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  1. #1
    Rick Z
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    Name of factory radio

    Hi all. Does anybody know the name (if it had one) of the orginal factory radio/cassette player in an '85 535i? I am restoring mine and would like it to be stock so I can licence it as a collector car when it hits 25 years. I threw mine out years ago before I thought I would ever want it. Also, if anybody has a working one in good condition that you want to sell e-mail me privately, hopefully with pictures. We could work out payment options (I am confirmed on Paypal). Thanks. RZ

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    A few questions

    First of all, did your car originally have the premium sound system? It would have come with the tweeter pods in the door and the two-way speakers in the deck as well as the amp in the trunk.

    You have a few options for the head unit. How "stock" does it have to be? The 80's offerings for the E28 used the same head unit for the standard and premium sound. It's a 2 channel cassette unit that went through an external fader to provide 4 channels. If you then had the premium sound, that went at line level to an amp in the trunk and out to the speakers. These head units were also used in most, if not all of the BMW's from that period.

    I believe there was also a "Bavaria" head unit available in that period. It was comparable to the "Business" units they put out in the 90's. I see these on Ebay from time to time but I don't have any personal experience with one.

    In the very late 80's there was a true 4 channel unit offered. This is the one that had the "magic" slider. Installing this would require some wiring changes but would still look period correct. Plus you can get rid of the fader.

    Finally, you could install just about any BMW head unit from the 90's that used the standard opening and it would look stock even if it isn't period correct. There are 2 different cassette head units that can be used to control a CD changer. There is even a CD head unit that was used in the Z3. Wiring changes are of course required.

    I think I have a head unit from an 3/86 production 528e stuck in a box somewhere. It's been sitting in there since the late 90's. It was fully functional when I pulled it but I don't know what might have happened to the tape drive over the years. Rubber has a tendency to dry-rot. I should also have the code cards. The original amp is still in the car. I'll try to find some time this weekend to pull it out and take some photos. However I'm not sure I want to sell it.

    What are you doing about the speakers? I've retrofitted modern speakers into the stock locations on an E28 and E30. I could probably give you some advice.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Richard O.
    1986 528e
    1989 325iX
    1998 328iC

  3. #3
    Joe in NJ
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    Re: A few questions

    You can use any Business BMW head unit from the 90's I used a Business CD unit in mine. They are out of Z3's on eBay. BMW makes a harness so its plug and play and does away with the external fader.

    PN: 65 12 8 350 192

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    Would that work in my 83 528i also?


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    Rick Z
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    Thanks guys

    Thanks for the info guys. My original unit was the standard model - no power amp in the trunk. I took it out years ago and put in an aftermarket receiver. It has a fader that separates the front and back speakers. I put some new speakers on the rear deck, and when I wired up the front ones in the doors I found out the hard way about the different grounding methods. When I first put the aftermarket unit in, the radio fuse started blowing. Since I couldn't see why the new radio would be doing it I didn't think of nit right away. I started tracing out the wiring throughout the rear of the car, thinking that there was a short in the wiring bundle (I seem to remember that some of the rear lights are on the same fuse). After a few days of unnecessary work I thought it through that the only thing I had changed was the radio and it was then that I found that the speakers were causing the short. Cleared it up by separating the grounds. Learned a lot about the wiring though (a Bentley or a factory wiring book is indispensible. It's hard to find front speakers that will fit in the doors because of the small space cut into the door. It's impossible to cut the spaces bigger and most speakers will not fit so you have to hunt around to find a good small (I think 4") round speaker to replace the originals. I think you're right that I don't need to get the exact model, I just didn't want to get one of those new style ones with flashy leds and light shows that would look out of place. Thanks again. Rick Z.

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    If I were doing an aftermarket stereo...

    If anyone is looking for an aftermarket head unit, take a look at Clarion's DXZ785USB. It has or can add all the modern bells and whistles. It blends into the dash pretty well and the backlight can be changed to match the dash lighting. It's a high power unit (18Wx4 RMS, 53W max) so it would not require a separate amp.

