Here is example of factory-looking E46 AUX input mounting. Read it if you have an AUX-compatible radio in your BMW e46 and know how to make aux cable, but you prefer elegant and neat solutions than simple jack finished cable hanging in glovebox.
The fastest and easiest way to do E46 AUX input cable connection is to assemble the cable and conduct jack-plug to some accesible place like glovebox or shelf under A/C panel. It’s good, but doesn’t look very smart when aux source isn’t used. The cable lies about and makes dashboard looking messy.
Much more elegant solution is to make aux installation and mount jack input in some discrete place. And this is what I have done in my E46.
What will you need:
- panel mount 3,5 stereo jack input (it has to be panel mount because of screw which you need). The best would be black and plastic one like this one:
- input cable made along standard description, but without jack-plug on the end
- jack-jack interconnect to plug your device
- basic tools to dismount few elements of central console
Make your aux cable, but instead of finishing it with jack plug, use female blade connectors for each of three wires. You need this to connect cable to jack socket.
The cable should be about 40-50cm long.
Dismount all elements of central console between radio and ashtray:
- a/c panel
- panel with buttons (DSC, seat heating etc)
- ashtray and lighter panel (to do this, you need to dismount also gearstick panel with window opening buttons)
None of these things is complicated, so I won’t describe them here. However if you need details, google “e46 center console removal” or just watch video beneath:
If you have replaced all elements, you have easy access to conduct aux cable behind dashboard frame. You will have enough space on the left side behind the radio – put there your cable and place it behind a/c panel, shelf, buttons and finally reach area, where lighter is.
Make your aux input: install jack socket in ashtray and lighter panel. If you have panel mount jack socket with screw, measure diameter precisely and gently drill hole under the lighter. Take care about position of the hole. There is not much room for plug, so don’t drill too close down edge of the area. Look at the picture to see the location.
After you drilled the hole, just screw in the socket – it should fit perfect and the screw will give you extra strenght of mounting. After screwing socket, use some glue on the back side to stabilise the input.
you want good looking job, so drill from the front (visible) side of panel, use sharp drill and low rotation speed
You have conducted input cable behind center console and mounted jack input. Last thing you need to do is connect aux cable with socket. Your input cable is finished with blade connectors, so just plug proper wire to correct pin and your E46 aux input is ready.
Connect radio and the aux device using jack-jack interconnect and make sound check. If it works fine, just mount back all elements of central console and enjoy!
I hope this description will help you to make really good and pro looking e46 aux input.