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From digest.v6.n644 Sat May 10 08:21:40 1997
Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 12:59:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: E36 Aftermarket Stereo FM Fix

For those of you who have upgraded the stereo system in your 3-Series with an aftermarket head unit and amp, and are getting poor (worse than stock) radio reception, here's a fix that should help - takes less than an hour -

Remove the rear seat side bolster on the drivers side by pulling from the top. Remove the driver's side c-pillar cover by also pulling carefully from the top. The antenna booster module will be visible, mounted to the c-pillar. Disconnect the wire for the c-pillar light by simply unplugging the connection. This will get the cover out of your way.

Next, locate the remote-on terminal on your amp in the trunk. There is usually a blue wire running to it. Hook a 5 or 6 foot length of insulated wire to the terminal and run it under the trunk lining material and up to the antenna booster. (It doesn't matter where you run the wire as long as it's hidden).

Very carefully, unplug the WHITE wire from the booster. Don't cut the wire, but strip a quarter-inch section of the isulation. Twist the other end of the wire you ran from the amp's remote-on terminal to this stripped section and tape it up good with electrician's tape. Plug the white wire back into the antenna booster, replace the c-pillar cover (don't forget to hook the light back up), replace the seat bolster, and you're done. Now the antenna booster is getting power when your amp is turned on. Your FM and AM reception should be back to 'normal'.

I think what happens is that some stereo installers (who shall remain nameless) fail to connect the 'power antenna' lead from the new head unit to the hidden antenna booster. Without power, the booster is not 'on' and all you're getting from the antenna in the rear window is a weak, unamplified signal.

Any comments or suggestions from the stereo experts out there?

  • -Austin '95 M3 (all Alpine, good FM reception finally!)

P.S. I got this tip from Geoff Kao, fellow M3 owner at Purdue University

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