    I've got the 2007 model in my E30 and it blends in quite well. I ran the USB cable off the back and mounted it in a switch blank. Now I use USB flash drives to store music on and just stick 'em in the dash to play. The only nitpick I have with it is that it sticks out a bit far in the E30 dash. However the E28 has the radio in a sunken location so it wouldn't be such an issue there.

    As for speakers, the front cutouts are 4x6m but only contain a 4" round speaker. Look for 4" component speaker with 1" (25mm) tweeters. These can be hard to come by but there are a few manufacturers. Mount the 4" with an adapter plate in the kick panel. Get the tweeter pods for the doors off Ebay and retrofit the 1" tweeters in there. Stay away from "bright" tweeters though. All the E28s are prewired for the tweeters from the kick panel to the tweeter location.

    For your rear speakers, get the housings for the premium speakers. The ones in the E28 were all black but some colors were found in other models. You can retrofit a set of 5 1/4 component with 1" tweeters into these housings.

    In both front and rear, look for ones with small crossovers as there aren't too many places to put them.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Richard O.
    1986 528e
    1989 325iX
    1998 328iC

  7. #7
    Rick
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    Re: Thanks guys

    I have an original radio from a 02/86 528e that I'm slowly parting out. I also have all the speakers. I don't think this was the premium system. as I recall one of the rear speakers had some distortion at high volumes. The radio and cassette both worked fine. If you still have the original wiring this should just plug right in.

    I also have the security code for the radio. I don't know what the going prices are for these radios, but if you are interested give me a shout.

    Rick

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    Re: A few questions

    It would physically fit. I'm not so certain about the adapter harness as there were a variety of wiring styles that were used throughout the years. There are 2 typical ways that head units provide ground for the speakers. A common ground system grounds all the channels to the same point. The main benefit in a common ground system is simpler wiring.

    The other method uses a separate wire pair for each channel. Internally on the head unit each channel is isolated. This is called a floating ground system. The main reason for going with floating grounds is in sound quality.

    Early head units were designed as common ground systems. This is reflected in the way the early head units were wired. For instance, if your car had the premium sound system each channel was provided through one wire and ground return for all used chassis ground. They continued this pattern up until the middle 90's.

    Starting around 94-95, BMW started wiring the cars with separate pairs for each channel. This would indicate that the head units were floating ground systems. This time correlates to a change in the vendor BMW used for their radios. The problem here is that although each channel is wired separately, the head unit could ground them all together internally. If they did this, it would look like a floating ground system but would actually be a common ground system. Can anyone confirm if they are actually floating ground units?

    The adapters should work fine when putting a common ground head unit into a car wired for common ground. However I would not recommend using a floating ground head unit. It *MAY* work but it certainly isn't designed to work that way.

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Richard O.
    1986 528e
    1989 325iX
    1998 328iC

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    How could I tell from the P/Ns which is common gnd

    My 83 is a relatively plain Euro car with cloth and crank windows.

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    Re: How could I tell from the P/Ns which is common gnd

    Hi Roy,

    What are you trying to achieve? What does/did your car have? Did it have the premium sound (2-way speakers, amp)? If you're looking to put a CD unit in, it will be pricey and require rewiring. If you want to get a cassette deck head unit with a CD changer there are a couple of options. If you want to keep the Euro thing going, I'd try and chase down one of the old "Bavaria" line of head units. Give me a little more to go on and I'll throw in my $.02 worth.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Richard O.
    1986 528e
    1989 325iX
    1998 328iC

  11. #11
    Joe in NJ
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    Diagram of harnesses from BMW

    If you e-mail me I can send it to you... I dont know how to post a picture :-)

  12. #12
    Joe in NJ
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    Re: A few questions

    BMW makes the harness especial for our cars. I used it in 3 of my E28's and in my E24. in all cases, it worked flawlessly and seamlessly. It is the easiest way to go...

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    Re: A few questions

    Which head unit did you use? I think the late 90's units are floating ground but I don't know for sure. I'm pretty sure it would work correctly with the ones from the early 90's because those are definitely common ground units.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Richard O.
    1986 528e
    1989 325iX
    1998 328iC

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