How to install Bluetooth in the BMW E38 7 Series - Bluetooth Kit Installation Instructions

How to install Bluetooth in the BMW E38 7 Series - Bluetooth Kit Installation Instructions


BMW's Bluetooth System works perfectly in E38s with Navigation or without Navigation 

NOTE: Our Bluetooth Kits come with the latest Generation BMW ULF modules Available as shown in the BMW Compatibility matrix (and NOT the problematic first generation 84 21 954 552 others are selling,   Be careful on getting older ULF modules as some people have had difficulties and incompatibilities with the old first generation ULF modules.  Why use Our Bluetooth Solution?

Although detailed instructions will ship with your Bimmernav Retrofit kit, the below information is a quick pictorial of installation in a navigation equipped E38.  The install is quite simple and quick in the 7 series. 

NOTE: ALWAYS disconnect BATTERY before working on the electrical system in a BMW.  Most importantly, you should ensure that the navigation computer Power light is OFF before disconnecting your battery.  BMW states that if the battery is disconnected when the navigation computer is on you may damage the nav computer.  The important thing to keep in mind is do not disconnect the battery if the power light is on your navigation computer.

Required Tools:

Phillips head screw driver

8mm socket set

#20 Torx screw driver

All North American BMWs even without BMW phone currently are already prewired for phone.  You can verify by finding the Prewired for BMW Cellular phone in the trunk area.  Prewiring consists of wiring for all telephone equipment, plus coding for phone and voice recognition.  If your BMW is prewired for phone, and you install a new generation Bluetooth module, like we sell, it is highly unlikely that you will need to have your car coded.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Before starting your installation remove the Bluetooth passkey sticker from the label of the BMW ULF control Module.  Put this sticker someplace safe.  I recommend putting this sticker under the oddment tray of the Eject kit for easy access when needed.

Step 1) Remove the Trunk liner cover for the rear compartment.  Access is very easy without Navigation as you can just remove the plastic screws shown on the right of this picture.  If your car is equipped with navigation you will need to remove the nav computer before removing the trunk liner.

Removing the navigation computer requires a standard radio removal tool to release to release the unit from the bracket.  You can make your own "tool" out of a coat hanger cut in four pieces.  Push the radio removal tool or a coat hanger in just far enough to unlock the spring loaded catch.  Once you release the catch you can slide the Navigation computer straight out

You only need to push the tool or coat hangers in until they can not be inserted under minimal force, to unlock the catch (about 2 inches)

Once the computer is removed you will need to remove the connectors on the back of the navigation computer (please, make sure the power light is OFF before disconnecting battery or wiring to the navigation computer)  Remove the plastic frame around the navigation computer and the two plastic screws to the right of the CD changer.  Once all of these pieces are removed, you can easily lift the trunk electronics cover out of the way.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

To access the old phone equipment (Motorola TCU), you will need to remove the three 10mm bolts holding the Video module bracket in place. The only bracket typically to be removed is this bracket located to the left of the CD changer.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

NOTE: In the E38 equipped with the CPT7000 or 8000 phones, this bracket also secures the dual band compensator (black) and trimble navigation module (Silver; MKII only) as shown below.  You can temporarily remove the bracket and modules by disconnecting the wiring to these units, although you will NOT need to remove the compensator OR the navigation receiver shown attached to the bracket below.  In the Bluetooth installation you will only need to remove the Black rectangular TCU (telephone control unit) module, and replace with the ULF module as shown below.  The CPT7000 TCU is pictured below as a black rectangular module with a white label. 

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Once the bracket is removed, you will need to remove the phone TCU (Telephone Control Unit).  The TCU is the black, rectangular control module in the rear of the compartment.  This can easily be done by removing the 10 mm mounting screws for your specific BMW phone TCU.  

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free 

Step 2) Once the Phone TCU is removed disconnect the DB25 and any RF connectors attached (only early E38s).  Next, connect the BMW ULF module to the provided Bluetooth wiring adapter harness and attach the two DB25 connectors together.  Ensure that you connect the Bluetooth DB25 adapter DIRECTLY to the BMW phone harness without any other DB25 adapters that may be in your car.  (NOTE: if installing a Euro or CPT3000/4000 kit see supplementary documentation included with the installation guide).  Connect the Bluetooth antenna connector to the BMW ULF Module.  This wire will run from the ULF module to the Bluetooth antenna.

