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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fitting the Alpine system upgrade - long but may help you out.

Kit comes with these....




I decided to start with the part that I thought would be most difficult, routing and connecting the harness. I don't think the instructions mention removing the boot liners, but if you want to make this an invisible install, this is worth the effort. My car is the Coupe, but i assume most others are similar.

Remove the left and right boot liners, this initially required removal of the rear cover 2 screws (phillips), and twp push in clips. Both liners were also held in with a further 3 push in clips, plus the eyelet covers for the tie downs fitted to my car. This needed the correctly sizes torx socket. Remove the boot floor and the liners.

Then remove the rear seat base, this was simply a matter on tugging up on the front most section until about 4 clips released and it came out very easily.

Then lift of the covers between the carpet and the doors. Start at the front lifting vetical - working your way backwards. The last clips is does not come out vertically, but about 45 degress inwards so be carefull not to damage the trim. Most of my clips actually stayed in the chassis to be pulled out and refitted to the trim later.

You then need to find the connection points for the harness. On the passengers side (LHS) the connectors were much further forwards in the car than I expected, nearly under the cover to the left of the footwell. BMW have left plenty of extra cable, but getting it out proved to be somewhat of a challenge. You need to find a tool to cut the felt tape, whilst trying to avoid the wire insulation. I started with a craft knife but resorted to a small pair of scissors when I saw some of the damage I was doing to the wires - you have been warned! Once you get these cables out you need to cut off the connector that joins the three wires together.
You can now route the harness to this area around the rear seat side bolsters and unders the rear side panels (make sure you go the correct side of the seat belts!). It's worth making the connections before pushing the harness down under the carpets as it gives you more movement when making them.
The kit comes with crimp connectors - you need good quality crimp tools to use these succesfully. I've got these but chose to use connector blocks with screws as I've lots of confidence it these (I know they're not the best looking connection method), but they are reliable and you can't see them under the carpet.
Now the hard bit. On the LHS you need to identify the cables. The one going forwards is the one for the front speakers, easy. Unfortunatley there are two sets of wires going rearwards and although you can see they split out from the main harness further back (one to headunit, other to subwoofer), it is hard to tell which is which because they travel in the main loom for about 25cm. I took a risk here and decided to connect two wires to the front speakers and then turn on the radio. This way if I connected the subwoffer the the speakers I'd get no sound. If I connected the radio, I get sound. First of all I connected the sub, and then turned on - no sound. I then turned everything off and tried again with the other set of wires - bingo. Found the radio feed etc. No damage to my system but this is your call!
Anyway, now you've identified the wires you can make the connections as per the instructions. This is pretty simple.

Tuck everything away - I waited until testing before fitting the trim strip.


Driver side is easier because the connections were just in front of the rectangular section across the car that the seat bolts too. Again, getting the wires out was fun! but once out it was easy to see where the wires went and I didn't need to do the 'radio switch on' to identify them. One set went forwards to the speakers, one set went across the car to the radio, other set went under the seat to the sub. Again, after cutting off the connectors and stripping back, make your connections and you're sorted.



I then decided to re-fit the boot liners, don't make the mistake I did and fit them before making the earth connection. You should (I didn't but you should) connect the earth cable to an earth point under here. I made another point for mine as shown in the picture.


I then fitted the door speakers - not something I was looking forwards too. Remove the door handle trim - I started at the bottom and managed to get the ball rolling without prizing with any tools - give it a hard tug and it came off with no damage. Remove the cover for the screw in the rear of the door panel above the door pocket - I used a small screwdriver and it came out with no damage. It did ping off into the gravel so watch out for this. Remove the torx screws, two in the door handle, one above the door pocket (T20 I seem to remember) then the really miserable bit - wedging the panel off. I pushed a plastic spatula under the front of the panel (between the metal and panel). This wasn't enought so I pushed a metal scraper between the spatula and the panel - this worked a charm and the first few clips came out. You can then get your hands behind the panels and pull it off. The top clips are a different design and must be pulled out horizontally or you'll damage them. The panels are really tight but it wasn't as bad as I expected and they came off very well. Only one clip stayed in the door itself and I pulled this out with pliers. I left the cables connected to the window switches and the striker and supported the panel on a box with some cushons whilst I changes the speaker and fitted the tweeter and cover, and the x over network. This was all pretty simple. Refit the door panel (make sure you put the lock-pin back into hole if its dropped out) and then clip the panel all around. Fit the screws, fit the cover above the door pocket and then the handle cover. Be careful with the handle cover - I damaged the clips on both of mine by not aligning them properly and getting them stuck. They seem OK, but I know they're not perfect which does my head in.

Repeat for the other side exactly the same.

Once this is done it's all really easy. Ensure the switch is set correctly on the amp before you mount the amp in the boot using the sticky pads in to the space under the floor. Connect the positive cable to the connection on the plastic tray near the battery.

Then plug the amp in as required.

The amp actually takes a second or two to turn on (rear speakers come alive first). I assume the amp uses the speaker signal to tell it to turn on. This is a bit of a pain when using stop - start as the fronts cut out for a moment everytime the engine starts. Sounds much better though.

Re-fit all the trim. Rear seat clips into position - so do the side trims. You're all set. OH - don't forget the Alpine emblems, I'll let you work these out.......!

