HOWTO: Install Dynavin E46 v5 head unit in an E46 2005 M3 w/ OEM Navigation

The GPS system on my 2005 M3 recently started to weird out and stopped working at random times. That sounded like a good excuse to start searching for an upgrade to the OEM Navigation system from BMW which is quite frankly horrible in comparison to what is available today. I thought about going to a more CarPC route with a completely custom system but really wanted to maintain an OEM look to the system for now (maybe in the future I’ll upgrade to something I build myself). That lead me finally, after a lot of searching, to purchasing a Dynavin E46 v5 from the awesome Jeff Bechtel at J&T Distributing.

Here are the links to Jeff’s posts on where you can read up on the product and purchase it from him. He is exactly what customer service should be, very very attentive and responsive. I had questions during my install and emailed Jeff from inside the car and got a response within a few minutes. AWESOME. Can’t say that enough. If you want to purchase a Dynavin please do not purchase from anywhere else, I wish I got this good of a service everyday.

Anyway, onto the HOWTO. There are guides online (and from Jeff himself) about installing a Dynavin if you have a Business CD radio in an E46. What I could not find was specific information on how to do it for an E46 with OEM Navigation. The setup is different because most of the electronics are located in the back of the car so it requires a bit more work than a car without Navigation.

***NOTE***: Jeff provides a very comprehensive guide for the standard non-Nav install so I won’t go into detail on those steps here.  These are the OEM Navigation specific parts of the install that you can use in addition to what Jeff provides.


  • DICE Installation Guide – gives you a good sense of how to remove the items in the trunk and how running the cables to the front will work


  • Dynavin E46 (more information here and here)
  • 3 Cables (let’s call it the “Fakra Cable Kit”). All three of these can be purchased from Jeff.
    • Fakra 5M extension cable (needed for NAV cars in order to connect the Dynavin to the sound system in the trunk)
    • Antenna extension cable
    • Steering wheel control extension
  • Tools
    • Flat head screwdriver
    • Phillips screwdriver
    • Butter knife wrapped in electrical tape or a trim removal tool
    • Nail file (very important, needed to remove head unit)
  • Beer, coffee and music
  • About 4 hours (for me at least, it was my first install ever) and some patience

STEP 1: Organize parts before starting

Below is what comes in the box from Jeff.


Below are the parts you will not need (or the parts that are optional) for the OEM Nav installation. From left to right:

  • (2) Line Output Converters – these are installed at the trunk end of the Fakra cable if you’d like and hear noise from the system after your install. Mine is fine so far so I have not installed these. It would require splicing the Fakra cable and putting these inline matching the colors on each box to the colors on the Fakra cable.
  • External bluetooth microphone – so far so good with the in-unit microphone so I have not installed this yet
  • Steering wheel control cable – you will replace this with the extension that is part of the “Fakra Cable Kit” above.
  • Antenna plug – I have a 2005 car, so I did not use this part, used the other one that comes in the package
  • Remote control – probably never going to use it
  • USB cable – I’m not sure where this goes or what the purpose is.  Maybe to connect a USB device to the front port on the Dynavin?
  • Dynavin Harness – This is confusing in the instructions for the non-NAV units.  You do not need this at all.  It is replaced by the Fakra cable.  So put it away as soon as you unbox the package.


STEP 2: Remove trim above glovebox and nav console

It’s pretty easy to remove the trim above the glove box and the navigation console.  Just be careful and deliberate and if you follow Jeff’s instructions you should be fine.

Here is what my car looks like with the trim removed:

Remove the vents per the instructions in Jeff’s guide.  Wasn’t as hard as it seemed.  Just be deliberate, pull out and up and the vents should come out.

Step 3: Remove the OEM Navigation console

Once you have removed the two screws on top of the console you need to remove the two silver ones on the bezel of the OEM Nav itself before you can pull the console out.  If you try to pull the radio out after removing the screws you will see that it will not budge much at all.  I tried for a long time until I searched around and realized that the OEM Nav has two tabs located on the bottom bezel (at the right and left edges) that keep the radio in place.  You need to push these tabs down in order to slide the radio out.

First press the eject button with the power on to open the radio so you can access these magical tabs.  Disconnect the battery in the trunk once the radio is open to avoid it closing again.

