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  #1  
Old 04-26-2014, 09:36 AM
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Need help, Questions with ipod / iphone retro fit install on E70

I just bought a used 2011 X5 from my father since he just bought a brand new 2014 X5 for himself. I love the car and enjoy owning a BMW again, my first car back in the day was a 1996 M3, I hated selling that car, but the one thing that really bothers me is that this particular BMW X5 does not have the USB port in the center console, which was some package option that my Dad did not opt for when he bought the car in 2010. I am quite the tech guru and have always modded or installed systems that would give me the best integration for my smart phones/mp3 players ect. into my various cars and was fully ready to apply my skills with this new addition to my car collection but quickly realized that with the idrive system and the deep integration that it has to the vehicle that a simple head unit replacement was not going to be an option. So the research began to see what I might be able to do. What I have done so far is to take 12.5 GB of music files and load them into the idrive’s HD for the meantime to at least have some music in the car while I figure out next steps. This works well and I like being able to control song playback with the steering wheel controls and using the voice control functions to call albums or artists up to play, but the limitations are that I can only have a small percentage of my music collection in the car (I listen to a lot of music) and it takes a very long time to load 12.5 GB of audio files onto the HD, close to 45 minutes if I recall, which makes the concept of adding a new album here or there a real chore since I don’t want multiple “libraries” of music files and BMW has offers no way to merge “libraries” together once you import them to the HD. I keep all the audio files in a single library so that I can browse and play music in the proper track order of the album and not simply sorted and played alphabetically which is the idrive behavior. This is why I want a better option to play and control the audio from my iphone 5. Now I can connect the iphone’s headphone analog output to the Line In port in the center console but I have no control of the phone and must do everything locally from the iphone, which is distracting and annoying for me. Also unless I want a dead phone when I arrive to work I have to connect the phone to a power source to keep it charged. So now I have two cables that I always have to connect and disconnect each time I get in and out of the car. Also I am unlucky enough to have a 2011 model that was built in April 2010, which means that It has the older Bluetooth standard which does not support music playback only phone functions so that option is out for me.


So this is my long winded rant about why I want to try and get the best iphone integration I can with the car and so far the only thing I have come across is the BMW iPod Adaptor, part # 65 11 0 439 425 or Part # 65 11 0 439 429 which I found for sale from Bavarian Autosport. I hope that one of these units along with my Apple 30-pin to lightning adapter would allow me to charge my phone, offer playback and control of the built in Music app, Pandora, and Spotify and bring browsing content and metadata function directly to the idrive system.

So first I ask if anyone out there has installed this and uses it with their iPhone 5 and can confirm that it works the way that I want. The description never specifically mentions an iPhone as being support just an iPod, (4th generation or newer) iPod mini, or iPod Nano. Next I understand that there is a difference between the two part numbers but don’t fully understand what that is and which one I need. Part # 65 11 0 439 429 does state “This device cannot be used in conjunction with the 6 Disc CD Changer or Sirius Satellite Radio.” While part # 65 11 0 439 425 says “This device can only be used in conjunction with the 6 Disc CD Changer.”

So first question how do I know which one I would need, is the 6 Disc CD Changer the unit installed in the front dash area or does this refer to some other option that my Dad didn’t get for a unit that would install in the trunk area? I don’t care if I lose the CD Changer but I would like to keep the Satellite Radio if I could.

Also I know that there requires some programming of the idrive system by the dealer and if I were to buy and install this unit myself I would still have to have them Activate or Program something. What exactly do they need to program and if I were lucky to find a willing dealership to do this what would I tell them I needed to have done? I know most dealership are probably going to be hesitant to just reprogram my car especially if someone else is doing the install work but I might have a buddy who could get a tech to do this for me if the direct route turns out to fail, I just want to know exactly what to ask my friend to do.

Also I certainly would welcome any other thoughts if there was another option that I overlooked including aftermarket interfaces or other adapters.


