 7 inch or 4.3 inch navigation screen in the dashboard, your 17 pins or 40 pins plug is not from the back of your radio, it’s located in the trunk.

BMW e46 with a factory navigation screen, your 17 or 40 pins plug is located in the trunk, not behind this screen

Where to find the correct plug to connect the new Android radio? It’s located in the trunk, you can find an amplifier in the trunk, then you can find the plug, see below picture:

This is the 17 pins plug in the trunk. For a 2002-2006 year e46, it should be 40 pins plug in the same position.

Note: There’s also a long radio antenna included in the package to connect your radio antenna in the trunk.

How to run the 6m long power cable?

You can run the long power cable under the carpet along the door frames, removed the back seats to get access to the trunk, and hide the wires behind the cover panel in the trunk.

Either use 17 pins plug, or 40 pins plug for your e46, both plugs are included

For BMW e46 with Harman Kardon amplifier, you need to connect a loose yellow wire with 12V car battery, black wire with Ground.

You can download a full installation instruction manual via this link, including more pics showing how to remove the factory BMW E46 radio and how to install new BMW E46 radio upgrade.

E46 Radio Upgrade with Backup Camera

Want to upgrade radio with an aftermarket HD backup camera as well? I suggest you install this custom fit license plate BMW camera, it’s a OEM looking HD camera which just replaces one of the car license plate lights.

How to connect the BMW E46 Backup Camera?

As for how to install the camera, there are 2 cables from the Android radio which have to be connected with the camera cables.

The first is a RCA camera video cable, see this photo:

Backup camera video input cable from e46 android radio

This yellow RCA plug connects with another yellow plug from a long video cable of the camera.

The camera should be powered with your car 12V reverse light. So when you put in reverse gear, the camera gets power and automatically works.

There’s another loose wire named “BACK 倒车控制” from the power cable, which should also connect your 12V+ reverse light. This wire is named a trigger wire to automatically display rear view video while reversing.

Note: If you don’t need to connect a camera, then you don’t need to to connect this BACK wire.

Learn more about how to install a backup camera here.

Conclusion

It’s worth to upgrade the BMW e46 OEM radio with an aftermarket Android radio. Installation is not difficult if you follow the above steps carefully. If you have any questions while choosing the best Android head unit for your BMW e46, or while installing, you can feel free to contact us.