How to Install Bluetooth in the BMW E46 3 Series - Bluetooth Kit Installation Instructions

How to Install Bluetooth in the BMW E46 3 Series - Bluetooth Kit Installation Instructions

Although our Bluetooth kits ship with detailed step-by-step instructions for the kit in your car, the below guide will be useful in preparing for your installation.

NOTE: Our Bluetooth kits come with the latest Generation BMW ULF modules which BMW recommends for supporting the latest smartphones. Please be aware when shopping elsewhere on getting older ULF modules and their incompatibilities with new smartphones. See this:  Why use Our Bluetooth Solution?

There are two options for installing the E46 Bluetooth kit -- either via the Pairing Button or the Eject Box. The optional eject box provides a cradle for charging and boosting the antenna of your cell phone and is not required. For those of you who do not want to lose your cup holders, it is best to stick with the E46 pairing button installation. The pairing button can be mounted in any location you choose or hidden under the cup holders. In order to install BMW Bluetooth, the pairing button or eject box with pairing button is required as the steering wheel button cannot pair phones.

All North American E46s are currently prewired for phone. You can verify by sometimes finding the "Prewired for BMW Cellular Phone" emblem in the trunk area. Prewiring includes wiring for all telephone equipment. If you would like to confirm whether your car is prewired or not, please contact us before ordering with the last 7 digits of your VIN, and we can look it up for you.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

The eject box installation allows for charging cradles to be installed, but at the sacrifice of the cup holders. For customers installing with the pairing button, the installation steps are easier and quicker.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free 

Start your installation by lifting up the center arm rest to remove the cup holders.

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

Lift the cup holders straight up to remove them.

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

Once the cup holders are removed, lift the coin holder up and out of the way to reveal the phone harness wiring.

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

The phone harness wiring should be easy to remove; however, it is sometimes taped into place to avoid being shifted around. The below image shows the FAKRA SMB antenna connection that is used in the eject box installation. [NOTE: BMWs built prior to 03/02 may be equipped with a mini UHF, and your kit will include the necessary adaptor if purchasing the E46 eject box installation kit.] Connect the Eject Box wiring OR the pairing button wiring to the black 18-pin connector. The two parts snap together and will easily lock into place.

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

If performing the pairing button installation, you can simply connect the pairing button and after your installation is complete, leave the pairing button under the cup holders. You won't need to use the pairing button again unless purchasing a new phone.

Eject Box Installation [If installing the pairing button, this section can be skipped.]

In order to complete the Bluetooth eject box installation, you will need the following parts: BMW E46 Center console Frame color of choice (which is available at your local BMW dealer) and the snap-in adapter of your choice.  Snap-in adaptors are optional, but performing an eject box installation without the snap-in is rather pointless.

Click the eject box into ① a console frame from your local BMW dealer ② by aligning and rotating into position as shown.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Connect the eject box cable connectors (18-pin ELO ② and coax connector ③) to the telephone pre-wiring. Install eject box/console frame ① to the center console. If installing in an E46 produced prior to 03/02, connect the Mini UHF to the FAKRA adaptor, located between FAKRA coax connector ③ and the car's Mini UHF coax connector, and snap the parts back into place.

 BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

Bluetooth Antenna Installation

Once completing the pairing button or eject box procedures, you will then connect the Bluetooth antenna. 

If your BMW was built before 03/02, BMW recommends placing the antenna on the rear deck lid center where there is no metal to cover up the Bluetooth antenna between the cabin and the antenna.  

The E46 BMWs built after March 2002 are prewired for telephone, and the Bluetooth antenna wiring has already been run from the trunk area to the center console. If your E46 was equipped with BMW Assist, your car may actually already have the Bluetooth antenna pre-installed.  

To install the Bluetooth antenna in the newer E46s, open the rear ashtray cover and pull the ashtray straight up. Take out the two screws at the bottom of the ashtray holder to remove it completely.

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

Once the ashtray is removed, disconnect the ashtray light wire and remove the two screws so that the arm rest can be lifted up. You can easily lift it up about an inch and look inside to see if you have a Bluetooth antenna or not. If not, reach inside and find the Bluetooth antenna wiring to connect to your Bluetooth antenna. Then using double-sided tape, connect the antenna to the bracket already in the car.

