Troubleshooting Bluetooth Installations

Troubleshooting Bluetooth Installations

Online Installation How to Guides for many popular BMWs listed below - Detailed step by step instructions will ship with your Bluetooth Kit

BMW E39 Bluetooth installation

BMW E38 Bluetooth installation

BMW E46 Bluetooth installation

BMW X5 Bluetooth installation

BMW X3 Bluetooth installation

Users Manual for the BMW Bluetooth System

 Users Manual for the BMW Voice Control System

Pairing Your phone

How to pair your phone to the BMW Bluetooth system

1) Press and hold the pairing button (NOT Steering Wheel button) with the ignition off.  While holding the button turn the ignition to the accessory position, (first position), keep holding the button for an additional 3 seconds, and let go.  The instrument cluster, radio or nav display will show the words Bluetooth Pairing.


2) Follow the instructions in the owners manual of your cellular phone to DISCOVER Bluetooth.  Once the system is found use the Pairing Key code found on your ULF module part number sticker.  Once the system and phone find each other the radio or nav display will say Pairing successful.  At this time you can turn the key off, and using the phone's users guide set the phone to BLUETOOTH always ON, and not automatic.  PLEASE NOTE the steering wheel button is NOT the pairing button, and does not support pairing of phones.

How to pair your Bluetooth Phone

Simple and quick how to pairing video (3MB MPEG)


Pairing Issues.

1) The first step in debugging pairing issues is to see if your pairing button works.  With the ignition ON Press and hold the pairing button for 2 seconds.  If it beeps and gives you a voice prompt to use the voice recognition system you have the pairing button correct.  NOTE: The steering wheel button is not the pairing button, and DOES NOT pair your phone. 


Next try pressing the steering wheel button (picture of Face) and holding for 2 seconds with the ignition on.  If it beeps and gives you a voice prompt to use the voice recognition system you have the system wired correctly correct.


a) If the pairing button works and the steering wheel button works it might be the process for pairing the system.  If your car is a Euro equipped with TV, one thing to check is the Settings menu:  Under "SET" ensure that OBC Audio is "ON". 


b) If the pairing button and steering wheel button do not give you audible feedback (no beep) but Bluetooth Pairing is shown on the nav screen or radio display, your issue is most likely SES jumper plug or Telephone ON circuit.  Telephone ON in cars built prior to 03/02 is in the eject box.  Ensure that you have a jumper wire located between pins 11 and 14.  Also in All BMWs built since 08/00 ensure that you have an SES jumper plug on the blue plug in the trunk area.  The plug will be either blue and white or Blue and black

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

c) If the steering wheel button beeps, but the pairing button DOES NOT, the first thing to verify is that the 18 pin connector is attached to the car's 18 pin connector properly.  Disconnect the 18 pin connector in the center console and look for bent pins.  If everything is ok, reconnect and lock in place with the lever.  You can also connect pin 1 on the 18 pin connector to ground.  If you get a beep when connecting pin 1 to ground (with the ignition on) your issue is a grounding issue.  Make sure that you have a good ground on the brown wire.  The 18 pin connector is shown below at the arrow on the left.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free

 d) If you have no issues getting your car into pairing mode, BUT cannot find the BMW ULF Bluetooth device, consult the manual for your phone on "Discovering Bluetooth Devices"  If you can still not find the ULF module, disconnect the Cream colored wire from the ULF module and put the phone right next to the antenna connector on the ULF and try to pair the system.  If it pair up perfectly, you might have a bluetooth antenna wiring issue.   First check that the Bluetooth antenna is NOT connected directly to the eject box (it might fit this way under some force, but NOT the way the antenna should be connected).  You will want the Bluetooth antenna to connect to the ULF module using as few adapters as possible. 


Remember Cream colored FAKRA SMB connection to Bluetooth module, other end of antenna wire to Bluetooth antenna.  I have seen bad antenna wiring in BMWs before. If your phone does not find the BMW ULF with the cream colored connector and the Bluetooth antenna correct, but does work when placed directly next to the ULF module with the cream colored antenna wire disconnected, you might want to try to get a new short antenna wire 61 12 0 137 616 and try that route.

BMW Bluetooth E38 E39 E46 X5 Navigation Sirius Hands-free  


Audio Issues.

1) If the speaker audio is good but the Mic audio does not sound good, check the micorphone.  The mic MUST be facing the correct way for the audio to work correctly.  BMW mics are directional and noise canceling.  audio from the wrong direction is canceled out.  BMW puts a directional arrow on the mic to ensure that that arrow faces the forward of the vehicle.  Also if your mic is not already located on the drivers side, swapping locating with the sunroof control does help quite a bit, as the mic is directional at a 45 degree angle towards the driver.


2) If the mic and speaker DO NOT work, the issue is most likely the SES jumper plug.  Ensure that you have one installed in your 08/00 build date or higher BMW (some euro cars may not have this wiring)


3) If the mic works but the speakers do not it is possible that the issue is the Telephone ON circuit.  Telephone ON in cars built prior to 03/02 is in the eject box.  Ensure that you have a jumper wire located between pins 11 and 14.  If the jumper wire is fine, try another SES jumper plug.  I have heard of bad 038 P/N jumper plugs often enough to mention it.  Also if you have non-stock Speakers in the front, ensure that the speakers installed were installed correctly.  It is possible your car had 4 wire speakers replaced with 2 wire speakers and they left the telephone audio wires disconnected.


4) If the audio is poor sounding, check the location of the Bluetooth antenna.  The antenna should be mounted within the cabin and not covered up by metal for optimal performance.  Also when mounting the antenna the black side should go up, with silver side down. 


5) If the audio is very low, check the following list to see if you might need a booster amp.  BMWs in the range below had the telephone wiring connected from the TCU directly to the speaker wiring.  Because the ULF module was designed to be connected directly to the radio input it provides line level audio.  You can still have Bluetooth in your car, but you will need a small amp to boost the audio.  The ELK800 amps are only $45 and work very well.


E46 with NAV produced 08/01 and OLDER
E46 without NAV and have the BUSINESS TAPE produced 02/01 and OLDER
E46 without and with have the BUSINESS CD produced 08/01 and OLDER
X5 with NAV produced 09/01 and OLDER that DO NOT have DSP
X5 without NAV produced 09/00 and OLDER that DO NOT have DSP
E39 with NAV produced 08/01 and OLDER that DO NOT have DSP
E39 without NAV produced 08/00 and OLDER that DO NOT have DSP
E38 All years without DSP


Cellphone Mobile Phone Issues.

1) The BMW ULF module supports multiple Bluetooth profiles.  Support of features such as phonebook, SMS, and carkit profiles are a function of the phones implementation of the Bluetooth profiles.   If you are having issues with your phone, check to see if their is a newer software available that updates the Bluetooth functions of your phone.  Some phones do not work as well as others.  If you are experiencing an issue, it might be worthwhile to stick to the BMW recommended list or try the latest version ULF module which is the version BMW recommends for the latest smart phones

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