Next mount the BMW ULF Bluetooth module in the same mounting location as the TCU.  You can mount the ULF module leaning slight forward, as the bracket is not an exact fit but you can get it to work   You can take the bracket out and make new holes or just use wire ties.  If desired you can also use the BMW Part number 84 13 0 308 372 ULF module bracket instead or your existing phone bracket.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are Retrofitting a 2000 or newer BMW that is currently equipped with a separate BMW SES Voice recognition module you will need to remove this module and replace with the SES jumper plug. The BMW Bluetooth system has Voice Recognition built in and you can not have two voice recognition systems in your car at once. If your BMW does NOT have SES Voice recognition already you "should" have an SES jumper plug in place from the factory, although you should always verify to be sure. See BMW Doc on SES jumper plugs

SES Jumper plug Connected

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

No SES Jumper plug connected (Image is E39, but connector is the same)

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

IF your vehicle is NOT equipped with DSP you may need to read the supplemental section on installation and possibly add an additional amp.  The optional amp increases the volume over the car's speakers.  I recommend to first try installation without an extra amp.  If you are unable to raise the volume to an acceptable level, by pressing the volume up button on the steering wheel, the radio dial and the Bluetooth phone when in a call you can add this additional amp. 

Other ways to increase the volume in the system are as follows; When in a call press the steering wheel button volume up, the radio up, and the up control on the phone. Then activate Voice recognition and say volume up. One of those options should work. The volume seems to be phone dependant so one of those methods should tell the phone to pump up the volume.

After installing the Bluetooth ULF module you will need to mount the Bluetooth antenna.  Most people install in the E38 C-pillar or behind the rear seat.  This process is quite simple and detailed in the installation guide that ships with your Bluetooth retrofit kit.  You can just run the other end of the RF cable connected to the ULF module thru the c-pillar access grommet to the right of the CD changer.  This grommet is where all the BMW wiring passes from the rear electronics compartment to the cabin of the E38 (running to the c pillar and behind the rear seat).  Just remove the rear c-pillar, push the wire thru grommet and retrieve the wire on the other end.  Some people tape the end of the wire to a ridged piece of thin plastic material such as a large wire tie so that it can be easily done by one person.   (C pillar Bluetooth antenna mounting installation instructions)  Detailed instructions will come with your Bluetooth kit.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

After you fish the Bluetooth antenna wire thru the C-pillar, mount the Bluetooth antenna with double sided tape next to the other electronics.  Find a location that is not raised higher than any of the other components, as you will need to put the C-pillar cover back in place.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

The last step on the installation is to slide the center console arm rest all the way forward and gently remove the access cover for the rear of the arm rest by lifting straight up from the area closes to the rear seats. 

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Remove the two Phillips head screws and slide the arm rest towards the front of the car.  Be careful as once you side it forward it will come completely free of the arm rest and only be held on by the wires. 

Once the center console is out, remove the two parcel trays inside the arm rest containers by gently lifting up from the front side first. 

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Once these parcel trays are out remove the 4 Torx #20 screws to release the phone from the center console and replace with Bluetooth Eject kit. 

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Plug in the Bluetooth Eject kit using the provided FAKRA Male to Mini UHF female connector, and the ELO18 snap in adapter plug, to the car's ELO18 and mini UHF connector (CPT3000/4000 install see supplementary section on RJ45 to ELO18 adapter harness that is part of your kit)

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Put the arm rest back together by reversing the procedure.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Install the microphone if not already installed.  Note: Many people prefer the audio quality when the mic is moved from the passengers side of the sun roof cover to the drivers side.  Moving is the same process as installing the mic

Once you are complete, reassemble the vehicle and plug the battery back in.  Follow the Paring procedure in the users guide to load your phone into the system  Users Manual for the BMW Bluetooth System

Bluetooth Pairing procedure and operational videos