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

If you do not have the bracket or do not want to use double-sided tape, you can remove the rear section of the arm rest to mount the Bluetooth antenna in the factory location. To remove the rear section of the arm rest, lift up the arm rest and lift the rear cover up and away to expose the Bluetooth antenna mounting location (shown below). If required, the Bluetooth antenna mounting bracket part number is 84 13 6 912 160.

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

After installing the Bluetooth antenna, connect the Bluetooth ULF Module to the wiring in the back of the car.

Starting in the trunk area, remove the trunk liner on the drivers side to gain access to the electronics area. The trunk liner can quickly be taken out simply by removing the expansion nuts, beginning with the center cap. 

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

Once the center cap is off, the rest of the expansion nuts will come off quickly. To remove the trunk liner, gently pull down from the top, and move it out of the way. The liner is tucked into the top, bottom and side and takes a little manoeuvring to swing out of the way. [NOTE: March 2002 and newer production E46 convertibles have the Assist module in the trunk behind the rear back seat, where older E46 convertibles have the module located in the cabin behind the rear seats. Check behind the trunk liner first to locate your telephone wiring harness.]

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

If you are replacing the BMW Assist module, your car is already equipped with the Bluetooth ULF mounting bracket. You will only need to remove the Assist module and mount the Bluetooth module to the same bracket. Remove the four 8mm bolts, and the Assist module will come right out.

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

When the bracket is out, locate the three Bluetooth module mounting holes, and attach your Bluetooth module to the bracket.

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

After mounting the bracket, locate the phone wiring harness to ensure that you have the SES jumper plug installed. The SES jumper will be in place if your car already has BMW Assist. It is simple to verify by unwrapping the felt covering on the phone harness wiring.

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

The image below shows the SES jumper plug connected properly and how to connect the two BLACK purple FAKRA SMB antenna wires together so that your BMW Bluetooth eject box wiring will connect the eject box to the roof mount antenna (not required in pairing button installation). You will also find one small 3-pin connector in the same location for the cellular booster. If you decide to install this optional piece, the 3-pin connector provides the module power. 

If your BMW is not equipped, connect a BMW SES jumper plug to the BLUE, 26-pin plug. The SES plug is a bypass connector for the factory fitted voice control module since the Bluetooth systems we offer include voice recognition.

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

Next, locate the BLACK (with white lever) 54-pin phone plug on your BMW's phone wiring harness (or BLACK 26-pin plug in E46s built before 03/02) and connect the included 26-pin to 54-pin adaptor harness. This plug is the same plug that was originally connected to the Assist module. If your car was not equipped with BMW Assist, it will typically be wrapped in a cloth bag over the drivers side rear wheel well. 

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

Connect the 54-pin connector to one end of the ULF module (using the provided 26-pin to 54-pin adaptor if your E46 was built before 03/02) and the cream/purple colored Bluetooth antenna wire to the the other end of the ULF module. PLEASE NOTE: We have heard from some customers that they had TWO cream colored antenna wires.  Make sure that you choose the Cream/Purple as shown in the below image.

 

Mount the ULF in a suitable location using the optional ULF mounting brackets. If your car does not have a bracket, the available options are:

ULF Control Mod Bracket Touring 84 13 6 924 698

Sedan/Coupe without audio AMP 84 13 6 924 550

Sedan/Coupe with CD changer bracket 84 13 6 924 553

Otherwise, use double-sided tape or attach directly to the frame with two screws and nuts in a similar manner to the photo below.

 

Next, verify that you have a BMW microphone installed. If you currently have BMW phone or BMW Assist, the mic will already be installed. If not equipped with either one, follow the instructions for installing a mic. You can quickly and easily tell if you have a microphone by shining a flashlight in the holes next to the sunroof controls. If you can see right through the holes, you need a mic. If it looks very dark and you can see a felt cover, then you most likely have a microphone already installed.

Please also note that E46 convertibles produced 09/03 and newer have a new microphone location which is on top of the steering column installed at the factory.  If the car was not prewired for telephone, you can order BMW part number P/N 84 31 6 937 391 from your local BMW dealer (convertibles built AFTER 09/03 only).  

If installing the BMW Bluetooth eject box, most E46 owners use the E46 Shark Fin Antenna (P/N 84-50-0-146-776 with Rubber mounting gasket; P/N 84-50-0-146-775  if not already installed).

Once you have completed the installation, reassemble the vehicle and plug the battery back in. Follow the Pairing 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

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

After you complete your pairing procedure, the phone book will be accessible with the steering wheel controls, and you can initiate voice commands with both the steering wheel buttons and the pairing button.

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