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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
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IceLink Plus Install in a BMW X5

Contributed by: hayaku


by hayaku for xoutpost.com

This DIY article will address how to install a Dension IceLink Plus interface unit into an X5 and install the cradle for the IPOD in the center console storage bin. Yes, I called it an ICEPOD, only fitting don't you think?

Subject used was my wife's 2002 E53 X5 4.4 with 16:9 MKIII Navigation, DSP stereo, and factory cd changer. The model of the X5 doesn't matter in this case. The stereo options that the car was fitted with does make a difference in which IceLink Plus setup and cable you need. Please consult with Tom G from European Autosource for correctly choosing the components for your car.

In the pic below, the kit has the Active Cable. Not the Active Docking Cradle. I opted for the cradle.

Please note: If your X5 is from 00-02 with DSP, your CD Changer Harness may not have the 2nd connection plug with 6 pins. If thats the case, you will need to get a DSP converter. Tom G can also supply this for you.

Dension IceLink Plus

Effort Required:

Skill Difficulty: 1 out of 10.

Time Required: 2+ hours depending on experience.

This is what worked for me. If you are not sure nor comfortable doing any of these steps, please DO NOTattempt to perform this procedure. Rather take your vehicle to a
qualified stereo installation shop for the work to be done. Do not take your vehicle to a friend that does not understand this document either (2 confused minds will not make it better). You cannot hold X5World nor me responsible for any damages YOU may have caused on YOUR vehicle (we weren't there and didn't do any of it, thats the story and I'm sticking to it). But seriously, it ain't all that hard to do.

Tools Required:
8mm socket

rachet for the 8mm socket

utility knife

large flat blade screw driver


1/2" drill bit

3/16" or smaller drill bit

short/stubby phillips screw driver

1/16" allen key - your icelink kit may come with this, mine did not

Optional Tools:
flash light

upholstry button removal tool

large objects to help you hold the carpet back

electrical tape

Connections and Wiring

Step 1:Remove the CD Changer/Find the CD Changer harness

Open the trunk. On the left side is an access panel where the stereo electronics are mounted.

Remove the access panel. It just pulls out.

If you have a CD Changer, remove the 4 8mm bolts that mount it to the bracket using your 8mm socket and rachet.

If you have a CD Changer, remove it from the bracket to find 2 plugs connected on the back. Disconnect these plugs.

If you do not have a CD Changer, find the wiring harness for the CD
Changer plugs. There is a 3 pin plug and a 6 pin plug on the end of it.
It's in there. It may be wrapped up and bundled with the rest of the

Step 2:Test the IceLink and IPOD

Connect the IceLink harness to the BMW Factory CD Changer harness

Connect the IceLink harness to the IceLink module

Connect the Active Cradle to the IceLink module

Connect the IPOD into the Active Cradle

Put your keys in and turn to the ACC position, turn on the stereo and select the CD Changer with the MODE button.

Once you confirmed that your stereo is playing MP3's from the IPOD, don't
waste too much time here. You could drain your battery before you know
it with the stereo cranked up... Remove your key once done verifying it
all works.

Cradle Install in the Center Console
Step 3:Remove the Center Console Storage Bin

Open the center console

Pry the lip of the storage bin at the front to lift it.

The rear should have a strip of double sided tape to keep it in place, just
pull up gently. You may have to pry a little with the flat blade
screwdriver to release it.

There is a rubber tray that lines the floor of the storage bin. Pull the rubber tray out also.

Step 4:Drill the holes

Get your drill and the small 3/16" bit.


where you want to mount the cradle. I decided to put it on the side of
the bin with the face of the IPOD facing the driver. UCrewX5 installed
his on the front under the coin holder slots and is a very clean
install also. You can see his pics here.

For this position, I decided to mount the cradle 1/2" above the bottom so
that I didn't have to cut a hole in the rubber tray. However, I didn't
put it high enough so I had to slit the side of the rubber tray so the
cable could go through without distorting the tray too much. I'm pretty
happy that it sits very low. You may want to have the cradle mounted 1"
above the floor if you don't want to slit the rubber tray at all.

Drill a pilot hole where you want the cable from the cradle to come out.

Change bits to the 1/2" boring bit and drill a hole using the pilot hole. Go SLOW! If you drill too fast, you may crack the plastic, melt it excessively, or distort the hole somewhat.

Use the utility knife to clean up the hole. This will be the exact fit of the IceLink plug that needs to pass through it.

Place the round mounting plate from the cradle kit on the outside of the bin
above the 1/2" hole you just created. You can hold it in place or tape
it in place. This will give you the position of the mounting holes you
need to drill.