Here is the approximate location of the tabs.  Insert the nail file into one side until it clicks and then pull that side of the radio out a bit.  Then repeat it for the other side.  Once that’s done, the radio should slide out quite easily.  It will be connected by a blue and a white plug only.  To remove the plugs, you have to press the locking mechanism on each plug that holds the grey bracket in place.  Then you push the grey bracket down and it will force each plug out.

Now you should place the OEM console aside.  I plan to sell it on eBay to recoup some of the cost.  Now let’s move to the trunk and start running the cables to the front into the hole we just created.

Step 4: Remove old BM53 system and DVD navigation drive

Once you remove the side carpet (see DICE instructions above in the GOOD READS) and disconnect the battery you should be looking at something like this:

Remove the screws with washers holding the DVD drive and the silver BM53 Radio.  The plug that is connected to the silver radio is what you will plug into your Fakra cable as seen below:

Fakra cable connected.

Step 5: Run “Fakra Cable Kit” to the front of car

The Fakra cable is connected.  Now we need to connect the other two cables that go to the front, the antenna extension and the steering wheel control extension.  The antenna extension connects to the black and pink colored connector that was plugged into the BM53 radio originally.  The steering wheel control box connects to a wire that comes out of the Fakra cable.  The extension then connects to that box.  You can see that in the picture below:

Since I wasn’t installing a rear camera I took the AMP Con, Rear Camera and Parking cables coming out of the Fakra and simply wrapped them in electrical tape to make sure they didn’t cause any problems.

After I did this, I simply lowered removed the back bottom cushion of seats and lowered the back seats to get the three cables to the front.  I did tuck the cables under the driver’s side cushion near the windows and then ran them along the bottom of the back seats.  I didn’t want to do the whole cable install until I knew the system was working.

Now remove the glove box as per the instructions in the DICE Installation linked at the top of the post.  It involves taking out 5 screws.  Very easy. Once you run the three cables haphazardly through the glove box they should poke out of the console like this:

Step 6: Install GPS antenna, other cables and test the Dynavin unit

First place the GPS antenna in the right spot.  I put mine on top of the metal bar behind where the Dynavin is going to go.

Now it’s time to plug in a bunch of cables into the Dynavin.  I plugged in the following to the unit:

  • GPS antenna
  • Fakra cable
  • Antenna extension
  • After the unit was in the console I plugged in these as well:
    • Steering wheel control into IR input
    • USB extension (routed to glovebox for now)
    • iPhone connection (routed to glovebox for now)
    • Aux in for random audio connection (routed to glovebox for now)

Once those are all in, you need to start to insert the Dynavin unit into the console slot.  It’s easier with the Nav unit because there is more room in the console since there are less wires.  Just remember to have the plugs come out through the top where the vents are.  Jeff has good instructions on how to push the unit back into the compartment.

Here’s the unit ready to test after I pushed it back into the spot:

Now recheck all connections, make sure nothing is connected where it shouldn’t be and then replug in the battery.  If all goes well you will be greeted with something like this.  WOOHOO!

At this point I tested all the functions:  played radio, used navigation, used music from USB, played a DVD, etc.

Once I knew everything was working then I proceeded to close everything up and route the cables properly.

Step 7: Put console back together, route cables properly and close up

Tuck the rest of the unused connections into the console and out of the way of the vents.  Plug the vents back into place.  Put the two black screws that hold the vents in place back in (they also hold the Dynavin in place).  Before tightening them, make sure everything looks square and in the correct place.

Replace the center trim and the passenger side trim.  Next move below to the glovebox and start routing the cables properly.  You have to tuck them in under the plastic molding along the passenger door.  I put the antenna extension and the steering wheel extension into the molding first and used the thicker Fakra cable to hold those cables tucked in under the molding.

***CAUTION***:  The antenna extension cable is just barely long enough to reach the trunk.  If I were to do it again, I would have it take up less space in the glovebox to give me some more slack in the trunk.

Once that is all done, replace the back seat cushion, put the carpet back in the trunk, clean up all the loose ends and you are done.  This is how mine looks like now :).

That is the install. I’m pretty happy with the new system. There is a lot of playing around you can do with the software and I’m just jumping into that. The first thing I’m going to do is

a) mod the harness in the trunk to power the button lights and

b) install iGo Primo as the navigation software.

If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.