Thanks for any feedback here, I’m excited to have a great vehicle to drive and hope I can get a reliable solution to my iphone needs.
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2014, 07:35 PM
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Your BMW Dealer should offer you the offical USB/Audio retrofit kit (option 6FL) as long as BMW NA offically supports it. Many retrofit kits are released for other markets but are not supported in the USA. The instructions would tell you how to add the hardware (MULF, USB hub and center console USB port) and which retrofit path the Dealer would chose using their programing software (ISTA/P). Sometimes you can convience the part counter person to print you the retrofit instructions.
http://www.xoutpost.com/electronics/...ption-6fl.html

Another option would be to replace your existing TCU (Telematic Control Unit) with a Combox, as this hardware has the fuctionality of the MULF and USB hub built in and supports streaming audio over Bluetooth. You would have the same feature set of a MY2012, though BMW will not support this (no BMW Assist activation) and you are left to have someone custom code your vehicle. The other danger here is if you install a Combox and later take the X5 to BMW, they may refuse to do any programing until a TCU is re-installed.
I plan to try this path in the next month myself.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ripp222 View Post
Your BMW Dealer should offer you the offical USB/Audio retrofit kit (option 6FL) as long as BMW NA offically supports it. Many retrofit kits are released for other markets but are not supported in the USA. The instructions would tell you how to add the hardware (MULF, USB hub and center console USB port) and which retrofit path the Dealer would chose using their programing software (ISTA/P). Sometimes you can convience the part counter person to print you the retrofit instructions.
http://www.xoutpost.com/electronics/...ption-6fl.html

Another option would be to replace your existing TCU (Telematic Control Unit) with a Combox, as this hardware has the fuctionality of the MULF and USB hub built in and supports streaming audio over Bluetooth. You would have the same feature set of a MY2012, though BMW will not support this (no BMW Assist activation) and you are left to have someone custom code your vehicle. The other danger here is if you install a Combox and later take the X5 to BMW, they may refuse to do any programing until a TCU is re-installed.
I plan to try this path in the next month myself.

Thanks for your feedback. I have tried a few local BMW dealerships to see what they might be able to help with and the common theme with them is a striking unwillingness to offer any sort of creative solution. If there isn't a tried and true path that they can look up in their systems, enter a work order number and easily bill me for they don't want to sign onto anything. I understand not wanting to put your neck out there but I try to articulately explain my position and willingness to experiment, within a certain realistic budget, but have not gotten very far. My last effort to purchase online and install myself the BMW iPod Adapter (BMW IPod Interface Adapter - for vehicles without CD or DVD Changer 65110439429) and have BMW reprogram the system to recognize the new hardware did not seem to go too far and was told the reprogramming was done by BMW, not the dealership. They hook the car up to computers and let BMW reprogram the car remotely. They said sometimes it works right away and other times it can take all day. I would like to know if I could take the car to another garage that handles import cars and see if they could do this re-programing without having to custom code anything or make it so that BMW would no longer support the vehicle since the software was altered outside of their control.

Seems like a much larger headache that I wanted to deal with and suppose I can deal with the analog cable option for now unless I find a more willing dealership.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:56 PM
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According to ETK the kit is valid for USA spec cars, so unless it's an error (quite possible) a "tried and true" method with instructions does exist. The "unwillingness to offer any sort of creative solution." is common with most Dealers lack of desire to take any risk.
BMW could sell a lot more parts if they made the retrofit instructions (EBA) public knowledge. I suggest asking your Dealer to print a copy of EBA 2146524 and EBA 2210830.

If this kit is truly not for the USA market you can try ECStuning. I've purchased Euro only parts there before.
If you want to drive to Charlotte I can add option 6FL to your X5 after you've added the parts and then enable the feature in your CIC headunit. That's about as close as you can get to factory USB/Audio which would still be supported in the future at the Dealership.
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