Switch back to the 3/16" drill bit and drill the 4 pilot holes where the screws will go.

Place the round cradle mount with the locking hex screw up top facing you
inside the bin and screw in the 4 screws with the short/stubby phillips
screw driver. This is important. If the hex screw is not facing you,
you won't be able to lock the cradle in place.

Step 5:Mount the Dension Active Cradle

Thread the plug end of the cradle out of the 1/2" hole in the storage bin.

Place the cradle into the round mounting plate.

Use the allen key to lock down the cradle into the plate.

If you need to, slit the rubber tray so that the cable can pass through the hole without distorting the tray.

Place the rubber tray back in.

Running the wiring harness
Step 6:Remove the seat and trim
The rear seat bottom is held in place by 2 clips. Just grab the front and lift straight up.

However, the rear has the middle seat belt looped through it, so you won't be
able to remove it. Just fold it up and out of the way.

The side seat bolsters are also clipped in. Just pull it out from the top. There is a slot at the bottom where the mounting bracket fits in, so just pull from the top and it will come out.

If the seat bolster top clip is still in the bracket like in my pics, just grab it and pull it out. It clips into the back of the side bolster. Its easier to reinstall it if its connected to the
side bolster already.

The carpet trim piece also just pulls up. There are 4 upholstry plugs that hold it in place. If they get pulled out of the plastic trim piece, you can use the upholstry plug removal tool to
extract them. If you use a screw driver, be careful not to damage it. You will need to remove both trim pieces from both sides. We are going to peel the whole carpet kit back.

Step 7:Run the IceLink Harness inside the cabin

Feed the IceLink harness through the top side of the rear trunk carpet side wall. You can use a stick or coat hanger to help. I was able to feed it through and grab
the other end with my hand.

Pull the harness cable through leaving about 1 foot of slack left.

Run the harness down the side beneath the side bolster cushion and tuck it in with the other harnesses already there.

Step 8:Peel back the floor carpet

Remove the lenses over the light housing under the rear seat.

Pull the carpet over the 2 seat clips.

Pull the carpet back. It'll resist you since its molded.

I used 2 water bottles to hold it open on the passenger side while I sat on the driver side.

Step 8:Run the IceLink harness to the Center Console

Move the driver's seat all the way forward (US SPEC. If you have Right Hand Driver, its the passenger seat)

The carpet trim panel on the center console just pulls out. You may have to pry with the flat blade screw driver.

You don't want to remove it, just pop it out so you can work behind it. I think I unclipped 3 buttons on mine.


the very edge of where the trim panel meets the leather on the center
console, cut a 1" X as close to the console as possible with your
utility knife.

Use the flat plat screw driver to make sure you have a pass through.

Now this is the HARDEST part of the install

Run the rest of the harness under the carpet and up, out through that X you just cut.


carpet will be heavy and tight. It will push against you as you try to
push the harness plug through that X. You will get it if you keep at
it. Its very tight in there...

Once through, pull the rest of the harness all the way through that X you cut.


enough slack so that you can run the harness down the center following
the floor contours and around the seat base back up to the side
bolster/wheel well.

Step 9:Finish the connections

Feed the harness from the side of the console to the middle opening

Pull the rest of the harness through and coil it

I tucked the rest of the harness back the inner frame of the center console

Connect the harness to the IceLink device.

Connect the cradle plug coming from the center storage bin to the IceLink device.

I used electrical tape to finish off the connections to prevent it from pulling out or anything touching it.


the IceLink device in the crevice on the side. This piece gets warm so
you don't want to tuck it under the console frame with the rest of the

Put the storage bin back into the center console.

Step 10:Reinstalling the Carpet, Trim, and Seats

Lay the carpet back in place... it'll want to do this by itself.

Push the carpet trim panel back in place on the center console. this will hide the harness coming out of the floor carpet.

Pull the carpet kit over the 2 seat clips.


the flat blade screw driver to tuck the carpet around the floor light
housing. I pushed about 1/2" awary from the edge to tuck it in.

Clip in the light housing lenses. The long clip is on the passenger side of the car. Put the short side in first.

Put the plastic carpet trim pieces back in on both sides. They just push down and clip in.


the side bolster cushion back in. The bottom has a blade that fits in
the mounting slot. The top clips in with a strong push.

Feed the seat belt clips through the seat cushion and fold the seat down

Push the seat in and down over the clips. You will hear a loud click when its in.

Mount the old CD Changer back in with the 8mm bolts.

Install the access panel back in

That's it.. you are done with your "ICEPOD" install!

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