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From digest.v7.n1883 Tue Jun 16 00:54:16 1998
From: Tom Smith <>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 22:14:27 -0500
Subject: <E36> DIY Phone Installation

This might help those who want to install a phone in their E36 (this was done to a '98; the earlier models may not be pre-wired)....

I messed around over the weekend and found there is a connector right under the center console (for BMW phone, most likely). There are five wires, but without the schematic, I could only determine the functions of these three:

Red/White       Constant 12V
Pink/White      Switched 12V (ign. positions 1 and 2)
Brown           Ground

I don't know what the Blue and White/Brown wires do, but they do not go to the sunroof area [for a mic] or to the front speakers, as I was hoping.

I only used the constant 12V and ground to connect a current limiter to trickle charge my phone.

The biggest job was figuring out how to remove all the plastic bits to get to the connector underneath. However, now that I've done it, it may be possible to just pull up on the connector (after removing the cupholders/ashtray) to gain access to it. But if you need/want to remove the console, here's how I did it:

Remove ashtray and cupholders by squeezing on the sides Remove ashtray frame (1 screw towards rear, then pry up) Remove rear ashtray inner receptacle
remove 2 screws under rear ashtray
Pry up rear trim cover, starting from area near ashtray, then lift out Remove 1 screw from under ashtray area
Remove small curved trim piece at rear of arm rest Pry sides of front trim piece (under arm rest) outward away from arm rest support then remove trim piece
Pry up emergency brake boot
To remove arm rest, pry out two hinge pins from sides (may be easier if insert small screwdriver into holes in front of housing to unlock tabs) Lift up console and remove

Remember to replace the friction blocks, since they will probably fall out when removing the hinges.

Now I need to figure out how to disable the ignition key chime without losing the audible warnings from the OBC (they are both using the same chime module). Sure would be nice if schematics were available!

Tom Smith