Feel free to ask any questions.
 

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Well done :fest: Good write up.

Am I correct in thinking that the speaker connections by each passenger door are already there . The pictures of the Crimps in your write up, and you simply break these connections and splice in the new ones.

Also, what is the difference in sound like - Hard to really quantify I guess, but is it worth the money and time ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
karlak said:
Well done :fest: Good write up.

Am I correct in thinking that the speaker connections by each passenger door are already there . The pictures of the Crimps in your write up, and you simply break these connections and splice in the new ones.

Also, what is the difference in sound like - Hard to really quantify I guess, but is it worth the money and time ?
Too right - BMW have done us all a favour here. The wires from the stereo are split at these joints either side of the car. Radio in, front speakers out and sub out. Sub must have a passive crossover built into it. Awkward bit is identifying where the wires go on the passengers side.

Sound is a huge improvement - especially the bass and the stereo effect (I think mainly due to the tweeters). So much more volume also - I used to run the old system full volume half of the time. I'd be deaf by now if I did with the new one!! Defo worth the cash IMO!!
 

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The amp actually takes a second or two to turn on (rear speakers come alive first). I assume the amp uses the speaker signal to tell it to turn on. This is a bit of a pain when using stop - start as the fronts cut out for a moment everytime the engine starts. Sounds much better though.
I noticed the power up delay with mine when it was fitted, however it definately doesn't cut out at all (even momentarily) with the auto start/stop - It only cuts out when I switch off the head unit, or remove the keyfob when the engine is stopped - There even seems to be a slight delay with power off as well - as you can hear the front speakers for a fraction longer than the back. The cutout might be due to not using the chassis earthing point?? (Not sure how much difference it would make?)

I've been really impressed with the upgrade - the sound is so much better, you can really tell how much of an improvement when the back speakers kick in on their own - they are so flat its unbeliveable :roll:

I think they have done very well with the kit - for the money its a bargain, the dealer who fitted mine couldn't believe the price, as the cheapest Alpine amp has an RRP of £100, and thats just a bog standard one, not a Class D (Digital) amp :D I think the upgrade stacks up well against the factory fit options - Its probably somewhere between the Hifi and the L7 in performance, it lacks the whole car impact of the L7 system, but it perhaps delivers a more natural less "processed" sound as its very much front biased and has good stereo imaging.

I'd recommend it to anyone looking to upgrade the standard setup.
 

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Are there different levels to this kit? I'd like one to upgrade the subs and rear speakers as well plus add tweeters to the rear
 

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Thats a great help many thanks.

When I do mine I plan to solder and heat shrink the connections as this will be much less prone to dodgy connections that the crimp terminals supplied with the kit.

Also there really is no need to upgrade the rear speakers at all. You won't find rear speakers in any of the competition sound quality systems out there. Stereo imaging is always going to work best with the speakers in front of you.

Rear speakers are only required for the benefit of rear seat passengers. Also adding tweeters to the rear is totally pointless as they are quite directional so you really won't hear them anyway what with them being behind you.

One upgrade that could be done would be to upgrade to L7 subs as these are also 4 ohm. The hifi subs are 2 ohm so would place too much load on the amp.

Looking on real OEM you are probably looking at at least £400 for the L7 subs though so it's an expensive upgrade and in reality it won't make nearly as much difference as increasing the power by 10 fold will. (what the upgrade effectively does)
 

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Does anyone know how the alpine unit compares to the blaupunkt setup detailed elsewhere on this forum,
I would like to know if there is one or the other that is easier to install into the original looms, correct me if i am wrong but the alpine unit appears not to need a 12v trigger wire to turn it on, does this mean the alpine unit does not require any dash or centre console removal to find this wire, any other comparison points would be welcome. I need guidance which way to go
 

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I've been quoted £276inc VAT for parts (includes tweeter covers) plus £395 for labour to fit...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
plus £395 for labour to fit...
Ouch! - that is some serious labour :roll: . You not planning to have a dabble and try it yourself?

Ive...
 

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Well I am looking at getting the ACM and TV module fitted at the same time but they aren't available in the UK yet ... and was thinking of maybe getting a local BMW indi to do it... labour is much cheaper there.
 

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stownrow said:
ok guys i'm just about convinced!

just 1 thing....

I fitted a pro head unit to my Jan 08 116i, will this work with alpine kit ??

ta, Steve.
Yes, and must have the "standard" speaker setup - (not already amp'd)
 

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karlak said:
stownrow said:
ok guys i'm just about convinced!

just 1 thing....

I fitted a pro head unit to my Jan 08 116i, will this work with alpine kit ??

ta, Steve.
Yes, and must have the "standard" speaker setup - (not already amp'd)
yeah it is.

the other thing i was thinking... what about the parking aid's will they still work OK? thanks :)
 

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stownrow said:
karlak said:
stownrow said:
ok guys i'm just about convinced!

just 1 thing....

I fitted a pro head unit to my Jan 08 116i, will this work with alpine kit ??

ta, Steve.
Yes, and must have the "standard" speaker setup - (not already amp'd)
yeah it is.

the other thing i was thinking... what about the parking aid's will they still work OK? thanks :)
These will be OK as well.
 
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