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2004 325ic Electronics Questions

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by mspoteet, Dec 19, 2010.

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    I just picked up a 2004 325ic with only 9K original miles on it. It has a couple of electronics issues; otherwise is pretty much a new car.

    First, the auto-dimming rear view mirror doesn't work. Does anybody have knowledge of how these work, and is there any troubleshooting or home repairs one can make to them?

    Secondly, the Harmon Kardon BMW radio/CD display is dropping pixels on cold mornings (note by "cold" I mean less than 40 degress F in the garge). Eventually after the radio warms up, the pixels do generally come back to life. However, the radio unit is just an am/fm/cd unit and I am interested in upgrading it to something with a USB port and maybe bluetooth. What aftermarket equipment would work with this car or is one limited to BMW products only?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    mdywglr4x4 guest

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    We have what you need(www.bavsound.com) in the MediaBridge. It is a USB Device and can add Bluetooth. Shoot me a call 404.963.8857 ext 104 - Halston Pitman

    The pixels do that... the display might be on it's way out but I have seen brand new radios do the same thing. A design flaw potentially?
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    the radio in my E46 does the same thing, pretty sure it's not a big deal since it always comes back on once it warms up
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    I just had my autochrome mirror replaced at the dealer... unfortunately it was the one with the homelink and the bmw assist built into it. Oy.. 900 bucks. I couldn't find one online and I'm having the assist reactivated so I didn't have much of a choice. It sure is pretty now though. LOL

    cwbiii guest

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    Sounds like a great find...
    The problem with the radio display sounds like it is a LCD (liquid crystal display)
    and these definitely stop to work as they approach freezing temperatures. It's not a design flaw but a design choice that makes it less expensive to make. I would ignore it.

    I would check the power for the mirror before taking any steps, it could be as simple as a bad fuse...or possibly a bad battery. With so little usage, it had to sit a while and that can cause some odd faults in something that expects them to be used a bit more often. Battery circuits are especially susceptible since they recharge only when the conditions for recharge are met... ie a solar cell recharge circuit would stop functioning if left in a garage or under a cover too long. There are a lot of ways that circuit could get its power... You wouldn't want to replace it if all it really needs it a little help to be properly functional. Its worth waiting to see if someone with more intimate knowledge of that component chimes in...

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    It is indeed an LCD but freezing temperatures should not present any difficulty. The displays in an E46 are functional in temperatures well below freezing--at least into the teens (Fahrenheit) in my own experience. The response time of the crystal degrades, so the display will be sluggish when cold, but there should not be any "stuck" pixels. That's a defect, albeit perhaps a common one.

    Even so, I agree the best answer may be to just ignore a few bad apples. There are outfits that can repair the LCD panels in an instrument cluster (see this thread) but I don't know if their work extends to the radio and climate displays. It can't hurt to ask. :)

    As for the mirror: Some people really hate these things and it's possible the previous owner disabled it and forgot about it. This is easily done by obstructing one or both (I forget which) of the photocells in the mirror. One faces the rear, visible at the top center of the mirror glass as a small round or oval area with little to no silvering. The other is somewhere on the back of the mirror housing, facing the front of the car. Make sure neither of these sensors has been covered with tape, paint or whatnot.

    I'll admit that's a long shot but it is easy to check. Other than that, I have heard of these mirrors failing due to leakage (the key component is a layer of electrophoretic gel sandwiched in the mirror) but don't know whether they deteriorate and become "stuck" from disuse.

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