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From digest.v5.n567 Fri Nov 15 23:00:57 1996
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 19:48:06 -0500
Subject: RE:<E30> stereo rewiring

My '85 325e is on its third stereo system (if you count the OEM). The current system is an Alpine 7823 AM/FM/CD with a Alpine 6-pack changer in the trunk and an Alpine 11 band EQ in the dash (to the left of the steering column). The speakers are JBL, powered by the head unit (front) and an old Alphasonic amp (rear).

As far as the speakers having a "negative ground" - horsefeathers! The speakers are electrically isolated from the car! Period.

What to do? The OEM speakers use an in-dash fader (at least mine did). I eliminated the in-dash fader (a replacement snap in panel is less than $1 _at_ your friendly, local dealer! This item was used in the E30 318i. I mounted the flashing LED for the car alarm in the new panel. Looks pro.) and rewired the speakers from the head unit and the amp with expensive speaker wire. I ran the interface cables for the rear amp in the channel in the rocker panel. Huh?!?! you're asking.

Open the door - the black plastic panel that serves as the threshold btwn the carpeted interior and the painted exterior is held in place with what I call "plastic snap pins." Gentle grasp one end of the panel and pull up. Don't be surprised if some of the snap pins remain in the rocker panel. Use a pair of needlenose pliers to remove them (slide pliers under the top of the snap pin; squeeze and lift. Pins slide back on the plastic panel). Now, remove the rear seat cushion and back. The seat back is held in place by two bolts - one on either side - and at the top of the seat back. Once the bolts are out, lift up on the seat back and remove.

The following is optional, but makes running the wires much easier: Next, gently pull the bottom of the rear interior side panel - you need to expose the 17mm bolt that holds the seatbelt rail to the body. Remove the bolt. Snap of the black plastic bolt cap that hides the bolthead of the other 17mm bolt at the floor end of the seatbelt rail. Remove the bolt and set the rail/seatbelt aside.

Pull back the carpet along the rocker panel. Notice a channel with existing wiring! Note, also, the plastic snap retainers that hold the wiring in place. Those smart Germans!
Remove the front speaker (you're going to replace the speakers anyway!!) Retain the OEM grills as the grills that come with replacement speakers are usually to thick - the hood release interferes! Run you speaker wires through the dash and down under (no, not in Austrailia!!!!! Geeeeeesh!!!!) the kick panel carpet and into the channel. Then up the rear seat to an existing wiring harness (use the wiring straps) and into the trunk. (Note, if you don't want to run the speaker wires to the trunk, you can run them up under the package shelf to the speakers). Then run them to the speakers. Use rubber gromets where the wires penetrate the metal under the package shelf. Try Radio Shack for the gromets. Putting things back together is the reverse. Don't forget the seatbelt rail!!!

Replacing the head unit is straight forward. After removing the old head unit, just insert the new head unit's metal sleve and hook-up the wires.

My current set-up is Alpine - top quality. Everything went together without a hitch!

BMW(nospace)CCA #37523
Arlington, VA (the land of Pavlov's drivers) 1985 325e, 130k miles, with new Continental CH95 tires - not bad

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